Before we were formed in the womb, God knew us and had a purposeful plan for our lives. As illustrated powerfully in the story of Gideon, God sees past all outward appearances and limitations to craft a destiny of good for each person. Though we may feel unqualified, too weak, or bound by our circumstances, God lovingly equips those He calls, making them fit for the plans He has prepared.
In Jeremiah 29:11, God declares His heart and intentions for our lives: “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'” Though we cannot fully grasp the extent of God’s intricate purposes, we can trust His plans are perfectly tailored for our good and flourishing. He cherishes us as His unique creation and wants to see us thrive in the calling He has designed.
This was embodied in Gideon, who felt unfit to live out God’s plans. When called to rescue Israel from oppressive Midianites, Gideon responded, “My clan is the weakest in the whole tribe of Manasseh, and I am the least in my entire family!” (Judges 6:15). From the world’s perspective, Gideon was an unlikely candidate. Yet God saw Gideon’s potential. He called Gideon a “mighty hero” and promised to be with him, saying “Go in the strength you have” (Judges 6:14).
I. Destined for Good
God has intricately planned out a destiny of purpose and prosperity for each life, even before we are formed in the womb. His plans are crafted in love, intended for our greatest joy and flourishing. As illustrated in the life of Gideon, God often uses the most unlikely people and circumstances to unlock His glorious purposes.
Plans to Prosper and Give Hope
In Jeremiah 29:11, God reveals His heart toward His people: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Though we cannot fully grasp the extent of God’s purposes, we can trust they are lovingly designed for our good.
Hide the grain from the Midianites
“Then the angel of the LORD came and sat beneath the great tree at Ophrah, which belonged to Joash of the clan of Abiezer. Gideon son of Joash was threshing wheat at the bottom of a winepress to hide the grain from the Midianites.” (Judges 6:11)
This verse sets the scene for Gideon’s call to be a leader and judge over Israel. The Israelites were being oppressed by the Midianites, who would raid their land and steal their crops. Gideon is threshing wheat in a winepress, which was unusual – this was typically done on a threshing floor out in the open.
The fact that Gideon was threshing in a winepress, which would have been a more laborious process, indicates he was trying to hide the grain from the Midianites to prevent it from being stolen. This shows the fear and oppression caused by Israel’s enemies at the time.
The angel of the Lord, a theophany or appearance of God himself, comes and sits under an oak tree that belonged to Joash, Gideon’s father. The specific mention of whose tree this was and the names of Gideon and his father roots this encounter in a real historical setting.
The angel’s appearance to Gideon marks a turning point – he is about to call this ordinary man hiding in a winepress to rise up as a mighty warrior and deliverer of Israel. Gideon will go on to destroy the altars of Baal and rally an army of 300 men to defeat the massive army of Midian with trumpets, torches, and clay jars in Judges 6-7 by God’s power.
But it all begins under this oak tree, where God meets Gideon in the midst of fear and oppression to call him out of weakness into strength. This shows how God often chooses and calls the most unlikely, ordinary people to accomplish His great purposes through His might.
“The angel of the LORD appeared to him and said, “Mighty hero, the LORD is with you!” (Judges 6:12)
God called Gideon a mighty hero, even though he was someone that was hiding. In the same manner for us, God called Peter a rock, which the foundation of the church would be set upon. But Peter was someone who denied Jesus. In the same way, God looked at Paul and said ‘’I’m going to use you to the Gentiles,’’ even though Paul was the one killing Christians at the time. When God looks at us, He doesn’t judge us by what we do in life as our identity. Instead, He looks at our identity by who we are before we are born. That’s why listening to God and who He calls us to be, is really important. God is the only one that will know who we are on the inside, and how we should act on the outside. But it all starts from the inside. God knew us before we were formed in our mother’s womb, He is the only one that would be able to know that.
