How God Can Use Anybody Part One
This article is from a message at Might Men of Valor by Pastor Sonny Arguinzoni
And then I came and when I saw this here, mighty men of valor, I said, man, I got to preach about mighty men of valor. Isn’t it beautiful? Look at this, isn’t it? That is what we are all about. And I am going to ask you to open up your Bibles to the book of Judges, the book of Judges. And we are going to begin reading at verse one of the book of judges. Amen. And as you can see, we are going to be talking about mighty men of valor. We are going to be talking about tonight, how God turns nobodies into somebodies and how God turns nobody’s into mighty men of valor. Amen.
Beginning in verse one of chapter six of Judges. Again, the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD, and for seven years he gave them into the hands of the Midianites. Because the power of Midian was so oppressive, the Israelites prepared shelters for themselves in mountain caves, clefts, and strongholds. Whenever the Israelites planted their crops, the Midianites, Amalekites, and other eastern peoples invaded the country. They camped on the land and ruined the crops all the way to Gaza and did not spare a living thing for Israel, neither sheep nor cattle nor donkeys. They came up with their livestock and their tents like swarms of locusts. It was impossible to count the men and their camels; they invaded the land to ravage it. Midian so impoverished that the Israelites that they cried out to the LORD for help.
When the Israelites cried out to the LORD because of Midian, he sent them a prophet, who said, “This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: I brought you up out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. I snatched you from the power of the Egypt. And from the hand of all your oppressors; I drove them out before you and gave you their land. I said to you, ‘I am the LORD your God; do not worship the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you live.’ But you have not listened to me.”
The angel of the LORD came and sat down under the oak in Ophrah that belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, where his son Gideon was threshing wheat in a winepress to keep it from the Midianites. When the angel of the LORD appeared to Gideon, he said, “The LORD is with you, mighty men of valor.” ” But Sir,” Gideon replied, “If the LORD is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all the wonders that our fathers told us about when they said, ‘Did not the LORD bring us up out of Egypt?’ But now the LORD has abandoned us and put us into the hand of Midian.” And the LORD turned to him and said, “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?” “But Lord,” Gideon asked, “How can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house!” The LORD answered, “I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites together.”
Every head bowed; every eye closed. Lord Jesus, tonight, once again, we give you all the praise and all the glory, and I pray God that you open up the hearts of every person that is here tonight. And Lord, I pray your anointing upon this service in Jesus’ name. Amen. You may be seated.
Lately, we have been speaking about in our conferences of how the Lord wants to elevate our vision. I really believe that this is the time, God wants to elevate our vision and God wants us to take the cap off so that He could begin to do things that He has never, never done before. I really believe we are living in exciting times. And as you can see this, ministry is continuing to go forward. There is a new anointing upon this ministry, and also not only upon the old generation but also the new generation as well.
And this evening, I want to, once again, challenge you to become everything that God wants you to be. I like that scripture that we use so many times that God takes the foolish things of the world to confound the wise. This is one of our favorite scriptures because it is not only scripture in the Bible, but also, it is a reality in our lives. And just about all of us have experienced the life-changing power of Jesus Christ. And here in the scripture that I have just read, we find Gideon’s life as a classic typical example of how God uses ordinary people to accomplish extraordinary accomplishments in life.
Now when we look at Gideon, the story of Gideon is very, very interesting. I do not have to labor a lot, because I think that most everyone here knows the story of Gideon. Many of you have preached also on Gideon. Gideon was a farm boy who became a national hero. Against incredible odds, he saved his nation. Israel at the time was spiritually and emotionally, physically, mentally, economically bankrupt. They were in what you would say bad, bad shape. They were forced to live in caves for their survival. Gideon was also hiding from the Midianites for fear of being killed.
When things get bad, I want you to know this is something that we always have to keep in mind because we are all involved in spiritual warfare. That when things get bad, God always looks for a person that He could use. Over and over in the Bible, we find when things get bad. And when people begin to cry out to God, God always raises up a person. And the beauty of it is that when you look at the people that got raises, God raises and uses the most unlikely people, some of you may be thinking that God could never use you, but I want you to know tonight that God often uses the most unlikely people. And this is what the story of Gideon is all about. How God turns the nobodies, I will say it again, how God turns the nobodies into somebodies. This is a story of God changing losers into winners.
