The beginning of Gideon’s story reminded me of two recruiting slogans of the U.S. Army. The first one – “Be all that you can be in the Army!” – came to mind as I read the Lord’s greeting to Gideon: “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior ... Go in the strength you have” (Jud. 6:12 NIV). Like so many young recruits entering today’s military, Gideon had a low opinion of himself: “How can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest ... and I am the least” (Jud. 6:15). Looking at himself in the mirror, he didn’t see a “mighty warrior” with any “strength” at all. But the Lord reminded him again of the real source of his strength: “I will be with you” (Jud. 6:16).
Seeing the Lord as the source of Gideon’s strength then brought to mind the second slogan, “An Army Of One!” The U.S. Army wants to convey an important military message with this slogan: An army is victorious when every soldier draws upon the same source of strength. The Lord taught Gideon this lesson by giving him a very big victory with a very small but unified army that carried out a very unique plan.
He also taught this same lesson to Paul, so that even in prison he could claim victory: “I can do everything through Him who gives me strength” (Phil. 4:13). And again from prison he could sum up his life this way: “The Lord stood at my side and gave me strength” (2 Tim. 4:17).
When the Lord spoke to His disciples about the relationship of the branches to the true vine, He depicted the source of their strength this way: “I am the vine; you are the branches … apart from Me you can do nothing” (Jn. 15:5).
The U.S. Army’s slogans reminded me of the Lord’s message to Gideon, Paul, the disciples and us: We can be victorious soldiers in the Lord’s army as long as He is the source of our strength.
As you read this month’s features about Gideon’s military service, keep in mind that the source of his strength is the source of ours as well.
By Larry Ondrejack
By Tim Hadley
With permission to publish by: Sam Hadley, Grace & Truth, 210 Chestnut St., Danville, IL., USA. Website: www.gtpress.org