God Calls the Ordinary

Judges 6:11-16

11 The angel of the Lord came and sat down under the oak in Ophrah that belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, where his son Gideon was threshing wheat in a winepress to keep it from the Midianites. 12 When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.”

13 “Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our ancestors told us about when they said, ‘Did not the Lord brig us up out of Egypt?’ But now the Lord has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian.”

14 The Lord turned to him and said, “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?”

15 “Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.”

16 The Lord answered, “I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites, leaving none alive.”

Australia

Near the end of the movie, “Australia,” the leading lady was mourning. It was reported that the people she loved did not survive the attack of the enemy. For the very last time, she looked far beyond the fogs that covered the seashore when she heard a familiar sound of Harmonica playing, “Over the rainbow.” She knew who played it.

Sound is a very powerful means to call attention. When our Good Shepherd calls us, we can hear His familiar voice very distinctively. The Lord Jesus said in John 10:16: 16 I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. 

The Lord has many creative means to communicate with us. While reading the Bible, we may sense the Holy Spirit’s speaks. While listening to sermons or other believers, we may sense the voice of Christ. Even the surrounding, events, situations, or phenomena, God can communicate with us. The voice of Christ is distinctive to believers.

When the Midianites oppressed the Israelites, they cried out to God for help. An angel approached Gideon and told him about a mission. When God calls, He initiates.

1. Initiate

11 The angel of the Lord came and sat down under the oak in Ophrah that belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, where his son Gideon was threshing wheat in a winepress to keep it from the Midianites. 12 When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.”

God sent His angel to instruct Gideon of a mission to lead Israel and destroy their enemies. Gideon did not pray that God would use him as Israel’s leader. God initiated it. When God wanted something to be done, He would initiate the first move.

When Christ has chosen the twelve apostles, He approached them where they were doing their daily chores. He called fishermen while casting or preparing their nets. He called a tax collector while collecting taxes. He called a Pharisees while serving an order to arrest the followers of Christ. He called those who followed Him.

Later, Paul wrote in Philippians 1:6, 6Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

And in Romans 8:26-27, 26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.

When we sense the desire to serve the Lord, it is because the Spirit of Christ in us instils in our hearts the desire to serve Him. We sense urgency and enthusiasm to obey. God would also use things we don’t expect to get our attention.

The Israelites did not expect the Midianite invasion. The Israelites groaned for their oppression. They did not know what help they needed. They did not have courage to fight their enemies. They just cried for God’s help. God has designed it that Gideon, who was just a regular ordinary person, would lead them against their oppressors.

Popularity helps win the election but God chooses ordinary people to lead, why?

It says in 1 Corinthians 1:27-29, 27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28 God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, 29 so that no one may boast before him.

Can you accept that many church members would reject the call to be involved in the ministry because of assumption that they lack spirituality, training, or expertise?

When God chooses His servants, He chooses ordinary people who would rely upon Him and admit their weaknesses. Before he, responded to God’s challenge, Prophet Isaiah admitted that he has unclean lips but he accepted God’s call.

He said in Isaiah 6:5-8, “Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.” Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.” Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

Such was not the case with Gideon. God knew that he will eventually obey but Gideon wanted some sort of explanation that the Lord was really with him. When the angel greeted, “God is with you, mighty warrior,” Gideon wanted it to be validated.

2. Validate

13 “Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our ancestors told us about when they said, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up out of Egypt?’ But now the Lord has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian.”  

14 The Lord turned to him and said, “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?”

Gideon may have doubted the wonders that the Lord has done as their ancestors told them throughout generations. He wanted to prove if wonders of God were true.

Interestingly, the angel did not argue with Gideon. Instead of explaining why God allowed the Midianites, the Amalekites and other eastern people oppressed them, the Lord ordered him to go and save Israel in the strength he had. Gideon saw obstacles.

15 “Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.”

Nothing can hinder God to accomplish His plan. He knew that Gideon was the least and has no authority to command—no right to give instruction to his family.

The Lord knew that Gideon’s clan was the weakest and has lesser influence among Manasseh. Therefore, it would be tough for him to invite the Manasseh tribe to join him against their tormentors, how much more the whole nation of Israel.

The least and the weakest person was chosen by the Lord to lead, why? When he asked about the wonders of God that their ancestors told them, Gideon wanted to see similar power of God that brought their ancestors out of the Egyptian slavery. Oppression under the Midianites has similarity to the oppression from Egyptian slavery.

16 The Lord answered, “I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites, leaving none alive.”

The Lord assured Gideon that His presence with him will be enough to achieve victory over their oppressors. Have you been oppressed? Do you sense like your human rights have been ignored or disregarded? Have you and your ability been discredited?

TMEC BOT

         When God chose young adults, some people may have discredited their ability to serve as Board of Trustees. Should we doubt God’s choice of young adults, who have no or lesser experiences in leading a church? God trusted the ordinary Gideon to lead the whole nation of Israel to solve their problem. God calls anybody He deems fitting to His purposes without prioritizing a person’s capability, expertise or status in life.

There will be many challenges ahead of us that we may face as a church.

If this church is God’s church, His presence is more than enough validation that we are called to accomplish His purposes. It is great to have young church leaders, why?

We could rely upon the power of the Lord instead of human expertise.

When the angel of the Lord greeted Gideon, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior,” Gideon did not argue that that he was called, “mighty warrior.” The origin of his name, “Gideon,” evolved from Hebrew word for “warrior.”

When the Lord calls us to be instruments for His project, He calls us by our name. God knew our name. God called Gideon by his name as “Mighty Warrior.”

Paul explained further how God works in the life of those He called to accomplish His purposes in Romans 8:28-30, 28 In all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

Calling, justification, and glorification come from the Lord. They are not of human effort. We can never be holy by human effort. We can never be expert or strong enough to serve God. But, the Lord will provide for all we need when we respond to His call.

When God calls you, He would initiate it. He calls you by your name. Has God called your name for a mission, yet? Like Gideon, you may need validation or assurance. Pray and know the mission or the good work that the Lord has prepared for you.

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