I am the least

Today's devotion from Judges 6.

Judges 6 and the call of Gideon is an incredibly encouraging section of Scripture. The people have, yet again, turned from God and are being oppressed by the Midianites. The situation is so dire that we find our hero having to beat out wheat in a winepress in order to hide it.

More than that, this is a special intervention in that we see the pre-incarnate Christ (note: 'the' angel of the Lord instead of 'an' angel of the Lord) stepping into time and history to see to His people's need. So, in this Christophany, Jesus finds Gideon hiding and calls him, "...mighty man of valor." This doesn't sit well with our understanding of might or valor. However, God sees things differently.

In their discussion, I love verse 15, "And he said to him, 'Please, Lord, how can I deliver Israel? Look, my family is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the youngest in my father’s family.'" (Judges 6:15, CSB) Boy, don't we all feel this way from time to time? Don't we all feel small and weak from time to time? Don't we struggle with feelings of inadequacy?

Well, it doesn't make us feel much better about ourselves when we see Christ's response in verse 16. Read it carefully. Jesus doesn't correct Gideon's way of thinking. He doesn't pat him on the head and tell him how important he is. He doesn't tell him to look in a mirror and see how special he is. No. In a way, Jesus is agreeing with him. Gideon, yours is the weakest clan in the tribe of Manasseh. Gideon, you are the least in your father's house.

Wow. This is a long way from the pseudo-religious self-help that many people are clinging to these days. We all want to be reassured, have our egos stroked, be told we are special, and leave thinking, "I'm good enough. I'm smart enough. And, doggone it, people like me." That's not the truth. Many times we are the weakest and the least.

But that's the point.

Verse 16 offers strength to Gideon not through special attributes, like invisibility or x-ray vision. Instead, Gideon is told not to trust his own strength, but in God's. "True, Gideon, you are weak and small, but I will be with you."

Today, don't make excuses based on the truth of your flaws or weaknesses. Instead, praise God for what He does in spite of those very deficiencies.