“The LORD turned to him and said, “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?” “But Lord,” Gideon asked, “how can I
save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.” The LORD answered, “I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites together.” (Judges 6:14-16)
Wow! What’s the deal with Gideon? He is talking directly to God, and yet, he is whining to God! What was he thinking? Gideon’s responses to God were not very “manly.” In her book You Just Don’t Understand, Deborah Tannen asserts that men do not whine. In “man culture” men prefer to “one-up” each other. Whether it is in sports, business or male banter, men prefer to negotiate from a position of strength. Perception is very important, and men rarely put themselves down. It is just not “manly.” However, Gideon clearly puts himself down by stating that his clan is the weakest, and he is the least in his family.
The Lord reassures Gideon that He will be with him as they fight the Midianites together. Victory follows for Gideon with God as His strength. With God, there is no need to put ourselves down. We walk through the perils of this life together with Him. Through His Son Jesus, who conquered sin, death and hell, we receive the ultimate victory of everlasting life.
During my first year of teaching Kindergarten at St. John Lutheran School in Stuttgart, Arkansas, I taught a child named Greg. He was in a wheelchair, and the obstacles of attending school were a challenge for him. Greg didn’t smile very often, but he never whined. During recess, he would sit with me as the other children played, and he was an observer instead of an active participant in many of their activities. However, when I played my ukulele, and we sang Jesus songs, Greg’s smile was huge! He
sang the loudest, the lowest, and all in one note, and he beamed the whole time. Greg was my hero of faith.
During the second semester of that year, Greg died. When my Kindergarteners came to school after the funeral, I gathered them on the carpet square rug for my brief sermon. I said, “Greg is in heaven with Jesus.” Before I could say anything else, Kyle interrupted with, “Greg can walk!” Steven blurted, “He’s smiling!” Nancy said, “He’s smiling like when we sing Jesus songs!” I gave up my little sermon, picked up my ukulele and said, “Let’s sing!” The students chose every song that they thought was Greg’s favorite. That day, I thought I would minister to my students. That is not what happened. They ministered to me. Those Kindergarteners were my heroes of faith.
Gideon thought he was weak. He was right! Together, my Kindergarteners and I sang, “We are weak but He is strong!” Being a hero of faith does not require physical, intellectual or emotional strength. Our strength comes from faith in Jesus Christ.
“I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:13)
“I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his spirit in your inner being. So that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how long and high and deep is the love of Christ.” (Ephesians 3:16-18)