22–28 May 2016.
In Judges 7 and 8 we read about the Israelites’ trouble with the Midianites. Back in those days, the Midianites were a powerful group. They attacked and oppressed the Israelites, took their food and possessions, controlled their lands, and forced them into lives of misery.
In ancient times, people often thought that if they and their nation succeeded in life, if things went well for them, if they were powerful, then God was on their side. Even today, many people think that God stands on the side of the powerful and strong, rejecting the weak. But that’s not what our God is like at all. Today’s story together with so many other testimonies from all through the Bible show us that God is the God of the weak. God is always first on the side of the weak and oppressed.
In today’s story, God wants to stress this point by purposefully making Gideon and his army weak. Instead of sending a huge army against the Midianites, God pushes Gideon to take just 300 men into battle. This sounds crazy, but the idea is that the Israelites should learn that they succeed not through their own strength but through God’s leadership. It is God who stands with them, and God who will help set them free from the Midianites.
Today it’s still so tempting for us to think that God stands together with the rich and powerful, that those who gain power over others (like the Midianites did) are specially blessed by God. But the Bible points us in a completely different direction.
As Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 12:9, God’s power is made perfect in weakness. It’s especially when we are weak, especially when things are going badly for us, especially when we are surrounded by troubles in life, that we have God’s power supporting us the most. God is the God of the weak, and he holds up those who are most in need. So when the whole world seems to stand against you, remember that God’s power is made perfect in weakness. And remember that the great God of Love is right there with you, holding you up!
Pastor Stephen Lakkis