Mighty, magnificent Moses was too strong for God. So God cut him down to size.
Adopted into the Egyptian king’s family, Moses spent the first third of his life seeped in the accoutrements of privileged royalty. Knowledge of astronomy, chemistry, mathematics, engineering, music, art, and hieroglyphics was poured into his mind. From head to toe he was precisely groomed in statesmanship as well as in military prowess. Sipping the cup of a bright future, Moses was recognized as the crème de la crème: “And Moses was instructed in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and he was mighty in his words and deeds” (Acts 7:22 ESV). No doubt about it, Moses was somebody.
But he was not the somebody God could use mightily until he had spent the second third of his lifetime in the desert solitudes of Median as a down-to-earth shepherd. At the close of those forty years, Moses was God’s man to lead and instruct millions of men, women, and children during the last third of his life span.
Poles apart from Moses, Gideon had no illusions where he stood on the social ladder: “My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house” (Judges 6:15 ESV). Thinking of himself as a nobody, Gideon was strong enough for God’s use: “The Spirit of the Lord clothed Gideon with Himself and took possession of him” (Judges 6:34 AMP). Wearing that outfit of power and might, Gideon called for volunteers to fight against the band of marauders, who every year for the past seven years had invaded their land and plundered their crops and livestock, leaving its citizens desperate and impoverished. On this, the eighth year, 32,000 men stood with Gideon for a push back.
But Gideon’s army was too strong for God. El Shaddai had to cut it down to size so that at the end of the day, there would be no doubt in anyone’s mind that He–not man–won the war. Because credit for the upcoming victory must go to Him, God Almighty ordered Gideon to reduce the troops. Then, implementing El Shaddai’s battle strategy, 300 home-grown warriors routed an enemy of 135,000 (Judges 7 and Judges 8).
God will not give His glory to another (Isaiah 42:8). “He dare not entrust his power to men, till they are humbled and emptied, and conscious of their helplessness” (F. B. Meyer, Moses: The Servant of God).
“The plain fact is that apart from me,” Jesus admonished, “you can do nothing at all” (John 15:5 Phillips).
At the point where we come to the end of ourselves, God begins His work with us. “To experience God’s sufficiency one must realize one’s own insufficiency. To experience God’s fullness one must empty self” (Nathan Stone, Names of God).
As the apostle Paul clearly learned: “I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10 ESV).