Tuesday, April 4, 2017

The Story of God: Gideon

Whether it was Moses leading the people.  Or Joshua.  It didn't matter.   God’s desire was still for the people to trust Him, learn from their past mistakes, and allow Him to be their guide.  

The people failed to do that and kept getting into trouble.  

So He sent “judges" to lead them out of trouble.  

The Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord, and for seven years he gave them into the hands of the Midianites...When the Israelites cried out to the Lord because of Midian, he sent them a prophet, who said, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: I brought you up out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. I rescued you from the hand of the Egyptians. And I delivered you from the hand of all your oppressors; I drove them out before you and gave you their land. 10 I said to you, ‘I am the Lord your God; do not worship the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you live.’ But you have not listened to me.”  Judges 6:1-10

When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.”  Judges 6:12

What does it mean to have God's favor in our lives?  What does it feel like to have God's blessing?

Gideon wondered the same thing.  

 “Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our ancestors told us about when they said, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up out of Egypt?’ But now the Lord has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian.”  Judges 6:13

How could God be with them and yet they still had problems?

Can I have God’s presence and not have God’s power?
Can God be by my side but not on my side?
Can God be with me and not be for me?

God had not left them but His favor was not on them.  They had His presence but not His power.

When things are not going well, the first thing we do is assume God is either not with us or no longer on our side.  

Maybe it’s because we have asked God to bless what is un-blessable.

How do we know if what we are doing is "bless-able?"

Who gets the credit? God is not interested in giving us glory.
Who does it help? God is not interested in supporting our selfish plans.  He gives us gifts so we can bless others.
How will it affect my character? God is not going to empower us to do something that leads us away from His heart.
How does this fit into God’s big plan? God will orchestrate things according to His overall plan...which we cannot see.

This does not mean that everything else fails. It means that nothing else will last.  


14 The Lord turned to him and said, “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?” 15 “Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.” 16 The Lord answered, “I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites, leaving none alive.” 17 Gideon replied, “If now I have found favor in your eyes, give me a sign that it is really you talking to me.  Judges 6:14-17

The Lord said to Gideon, “You have too many men. I cannot deliver Midian into their hands, or Israel would boast against me, ‘My own strength has saved me.’  Judges 7:2

GOD WAS ADDRESSING THE CRITERIA FOR BLESS-ABLE THINGS:  God would get the credit.  This would help the oppressed tribes.  This would strengthen Gideon’s faith.  This would save Israel, thus working with God’s plan of salvation.

God’s favor follows obedience (more than strength or size)

When the three hundred trumpets sounded, the Lord caused the men throughout the camp to turn on each other with their swords. The army fled…  Judges 7:22

God’s favor follows wisdom (more than intelligence or strategy)

Thus Midian was subdued before the Israelites and did not raise its head again. During Gideon’s lifetime, the land had peace forty years. 
Joshua 8:28

God’s favor leaves a legacy (more than a feeling)

Sometimes we need a victory to heal us.  Sometimes we need a loss. 

If my loss makes me more like my Creator, then it is a win!
If my victory damages my goodness, then it is a loss.

God will lead us directly into trouble, loss, and disappointment if it serves the bigger purpose,

Don’t mistake disappointment for defeat.

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