Outside the Zone of Ancestry: Gideon
Ancestry. Not just your heritage of tangible means. I’m talking about…well, the family baggage. The “business” that everyone hopes stays closed. The dirty laundry that the entire family hopes never gets aired. Maybe nothing heavy, just a simple unforgiven misconception. Whatever it is, if you’re human, you have some form of ancestry.
So we’re at the point in our study where Gideon has been informed by God that he is the chosen one to deliver Israel from their current state of encompassing fear of the Midianites. And Gideon’s response to this call from God?
Well, that’s the RCV (Rachel’s country version), but essentially, Gideon is thinking, “Are you sure, God? Because do you know who I am?” Funny that he should be asking the “I AM” if He knows who Gideon is.
And Gideon said unto him, Oh my Lord, if the LORD be with us, why then is all this befallen us? and where [be] all his miracles which our fathers told us of, saying, Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt? but now the LORD hath forsaken us, and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites.
Gideon had key questions he had been storing up for God:
a. If God is with us, then why is this happening?
b. Where are the miracles our forefathers saw?
c. How am I going to deliver Israel?
At that point, Gideon unloads the family baggage:
After all, my family is poor in Manasseh and I am the least in my father’s house.
If you take a look back at the original tribes of Israel, Manasseh was not one of Jacob’s sons. Manasseh was the son of Joseph. With Joseph being second to the last in his family, Manasseh was almost the lowest on the totem pole of generational position. Then, Gideon is saying, “Not only is Manasseh at the bottom of the tribes, but good grief, my family has nothing. We’re poor. That’s why I’m trying to scrape a little flour together here. And if that were not enough, I’m the youngest in my father’s house. You can’t get any lower than I am!” (You can study this further in Genesis 48:20 and Joshua 17:2.)
But Gideon was exactly where God wanted him to be. God doesn’t care about our position of ancestral heritage; He wants to know our position on obedience to Him.
Make note of Gideon’s expectation of deliverance to come in the same manner that his forefathers saw it, we’ll come back to it shortly.
Gideon was commissioned to go and he requests a sign. When the sign is given, he is overcome with fear and thinks he is going to die. Ultimately, though, he receives the deliverance he was seeking. God delivers the miracle of peace, both to Gideon (Judges 6:23) and to the children of Israel (Judges 8:28.)
The depth of these three chapters on the life of Gideon seem inexhaustible and we’ve barely skimmed the surface. However, looking back on his life, what can we learn to assist us in stepping outside the comfort zone of our ancestry?
Gideon posed three questions that all of us today still use:
a. If God …, then why…?
b. Where’s the miracle when I need it? (Where’s God?)
c. How am I…?
You can fill in the blanks.
Your situation. Your circumstances. Your divorce. Your disease. Your disaster. But the truth is:
When God says go, then we go. We stop making excuses and start making time.
My friend, Heather, was at a conference this weekend and graciously included me by texting key statements from the speakers. One of them was :
Slow obedience is no obedience.
In regards to Gideon’s expectation of seeing God work in his generation in the same way that He had worked in his forefathers’ lives, suffice it to say that God does not work in the parameters of our boxes. He knows no limits.
Outside the Zone.