Saturday, May 16, 2015

Gideon: God Gives Victory

Based on Judges 6 and 7

1.  God doesn't see us as we see ourselves. 

We all have people in our lives who believe in us, but we also all have people in our lives who know the worst in us.  Have you ever felt stereotyped?  Maybe someone in your family knows that "you will never change".  Maybe you've been told this is who you are for so long that you feel there are areas in your life that make you insufficient, inadequate.  Maybe this is how Gideon felt.  When God calls Gideon to work for Him, His response is, "I am the least in my father's house." (Judges 6:15).  But the Lord called Gideon a "mighty man of valour" (Judges 6:12).  No matter what we struggle with, how others see us, or how we see ourselves, God sees us as a capable individual who He can use!

2.  God's presence with us is what qualifies us for ministry.

The beautiful thing about the Gospel commission is that Jesus follows up the command, "Go yet therefore, and teach all nations", with the promise "and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world."  (Matthew 28:19-20).  Ministry isn't a bed of roses.  God doesn't promise us that everything will be easy, but He does promise us that He will be with us.  In a world that places an high estimation on education and qualifications, it's easy to get caught up in the cycle of feeling unqualified.  But God qualifies the called.  The greatest qualifier for ministry has always been God's presence with humanity.  Moses said, "I am not eloquent,"  God said, "I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shall say." (Exodus 4:10,12).  Jeremiah said, "I cannot speak, for I am a child", but God said, "Be not afraid...for I am with thee."  (Jeremiah 1:6,8)

3.  Following God means standing up for Him - starting in our family.

The very first thing God gave Gideon to do after calling him, was to tear down the idols in his family's home.  This was no easy task, in fact, it almost cost him his life!  We all have families, and when we choose to follow God, the first place He asks us to serve Him in is in our family.  For Abraham this meant leaving his family to follow God's call.  For Jesus, this meant working in the carpentry shop.  For us, it could mean listening respectfully to our parents' advice, when we've heard them so much we have it memorized!  For me, doing Bible work has helped me grow closer to my family.  As I've seen broken families and broken marriages, I've come to appreciate my parents more, and the things that used to bother me pale into insignificance.  God also challenges us to cut down the idols in our own lives.  What are we idolizing?  Grades in school?  Relationships?  Accomplishments?  Appearance?  Cut out the idols!

4.  Victory requires radical obedience - even when what God says doesn't make sense.

Imagine for a moment, that you are Gideon.  You have moved past looking at your inadequacies, and decided to go forward in faith that God will deliver.  You are now going to do your best to organize an army against the enemy.  After all, we must be responsible with the work God has called us to do, right?  But God has a different plan; He says to Gideon, "The people who are with you are too many".  How would you feel now?  The enemies against you numbers 120,000 men, and your army is only 32,000, and yet God is saying your army is too big?  Doesn't make sense does it?  Here we see a fundamental lesson for serving God:  God's ways are not our ways.  We may think we have the knowledge, or the best plan for evangelism, but God always overrules.  God works in a way that people can see He is the One who has given us the victory.  God gave the victory to Gideon and his army of only 300 men.  "For there is no restraint to the LORD to save by many or by few."  (1 Sam. 14:6).  

If you feel God is calling you to do something crazy for Him, that doesn't totally make sense, go for it!  God is able, He has called you!  You are chosen, you are a mighty man or woman of God!  Follow His leading!