But what he does have are his convictions. He’s got the kind of convictions that lead him to charge straight into the enemy camp all by himself at the end of the movie. And because of those convictions, he is given great power and leads the team to victory. The Cap's story is a lot like the story of Gideon in Judges 6-7. You may want to read these two chapters as I'll only be sharing a few verses.
So when the story starts, Gideon is a young guy. He is an Israelite. He is defeated. Things are looking bad. His family and friends are hiding out in the mountains in caves because they are scared of the Midianites. Verse 11 tells us that “Gideon was beating out wheat in the winepress to hide it from the Midianites.” So he is collecting the wheat where you normally go to make wine because he is hiding. This is like washing your car at the water park because you know the Canadians are watching the car washes and gas stations. He’s scared. Hiding. Defeated. Not much of a hero this guy. A lot like Rogers.
Then the angel of the Lord appears to Gideon. The angel tells Gideon that he has been chosen by God to defeat the Midianites and rescue all of Israel. Gideon can hardly believe the angel. Imagine you were Gideon. You're the youngest and smallest in your family. You're currently hiding from the Midianites. You've never fought a battle in your life. You're people don't even have an army! Gideon does not believe he’s up for the challenge.
Have you ever felt like that? Ever feel worthless, weak, too young, too old, too slow, too clumsy, too dumb, too ugly, too shy, too talkative, too whatever? Just not good enough? That's Gideon. But check out what the angel calls him.
When the angel of the LORD appeared to Gideon, he said, "The LORD is with you, mighty warrior." -- Judges 6:12
God shows up and He doesn’t say, “Little boy.” He doesn’t say, “Pipsqueak.” He doesn’t call him all the things everyone else saw in him. He calls him a mighty warrior.
MIGHTY WARRIOR! What? Too young, too weak, too scared, too little, too tiny Gideon and God says, “Mighty Warrior!” You see, God saw something inside of Gideon. God saw something that nobody else saw. Something that Gideon himself didn’t even see. God saw bravery, courage, faith, enough to make a mighty warrior.
It takes some proving, but Gideon eventually believes this message is from God. And that night, Gideon begins leading the people back to God. He gets a group of guys to help him tear down the false altars to the false gods. And Gideon starts traveling all over Israel and calling men to follow him. He starts giving the Braveheart speech and from village to village and city to city and he gathers an army of 32,000 men to fight the Midianites!
But he’s never been to war. And he starts getting scared. He’s got 32,000 men with him yeah. But they’re not real soldiers. They still don’t have weapons and armor. And the Midianites have an army of 135,000! Would you be scared? So Gideon tests God. He gets a lot of flack for this. People say he lacked faith, but who among us would not have been terrified?
Gideon said to God, "If you will save Israel by my hand as you have promised--look, I will place a wool fleece on the threshing floor. If there is dew only on the fleece and all the ground is dry, then I will know that you will save Israel by my hand, as you said." And that is what happened. Gideon rose early the next day; he squeezed the fleece and wrung out the dew--a bowlful of water. Then Gideon said to God, "Do not be angry with me. Let me make just one more request. Allow me one more test with the fleece. This time make the fleece dry and the ground covered with dew." That night God did so. Only the fleece was dry; all the ground was covered with dew. -- Judges 6:36-40
So Gideon needs a little extra convincing from God to go to war with these 32,000 men against 135,000 trained soldiers. So he gets his army in position. And in the morning, God does something crazy.
God says, "Gideon, you’ve got too many men." I’m sure Gideon was thinking he didn't have enough! They’ve got 135,000 and we’ve got 32,000. God, I don’t mean to be a jerk here but I think your math is wrong. Did you carry the one? I mean can you double check? No? Alright. So he tells everyone, "Hey if you’re too scared to go into battle, then go home we don’t need you." And he lost 22,000 men! He’s only got 10,000 left! And God keeps saying crazy things.
So Gideon took the men down to the water. There the LORD told him, "Separate those who lap the water with their tongues like a dog from those who kneel down to drink." Three hundred men lapped with their hands to their mouths. All the rest got down on their knees to drink. The LORD said to Gideon, "With the three hundred men that lapped I will save you and give the Midianites into your hands. Let all the other men go, each to his own place." -- Judges 7:5-7
So now God has the weirdest drinking contest ever. Anyone who got on their knees to drink is out of the army. There’s 300 men left and the rest are sent home. In one morning, God took an army of 32,000 that Gideon had gathered and brought it down to 300. And then God says, "Now you have enough men." And Gideon’s standing there like… this is not good.
Could you imagine? Could you imagine trying to defeat an army of 135,000 with only 300 men? Its impossible. It would be like walking to your death. There is absolutely no way. You’re not anything special you’re just a young guy who has never been in a fight. But Gideon and his men go anyway. They believe that God is going to be with them. They sneak down to the army and attack.
This is crazy! I mean, seriously, you would have to be out of your mind! This is no ordinary leap of faith. This is Super Faith! I mean what kind of a sign from God would it take for you to attack this army? I don’t know about you but that little trick with the wool being wet in the morning was not very impressive. I wouldn’t be running into battle over this. Imagine one of his soldiers questioning him.
“Hey Gideon, that army is huge.”
“I think they outnumber us about 450 to one.”
"Yeah, don’t worry we’ll be fine."
“Are you sure? I mean that means each of us would have to kill 450 trained soldiers.”
"Don’t worry, God is with us."
“How do you know?”
"I left some wool outside my tent last night and this morning it was wet with dew."
“What? We're marching to our deaths cause some wool got wet?”
I mean the kind of sign it would take for me would be much bigger than that. God would have to send a million fiery angels down to charge ahead of me for me to take 300 against 135,000. I mean come on. But Gideon believed God’s tiny sign. This is Super Faith.
And here’s what happens. The 300 sneak down to the enemy camp at night. They have lit torches, but they keep them under clay pitchers so that the light of the fire doesn’t alert the enemies. They creep up and when they all surround the camp, they blow the trumpets all at the same time. They shatter the jars and draw their swords and shout at the top of their lungs. The Midianite soldiers wake up and grab their weapons and it says that God confused them so badly that they killed each other. This whole army wipes itself out until there are only 15,000 left who run away and Gideon’s 300 chase them down.
God takes a nobody, a weakling, who is too scared and too young, and no good in a fight and God says, "I see a mighty warrior in you." Then God takes a no good army that’s way too small and does something amazing. He rescues a whole nation. No super powers. Just super faith. And God uses it.
SUPER FAITH EVEN WITHOUT SUPER POWERS EQUALS SUPER VICTORY.
I think God wants us all to be a Gideon. God wants to use you to make a big difference in this world. You’re not just a nobody. God looks at you and sees a Mighty Warrior. God wants to use you to impact your offices, your schools, your friends, your families, your neighbors. God wants to use you to share the Gospel of Jesus with lost people who need Him. God wants to use you to rescue your friends who are turning to drugs, sex, and drinking. God wants to use you to pull that depressed kid out of sadness and suicide and into love and joy and life with God. God wants to use you to stop the cycle of bullying in your classrooms. To break the cycle of anger and unforgiveness in your families. And maybe you say like Gideon, but how can I do those things? I’m not special. I’m no good. Me and my little 300 can’t possibly make a difference. The task is too big. I don’t know what I’m doing. It can’t happen.
But remember the lesson of Gideon. Super faith even without super powers equals super victory. What tough things does God want you to do to make a difference in the lives around you? Will you have the faith to do it? Will you release the hero inside?