There’s been a time in your life that you’ve felt a bit like Moses or Joshua or Gideon, am I right?
You’re saying you’ve never felt that brave leadership that they had? Oh. Maybe you don’t understand how Moses and Joshua and Gideon actually felt. You just assume they had to have been brave souls. I mean, if you grew up in Sunday school I can understand where you get that idea. They’re often played up that way.
If you actually read the text at face value, however, I think you would discover something different. All three of these guys seemed to think that they weren’t cut out for the type of job that God gave them.
Moses argued that he couldn’t talk well, saying that he was “slow of speech and slow of tongue.” He thought God should send someone else. God had to tell Joshua three times to “be strong and courageous,” and once not to “fear or be dismayed,” indicating to me that he had a tendency to be fearful. And Gideon, he seems to have had the hardest time of them all. He says: “O Lord, how shall I deliver Israel? Behold, my family is the least in Manasseh, and I am the youngest in my father’s house.” Even after God assures him that He will be with him, and that he will defeat Midian as one man, he still has to see a sign before he believes. And then another sign. And yet another sign. And, in between the first and second signs God tells him to smash the altar of Baal that belongs to his father. He’s too scared to do it during the day, so he does it at night.
The amazing thing is that God pulls through in every one of these situations. In each story He comforts them the same way—simply by reminding them that He will be with them. That’s all it takes, really.
When I read stories like this, I start to believe God really means it when He says things like, ”My strength is made perfect in weakness.” We’re also told that “God has chosen the weak things of this world to shame the wise.” I think I’m finally catching on to that idea.
The area where I think I have the most tendency to be chicken-hearted is in preaching the gospel to unbelievers. But, the great commission itself expresses essentially the same promise given to all three of these OT men: “Lo I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” He’s no less “with” me than He was “with” Gideon. That’s comforting.
So, have you ever felt a bit like Moses or Joshua or Gideon? Yes? Well take courage!