How often do you face circumstances where you just don’t seem to have enough of what it takes to succeed. There may be a greater goal in play?

This morning my reading in the Word brought me to Judges chapter 7, the familiar Sunday school story of Gideon and his meager 300.

Many significant things came to mind as I read the story this time (if you have the time you might want to read Judges chapters 6 and 7 before reading on – or after).

How Gideon’s story compares and contrasts with that of Moses. Both of them, when initially called by God, saw themselves lacking what they thought they needed to achieve what God was calling them to do. Gideon said to the angel of God, I am too young (the least of my people) and Moses said, I am slow of speech and tongue (I stutter, have a speech impediment). God’s response to both was, I am with you!

In both situations, God actively made it more difficult (seemingly impossible) for them to fulfill their task so a greater goal would be achieved. In Moses’ case, God increased the resolve of the opposition, He hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and with Gideon, He reduced the size of his army till they were hopelessly outnumbered.  In both cases, God clearly said that He did that so that they, their people, and the world would know that it was He that brought the victory. He wanted to get the glory so that He would be seen for who He truly was. This was not for God’s benefit it was for theirs (and for ours).

In Gideon’s time, like in ours, the people had lost their relationship, trust, and dependence on God. They had been sucked into the lies of the culture around them; “worshiping their gods.” God loved them too much to leave them, even in victory, believing that anything but Himself could truly save them and meet their deepest needs—be their God.  In both Moses’ victory and Gideon’s victory, God’s goal was to draw the back to Himself. Only when the hero experienced enough lack of resources and great resistance could that goal be achieved. How often is it the same with us—if we will just see it?
Movies are such a commentary on our culture, even our Christian culture today. Take the movie The 300 for instance. It’s Hollywood’s graphic depiction of the heroic last stand of three hundred Spartan warriors, hopelessly outnumbered, holding back a horde  of invaders to save their city. The tag line on one the movie’s promotion posters said it all, “Prepare for Glory.” This goal of the poster and the film, to drawing upon our desire for glory, is in impressive contrast to God’s goal in reducing Gideon’s army from 22 thousand to 300 –

[Judges 7:2 ESV] 2 The LORD said to Gideon, “The people with you are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hand, lest Israel boast over me, saying, ‘My own hand has saved me.’

And in the case hardening Pharaoh’s resolve against Moses:

[Romans 9:17 ESV] 17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.”

We desperately need God to get the glory, to guard us from shifting glory to ourselves and turning to ourselves as our god.

Hollywood is not the only one to blame for missing the goal of glory. Yes, Hollywood chose Charlton Hasten to play Moses and hardly depicted him as slow to speak and tongue-tied. But when was the last time you saw Gideon, even in a Sunday school cartoon, shown as a “least” among his people (short or too young). No, even in the church we like our heroes to manly, something to look at and admired in themselves. This is not at all how the bible describes many of God’s heroes like Paul and even Jesus.

This morning I was reminded that God’s methods are not like ours, that God’s goals are our goals. He has our greater good in mind, getting our focus back on Him. And often He will use a lack of resource or our weaknesses to draw us into seeing what we really need in every situation, dependency on Him!

I pray as you and I face situations this coming week where we feel a lack of resources, outnumbered or weak, I pray we will look to Him as we press on. Look to Him as our resource and trust Him for the outcome—for that may be the very goal God is seeking, that will be the success!