The Lord is with you
Another majorly important aspect here to focus on is that when God was calling Gideon, He declared that He was with him. That’s an important part. We might be doing things that we feel are very important and we might even be doing them excellently. But if the Lord isn’t with us, ultimately, it won’t have any eternal value. By God’s saying that He is with Gideon, He is basically saying, ‘’I am with you and we are establishing something that has eternal purposes, and you will not be doing this in your own strength or by your own will or power.’’ When God is with you, essentially, you will be establishing his glory on Earth, which is what we’re supposed to be doing.
Destined to Be Transformed
God’s plans for our lives are not static but involve a dynamic process of growth and transformation. Gideon did not begin as a mighty warrior or a man of great faith. But as he surrendered to God’s calling, tore down idols, and stepped out in obedience, God shaped him increasingly into His purposes.
In the same way, God’s plans for our lives involve being conformed to Christ’s image (Romans 8:29). As we yield to Him, He transforms our character and empowers us to partner with His work. No matter where we are starting from, God can make us fit for the plans He has prepared in advance for us to walk in (Ephesians 2:10).
II. Our Weakness, God’s Strength
Though we may feel unqualified for the plans and purposes God has for our lives, He can powerfully equip those He calls. When we trust not in our own strength but in God’s Spirit at work within us, He will accomplish His good plans through even the most humble and weak vessels.
Press Beyond Fear and Inadequacy
Like Gideon, we may look at our lives and feel afraid, limited, or unsuitable for God’s plans. Gideon came from the weakest clan and felt he had no strength to redeem Israel from its oppressors. From the world’s viewpoint, he was an unlikely candidate.
When God called Gideon to a mighty purpose, he responded in fear and inadequacy: “Pardon me, my lord…how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family” (Judges 6:13, 15). Yet God saw Gideon’s potential and equipped him with strength beyond his natural abilities.
We may be tempted to disqualify ourselves based on our weaknesses, mistakes, and fears. But God calls us to press beyond these and step out in courageous faith. Rather than allowing our insecurities to shrink the possibilities for our lives, we can surrender these to God and trust that He sees our hidden potential.
His Strength Made Perfect in Weakness
The Lord does not call the equipped; He equips the called. God chooses those the world would overlook, calling the meek, the weak, and the inadequate to display His power. As 2 Corinthians 12:9 declares, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
God accomplishes His mighty purposes through those who know they cannot achieve anything in their own strength. He takes our recognized weaknesses and transforms them into strengths, bringing glory to His name. Our part is to fully surrender our fears and limitations to God, trusting that His Spirit within us is greater than anything we face (1 John 4:4).
As Gideon discovered, the key is relying not on our own talents but on the empowering Spirit of the Lord. When Gideon tore down idols in faith and obeyed despite inadequate feelings, God clothed him for battle, and the Spirit gave him success (Judges 6:34). The same Spirit lives within every believer and equips us with power, love, and self-control (2 Timothy 1:7).
Trust His Transforming Power
No matter how unqualified we may feel, God can transform and use us powerfully for His purposes. He takes those the world rejects and makes them mighty through His Spirit (1 Corinthians 1:27-29). As we yield ourselves fully to God, trusting in His power within us, He will shape us for the works of service He prepared in advance for us to do (Ephesians 2:10). Where we are weak, God’s strength abounds all the more.
Rather than disqualifying ourselves based on our weaknesses and limitations, we can have bold faith that the God who calls us will equip us. When we say “yes” to God’s purposes and trust in His power, He will do mighty things throughout our lives. No matter how inadequate or afraid we feel, His strength will be made perfect in our weakness.
III. Step Out in Faith
To walk in the fulfilling plans and purposes God has for our lives requires bold faith and courageous action. As modeled by Gideon, we must tear down idols that hinder us, obey God even in the face of fear, and trust Him to equip us for the works He has prepared.
