“But Moses said to God, ‘Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?’
He said, ‘But I will be with you, and this shall be a sign for you, that I have sent you:
when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on the mountain.’”
“And [Gideon] said to [the LORD], ‘Please, Lord, how can I save Israel?
Behold, my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.’
And the LORD said to him, ‘But I will be with you, and you shall strike the Midianites as one man.’”
I’ve written on the Lord’s response to Moses in the past. But seeing this morning the parallel conversation with Gideon, my heart was stirred to revisit the truths seen here. The challenge and strength and hope we can find in these statements.
Both of these men were visited by God and called to tasks far greater than them. Both quickly recognized their inadequacy and responded with, “Who am I to accomplish this?” Both received the answer, “But I will be with you,” followed by a description of what God would bring about. The Israelites would be brought out of Egypt. The great Midianite oppressors would be struck down. No question.
As we move forward in looking at how this applies in our lives, I want to highlight a few promises of His presence for us. Because His presence is not only promised to Moses and Gideon – it is promised to you as well.
“Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you.” Joshua 1:5
“And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:20
“For He has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’” Hebrews 13:5
Our God very deliberately calls us to actions and circumstances greater than we are. To challenge us. To strengthen and purify our faith. To show us – and those around us – who He is and what He is able to do. To develop us and our character in ways we didn’t even realize were needed.
It’s natural to respond as Moses and Gideon: “Who am I to do this?” We see our inadequacies, the weaknesses or past failures that would imply our inability or unworthiness for this calling.
Notice that God’s response to these men is not to focus on their strengths or to deny their statement by affirming their ability. His primary response to us probably won’t look like that either.
No, His response highlights His presence.
Because yes, they have weaknesses that appear to contradict His calling. Yes, this is too big for them. Yes, it doesn’t really make sense from an outside perspective.
“But I will be with you.”
“I will be with you, and you’re going to see this great thing happen. I will be with you, and we’re going to do this. I’m calling you not to go out on your own, but to join me in this. Be the vessel of clay through which my power and glory shine. Let others see my grace and faithfulness and strength through what I accomplish in and through you, so they know what I can do in and through them when I call them out beyond the limits they perceive. Trust me here. Follow me here. Because it’s going to be amazing.”
I hope you will take a moment to dwell on what this promise means. The difference it makes when God is intentionally present with you and active in this place to which He has brought you.
To really grasp it requires knowing who He is. Because the strength of the promise, the ability for it to drive out our fear, relies on the One who makes it.
Our God who is a fortress (Psalm 46:7).
Our God who is our sun and shield (Psalm 84:11).
Our God who trains our hands for war and gives us strength for the battle (Psalm 18:34,39; Psalm 144:1).
Our God who goes before us to deliver the treasures of darkness into our hands and shatter their strongholds (Isaiah 45:2-3).
Our God who does not change (Psalm 102:25-27; James 1:17).
Our God whose faithfulness does not waver (Deuteronomy 32:4; Hebrews 10:23).
Our God who cannot lie (Hebrews 6:18).
“For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who is not partial and takes no bribe. He executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the sojourner, giving him food and clothing” (Deuteronomy 10:17-18).
“Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD his God, who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, who keeps faith forever” (Psalm 146:5-6).
“But you, Israel, my servant,
Jacob, whom I have chosen,
the offspring of Abraham, my friend;
you whom I took from the ends of the earth,
and called from its farthest corners,
saying to you, ‘You are my servant,
I have chosen you and not cast you off’;
fear not, for I am with you;
be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
“And the LORD will guide you continually
and satisfy your desire in scorched places
and make your bones strong;
and you shall be like a watered garden,
like a spring of water
whose waters do not fail.”