The Bible says, “And Gideon came to Jordan, and passed over, he, and the three hundred men that were with him, faint, yet pursuing them,” (Judges 8:4).
Our text comes from the story of Gideon and his army of 300 as they routed the armies of the Midianites, and the Amalekites (6:3).
Gideon and his army came to the city of Succoth, “faint yet pursuing” (8:4-5) the enemy.
Gideon and his host were naturally “faint”, or in other words weary, tired, fatigued and exhausted, from the battle. They were at the limit of their physical strength and energy. In spite of them being “faint,” they still had the will, determination and drive to pursue the enemy and finish the job God gave them.
Gideon and his host were “faint” but had no desire to quit. Their physical powers had ebbed and they needed refreshing in order to continue. This refreshment they sought from the people of Succoth and Penuel but were denied it (vs.6-9).
Gideon’s and his army, in spite of their faintness, continued their pursuit of their enemy and eventually overcame and destroyed them (vs.10-12, 21).
Paul tells us, “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not,” (Galatians 6:9).
Becoming faint in our everyday duties is normal. Becoming faint in our duties and service for God is normal as well. We still live in corrupt and weak bodies that are subject to tiredness and require rest. We also live in a world where there’s opposition to holiness and our service to God by our enemy Satan. We do have the world, the flesh and the devil working against us as we work for God. All these forces opposed to us and resisting us as we contend for the faith and pursue God’s purpose for our life wear us down. We can get very depressed and be disappointed at the state of the church as it seems to become more worldly, and of the sin, and disobedience of professing Christians. And were it not for God’s sustaining and enabling grace we could not go on.
We make a terrible mistake if we think Christian service will be all sunshine and roses. We find out that we must press on when we don’t feel like it, when we feel like we’re going it alone, when we think no one cares and it doesn’t seem to matter to anyone else. We find that we must pursue after God and fulfill His will when we’re going through the storm, the valley, and the fire, through great depression and disappointment and loss and misunderstanding.
By being faithful to our calling and our God-given duties and keeping our eyes on the goal the adversities that we experience along the way have a way of shaping and forming our character and instilling us with a strength that we never would have possessed if the way had been easy (James 1:2-4). There are no shortcuts to real Christian maturity.
The question is not, will I pursue after God, but will I pursue after God and obey Him when the way is rough and covered with thorns and it cost me something at every turn in the road, and I grow faint, and become disappointed and depressed? Will I then go to God for renewal that I may continue in His way and be faithful to Him?
James H. Cagle lives in Ray City, Ga., and is a former Hamilton County resident.