A Call for Courage
Dr. Charles Stanley
Watch A Call for Courage video.
Scripture: Judges 6-7
I. Introduction: The Lord has a plan for our lives. He knows all the details of every situation, and is committed to using each circumstance to glorify Himself and achieve His goals. His plan for us includes an overall purpose as well as many smaller opportunities that guide us into His good and perfect will. Although He knows exactly where He’s leading us, from our perspective, it’s an unknown path.
II. God is always willing to encourage us whenever we’re afraid, uncertain, or overwhelmed by opposition. Gideon was an Israelite who faced all these challenges, yet the Lord faithfully helped him every step of the way.
III. God calls those who He’s equipped for the task He has in mind. Even before the Lord reveals what He wants us to do, He’s already prepared us for it. This principle is clearly displayed in Gideon’s life. Because of Israel’s disobedience, the Lord had allowed them to be harassed by the Midianites, who repeatedly overran their territory, destroying all the crops. That’s why Gideon was hiding in a wine press, until the angel of the Lord appeared to him, saying, “The Lord is with you, O valiant warrior” (Judges 6:12). God knew the bigger plan of what He was going to do through Gideon.
IV. The Lord understands that we need courage. Although Gideon was promised victory, he wanted proof that God was speaking to him. We should never refrain from asking God for clarification when we’re uncertain if we’re hearing His voice rather than others’ opinions, or our own ideas. Once we’re sure, we’ll have the confidence to step out and do exactly what the Lord has told us.
V. The Lord uses lesser challenges to prepare us for greater ones. Before giving Gideon the biggest assignment of his life, God gave him the smaller task of tearing down his father’s idols and building an altar to the Lord. Although this was a dangerous act, which would anger the men of the city, Gideon passed the test and obeyed the Lord. Faithful obedience in every situation is crucial because God may be testing and preparing us for bigger opportunities.
VI. Even those who are courageous desire added assurance of God’s presence. The Lord knows our weaknesses and is faithful to provide whatever is necessary for our successful obedience. Before Gideon delivered Israel from the Midianites, he requested a sign from God. The Lord understands our doubts, but we have something Gideon didn’t have—the Bible. We don’t have to throw out fleeces to make sure we are hearing from Him because we can trust His Word.
VII. God’s top priority is His glory. When we take credit for what He does in our lives, we’re exalting ourselves instead of Him. Although Gideon’s army was vastly outnumbered, God told him they were too numerous. To ensure that only He would get credit for the victory, God gave Gideon a battle strategy involving just 300 men with torches, pitchers, and trumpets. When the Israelite army surrounded the enemy camp at night and suddenly blew their trumpets and smashed the pitchers covering the torches, the Midianites panicked and killed each other in their confusion.
VIII. Through the story of Gideon, the Lord teaches us five lessons:
A. Don’t underestimate what God can do in and through you. He can use anyone and anything to accomplish His purposes. When we walk obediently with Him, His power and presence assure our victory.
B. God will always be with you in whatever He’s called you to do. You may feel helpless and inadequate, but you’re never alone because the Lord will never leave or forsake you (Heb. 13:5).
C. The Lord is ready to give you assurance when you doubt Him. He’ll work in your situation in a way that reinforces your trust in Him.
D. His ways are often surprising and challenging, but they’re always the best and the most successful. The Lord may ask you to do something that seems totally unreasonable, but success is guaranteed because God is the one who gave the assignment.
E. The Lord always works in a way that exalts and glorifies Him. If you’re willing to die to yourself and surrender to God, He will powerfully display Himself through you by accomplishing more in your life than you ever expected.
IX. Conclusion: A courageous life begins with the Word of God and prayer. That’s where we hear His instructions and receive the mind of Christ. However, if we shut our Bibles, we’re also closing our minds to His encouraging words. God wants to work in and through us if we’ll just cleanse our hearts, surrender our lives, and walk obediently with Him in confident trust.