There’s a great character study on a not-so-famous fellow in the Old Testament named Gideon. If his story was rewritten today in a modern scenario, Gideon would have been a nerdy underachiever who flunked out of community college, took a minimum wage job, and spent the bulk of his time in his mom’s basement playing Xbox. As far as our eyes could see, the man would have not been viewed as a winner. God chose Gideon, however, to become the hero of a generation who changed the trajectory of a nation. His story is very encouraging and can be found in the book of Judges chapters 6 &7. Gideon was an unlikely hero.
When there was very little time before the battle against Israel’s enemy, Midian, God did something odd: He sent Gideon right into the enemy camp for the last stage of preparation. God had been tenderly shepherding this fledgling leader and, with some of the most patient and reassuring of techniques with Gideon, God had led the unlikely hero to the point of no return. It occurs to me that God could have chosen to employ several other components to His last-minute training of Israel’s newest leader. For instance, God might have:
…instructed Gideon concerning the necessity of prayer before the battle
…anointed Gideon with miraculous combat skills
…supernaturally imparted to Gideon proven battlefield strategies
…mapped out the terrain upon which the battle would take place
…given Gideon a vision of the aftermath of a guaranteed victory
Instead, God commanded Gideon to go listen to what the enemy had to say about the impending fight. Gideon went with a servant into the enemy camp by night, and there he heard a clear account of how some in that opposing army knew what Gideon himself struggled to know: that Gideon was God’s man, and that the Midianites were doomed when it came to resisting Israel. Gideon learned that the enemy believed more in the ability of his God than Gideon himself believed. Yes, the enemy was fearful of what God would do through Israel’s unlikely hero. Gideon may have trembled about what the outcome of the battle would be, but the enemy was certain that the outcome was signed, sealed and delivered – the enemy knew that the God of Israel had given the victory into Gideon’s hand.
Do you know what Satan thinks about those who are aligned with Jesus Christ? Has it occurred to us lately that the devil works hard to keep us from embracing the very thing that he himself never doubts? Satan is convinced that if you ever really begin to grasp Who God is and what He is doing, you will no longer be subject to elongated doubts and repeated defeats. What insight does our enemy, Satan, have that we lack or fail to appropriate?
Satan has seen God’s glory, and has no ability to cease trembling before His greatness
Satan has witnessed God’s power and cannot bear the thought of us operating therein
Satan is wholly subject to God’s authority, and he wants you to forget this as often as possible
Satan is limited in his abilities, but he wants you to think that he is all-powerful
Satan is absolutely defeated by Christ’s resurrection and is running off of fumes that are coming to a vaporized end
Satan understands God’s commitment to His children, so he works overtime to lead us to doubt God’s faithfulness
Satan knows much more certainly than we do that God always keeps His word, and that He cannot fail those who depend upon Him
Satan has no doubts about God’s goodness – he has despised it from the beginning. He hates the fact that God loves us and will deliver us
Satan knows that the victories are yours when you operate in simple trust of your committed King
The list could go on, but I’ll turn off the fire hydrant so we can think for a moment. When all is stripped away I must conclude that Satan’s recognition of God’s commitment to His children is much stronger than our own. God sent Gideon to the enemy camp so that Gideon would see that the enemy was afraid of both him and his God. God would have us to know that Satan fears and trembles before the majestic power and authority of God the Almighty. Satan really knows he is completely defeated. He pulled out his greatest weapon at Calvary when he threw death at the one who is Life. Satan thought he killed God. Satan thought that his power had finally trumped God’s power. Satan diabolically rejoiced that his scheme overwhelmed God’s plan. He killed God. He KILLED God. He had finally established his own supremacy.
Three days later his celebration ended.
Satan has no greater weapon than death. Death was his answer. Death was his aim. Death was his way. Death was his strategy. But wait, Life beat death! Life swallowed the grave! Resurrection trumped crucifixion! Light dispelled darkness! Satan’s holster was empty and his revolver clicked as he continued to pull the trigger. Yep, you guessed it: he is out of ammunition. So then, understand his new strategy is to lie to you. Lies are all that he has left. He has no real authority, so he must convince you that he actually does. He must intimidate and fear and posture and pose. He must bark loudly since his bite is now ineffective. Satan traffics in anxiety, fear, worry and dread. He loves to sour and to distort. He indeed is a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour, but he is on a leash held by the hand of Omnipotence. He really, really, really does not want you to know this. He cannot win against God, so he must convince you that your God does not care. He must cause you to be skeptical of your God. He will employ every resource he has to keep you from comprehending the inexhaustible faithfulness of God towards you. Whatever the cost, he simply must not allow for the possibility that you would ever become convinced that God is for you. If you begin to understand this truth, then he has lost you for good.
The enemy camp is intimidating from a distance. But it sure is full of helpful information. Ask God to let you hear what your enemy says when he thinks you’re not listening.