Dr. Stanley Spence, Pastor First Baptist Church, Lincolnton, N.C.
Gideon is a hero of the Bible for how he handled the worshippers of Baal. On a quick retelling of the story for which he is remembered we turn to Judges 7. God tells Gideon he has too many men to fight the Midianites. His reasoning to Gideon was your people will brag they were the ones who won the battle. There is clearly a desire for God to receive the credit for the victory, but has to manage human desire to take the credit from God.
Ultimately Gideon reduces the number going into battle with three hundred vs. thousands whose numbers could not be counted. Yet, the victory was handed to Gideon and his men. They blew trumpets and held torches on the high ground perimeters of the army in the valley. The outcome was confusion in the valley with soldiers killing each other for they were strangers to each other. I can only imagine the faith it took to expose 300 men to such a risk. Knowing God had shown him a vision ahead of time is all that could have prepared him for the battle risk. Because of this, God took the glory from the field, not the Israelite soldiers.
In our churches today we face warfare of sorts against the powers of darkness and their minions. Sometimes I fear we seek to take the credit for victories from the field when God is the author of our victories. How can we measure God when we can’t see from His perspective? When a church drops in membership we forget that the prudent gardener trims the vine for a healthy crop harvest. Sometimes we must submit to God’s work no matter the numbers and outcomes as seen by the world because He is doing a mighty work not a halfway job.
In refinishing furniture one must take the finish of the wood down to its original surface and build the finish back out from there. God is finishing what He started; He works best with the souls who are totally yielded to Him. If you had been a soldier of the Lord in the Bible you would have faced many obstacles through life. There would have been the Red Sea with Pharaohs’ Army in dangerous pursuit being caught in the middle. There would have been a wall of water to pass through to safety on the other side that looked dangerous even as you passed through. There would have been Gideon’s Army of 300 against thousands of enemy soldiers. There would have been years in captivity in Babylon for disobedience to God and years of coming back from the suffering of those days. There would have been days of hopelessness and helplessness as the Savior of the world was to be a victim of the Roman and Jewish conspiracy to remove threats to their political ambitions. Even some of His closest confidants, one betrayed Him, one denied Him and the rest hid behind locked doors. Even today, churches seem content to hide behind safe walls from the world instead of letting God’s mission be our number one mission in life. Gideon was a hero because he let God’s plan unfold. I believe the church should be the same way. Let’s let the mission of God unfold and let’s be obedient to Him. If He is pruning us then let’s be faithful and watch Him work His miracles.
Personally, I love to watch God work. I like it more when I am participating in it
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