Positioning & Purpose
Updated: Jun 30, 2020
‘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
At this point, Gideon is threshing wheat secretly at a wine press, yet he was described as “a mighty man of valor” in Judges 6:12. Why would God let this happen? It struck me, from reading the text, the circumstance surrounding it and Gideon’s words that Gideon was positioned wrongly in at least 2 ways: He was in the wrong profession, and more importantly, he had the wrong mindset.
He was in the wrong profession
Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid...Unknown
Gideon was designed by God to be a Soldier, yet here he was threshing wheat, in a facility designed for fermenting wine, without support. Gideon was not only in the wrong profession, he was working with the wrong tools with not enough support. This easily explains why Gideon thought so little of himself. Today, many of us live our lives after the limitations surrounding us (like Gideon) rather than God’s reality. This explains why we often feel defeated, isolated and depressed. This makes it easy for the devil to trick us, like Eve, redefining the parameters for success in ways that does us no good - eventually leading to sin and a disconnection from God who can guide us. The devil finds it easy, in this state, to ask us to disobey God in a bid to find happiness, fulfillment and success - because we feel that we cannot achieve these on our own. The solution is a clarification of purpose, through God - like he did to Gideon and delivered Israel from their enemies. The idea here is not that a life that has identified purpose automatically finds happiness and courage, we see that Gideon did more hiding while fulfilling his purpose (Judges 6 v. 27) - but he had the assurance of God this time. Gideon became aligned with God, he obtained purpose and direction in addition to God’s presence and authority. He became empowered and did not falter even in difficulty, he was emboldened.
Gideon had the wrong mindset
“And he said unto him, Oh my Lord, wherewith shall I save Israel? behold, my family is poor in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father's house” Judges 6:15
Another striking thing we learn about Gideon was the vast difference between his actual capacity (i.e. what God knew of him) and what he thought of himself i.e. his mindset. Unfortunately, his achievements were limited to his mindset and not to his capacity. It took God’s intervention to turn it around, even then his achievements only multiplied after he had switched his mindset to God’s view. The truth hidden here is this - how you see yourself impacts your reality even more than what God says about you.
Consider the 12 Jewish spies, especially the 10 who gave a negative report of Canaan (Numbers 13 & 14) - God had promised the land of Canaan to the Israelites but it was their belief that the land was unconquerable because in their own sights, they were like grasshoppers, powerless. Consequently, none of those who chose to doubt God entered into his promise.
“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” Romans 12:2
How can we transform our mindset? How can we align with God? Through His words! It took an angel to deliver God’s purpose to Gideon and this still happens today. We have a strong starting point - access to God’s words through the bible and a relationship with Him. Studying the bible and maintaining a relationship with God opens up our minds in a way that transcends the limitations of this world. The word ‘conform’ implies a sense of restriction. It’s easy to think worldly ways set us free, Romans 6:2 says the world restricts, Christ transforms and sets us free.
The Gideon we see judges 7 & 8 is barely recognizable to the one we are introduced at the beginning of judges 6. We see a Gideon who preferred to go to battle with three hundred men and God, turning away over twenty thousand men. He did this because he had found his purpose in God and he knew that what God says to us and about us is more important that the limitations we see - this is the mindset that wins.