ORDINARY TO EXTRAORDINARY
Derek Smith, Lead Pastor LHBC
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.
Charles Plumb was a US Navy jet pilot in Vietnam. After 75 combat missions, his plane was destroyed by a surface-to-air missile. Plumb ejected and parachuted into enemy hands and was captured and spent 6 years in a communist Vietnamese prison. He survived the ordeal and now lectures on lessons learned from that experience.
One day, when Plumb and his wife were sitting in a restaurant, a man at another table came up and said, “You’re Plumb! You flew jet fighters in Vietnam from the aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk. You were shot down!” “How in the world did you know that?” asked Plumb. “I packed your parachute,” the man replied. Plumb gasped in surprise and gratitude. The man pumped his hand and said, “I guess it worked!” Plumb assured him, “It sure did. If your chute hadn’t worked, I wouldn’t be here today.” Plumb realized were it not for this ordinary sailor his triumphant story of endurance wouldn’t be told today.
God is in the business of using ordinary people to do extraordinary things. In fact, it is only those who are keenly aware of their inadequacy that the Lord uses the most. One of the greatest examples in the Bible of this is Gideon. The Midianites were brashly oppressing the people of Israel, and the Lord had seen enough. So, He appears to ordinary Gideon and calls him to deliver His people. Gideon had ordinary doubts. Gideon is skeptical of the Lord’s plan in the midst of his hardship saying, “If the Lord is with us then why has all this happened to us?” Gideon also had an ordinary background. He says, “I am the least in my father’s house and my clan the weakest in Israel.” Gideon was not from a royal line, wasn’t rich, and wasn’t profoundly educated. Gideon also led an ordinary life. He had never led an army into battle or formulated a military campaign strategy; yet that’s exactly what the Lord called him to do. The Lord took ordinary Gideon and did an extraordinary miracle through him to defeat the Midianites. 300 men with nothing but trumpets and pitchers defeated an army “as numerous as the locusts” all by the supernatural power of God!
The supernatural power of God is only displayed in our lives when we recognize just how insufficiently natural our abilities really are. Until I understand and believe that I am completely incapable of divine accomplishments the divine cannot accomplish anything through me. Human weakness is the conduit through which God chooses to work in the life of the believer. God’s grace is not sufficient as long as I think I am. He uses the weak things to shame the strong and the foolish things to shame the wise. So, if you feel incredibly ordinary today, you’re exactly where you need to be to be used greatly by the Lord. It’s only in profound dependence on Him that we do anything profound in this life, so may we die to ourselves today and come alive to the profound grace and power of our Lord!
PRAYER FOR TODAY:
Father God, I feel so inadequate. I don’t have what it takes to live a complete life of victory, but I know that You do. Jesus, through Your resurrection power I know I can do all things, so help me rely totally on Your power, peace, wisdom, and love at all times. In Your powerful name, Jesus, I pray all these things, amen.
MEMORY VERSE OF THE WEEK:
He must increase, but I must decrease.