The Right Men for The Right Time


And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets."  Hebrews 11:32


In this chapter Paul clearly demonstrated his assertion that "faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen" (v. 1). He has shown us that "by it the elders obtained a good report" (v. 2). The Holy Spirit has set before us numerous and remarkable examples of that faith that he works in the hearts of chosen sinners.


Many others might have been cited; but it was not needful for him to describe each example of God given faith in Old Testament history. Therefore, as he closes this great chapter, encouraging us to go on believing God, he simply names these six prominent believers (and all the prophets of God) who lived and died by faith in Christ, and gives us a brief, general description of their great acts of faith.


Men Raised Up


These men were raised up by God for the day in which they lived, each one raised up at precisely the right time for the work to which he had been appointed from eternity. The time was right for them and they were right for the time. They were, like the apostles of Christ, Luther, Calvin, Gill, Toplady, Whitefield, Edwards, and Spurgeon, ordinary men, raised up by God in times of extraordinary crisis, for the good of his church and kingdom and the preservation and furtherance of his gospel, for the glory of his own great name.


This needs to be carefully borne in mind. Their calling was extraordinary. Their deeds were extraordinary. But they were ordinary men, men with the same faith God has given us, specifically raised up by God for the day in which they lived, specifically raised up by God to do the work they did for his glory.


Who can tell?


As Mordecai said to Esther, so I say to you, “Who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Est. 4:14)


Some time ago, a friend of mine who was a bit disheartened by the things that had transpired in his life, began to find some encouragement in God’s wise and good providence, and said to me, “Maybe the Lord has something for me to do.” As I read the stories of these men, my heart dances with this thought— “Maybe the Lord has something for me to do.”


                Who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?




And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets."                                        Hebrews 11:32


Israel could not have been in much worse condition than they were when God raised up Gideon to deliver his people. Three judges preceded him (Othniel, Ehud, and Barak), who delivered them from the hand of their enemies. Yet, a fourth time they departed from their God and were made to groan under the yoke of an oppressor.




Though the oppressors did not know it, and Israel seemed to be ignorant of it, God used the oppressors (Ps. 76:10) to make his people cry out to him! By the oppression of the wicked, the Lord God separated the precious from the vile and proved his people (Jud. 2:16-19). It is in the darkest days of apostasy that Gideons shine bright. Trials and persecutions only strengthen faith. They never destroy it. They only destroy that which is false. Everything that can be shaken will be shaken. But those who are God’s are made manifest by the very things that destroy the hypocrite (1 Cor. 11:19). The Midianites held Israel in bondage (Jud. 6). So great was the number of those who had invaded their land, that they "left no sustenance for Israel" and "Israel was greatly impoverished because of the Midianites" (Jud. 6:4, 6). But that was by no means the worst of it. Israel was so far and so completely turned away from God to the worship of Baal, that to oppose it was considered a criminal act, deserving of death (Jud. 6:28-30). Nevertheless God had promised "the Lord shall judge his people, and repent himself for his servants, when he seeth that their power is gone" (Deut. 32:36), and now, once again, he would prove his word good.


A Man Prepared


God found a man named Gideon, whom he had made to be a "mighty man of valor" (Jud. 6:12). God has no trouble finding the right man for the right job at the right time. He always has the right man ready, readied by his grace. As a mighty man of valor, Gideon was clearly a picture of Christ, of whom it is written, “I have laid help upon One that is mighty. I have exalted One chosen out of the people.” Still, Gideon had to be prepared (Jud. 6:12-14). No man will ever be fit to serve God until he finds all his strength in Christ. And no man will ever look to Christ for strength until he knows his utter weakness. Thus it was with Gideon; thus it is still. Only a man purged of all self-sufficiency will look to Christ for all sufficiency. Only a man purged of all strength is made strong in the Lord and “a vessel fit for the Master’s use.” "For when I am weak, then am I strong." God never uses an unprepared instrument; and the first part of the preparation process is to empty the chosen instrument of all self-sufficiency that he may thoroughly trust Christ, looking to Christ alone for grace and strength. Gideon’s "might" was to be his conscious weakness. As soon as that was realized, he would be forced to believe the Lord’s declaration, "Thou shalt save Israel." Now, look at Judges 6:15. Gideon now asks, "Oh my Lord, wherewith shall I save Israel? behold, my family is poor in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house." Now the servant is ready! The Lord God responded to Gideon’s acknowledged helplessness: "Surely I will be with thee, and thou shalt smite the Midianites as one man" (verse 16). How blessed! When the believing heart realizes this, it exclaims confidently, "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me" (Phil. 4:13).