And I have declared there are a lot of people that were losers today, but how many know that we were losers before, but once we come to Jesus Christ, we are not losers anymore. God is able to turn us from losers into winners. In fact, God, tonight wants you to be a winner. We are on a winning team. That is what happened in Gideon’s life. Gideon had all kinds, just like many of us, especially where we come from. He had all kinds of insecurities and feelings of inadequacy and doubt within his life. In other words, Gideon had an inferiority complex, and I could tell you a lot of people around Victory Outreach that have an inferiority complex. I think just about all of us at one time, especially if you have been involved in drug addiction, we had an inferiority complex.
And in Judges 6:11, we find him hiding out, and the angel of the Lord came and sat down under the oak tree in Ophrah that belongs to Joash. His son Gideon was threshing wheat in the winepress to keep it from the Midianites. And verse 12 says, notice what it says at the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon and said, “The LORD is with you, you mighty men of valor.” Here is a man. Now, this is amazing. I mean, God is a mind-blowing God. Here is a man that is afraid of his own shadow and is hiding out. And God calls him, you mighty man of valor. I am sure he responded who? Me?
Tonight, I want us to see four things that God did to bring about the change within his life. And I want you to know tonight that God is in the changing business. God is able to transform us. God is able to change us. And here tonight, we have an example of somebody that was changed by the power of God.
The first thing that I want us to see in Gideon’s life is that God gave him a vision. It was not so much a vision of reaching out into the world, but God gave him a vision of himself. I think sometimes before we could get out there and take the city and take the world for Jesus Christ, we need a vision of ourselves. God gave him a vision of what he could become and how he could become and be transformed into a mighty man of valor. God was not looking at what Gideon was. Because in the natural, Gideon was afraid and Gideon was a coward, but he was looking at Gideon’s potential of what he could become. And this is the way God looks at us tonight. God looks at us and he is able to see the potential within our lives, not of what we are now, but of what we could become once He works within our lives.
Gideon in reality was far from being a mighty man of valor. He was hiding and anyone could see that he was no courageous leader. Nothing could be further from Gideon’s image of himself than to be called a mighty man of Valor. That is why he was full of complexes. That is why he had that inferiority complex within his life. He looked at himself and he did not see much. But God was looking at Gideon’s potential, what he could actually become. We have many examples of this in the Bible. Jesus did this with Peter. Remember Peter? He gave him a vision of what he could be. He gave Peter a vision. Jesus said to Peter, “You’re going to be the rock.” Peter at that time was anything but a rock, but he looked at him and he says, “By the time I finish with you, Simon, you are going to be a rock.”
And God looked at Gideon and said, you think you are a weakling and a coward and a loser, but you are a mighty man of valor. Gideon, I got news for you. You are a mighty man of valor. Now, how did Gideon react? Gideon reacted like possibly many of us react tonight. Gideon’s reaction started out with excuses. That is what he did. In verse 15 it says, but Gideon said, “How can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house!” Now let us begin to look at some of the excuses that Gideon gives.
He says, first of all, you got the wrong village, God. Gideon was born in Ophrah. In other words, you came to the wrong neighborhood. There is no mighty man of valor in this neighborhood. Ophrah is a little tiny village. It means a place of dustiness. Does that sound like a lot of potential? No. Does that sound like a place where you want to launch a national campaign? No. Does Eastleigh sound like a place to start up a worldwide movement? No. But I want you to know that God is a mind-blowing God.
And on top of that, Gideon says, “You got the wrong family. We are the poorest family in my entire tribe. We have no financial backing. And to tell you the truth, God, we are broke, we are hurting, we’re broke.” And then also Gideon on top of that said, “You got the wrong guy in the family.” Gideon said, “Even if you pick my family, I am the youngest guy in the family.” Gideon was saying, I am the most insignificant person within the family. So, you got the wrong neighborhood. You got the wrong family and you got the wrong guy, but God often chooses and uses the most unlikely people.
I want you to get that tonight. Some of you have come into this place discouraged. You do not think much of yourself, but I want you to know tonight that God often uses and chooses the most unlikely people. The youngest guy, the poorest family in the most unknown town. God says you are that mighty man of valor. Now, sometimes our vision is just too little. And if we are going to reach the nations and make an impact around the world, then our vision needs to be elevated. And our vision sometimes is a little bit too little instead of being a God-sized vision, we often fail to set our sights high enough to be able to accomplish the things that God wants us to do.
