Derek Smith, Lead Pastor LHBC
11 Now the angel of the Lord came and sat under the terebinth at Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, while his son Gideon was beating out wheat in the winepress to hide it from the Midianites. 12 And the angel of the Lord appeared to him and said to him, “The Lord is with you, O mighty man of valor.” 13 And Gideon said to him, “Please, my lord, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all his wonderful deeds that our fathers recounted to us, saying, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt?’ But now the Lord has forsaken us and given us into the hand of Midian.” 14 And the Lord turned to him and said, “Go in this might of yours and save Israel from the hand of Midian; do not I send you?” 15 And he said to him, “Please, Lord, how can I save Israel? Behold, my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.” 16 And the Lord said to him, “But I will be with you, and you shall strike the Midianites as one man.” 17 And he said to him, “If now I have found favor in your eyes, then show me a sign that it is you who speak with me. 18 Please do not depart from here until I come to you and bring out my present and set it before you.” And he said, “I will stay till you return.”
19 So Gideon went into his house and prepared a young goat and unleavened cakes from an ephah of flour. The meat he put in a basket, and the broth he put in a pot, and brought them to him under the terebinth and presented them. 20 And the angel of God said to him, “Take the meat and the unleavened cakes, and put them on this rock, and pour the broth over them.” And he did so. 21 Then the angel of the Lord reached out the tip of the staff that was in his hand and touched the meat and the unleavened cakes. And fire sprang up from the rock and consumed the meat and the unleavened cakes. And the angel of the Lord vanished from his sight. 22 Then Gideon perceived that he was the angel of the Lord. And Gideon said, “Alas, O Lord God! For now I have seen the angel of the Lord face to face.” 23 But the Lord said to him, “Peace be to you. Do not fear; you shall not die.” 24 Then Gideon built an altar there to the Lord and called it, The Lord Is Peace. To this day it still stands at Ophrah, which belongs to the Abiezrites.
Growing up I used to love to play baseball. It was my favorite sport. In high school I still remember coming to the field with all the rest of my teammates and the rush of the anticipation of game time. We would take batting and fielding practice early to prepare, then we would eat a little something, get dressed, and make our way back out to the field for game time. Our coach would always post the lineup in the dugout, and oftentimes we wouldn’t know who was playing where or what position we were batting in the order until we got to the dugout. I can still hear one of the assistant coaches saying “Smith, you’re on deck!” I would make my way out to the on deck circle, take some cuts, then I would step up to the plate. Now it was my turn to do something to help my team win the game, and I wanted to knock it out of the park.
In Judges 6 the people of Israel were facing a real enemy named the Midianites, and this was no game. At the beginning of the chapter it says the Midianites overpowered Israel and laid waste the land as they came into their towns. They consumed or destroyed all the crops they could find and stole the livestock right off their pastures. Israel cried out to the Lord in desperation and God called out a deliverer. The Lord had raised up multiple deliverers in the past, but now Gideon was on deck, and the great coach of all creation said, “Gideon, you’re up!”
Notice what takes place. The Lord first encourages Gideon by saying that He was with him. Gideon would not be alone in the batter’s box and neither are we. He promises never to leave us or forsake us, so we can step up the plate in ministry with confidence, not in ourselves but in His power. It’s been said before that the Lord doesn’t call the equipped, He equips the called. Don’t wait until all the stars align to serve God, just step up to the plate when He calls and trust Him.
Secondly, the Lord refers to Gideon as a “mighty man of valor.” Really?!! This is a guy who is hiding from the enemy along with his family. In fact, they are beating out wheat in a winepress so the Midianites won’t suspect they have crops they can steal. This sounds more like a weak man of fear than a mighty man of valor! This is the guy who has struck out every time at bat. However, the Lord sees His potential not his past performance! God sees our future not our failures. We may see our past mistakes, but the Lord sees our future obedience. We see today’s struggles, but He sees tomorrow’s significance. Child of God, remember that we are all a work in progress and believe what the Lord says about you. You are a blood-bought, empowered, equipped, blessed, and highly favored Child of the King! The world says you’re unfit, and Satan says you’re unqualified, but Jesus says you’re the perfect candidate! You’re batting average to this point might be .000, but with Jesus that’s about to change!
Beloved, the Lord is calling us to step up to the plate in ministry. It’s time to step into the batter’s box and swing for the fences for Jesus! Take your best swing at sharing Christ with that co-worker, giving that generous financial gift to that mission effort, serving in that ministry, or leading that Bible study. Satan is on the mound throwing heat. He’s striking folks out one after another. You’re on deck….batter up! Step up to the plate, and know that through the power of the resurrection you can knock a homerun for God’s Kingdom! Step up to the plate and show the world what Jesus can do through a faithful follower like you!
PRAYER FOR TODAY:
Dear Lord, I know you are calling me to serve You, and Jesus because of your death, burial, and resurrection I know I have all I need to do this. Thank you for putting me in the game of ministry, and I look forward to what you are going to do in and through me. In Jesus name I pray, amen.
MEMORY VERSE OF THE WEEK:
And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am! Send me.”