through His Word
A Bible Study Devotion from Faith, Courage, and Victory
by Katy Kauffman
The Brazil mission team needed someone to share the gospel in the tent meeting that night. They elected me, the youngest. I was scared. I had shared the gospel in classrooms on another trip, but never in front of a big crowd.
Earlier in the week, we had invited people to come to the tent meeting, and that night the tent was packed. I sat with my mom in the middle of the crowd, and waited for my time to speak. Although it was dark outside, the joy and brightness inside the tent stirred my soul. One of our team members gave her testimony, and another sang. While our team leader was preaching, I turned to my mom like I had so many times before, hoping for a pep talk. I told her I was scared to share, and all I can remember her saying is, “Ask God to help you.”
That’s it? Ask God? I was hoping for her to say more, but that was actually the perfect solution. In my heart, I spilled out a plea for God to help me, and then waited for my time to share. There was no backing out. When it was my turn, I joined the American missionary, Pastor Don, on stage. If I could have chosen any of the interpreters to help me, it would have been him. We started, slowly and carefully, talking about the gospel bracelet and what the first knot and bead represented. When we made it to the red bead, I got a little adventurous and said the color in Portuguese: “Vermelho!” Pastor Don whipped around to look at me with a surprised grin. The rest of the talk went perfectly.
I believe God likes choosing the “smallest” of people to speak for Him. Whether we’re the youngest or oldest, the shyest or most awkward, or the most unlikely character for the job, God can use us to do extraordinary things. Perhaps it’s our “unlikeliness” that makes us good candidates. We know the job can’t be done unless God does it. Each of us needs God no matter who we are.
Gideon thought he was the smallest, most insignificant person in his family. But God knew better. He knew what Gideon could do if he believed that God was with him. In the time of the judges, Israel needed a mighty warrior to free them from Midianite oppression. God picked Gideon. Notice what the angel calls him. …
And the Angel of the LORD appeared to him, and said to him, "The LORD is with you, you mighty man of valor!" (Judges 6:11-12 NKJV*)
But Gideon had a question.
Gideon said to Him, "O my lord, if the LORD is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all His miracles which our fathers told us about, saying, 'Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt?' But now the LORD has forsaken us and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites." (Judges 6:13)
He learned that God had a plan.
Then the LORD turned to him and said, "Go in this might of yours, and you shall save Israel from the hand of the Midianites. Have I not sent you?" So he said to Him, "O my Lord, how can I save Israel? Indeed my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father's house." And the LORD said to him, "Surely I will be with you, and you shall defeat the Midianites as one man.” (Judges 6:14-16)
Gideon had a “Who me?” moment. The Angel of the LORD greeted him as a “mighty man of valor” (v.12), but Gideon sidestepped that greeting and asked where God was in their suffering. They were under the control of the Midianites with no foreseeable way out. God’s answer? He would act … through him.
Even though Gideon thought of himself as the least in his father’s house, and his family as the least in his tribe, he needed to see who he could be and what he could do with God. So the Angel called him a “mighty man of valor,” and told him, “Go in this might of yours, and you shall save Israel” (v.14). God answered Gideon’s fears with a promise—“Surely I will be with you” (v.16). God would be the strength that Gideon needed.
But Gideon wanted a sign (v.17). God responded to Gideon’s hesitation with patience, and He gave him three signs to affirm that He was sending him to free Israel. First, the Angel of the LORD made fire come out of a rock to consume Gideon’s offering (Judges 6:21). That sign gave Gideon enough courage to obey God’s orders to cut down an altar to Baal and to rally men in the area to fight the Midianites. Before traveling to the Midianite camp, Gideon asked God for another sign. See how patient God was.
So Gideon said to God, "If You will save Israel by my hand as You have said— look, I shall put a fleece of wool on the threshing floor; if there is dew on the fleece only, and it is dry on all the ground, then I shall know that You will save Israel by my hand, as You have said." And it was so. When he rose early the next morning and squeezed the fleece together, he wrung the dew out of the fleece, a bowlful of water. Then Gideon said to God, "Do not be angry with me, but let me speak just once more: Let me test, I pray, just once more with the fleece; let it now be dry only on the fleece, but on all the ground let there be dew." And God did so that night. It was dry on the fleece only, but there was dew on all the ground. (Judges 6:36-40)
On the threshing floor of his faith, God provided a sign. When Gideon’s faith was put to the test—whether he would believe that God would deliver Israel and use him to do it—God gave him the evidence he needed.
When we need confirmation from God about His will, our attitude matters. Gideon’s faith was shaky, but his attitude was humble. He asked God not to be angry with him for asking one more time about the fleece. He didn’t demand another sign or whine till he got his way. God responded to Gideon’s humble request and covered the ground with dew, leaving the fleece dry. A miracle that only God could do. Gideon had his answer—God was with him.
When we feel like we can’t do the job that God has for us, Gideon’s story can help us. God equips those He calls and faithfully confirms His will to them when they ask for it. Gideon’s hesitancy and subsequent obedience to God show us two principles about faith and courage:
1. Struggling faith humbly seeks confirmation of God’s will. (Judges 6:36-40)
2. Faith accepts the evidence that God gives, and steps out in courage. (Judges 6:21-27, 7:1)
1. Have you ever had a “fleece” moment like Gideon, in which you wanted God to give you more than one assurance that He was with you? … How did things turn out?
2. What can turn a “Who me?” moment into a “Wow, look at God!” moment?
3. When is it OK to have small faith? … What is the difference between having faith as a mustard seed and having “little faith” (see Matthew 17:20 versus Matthew 6:30, 8:26, and 14:31)?
Dear God, thank You for being patient with us when we need an extra boost in our confidence. Thank You for calling us to do great things for You, great things that will help others and will further Your kingdom. Please guide us to know Your will, and strengthen our courage to do it. Please help our faith, which may start as small as a mustard seed, to grow and be useful to You in making a difference. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
*Author’s Note: This Bible study devotion is an adapted excerpt from Faith, Courage, and Victory: The Stories, Struggles, and Triumphs of 24 Characters of the Bible (Buford, Georgia: Lighthouse Bible Studies, 2015), pages 45-50. All rights reserved.
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Thank you for letting me share these “victory” excerpts with you. This Bible study devotion came from my second study called Faith, Courage, and Victory: The Stories, Struggles, and Triumphs of 24 Characters of the Bible, which was the 2016 Selah Award winner for Bible studies.
God transformed my most difficult struggle into something good when I buried my head and heart in Scripture and saw how people in the Bible won the victory over challenges and trials. I made lists. (I love lists.) I recorded how each person won the victory—what God’s part was and what their part was. I found victory, and a blog series was born. And then a book.
A forty-day Bible study, Faith, Courage, and Victory is available as a paperback through our website, and you can also check it out on Amazon.
victory, faith, doubt, sekf-image, serving God, Who Me?, Courage, and Victory, Katy Kauffman, Lighthouse Bible Studies
Don’t ever give up as you depend on God to win the victory in your life. He’s faithful to do His part, and He helps us to do ours.