Sometimes it is because of the past experiences of the past because our personal efforts in the past may have not been fruitful. In other words, we have had flops in the past, we have taken plunges and we have taken steps of faith to do great things, but it just did not work out. Or maybe we have been fed a steady diet of it cannot be done. You cannot do it. Till we are convinced ourselves, if you hear that enough, that it can be done, you can do it. You will never amount to anything that we convince ourselves that our vision is too big, and it just cannot be done. Well, I have advice for you tonight. If you have people like that around you, get far away from those people. Those are vision killing people. Get around people that are positive. Get around people that are people of faith. Get away from those negative people.
There are many churches and pastors that are content with a small vision. Now, if you are content with a small vision, some of you pastors, they stay like that. You are content. You are happy. Well fine, stay like that. But God is looking for, with the calling that He’s given us, with the task that He’s given us, He’s looking for those mighty men of valor. There are some pastors that are content with a small vision. They just doing business as usual. They are just going about maintaining the house of God. Routine, week after week after week. And we limit with a limited vision and with a vision that is limited, little is done, and also little is accomplished. Little vision, little is done, and little is accomplished.
Now, why do we settle for a small vision? There are reasons why that happens. There are four reasons that I would like to give you. First of all, because a God-sized vision makes us accountable. Any time you declare yourself or you verbalize it, you are committed. Just like I did when I said, we are going to have a thousand churches by the year 2000. Later, I said, I wanted to take those words back, but it was a little bit too late. I put my foot in my mouth. Once you declare it and you verbalize it, we are committed ourselves to it. And that is where we do not like pressure. That is when we are pressured that we want to see it come to pass and we want to see it happen. And we do not like pressure because we put our reputation sometimes on the line.
Then also, secondly, because of the fear of failing, that is why some people are afraid to step out and they have a limited vision. They are afraid of failing. The first thing they say in their mind, what if I do not achieve it? Will I be embarrassed? Because if I do not make it, you will be considered a failure. I want you to know something, if you think you will never going to fail, I have news for you. You will. I am not saying that you have to fail morally, but you are going to have your times of failure when you go about to in ministry. Every one of us will experience failure. But thank God we can look at it in a positive way. We could learn from those times of failure and get up and start again. If you try and do not succeed, then what? Get up and try, try, try again. So, we are going to experience failures, but failures should not hold us back.
And then also number three, there is the fear of criticism. Others may laugh at us or even criticize us. And they may even misunderstand our motives or people get jealous. They envy what you are doing, and you always get your critics. Whenever you are moving ahead, and you have a great vision for God, you are always going to have your critics. One of the things I will say is that you are on a big eagle. Who do you think you are? Well, they say, who do you think you are? You are saying, well, I know who I am. I got a big God. I got a big God and I got a God-sized vision that He’s given to me.
Another reason for a small limited vision is also not willing to pay the price. Now there is always a price that has to be paid. Sometimes we want to do great exploits for God, but we do not want to pay the price. The price must be paid. The price in our commitment, in our sacrifice, in our discipline. Many people miss God’s plan because they just cannot see themselves in the role that God has for them. They cannot see themselves as a dynamic Christian or a dynamic leader. God wants you tonight to catch the vision of the opinion of a great leader of a world shaker, of a history maker that he wants you to be.
I believe with all my heart in Victory Outreach, this is the season that God is raising up world shakers and history makers that are going to do great exploits for God. In fact, we are going to do things that have never been done before. You say, “Is that possible?” I say, “Yeah.” Victory Outreach did it in the beginning. We started doing this and it was something that was never done before. It was never done before. It was unheard of. That a bunch of dolphins, good for nothing dirty dolphins, rejects of society, that God was going to raise them up and not only make an impact within their community but make an impact all over the world.
Never underestimate your potential. In fact, you could be more. This is why it is important for you to hear this message that you could be more than you are right now. God had to do this with Gideon. I think I could say He had to expand his vision. I think He had to give him a vision. Notice God’s response to Gideon. The Lord in verse 14, the Lord turned to him and said, “Go in the strength that you have and save Israel out of the Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?” Why does God delight in choosing and using people like you and me? I will tell you why? Because He gets all the glory. He gets all the glory. When people look to us, they have to say, it must be God. It must be God.
