Monday, March 1, 2010

A brief study of Gideon

Gideon’s story is told in Judges 6 and 7

The nation of Israel was suffering under the mistreatment of the Midianites [in the early 1100s BC] and God and the Israelites had had enough. The people asked God for help and like always, He had a plan. But the person He picked to lead this building project felt inadequate, small, afraid of failing.

“How can I rescue Israel? My clan is the weakest in the whole tribe of Manasseh, and I am the least in my entire family!” Gideon wanted God to know [Judges 6:15].

Maybe we’ve felt the same way – totally unprepared and ill-equipped to do the building in front of us, afraid of failing because of what we felt we had to build with. God had an answer for Gideon, and it applies to us too.

“Go with the strength you have . . . . I am sending you . . . . I will be with you,” He told Gideon [Judges 6:14,16].

God saw all He needed to see for Gideon to succeed—the strength he already had, despite where he came from or what family he belonged to or what education he had or anything else. Can you imagine God having said, “I am sending you…unprepared and sure to fail”? Not likely.

When we don’t feel up to the job before us, we often find excuses just like Gideon did. Maybe it’s a lack of money or the proper education, a bad location or a stained past—it doesn’t matter. Apparently what God focuses on is the “strength we have,” not the lack or lackluster appearance we’re so obsessed with. And in Gideon’s case, He wanted Gideon and everyone else to know that success in any form doesn’t come from what we control but from God’s hand — our job is just to build where He says while He directs the whole plan.

Gideon prepared as we might when facing a big task: heavily. He gathered 32,000 soldiers and headed out to find the enemy. Not so fast.

“The Lord said to Gideon, “You have too many warriors with you. If I let all of you fight the Midianites, the Israelites will boast to me that they saved themselves by their own strength.” [Judges 7:2]

See? Perhaps we’ve looked at a lot of fearful situations where we might fail in the wrong way, while God was only seeing an opportunity.

He finally reduced Gideon’s fighting force to 300 men, and on paper, they didn’t have a chance against the Midianite army. But what they did have to rely on was their trust in God, their full dependence on and obedience to Him, win or lose. That’s just the way He wanted it. They obeyed God’s direction and discovered the courage within themselves to overcome their fear and build.

God caused such confusion among the Midianite army that they ended up killing one another or running away. Gideon and his undersized army never touched a soldier, but they acted in trust and obedience, believing in the God who sent them there, planning for victory.

God planned it, he built it.

Today we face challenges of the heart and mind, and we may feel completely unprepared to fight them, pushed down by failures in the past. Maybe you’re fighting addiction or depression, temptation or confusion, anger or hopelessness. But we don’t have to be afraid because God is with us too, and just like He saw the potential in Gideon, He sees the potential in all of us.

“Go with the strength you have,” He’s telling us today. Even if we don’t feel that courage and ability, God will awaken it in us and guide us day by day. Our victories may not come as swiftly as Gideon’s, but our building remains to be done, each swing of the hammer adding up to the success God already sees.

Failing in the outside ways we see may be simply failing to trust and obey, afraid that any move will be the wrong one so we make no move at all. But God says go ahead, work, try, build—and board by board, we can overcome our fear of failing and build with willingness, belief and patience.

If we’re willing to accept the challenge before us, believe God’s chosen us for the victory in His plan, and work patiently through each day, we’ll look back after a while at a whole ‘nother floor to our temple. It may take a long time of building, but we don’t have to fear the work. God is with us. He said so.

May God bless your building . . . .

o ~ o ~ o

How would you have responded if you had been in Gideon’s place?

When have you released your plans and followed God’s will in a fearful situation?

What have you learned about overcoming a fear of failure that you will help you build bigger temples in your life?

o ~ o ~ o

Download this study of Gideon in pdf for easy printing for yourself or your group:
Go here.

Thanks for being part of our tour . . . please post your comments and stories for all our readers. See you soon! God bless you.

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