“That night the LORD said to Gideon, “Tear down your father’s altar to Baal, and cut down the Asherah pole standing beside it.” (Judges 6:25)
Tear down your father’s Baal altar
When God was using Gideon for a redemption of his people and victory for his people, God first had to work in his own life. He had to go after any of the altars in his life and also his father’s life. We should also allow God to not just use us for other people, but we should expect that God will also bring freedom in our lives, and He will also bring freedom to our family’s lives. Our families will usually first respond to the call of God after we have responded to the call of God. One of the things of responding to the call of God is actually removing any sin in our lives, which is represented by the altar of Baal.
Asherah fertility pole
Even though the Israelites were the people of God, we also see that now they have completely turned to pagan gods. The Asherah’s fertility pole was a symbol that they wanted Asherah to be the source of their fertility versus God, which is very common. God told him, ‘’You need to chop this down.’’ What he was doing with Gideon’s personal life and his family’s life, was he was showing him that I am now going to be the source of everything in your life, your family, your fertility, your finances, your protection, everything. That’s what God was setting straight here.
“Early the next morning, as the people of the town began to stir, someone discovered that the altar of Baal had been broken down and that the Asherah pole beside it had been cut down. In their place a new altar had been built, and on it were the remains of the bull that had been sacrificed.” (Judges 6:28)
We see that in the next phrase, someone discovered that the acts that Gideon did against sin were public. With Gideon, it’s so public that people saw it the next morning, which is very easy to see, because these are altars and these are poles that are up where everybody publicly sees them. To say that when we destroy sin of our lives, there’s actual public change in the way that we live, and there’s a public change in the things that we do. When we have true repentance, there’s a true lifestyle change. That could be shown in entertainment, the way that we dress, the way that we talk, the way that we walk, the decisions that we make, there is a public declaration to the heavens and to the world on who we are as a transformed individual by the power of God.
In their place, a new altar had been built
God doesn’t just want us to destroy old sins of our life. He actually wants to replace them with righteous ways of living. This is important to know, because repentance isn’t getting rid of sin, it’s actually replacing sin with God. Whenever God tells us to replace something in our life, if there’s an idol in our life, or something that we worship. Let’s say, we have an issue with pride, God will want us to change it with humility. If we have an issue with lust, God will change that with generosity. If we have an issue with greed, God will want to change that to sacrifice. There’s a lot of different things that God will do, but He will always replace it. Every time God gets rid of a sin, He will always replace it with something that’s truth.
Obey Despite Fear
Stepping into the plans God has prepared often requires obeying when we feel afraid or unprepared. Gideon doubted whether he could truly fulfill God’s calling, asking for signs and confirmation. Yet when God made clear His power and presence, Gideon boldly obeyed – destroying idols, sounding the battle cry, and leading Israel to victory against overwhelming odds.
God does not ask us to be unafraid or self-sufficient. He knows our weaknesses better than we do! However, He calls us to press through fear and trust the sufficiency of His grace (2 Cor. 12:9). As we cling to Him in dependent faith, He will strengthen and equip us for every good work He has planned (Hebrews 13:20-21). Our part is to step forward in courageous obedience when His direction is clear, believing His power is made perfect in weakness.
Equipped Through His Spirit
When God calls us to walk in His purposes, He does not leave us to accomplish them alone. As with Gideon, God clothes us in His Spirit, who provides strength, counsel, power, and boldness beyond ourselves.
The Lord promised Gideon, “Go in the strength you have…I will be with you” (Judges 6:14,16). When Gideon boldly obeyed God’s instructions, we read that “the Spirit of the Lord came on Gideon” (Judges 6:34). Through the Spirit’s enabling, he was empowered to fulfill God’s purposes.
In the same way, we have access to that same Holy Spirit, who lives within every believer and will equip us for God’s calling. As we boldly trust and obey, relying on His power, God can do mighty things through even the weakest vessel.
