Ordinary Clay Pitchers

Let’s hope they were sorry for having left the Lord for idols.

Sorry or not, the Israelites were distressed. The Midianites had no mercy on them and commandeered any food and possessions they could find. Now the only safe place to live was in hidden caves and dens.

You know the story. It is one of radical changes: shy, uncertain Gideon became a bold leader. An offering to the angel instantly turned into cinders. Whole pitchers shattered into bits. It seems that when God comes in contact with anything or anyone, things are never quite the same again.

How many busy wives must have given the men their useful clay pitchers that day? A pitcher seemed indispensable, used daily to carry water to their caves. That Gideon should ask for their pitchers to fight the enemy seemed odd and unreasonable. What could he do with ordinary, clay jars? And how was that going to help them get their houses and food back?

The wondering women should have known that this was the Lord’s battle, and that He has amazing ways in which He uses ordinary things. Then on that miraculous night, the pitchers crashed to pieces and revealed the torches blazing inside them. Sleepy Midianites ran around in terrified stupor, and clay shards lay on the ground the next morning.

Once, they had been important in every home. But now the pitchers were shattered, strewn about, and forgotten. It is hard to understand such “waste.”

But how many women bemoaned their useful utensils now that they could return to their homes? Had Gideon’s request for their pitchers been too ludicrous after all?

We are in enemy territory. Our weapons are not tangible, but spiritual ones that are mighty through God. II Corinthians 4 likens Christians to ordinary clay pots. Inside us is the glorious light of Christ. If the light is hidden inside, it is useless to anyone.

Jesus is asking for clay pitchers to use in His army. It seems a strange thing to ask. Why could he not use something more impressive or influential? Why the inevitable breaking and wasting? Could He not at least keep the pitchers whole?

But no. The Lamb of God was broken for the sins of the world. Can we give a lesser sacrifice? It is in relinquishing a most useful vessel that the Lord triumps over the invaders. It is in breaking that the Light shines out and the enemy flees.

Is a clay pitcher too much to ask? Or would you rather keep hiding in a cave?

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