by: Dr. Bob Gray Sr.
Judges 7:2, “And the LORD said unto Gideon, The people that are with thee are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel vaunt themselves against me, saying, Mine own hand hath saved me.”
Have you like me ever noticed the testimony of the giants of the faith? They were born in poverty, dad an alcoholic, and mom the spiritual leader, struggled in their youth, or a tragedy early in their lives. I do not know of a great man of God who has built something for God who was born into wealth with a silver spoon in his mouth.
Get the picture! Gideon was chosen by God to lead the people of God against the Midianites. He called for a volunteer army and 32,000 men showed up. We read how God responded to this by saying that He would give the victory in Judges 7:2.
The main thing in this story is this, too many men, too much strength, too much prowess, too much ability, and God said to them you are not going to win the battle with those 32,000 men with their strength, their prowess, and their ability. God then instructed them to trim it down to 300. God is saying you have too much strength to win and you must become weak to win. God is saying I must get you where you will start depending on me again.
The truth is, an army of 300 men going to war would have to depend on God. These 32,000 men did not need God, but those 300 did. The reason a lot of people are never used in roles of leadership by God is because they have too much going for them. Young people do not become too excited about your pretty face or your handsome looks because it does not impress God at all. Do not become too wrapped up with your youthful figures young ladies. It won’t help you at all in God’s work. After nineteen children, I bet Susanna Wesley did not have much of a girlish figure left. There is nothing as ugly as a female who has a pretty face and knows it. There is nothing as ugly as a handsome male and he knows it. Sometimes God has to trim a man down to size so God can give the victory, and other times He chooses the base and foolish, the inadequate, and the weak in order to give the victory.
1 Corinthians 1:26-29, “For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence.”
God is saying, I cannot give wisdom to those who are wise, but I can give wisdom to a foolish man. That is why we need Bible college students to be under a local church attending their services rather than attending vesper services, Shakespearean theatre and Art Museums on campus.
Zechariah 4:6 says, “…Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.” It is not by looks, nor by intellect, nor by talent, nor by genius, nor by ability, nor by heritage, nor by a deep mind, nor by personality, but by my Spirit saith the Lord. God is saying to us, “I have to do one of two things…
- Trim down to size those who have it all so I can use them.
- Build up the base, the foolish, and the weak so I can use them.
Some of you reading this article have too much going for you and some of you have nothing going for you. God wants to use both of you. How in the world will God do his work?
God allows us to fail, sometimes.
Why would God allow that? The reason is so that we will throw ourselves at God’s feet and beg for His help when we fail. God said, “I will bless the weak and not the strong. If you are strong you will have to become weak.” God wants to cause you to become strong with his strength. If one is weak, all they have to do is yield themselves to God.
Sometimes God allows the strong to fail. I can preach a sermon around the country and feel like I just touched Heaven and then next time feel like an absolute flop. God wants you and I to empty ourselves and become a nobody, base, foolish, and weak. God wants us to trim ourselves of our own wisdom, intellect, knowledge, abilities, talent; human might, and fall down at the feet of Jesus begging for His help while baring our soul to him. God then can use that person.
32,000 men are too many, God says. 20,000 is too many, 10,000 is too many, and Gideon is down to 300 with God giving the victory. That is what God did with a Tom Malone, John R. Rice, Carl Hatch, Curtis Hutson, Lee Roberson, Jack Hyles, Kevin Wynn, Rick Martin, Hugh Pyle, and Billy Sunday. Great God…little me! That is the formula.
John the Baptist said, “He must increase and I must decrease.” Sometimes, God comes along and says you have too much going for you. Sometimes, God comes along and allows us to be born into poverty, a broken home, or a financial struggle. Why, because God wants us to see that we cannot do it without Him.
God sometimes says, I want to use a certain man but he is too smart, too talented, too much of a Mr. Personality or a pretty boy type. God says, I believe I could use this girl, but she is too pretty or too stuck on herself.
Sometimes God chooses the one who sins.
Why, because he is base, weak, and a nothing to the world, vulnerable and he needs God. There is no one who has sinned whom God cannot use.
Jesus was at the head of the table and the twelve were sitting around it. Our Lord said, “Someone sitting at this table is going to deny me.” Peter said, “Not me Lord! It may be John, but it will never be me. Maybe Thomas, or Philip or James will deny you, but not me.” However, God had a Pentecost for Peter to preach and a local church for him to pastor. God had a world for Peter to reach so God said, “I’ve got to get that pharisaical attitude out of him. Peter you have too much going for you.”
God waited for Peter to fall in order to pick him back up. Peter was too much of a leader, public speaker and too talented for God to use. There is no doubt about his having too much going for him. There was no leader like Peter. God allowed him to fall so He could pick him back up to be used to preach on the day of Pentecost, pastor a church and reach the known world.
God seems to never choose the obvious one or the one man would choose. God is going to choose someone who’s not so smart, talented, strong or attractive, that way He will receive the glory. God is saying to the high and mighty to come down from your high horse. God is saying to the down and out to come and trust Me and let Me use you to confound the high and mighty. Hey, Mr. Pharisee, come down off your high horse. Hey, you who are down and some have counted you out, rise up and trust God to use you.
Peter cussed, denied the Lord, denied his faith, denied his church, denied his brethren and ran with the wrong crowd. Peter had too much going for him, but now he is down and out so God can finally use him.
Gideon had too much going for him with 32,000, or 20,000 or 10,000, but 300 was just right, not for Gideon, but just right for God.
Sometimes God chooses to use those who are afflicted.
Sometimes God chooses to use those who fail, sin or are living in affliction. The Apostle Paul had a thorn in the flesh. Charles Spurgeon and his dear wife had fifteen years of physical affliction, yet the Christian world has never forgotten what God did with them.
Russell Anderson was born in Kentucky, raised in poverty, worked in the coal mines as a teen and was a wild youth, yet God saved him and used him to give 35 million dollars to God’s work while making him a multi-millionaire. Jack Hyles was born in poverty, alcoholic dad, and single mother, raised in poverty, most unlikely to be called to preach in his church, and later kicked out of his own Baptist denomination. Dr. Lee Roberson for one long year could not preach because of vocal chord problems, yet he ran 10,000 in attendance while baptizing a 1,000 converts that same year. Dr. John R. Rice anointed him with oil and God gave his voice back to him.
God allowed affliction to come to Evangelist Joe Boy in his 90’s, yet he had some of his greatest campaigns in his later years. Evangelist Lester Roloff had such a severe boil problem that he would have to sit in a hot tub for hours to get any relief. He became one of the greatest examples of living by faith the world has ever known.
God chooses to use the unknown.
God is not interested in using the most popular one, He is interested in using the one whom nobody notices. God uses a David working it the field caring for his dad’s sheep, a zealot like Saul of Tarsus, a fisherman like Peter, an orphan like Moses, a second-man like Joshua, a woman like Deborah, a maiden like Mary, sisters like Mary and Martha, a brother by the name of Lazarus, a young captive like Joseph, a little lad with his lunch, a man by the name of John who was exiled on the isle of Patmos, or a young preacher by the name of Timothy. God is looking for the one who is unknown so that He may make him known for God’s glory.
Dr. Bro Gray Sr.