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There are some people in the bible that you just want to take by the shoulders and shake them or give them a slap… right?
We know the end of the story and if only THEY knew what we knew eh… We have the hindsight, or the foresight… since it hasn’t happened to Gideon yet to know the great things that God is going to do to and in and through and for Gideon…
Judges 6:1-6 Then once again the Israelites started disobeying the LORD, so he let the nation of Midian control Israel for seven years. The Midianites were so cruel that many Israelites ran to the mountains and hid in caves. Every time the Israelites would plant crops, the Midianites invaded Israel together with the Amalekites and other eastern nations. They rode in on their camels, set up their tents, and then let their livestock eat the crops as far as the town of Gaza. The Midianites stole food, sheep, cattle, and donkeys. Like a swarm of locusts, they could not be counted, and they ruined the land wherever they went. The Midianites took almost everything that belonged to the Israelites, and the Israelites begged the LORD for help.
Judges 6:11-16 One day an angel from the LORD went to the town of Ophrah and sat down under the big tree that belonged to Joash, a member of the Abiezer clan. Joash’s son Gideon was nearby, threshing grain in a shallow pit, where he could not be seen by the Midianites. The angel appeared and spoke to Gideon, “The LORD is helping you, and you are a strong warrior.” Gideon answered, “Please don’t take this wrong, but if the LORD is helping us, then why have all of these awful things happened? We’ve heard how the LORD performed miracles and rescued our ancestors from Egypt. But those things happened long ago. Now the LORD has abandoned us to the Midianites.” Then the LORD himself said, “Gideon, you will be strong, because I am giving you the power to rescue Israel from the Midianites.” Gideon replied, “But how can I rescue Israel? My clan is the weakest one in Manasseh, and everyone else in my family is more important than I am.” “Gideon,” the LORD answered, “you can rescue Israel because I am going to help you! Defeating the Midianites will be as easy as beating up one man.”
As much as I want to slap Gideon – I also love him. He is an ordinary man living in difficult times that has an extraordinary encounter with God that changes his life. And it shows each one of us that we can trust the Word of God and that we can trust the promises of God and that with God we can do all things!
In fact I think Gideon would describe himself as even less than ordinary… in his first conversation with God he calls himself the least of his family, which is the least in his tribe, which is the least in all the tribes of Israel. He is threshing wheat hiding in a shallow pit instead of out in the open so the chaff blows away… Israel is oppressed and subdued by the Midianites and life is really really hard. In order to stay alive you didn’t stick your neck out and children were taught to survive, not succeed…
All of us hear the Word of God in the context of our life and the challenge is to not respond out of context but to take the truth of what God says and make that real in our lives….
Gideon heard the word of God – heard God calling him a mighty man of valour and he put it in the context of hiding in a shallow pit and calling himself a useless weakling.
Again God calls him a strong warrior, promising to be with him.
That is the key – God with us. In ourselves we are just us… human. Ordinary. Gifted yes, unique yes. But still human.
1 Corinthians 1:27-29 God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.
2 Corinthians 4:7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us;
One God plus one weakling is always a majority in any fight. ‘I will be with you’ God tells Gideon, and that is all that we should ever need to know.
Remember Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
Gods word is truth. Truth. Nothing changes that. We cant dumb it down to our context. We need to lift our faith and experience and live it out, trusting God. God sees all and he knows all. He sees the past and the present and the future. He works in us to complete his plan and purpose.
The challenge for each of us is to not look at what God says in context of our lives and even the way we feel about ourselves, but to fix our eyes upon HIM and his truth… the God with us part. It is him that makes us succeed and overcome.
We need to know that God is with us and when God is with us we can do all things! We need not self-confidence but GOD CONFIDENCE – confidence in who God is and that he will act exactly as he says he will! We can have faith in God! Today we need to put our hope and our trust in God and step out and be all that God has called us to be. We need to believe His Word and what He says about us. We may feel small and insignificant but God takes our lives and demonstrates himself through us. Nothing is impossible with God and that means that when he is with us nothing is impossible for us! All things are possible because of the might and glory and power of God. Have confidence in God. Go and change the world!
“Only God’s Spirit can change you into a child of God” John 3:6
i’ve been reading in job the last month as part of my reading plan and confess i’ve never really got much out of it before… but am reading it in my CEV and getting heaps, esp the conversation between (or the straight talking!) God to Job…
1From out of a storm, the LORD said to Job:
Can you answer the questions I ask?
4How did I lay the foundation for the earth? Were you there?
What supports the foundation? Who placed the cornerstone, 7while morning stars sang, and angels rejoiced?
8When the ocean was born, I set its boundaries 9and wrapped it in blankets of thickest fog. 10Then I built a wall around it, locked the gates, 11and said, “Your powerful waves stop here! They can go no farther.”
2Did you ever tell the sun to rise? And did it obey?
13Did it take hold of the earth and shake out the wicked like dust from a rug?
14Early dawn outlines the hills like stitches on clothing or sketches on clay. 15But its light is too much for those who are evil, and their power is broken.
16Job, have you ever walked on the ocean floor? 18And how large is the earth? Tell me, if you know!
19Where is the home of light, and where does darkness live? 20Can you lead them home? Have you been to the places where I keep snow and hail, from where does lightning leap, or the east wind blow? 25Who carves out a path for thunderstorms? Who sends torrents of rain 26on empty deserts where no one lives? 27Rain that changes barren land to meadows green with grass.
Can you arrange stars in groups such as Orion and the Pleiades? 32Do you control the stars or set in place the Big Dipper and the Little Dipper? 33Do you know the laws that govern the heavens, and can you make them rule the earth? Can you order the clouds to send a downpour, 35or will lightning flash at your command?
36Did you teach birds to know that rain or floods are on their way? 37Can you count the clouds or pour out their water 38on the dry, lumpy soil?
39When lions are hungry, do you help them hunt? 40Do you send an animal into their den? 41And when starving young ravens cry out to me for food, do you satisfy their hunger? When do mountain goats and deer give birth? Have you been there when their young are born? 2How long are they pregnant 3before they deliver? 4Soon their young grow strong and then leave to be on their own. 5Who set wild donkeys free? 6I alone help them survive in salty desert sand. 7They stay far from crowded cities and refuse to be tamed. 8Instead, they roam the hills, searching for pastureland.