A good example of that is David Wilkerson when he came to our conference. Now, David Wilkerson, he is seen everything. He has been in all the ghettos of the world. And he has been in some of the toughest ghettos in New York City. He has been involved in working with drug addicts for all of 50 years. And he came to our last world conference. And then he wrote in the newsletter. Do you know what he wrote in the newsletter? He wrote and he says that he is never witnessed in 50 years of ministry, the greatest manifestation of the grace of God that he witnessed in Victory Outreach conference.
I was looking at him while the choir was singing that song, the choir of ex-prostitutes and ex-drug addicts. And he was just sitting there. He says, Oh my God, my God, my God, my God. He walked out of that conference with the reality that God is still on the move. God is still a miracle-working God. Even the most ordinary of us have extraordinary potential when God is in control. That means that everybody that is in this auditorium tonight, I do not care who you are, where you came from, what neighborhood you came from. I want you to know that there is hope for you tonight.
We have many Bible examples. In fact, the Bible is filled with examples of this. Some saw Moses when we think about Moses, some saw Moses as a Hebrew fugitive. That is the way some looked at Moses, a Hebrew fugitive, but God saw Moses as a leader who will liberate Israel. Some saw David as a young shepherd boy, God saw David as a great King. Some saw Paul as a Christian persecutor, God saw him as a great missionary apostle who would spread the church around the world. Some, I said some.
So, Victory Outreach, that is just a bunch of drug addicts and a drug addict church, but God saw it as a worldwide movement that will reach into the inner cities of the world. See, we must stop looking through our eyes and begin to look at ourselves through God’s eyes. God responded to Gideon’s insecurity was, “I’m sending you. I’m going to be with you.” And he says, “And you can’t fail.” That is what He says to us. What does God tell us tonight? What does God tell all of us that are out there on the front lines, whatever city, whatever country you are in. He says, “I’ve sent you. I have sent you. You have not gone on your own. I have sent you. And because I sent you, I am going to be with you.” And I have got news for you. No matter what is happening, God says you cannot fail.
I am getting excited here tonight. Romans 8:31 says, if God, before us, I said, if God, before us, who could be against us? When you are doing God’s will, not when you are doing your will, when you are doing your thing, you fail. But when you are doing God’s will, you cannot fail. And the second thing God did was God also revealed himself to Gideon. And this is very, very important. God revealed himself to Gideon. Gideon had a personal experience with God. This is very, very important. God became more than a religion to Gideon, He became a relationship.
In verse 17, He said, “If now I have found favor in your eyes, give me a sign that it is really you talking to me.” And in verse 22, it says, when Gideon realized that it was the angel of the LORD, he exclaimed, “Alas, Sovereign LORD! I have seen the angel of the LORD face to face!” But God said to him, “Peace! Do not be afraid. You are not going to die.” He thought he was going to die. So, Gideon built an altar and he called it, The Lord is Peace. And it stands there till this day. Gideon had a personal experience with God, and it says that he made an altar.
In the Old Testament, an altar represented a personal commitment to God. Gideon made a commitment to God. And for the first time in his life, he felt that peace that passes all understanding. He felt peace in himself and he felt peace of mind, even though everything around him was falling apart. That is what makes us peculiar people. When you have that relationship with God, just like Gideon, even though everything, before that he was hiding, before that he was afraid, before that he was a coward, before that he didn’t have hope. But all of a sudden, when he had that experience with God, even though everything was falling apart around him, in the midst of all that, he had internal peace, which was the result of his commitment to God.
The Lord will give us peace in the midst of the storm. You may be in a battle tonight and the battle may be ranging, but in the midst of the battle, if you have a relationship with God, He gives you that peace that passes all understanding, and the Lord will provide the ability if we will provide the availability. I will say it again. You did not get that. I said, the Lord will provide the ability. Do not be stippling about your ability. The Lord will provide the ability if we will provide the availability he just needs, and he is looking for a willing vessel.
So, God, not only, first, envisioned Gideon of what he could become. And secondly revealed himself to Gideon. But also, thirdly, he gave him the biggest test of his life. That is what we do not like. We do not like the test. We want the blessing, bless me Lord, but we do not want the test. See, the process from ordinary to extraordinary is not without its challenges, there is a process that takes place. We want to be in the miraculous. You want a megachurch. You want to see things happen through your Christian experience. While the process from the ordinary to the extraordinary is not without its challenges. Gideon faced some major roadblocks in his life and becoming the person God intended for him to be just like many of us actually do.