He really could have been voted “Least Likely to Be a Superhero” in high school. His tribe wasn’t the strongest tribe. His clan within the tribe was the weakest clan. And he, by his own admission, was the least in his father’s house.
What’s more, when it came to encounters of the divine kind, though he had a propensity toward faith and a desire to obey, he was also prone to putting out a fleece and obeying under cover of night for fear of man. Like I said, not exactly superhero material.
But I’m reminded it’s the kind of material God likes to use for superhero works.
Chewing on Gideon’s story in Judges 6 and 7 this morning. Did so last year as well. Something about this tale of an unlikely hero that grabs the imagination and drives home the principles that God chooses what is weak in the world to shame the things that are mighty (1Cor. 1:27) and that His power is made perfect in our weakness (2Cor. 12:9). These truths accentuated as God takes Gideon, one of “the least of these,” and sends him into battle. Not with the 30,000 men who showed up for army duty, nor with the 10,000 who remained after the “fearful and trembling” were dismissed, but with only the 300 who were short-listed on the basis of how they drank water, not how they wielded the sword. If anyone could have worn into battle an ” I Will Boast of the Things That Show My Weakness” t-shirt, it would’ve been Gideon (2Cor. 11:30).
So what was the secret sauce? What turned this less-than-ordinary guy into such a hero? What enabled him to do what naturally he could never had done? Where did the boldness come from? How about the military insight and wisdom? What took his mustard seed of faith and his dripping fleece and grew it in something that would soundly defeat the formidable, allied armies of two great peoples? The Spirit of God, that’s what.
Now all the Midianites and the Amalekites and the people of the East came together, and they crossed the Jordan and encamped in the Valley of Jezreel. But the Spirit of the LORD clothed Gideon, and he sounded the trumpet . . .
(Judges 6:33-34a ESV)
The Spirit of the LORD clothed Gideon. More than just coming upon him (NIV, NKJV), the Spirit enveloped him (CSB). He took possession of Gideon (NLT). Gideon stepped out in faith, went forward in battle, and emerged the victor because he was attired with the Spirit of God.
The same Spirit who dwells in the believer. The same Spirit infused power that raised Jesus from the dead (Rom. 8:11). The same Spirit sent to Jesus’ disciples to be their Helper (Jn. 14:26). The same Spirit who helps in our weakness (Rom. 8:26). The same Spirit who makes war with, and enables the defeat of the flesh (Gal. 5:16-17). The same Spirit who is given as a guarantee of our inheritance until we fully enter into our victory in Jesus (Eph. 1:13-14).
Not many of us would have been voted “Most Likely to be a Superhero.” But in Christ, and through the enabling power of the indwelling Spirit, we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us (Rom. 8:37).
No super powers, just enveloped by the Spirit of God.
By His grace. For His glory.