“And he (Gideon) said unto Jether his firstborn, Up and slay them. But the youth drew not his sword, because he was yet a youth. Then Zebah and Zalmunna said, Rise thou, and fall upon us: for as the man is, so is his strength. And Gideon arose, and slew” Judges 8:20-21
How many times in this culture are people pressed into service prematurely! Society always is trying to fit the square pegs into round holes. Children want to be adults, while adults want to be kids. When I talk to the ‘dad’ of a family group, sometimes I wonder if I’m speaking to the leader of the pack or the runt of the litter. Just as obnoxious is the child whose disrespect and open rebellion have set them as a child, to do a man’s job. And it truly is destroying them.
“For three things the earth is disquieted, and for four which it cannot bear: for a servant when he reigneth.” Proverbs 30:21-22
We need help, first, to identify our own maturity, and second, to accept the responsibilities of that given ability. To be found in our place is the goal; then and only then will we excel.
John charges the church by maturity as to what they CAN do. Notwithstanding the progression of growth, notice as important are the separate denotations of each group:
○ Little children can have their sins forgiven and know the Father.
○ Fathers can comprehend The Eternal God and the Creator of all.
○ Young men can be strong, abide in the Word of God, and overcome the wicked one. (1 John 2:12-14)
Let us see firstly, that a man out of place brings embarrassment to his Cause. Gideon’s son, Jether, was not a warrior. He’d never taken a life before, and when Gideon called on him, he was not able to complete the task. Perhaps he should have been at home, tending sheep, or at school, learning his history, or on the field, training his body. For certain, he should not have been here.
Directly opposite to this situation, is David, the youth of only seventeen who defies a Giant. God knows his men, and if the giant is in front of you, then it is YOUR giant. God has his man for the task, and if YOU fail to take it on (Gideon), the person you pass it off to will fail also (Jether).
Many folks will have the wind knocked out of them once or twice when they take on a task above their league. These difficulties ought to serve as landmarks for great lessons learned, else if they are not heeded, I see secondly that a man out of place often never finds his place. Jether never does rise up into his father’s place, and meets his untimely end, slain by his half brother on a rock at Ophrah (Judges 9). The poor soul began with embarrassment and careened into a disaster! Beware, young man! Don’t be so eager to whet the sword! Count the cost! Be strong in the Lord!
“As a bird that wandereth from her nest, so is a man that wandereth from his place.” Proverbs 27:8
As the man is, so is his strength. What task has God given you, and will you finish it?
Let us also note, that, for every task, there is a man (or woman) for the job. Esther, not Mordecai, stood alone before the King Ahasuerus. She alone was capable, available, and preferable, IF above all these, IF she could be WILLING. She, without doubt, was “come to the kingdom for such a time as this.” (Esther 4:14) I wonder that many are out of place because they did not want to face the battles God had enlisted for them. Are you owning up to the mission for which God has designed and destined you?
Zebah and Zalmunna were enemies to be reckoned with, yes, and GIDEON was hand-picked by God to smite the Midianites. Sadly, his son would never fight his own battles, I partially believe because he was pushed out of his place, and the embarrassment, and the failure cost him his place forever.
Young man, rush not into manhood with its bloody conflicts and coarse warfare. Other men will try to enlist you as early as possible, do thy diligence to first know thy God. There is indeed, “a time of war” (Ecclesiastes 3:8) coming. Little children will not always be little children. Young men will not always be strong. Fathers will not always be around. But wherever you find yourself, take this to heart: As the man is, so is his strength!