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  • Writer's pictureElpidio Pezzella

Don't Say You Don't Have Strength

“Go in this might of yours, and you shall save Israel from the hand of the Midianites. Have I not sent you?”

(Judges 6:14 NKJV)

The story of Gideon, the fifth judge of Israel, captures our attention, especially when we face times of difficulty, in which we go hiding in the hope of not being tracked down by any evil. A young man belonging to the tribe of Manasseh, to the clan of Abiezer, son of Joash of Ofra, a town a few kilometers east of Samaria, he is a person without any power and the possibility of becoming a hero. In his days, the country was periodically raided by the Midianites, together with the Amalekites and other oriental peoples, and the people were increasingly reduced to misery. The book of Judges traces the oppression to Israel's guilt of having abandoned their God (6:1), who does not remain indifferent, but intervenes in the cry of the people of him. Whenever the Midianites emerged from the desert, the Israelites took refuge in terror in the ravines and caves of the mountains, almost paralyzed with fear. And that's how our man is.

Gideon is threshing, he cannot help it and to survive he must overcome the fear of being discovered by the oppressors. He does this by placing himself not on the farmyard, where he would have been easily seen, but hidden in the winepress (the cellar of the vineyard). He finds himself in this ravine, tired and worried, when the angel of the Lord reveals himself under an oak tree in the field and greets him asking him as a "strong and valiant man". Possible? Is he looking at Gideon or at someone else? The young man is not surprised by the divine presence, he appears familiar and accustomed, but he responds by raising his grievances, first on why the people are living in that condition and then on the choice that has fallen on his person. He has the opportunity to let off steam, to give voice to his lament towards those who still speak of God. When situations are adverse, when conditions are bad, when dawn does not wait for sunset and vice versa, God cannot find space. in people's thoughts and expectations. And then the words echo: “Where is he? Where did it go?”. The angel's prompt and direct response surprised him, leaving us a clear indication: "Go with your strength and save Israel from the hand of Midian".

God never offers an instant solution to our problems, solving them with the snap of his fingers or the blink of an eye. On the contrary, he visits us in some way and assures us of his closeness in afflictions, but asks us to fight so that good may triumph. There are victories that take time. Rather than whining about what you are facing, instead of unloading the faults of what you are experiencing on the All-Ruler, rewind the ribbon, because most likely the causes lie elsewhere. Whatever the origin of the evil, what needs to be done in the present is to go and face it, having full confidence in one's own means and counting on divine assistance. When I think of Gideon, I try to immerse myself in what he will have felt in that moment. Dear friend, the strength you are using to thresh, you can use it to face the problem, the enemy. Not only will your action save you, but it will be a trigger to save others. Exit the winepress, leave the field of Ofrah. In the eyes of the Lord you too are "strong and valiant". There will be doubts. Hesitation will accompany you, but remember that God is with you. The continuation of the story says that Gideon asks repeated signs to be sure of what he has heard, because he is constantly numb with fear of not making it. At the same time, however, he does not doubt the word of God, but questions whether that word is addressed precisely to him. Knowledgeable, fearful, thoughtful ... for me one who does not want to do this in his own way. We do the same.


Weekly Bible Reading

Plan # 21

May 16, 2 Kings 24-25; John 5:1-24

May 17, 1 Chronicles 1-3; John 5:25-47

May 18, 1 Chronicles 4-6; John 6:1-21

May 19, 1 Chronicles 7-9; John 6:22-44

May 20, 1 Chronicles 10-12; John 6:45-71

May 21, 1 Chronicles 13-15; John 7:1-27

May 22, 1 Chronicles 16-18; John 7:28-53

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