July 29 – Coward to Conqueror – Hand-me-downs, but Not Forgotten

Read Judges 6:14-15

Sitting at the kid’s table, wearing hand me downs and rarely being called the right name- things to laugh about if you’re the youngest in the family like me. One of my mom’s favorite sayings to me as a child was, “Your day will come.” I admired my two older sisters, wanting to emulate them in so many ways. I didn’t measure up to them in my eyes and had to learn to get comfortable with just being me. There are pros and cons to every place in the birth order, but I share affinity with the youngest.

We are told in Judges 6 that Gideon is the youngest in his family. It seems like this detail is why he doubted that God could use him as the nation’s deliverer.  And he said to Him, “O Lord, how shall I deliver Israel? Behold, my family is the least in Manasseh, and I am the youngest in my father’s house.” (Judges 6:15) Let’s set the scene. Gideon, the baby of the family, was hiding in fear as he was working hard in a concealed wine press just to get a few grains of wheat to survive. He’s alone. I think it’s safe to say that he doesn’t share a close relationship with his family as we see that his father’s household are idol worshipers. Later in the story, we get a better glimpse of the family dynamics. Verse 27 states Gideon’s intense fear of his father and the rest of the family. I think it’s probably safe to assume that Gideon wasn’t the favorite child.

Sound familiar? It sounds a lot like David. Remember where we first find David? David’s father, Jesse, and his seven sons were invited to the sacrifice with Samuel, the prophet. The elders of Bethlehem, older men who were leaders of the city, and Jesse and his sons were invited to this sacrifice. This required all of them to be consecrated, a ceremonial cleansing as well as abstaining from certain foods. Consecration was to set them apart to God. This was an occasion that was not taken lightly. While Jesse and his seven sons took part of this ceremony, forgotten David, Jesse’s youngest son, was performing the lowly job of tending the sheep. (Read 1 Sam. 16:4-11)

Sometimes we need to read between the lines, or as Jill Briscoe says, look around the corner of the verse. It would have been nice if one of his brothers or his father spoke up and said , “Hey, wait, Sam, we need to go out to the pasture and tell David to come in and get cleaned up so he can go with us to sacrifice.” Nope. Nothing. David was an after thought. When Samuel asked Jesse if he had any other children, Jesse said, “There remains the youngest, and behold, he is tending the sheep.” Forgotten by Dad.

Gideon and David have a lot in common. They both were the youngest in their family. They both were doing jobs nobody wanted. They both had interesting family dynamics. And they were both chosen by God in spite of how others or even themselves viewed them. God hung the least likely candidate’s picture on the wall of Hebrews 11 hall of faith.  Both Gideon and David are names mentioned. (Hebrews 11:32)

“God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Sam. 16:7) I’m thankful God is more concerned about my heart, because I didn’t always look good in hand-me-downs.

Charline Engle

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