Presents vs. Presence

The Lord answered, “I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites together.”  Judges 6:16

God promised Gideon His presence.

I know this is a goofy play on words, but it is true.  Often we seek God’s presents more than His presence.  We want what God can give us without a deep relationship with the God who can give us those things.  We seek solutions when God wants to give Himself.  We seek strategy before we seek Christ.  The result is a plan engineered by us waiting for God’s stamp of approval.

God usually doesn’t work this way.

One reason is that we tend to foul things up when we plan and then invite God.  We operate from a limited perspective.

Second, and perhaps most importantly, we lose the opportunity to hang out with God.  We lose the opportunity to commune with Him.

Revelation 3:20 is a powerful invitation:  Behold I stand at the door and knock.  If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come into him and eat with him, and he with me.  While this is often used in the context of unbelievers, it is really for wayward believers in the Laodicean church.   The thought of Jesus knocking on the door, not because He has a plan to change the world (which He does) but because He’d like to have dinner with you…or supper as we say in the south.  Wow!

Which are you seeking?




The Lord turned to him (Gideon) and said, “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand.  Am I not sending you?” Judges 6:12

How many people would have hired someone for the job who talked down about their future boss!  Gideon felt God had abandoned him and his people.  God refused to cave to Gideon’s doubt.  He called the doubter a warrior.  He hired the skeptic to be the deliverer.

Go in the strength you have!  There’s so much irony in that statement.  Gideon’s hiding out!  What kind of strength does he have.  The answer:  none.  Gideon’s strength has been depleted by his own fear.  His strength has given way to frustration.  He has no strength.  God has no regard for Gideon’s lack of strength.  God’s purposes are never thwarted by our insufficiencies.  God will have His way.  Period.

So if Gideon had no strength, then where did his strength come from?


And, by the way, in case you haven’t notice, the angel of the Lord is God Himself!  The author of Judges says, “The Lord turned to him.”  I believe that the angel of the Lord is a pre-incarnate appearance of Jesus Himself.  Consider that.  A mission so significant (which involves rescuing stubborn, rebellious people) that God would send Jesus Himself.  Could this at all foreshadow another event?

In Judges 6, God sent Jesus to talk to Gideon.

In the fulness of time, God sent Jesus to die for all the Gideons.

What an awesome God!

So back to the question:  where did Gideon’s strength come from?  God’s final question ironically enough contains the answer.  And I not sending you?  When God sends you, He gives you strength.  God will never send you on a mission for which He has not prepared you.  He will never send you out without suiting you up!  His mission comes fully equipped with His power.

So the question for you is:  what is God’s mission for you?  Feeling weak lately?  Like you might have to do it in your own power?  You don’t…and you can’t.

Tomorrow we’ll hear Gideon’s reply (aka argument).

Talking Straight With God

“But sir,” Gideon replied, “if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us?  Where are all his wonders that our fathers told us about when they said, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up out of Egypt?’  But now the Lord has abandoned us and put us into the hand of Midian.”–Judges 6:13

An angel of the Lord has shown up and found Gideon, who incidentally is hiding from the Midianites.  The angel addressed Gideon as a “mighty warrior!”  Who would have thought?  Gideon, a mighty warrior, the least in his tribe, hiding from the enemy.  God saw what Gideon couldn’t see.

And what did Gideon think of God at that time?  To summarize his thoughts consider the his reply to the angel of the Lord:

1.  The Lord is not with us.

2.  The Lord is no longer working wonders as he once did.

3.  The Lord has abandoned us.

4.  The Lord has turned us over to the enemy.

Only God would approach someone who thought that about Him and called him a mighty warrior!  Only God would address a sheepish, faith-less, reluctant wheat thresher as a mighty warrior!

This forces two questions:

What does God see in you that you do not see in yourself?  What is His perspective on your predicament?  What is His plan for your future?

And a second question:  What does God see in your neighbor, coworker, friend or family member that you don’t see in them.   Where you see a burden, God sees a blessing.  Where you see faults, God sees future.  Where you see a sinner, God sees a saint.

You need to have an honest conversation with God today.  He can handle your feelings, is not intimidated by your struggles.

If you had interviewed Gideon for a job, and he would have talked that way to you (and about you), his future boss, you would have kept looking.

In tomorrow’s post we’ll discover God’s response to Gideon.  It will blow your mind!  (And give us insight into who the angel of the Lord might be!)