Devotional: ‘I Can’t, But God Can’


There are days when I feel strong in the Lord and other days when I don’t. Though I strive each day to live for God and to do His will, there are times when I just don’t feel like I have the ability or strength to do what needs to be done. I am much like the man called Gideon who questioned how the Lord could possibly use someone so weak and inadequate.

Judges 6:3 For whenever the Israelites planted crops, the Midianites and the Amalekites and the people of the East would come up against them. 4 They would encamp against them and devour the produce of the land, as far as Gaza, and leave no sustenance in Israel and no sheep or ox or donkey. 5 For they would come up with their livestock and their tents; they would come like locusts in number—both they and their camels could not be counted—so that they laid waste the land as they came in. 6 And Israel was brought very low because of Midian… ESV

For many years the people of Israel could barely find enough food to survive. Every time they sowed a crop, the Midianites would come and destroy it. Then we read – “6 And the people of Israel cried out for help to the Lord.” God had not abandoned Israel. He was allowing this affliction to occur in order to cause them to turn to Him for help. As soon as they did, the Lord raised up a man called Gideon to be their deliverer.

Judges 6:11 Now the angel of the Lord came and sat under the terebinth at Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, while his son Gideon was beating out wheat in the winepress to hide it from the Midianites. 12 And the angel of the Lord appeared to him and said to him, “The Lord is with you, O mighty man of valor… 15 And he said to him, “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.” ESV

Gideon realized that they needed someone who could deliver them from their enemies; he just didn’t see how he could be the one to do it. According to vs. 15, Gideon viewed himself as being the least of the least.

Yet the Lord specifically chose Gideon. Why did God select someone so weak and inadequate? Notice what God said to His servant – “The Lord is with you…” (vs. 12)  “…I will be with you, and you shall strike the Midianites as one man.” (vs. 16) Gideon’s victory would not come because of his own strength or power. It would come because God had promised to be with him.

The Apostle Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 1 that God often purposefully chooses the weak so that He might demonstrate His strength. God intentionally chooses ‘people who feel like they can’t, so that He can reveal through them that ‘He can.’  Perhaps you today are wondering how you will ever do what God has given you to do. If so, I encourage you to read:

“The Lord is with you, O mighty person of valor…”

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