Ever feel totally demoralized and overcome by hard times or difficulty?
Being defeated is defined as having lost a battle, being overcome by adversity. I think defeated describes many believers and particularly the Israelites in Judges 6:2-13. The bible tells us that the Midianites were so cruel to the Israelites that they built hiding places for themselves in caves and dens. They were oppressed by their enemy (v2); invaded (v3); ruined (v4); stripped of all assets (v5) and destroyed without prejudice (v6). The enemy “impoverished” them not just physically, but spiritually as well and they cried out to the Lord. They were defeated and you saw this, in how they behaved.
When the angel speaks to Gideon, He speaks to the potential he sees in Gideon, not Gideon’s current state of defeat. He calls him a “mighty warrior” when Gideon is in fact, hiding out in a wine press to thresh wheat, an activity which is normally done out in the open.
When we feel defeated we make holes for ourselves to hide away in. We hide from people and go about our business quietly, keeping a low profile, not drawing attention to ourselves, accepting that this is our lot in life. Gideon was doing this, going about life, making a plan to thresh wheat in a wine press. Keeping a low profile so that the enemy does not notice. Hiding away.
Then when someone reminds us of truth about ourselves, we, just like Gideon, speak about our defeat and we say (verse 13):
- If the Lord was with us,
- Why has this happened,
- Where is God’s goodness (that we were told about)?
Notice, that the angel had just said: “The Lord is with you” and has also affirmed that he is a “mighty warrior.” God’s presence had never left Gideon, even though it felt that way to Gideon. Gideon’s identity in God, a mighty warrior, had also not changed even though he felt defeated. God still saw him according to what he really was,victorious, not how Gideon perceived himself, as defeated.
Gideon, like the Israelites, was asking these questions because his heart and mind was defeated. He had concluded that: “The Lord has abandoned me; He has given me over to my enemy. God is not going to bring victory in this situation, He wants me to suffer, and He is not going to come through for us.”
Like the Israelites, he was in a hole, hiding from people and from God, deep in his self-made hole of self-pity where the world and God cannot touch him. He, like the Israelites, had set up their own protection, in holes to protect themselves from hurt and in the process limited their own victory.
In verse 14 the Lords says to Gideon: “Go in the strength you have…” i.e. what is available to you, is it not the God Almighty asking you to go out in faith? This is a sure promise that God would be present AND that God will provide for Gideon if he goes out in faith.
But for some of us, this is not enough.
So like Gideon we remind God of our limitations and weaknesses.
When we do this we forget that God knows all about us and doesn’t need to be reminded. We imply that God has forgotten, that he has made a mistake in evaluating our character and we don’t actually have what is needed to go out there, step out in faith, believing that it is the God Almighty that goes out with us.
Even to this, Gods gentle reply is: “I will be with you,” and promises Gideon, we will do it together.
We are never defeated, this is not God’s plan for us. Those of us who feel defeated should remember that it is God Almighty that is with us. Let us make a start to move towards overcoming, let us “Go in the strength that we have, for it is God Almighty sending us.” He will be with us.
Father, help me to be aware that it is God Almighty that is with me and my own limitations and weaknesses are not who YOU are and not how You see me. Help me to remind myself constantly that You are with me, I am not alone, I can take the next step. I do not have to be defeated, hide in my self pity, keep a low profile and make peace with my lot in life. You have planned it for me that I will overcome, if I will only take that step of faith, go in the strength I have and trust You. You promise to be with me and that I WILL overcome.