Text: Judges 6:33-35
“But the Spirit of the LORD clothed Gideon, and he sounded the trumpet, and the Abiezrites were called out to follow him.” —Judges 6:34
Have you ever felt like God required something of you that you were not capable of delivering? Maybe the call was to “fear not” in a moment that screamed of uncertainty. You tried to act out your best “big boy” or “big girl” persona only to feel like a hypocrite for trembling so much on the inside. You felt terribly inadequate.
As a young new believer in my late teens, God’s Word and the way of the cross was challenging me to do something I just knew I didn’t have the capacity to do. God wanted me to forgive the person responsible for my deepest childhood pain, the man who nearly dehumanized me through fusillades of abuse. I didn’t have it in me to forgive. But it was in a moment of humility when I got down on my knees in obedience to God, that He began to fill my heart with a prayer that I didn’t think I could pray. The words began to flow and a real surrender soon followed.
Forgiveness didn’t just release my biological father from being the main villain in my story, it released me to recognize Jesus as the central Hero to that story. I often say that it wasn’t me who provided the forgiveness, it was God “clothing” me in something He knew I was too inadequate to produce on my own. But this is what our God does over and over again throughout our journey of following Jesus. The Bible says that “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3). God doesn’t just command us to live godly lives, He actually provides the “godliness” for us that we lack in our own flesh.
We see this beautifully depicted in our continued devotional series on the life of Gideon. When God calls Gideon to take up the mantle of leadership in Judges 6, it says that the Spirit of the Lord clothed Gideon. That is, the Holy Spirit came upon Gideon to divinely empower his leadership and fill up the deficiency in his adequacies. As the Lord clothes Gideon, and he sounds the trumpet, forces come out of the woodwork to get behind a ‘bigger-than-Gideon-himself’ mission.
The Hebrew word translated “clothed” is labash, meaning to be fully clothed, as in being wrapped around completely by a garment. It’s the same word used in Genesis 3:21 to describe how God covered Adam and Eve with “coats of skins” after they had sinned against him, and the word used to depict how Esther put on her “royal garments” before she went into the king’s chamber to boldly advocate for the deliverance of her people.
Gideon learned that God doesn’t call the equipped, He equips the called. God will never call us into something for which He isn’t already prepared to equip us. He never leads us into a battle that He isn’t ready to dress us for accordingly. He never demands something of us without already considering how He will “cover” for our insufficiency. For example, the same God who says, “Be holy, for I am holy,” doesn’t sit back in disdain at all of our failures and shortcomings; rather, He in a sense says: Be holy… as I clothe you in the holiness that Jesus Christ has purchased on your behalf at the cross. We aren’t required to come up with our own “holiness” wardrobe; we simply “put on” that which the Lord has already provided for us (Romans 13:14, Galatians 3:27).
Consider: You can have full confidence when you come to the throne of grace (Hebrews 4:16), because you don’t come naked in your own sinful flesh; you come clothed in the righteousness of Christ. You can lead boldly because Christ is Himself the strength perfected in your weakness. You can forgive and reconcile because God will produce the forgiveness and reconciliation on your behalf as you determine to humble yourself in surrender. You can rise above shame, regret, the disparagement of others, and the condemnation of Satan because His labash has you covered. It’s on God to provide our clothing–and He already has; it’s on us to choose to wear those garments every day, making a deliberate faith-choice to “put on” His truth. Think about that as you seek to abide in Him this week.
Father, teach us how to put on truth as our wardrobe, to see ourselves in the light of your grace, atonement, and sufficiency. Help us to look less at our own inadequacies and look more at the fullness of Christ’s sufficiency in us. May our confidence always be not in what we see in ourselves, but in WHO clothes us. To your glory, and in the name of Jesus’ we pray, Amen.
Questions for personal reflection, small group discussion, or dinner table conversations:
- When have you felt terribly inadequate to do something God required of you? When, if ever, did you come to the realization that you could never live up to the Christian life in your own flesh?
- What has been your biggest take away from the Gideon story at this point in our devotional series?
- Read 2 Corinthians 9:8. What gives you the most comfort, encouragement, or relief from this verse?
- When it comes to being “clothed” in God’s sufficiency, what do you think is the role of the Holy Spirit and what is required on our part?
- What can you do this week to walk in the sufficiency of Christ over your own feelings of inadequacy?
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