I was still four years of age when I started kindergarten which is considered younger than most who begin school today. Physically, I remained smaller sized. For the majority of my K-12 years, I was the smallest in my class. As a freshman, I remember hiding in a compact book case and popping out at roll call to laughter. I never reached 100 pounds until the year before my graduation. I had gotten used to being the little guy and didn’t mind the occasional teasing which accompanied my size. By the time I married at my full height, 5 ft. 7inches, I weighed 125 pounds. That was 55 pounds ago. Today I probably resemble Humpty Dumpty more than Tom Cruise, but after all my years of conditioning to the small role, in my mind I still often see myself as that skinny little runt. I suppose it is the reverse of those who go through years of life heavy, lose significant weight, but still see the large person in the mirror contrary to reality.
In Judges Chapter 6, we have the angel of the Lord visiting Gideon. Gideon is threshing wheat in a winepress to hide it from the nomadic Midianites who would swoop upon them in large numbers and help themselves to the product of Israel’s effort. In his opening statement, the angel refers to Gideon as a “mighty warrior.” Did the angel have sarcastic humor and mock Gideon who labored in hiding? I don’t believe so. I think the angel of the Lord was seeing Gideon for what he would become rather than what he currently was. Gideon’s self-description, as “the least from the weakest clan” is not mighty warrior talk. By the end of the next chapter, Gideon had routed and defeated the combination army of the Midianites and Amalekites who were so numerous that “their camels could no more be counted than the sand on the seashore.” The number of Gideon’s mighty men? Three hundred!
About a month ago I was privileged to visit the supposed site in Israel where in the last step, Gideon winnowed his army down from 10,000 to the final 300. It was a drinking test to see who would hand lap from the spring while still prepared and observant. I was blessed while watching that water flow, to think of the great faith and ultimate obedience required to take 300 brave men against an innumerable superior foe. Obeying God, Gideon had become a mighty warrior indeed!
Like the angel’s introduction to Gideon, the scriptures have some astounding declarations for we who are followers of Christ Jesus as Lord. In John 1:12-13, “Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.” We are not all naturally God’s children as often recklessly and casually stated, but only those who “did receive him, to those who believed in his name.” If you are among those who have received Christ as Lord, have you recently pondered the wonderful meaning of being a child of God? Peter calls those belonging to God, “. . . a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light” (1Peter 2:9). Hey son or daughter of divine royalty, God’s special possession, don’t allow Satan to convince you as less than God declared you to be. You are not who Satan says you are. From the first verse of the 8th chapter of Romans, “there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Satan likes to remind us of our past. We need to remind him of what God has accomplished out of that past on our behalf. Child of God, don’t listen to the father of lies. When he threatens you with your past, remind him of his future. God imparts his righteousness within us so that as Paul stated in Romans 8:4, we “do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.” Walk in the light of the Spirit and experience victorious living both now and in eternity. Perhaps it’s time to stop acting as though we are the least from the weakest clan but rather behave as God’s child. Mighty warrior, quit cowering at Satan’s desperate deceitful suggestions and “declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”
Thomas Beers is Pastor of the Church of the Nazarene, Columbia City, Indiana since 1991. A 1982 graduate from Olivet Nazarene University, Tom has pastored churches in the Chicago area and Wisconsin.