IV. Trust God’s Promises
No matter what opposition or uncertainty we may face, we can stand firm on the unchanging truth of God’s word and trust that He will complete the good work He began in our lives.
His Plans Endure Forever
When Gideon doubted and felt afraid, God gently reminded him of divine truth. The Lord promised, “I will be with you” and “you will destroy the Midianites as if you were fighting against one man” (Judges 6:16). Gideon still doubted, but God demonstrated His power through miraculous signs.
In the same way, we can hold fast to God’s promises when we feel overwhelmed or afraid. He assures us: “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5) and “Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9). No matter what we face, His presence and power are realities that we can stand upon.
He Is Able to Complete His Work
Just as God faithfully led Gideon into victory against impossible odds, He is more than able to fulfill every purpose He has planned for our lives. As Philippians 1:6 affirms, “He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
God can make a way when we see only obstacles. He promises to complete His plans through us, even when our circumstances seem bleak. As we walk in trust and obedience, keeping our eyes fixed on Him, He will direct our paths and equip us to carry out His purposes. Though the enemy tries to discourage and derail us, God’s purposes for our lives will ultimately prevail.
Trust His Heart of Love
God’s motives toward us are always good. As demonstrated in Gideon’s story, the Lord compassionately met him where he was, patiently answered his doubts, and brought miraculous redemption. At the heart of all God’s plans is His extravagant love and longing for a relationship with us. As 1 John 4:16 reminds us, “God is love.”
Even when we cannot comprehend all God allows, we can trust His heart of love. His plans, though sometimes difficult, have our joy and flourishing as their ultimate aim. As we yield to Him in faith, we will discover that His ways are perfect. He promises to complete the purposeful work He began, causing all things to work for our eternal good.
Conclusion: Fulfill Your Calling
God created each of us with a unique purpose and has prepared good works for us to walk in. No matter where we are starting today, we can trust God to transform our lives and equip us for His calling.
You Have God-Given Potential
Like Gideon, we may feel limited by our circumstances, weaknesses, or insecurities. But God sees true potential within. He knows the purpose He has crafted for our lives. As His masterpiece, we are “created in Christ Jesus to do good works” (Ephesians 2:10).
Though we cannot comprehend the full extent of God’s plans, we can believe He has planted divine gifts, talents, and potential within each of us. We are not defined by our status, mistakes, or inadequacies. God says we are valued, accepted, and called according to His power and purposes.
Take Steps of Faith
Fulfilling our God-given destiny requires stepping out in courageous faith. We may need to tear down idols, surrender comforts, or boldly obey God even when afraid. As we fix our eyes on Him, He will lead us forward one step at a time.
The enemy wants to hinder God’s purposes through discouragement and distraction. But as we cling to Christ and follow in obedient faith, God will equip and strengthen us for every good work. No matter what opposition we face, we can trust God to complete His plans as we walk in dependent trust.
God has destined each of us for purpose, freedom, and blessing in the advanced plans He prepared. May we boldly trust Him, step into our calling, and watch in awe as He accomplishes His mighty purposes through our lives.
Here are some potential application questions to help apply the principles from Gideon’s story:
- In what ways can I relate to Gideon’s feelings of inadequacy or fear? How has this hindered me from fulfilling my calling?
- Do I truly believe God has crafted a purposeful plan for my life? Why or why not?
- What “idols” do I need to tear down in order to align my life with God’s plans? What strongholds need to be surrendered?
- How can I grow in trusting God’s abilities over my weaknesses and limitations? What is one area I can step out in faith this week?
- How can I tangibly embrace the truth that God sees value and potential in me, despite what my feelings or others may say?
- What next step can I take today to walk in God’s purposes for my life? How can I strengthen my relationship with Him through prayer, Scripture, and community?
- Ask God to reveal any ways you are believing lies about your identity, value, and calling. Repent of any pride or disbelief.
- Pray for bold faith to walk in your divine purposes. Invite the Spirit to equip and strengthen you each day.