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06 October 2008

How Then Do We Proceed?

I love reading Bible stories that directly impact the way we live life today.

At times the characters in the stories display BAD behavior and we learn what not to do. Other times they display GOOD behavior and we learn what we should do in similar situations.

But I never really looked at the story of Gideon that way until recently.

For those not familiar with the story, Gideon was called by God to lead an army against the Midianites - who had been plundering Israel for seven years.

He started with an army of 32,000 and quickly had his numbers reduced by God in two waves:

  • First, 22,000 that were "fearful and afraid" went home.
  • Next, 9,700 that took too long to rest and drink water were sent home.
This left 300 men to fight against the armies of Midian which the Bible describes like this:
Now the Midianites and Amalekites, all the people of the East, were lying in the valley as numerous as locusts; and their camels were without number, as the sand by the seashore in multitude. Judges 7:12 NKJV
Finally, they were victorious using non-traditional methods and allowing the Power of God to push them over the top.

Life Lessons
Like I said, I typically just read the story and thought it was a cool way for God to help His people. But with fresh eyes I'm starting to see more in the story:
  • Fear: We will face times of fear. But that doesn't have to disqualify us. I'm assuming the 10,000 still had some level of fear or apprehension about the battle, but they didn't leave. When given the out they chose to push through the fear and be part of something great.
  • Readiness: Life is a battle. If we're going to live a purpose driven life and finish strong in the big things we need to be on top of our game in the little things. The 300 knew the battle wasn't right in front of them but they acted as if it was. Instead of kneeling down and making themselves vulnerable, they simply scooped up enough water to keep them going and never took their eyes off the enemy.
  • Innovation: "If we always do what we've always done, we'll always get what we've always gotten." Great summation on the truth that just because something is tradition does not mean it is effective. I love how God showed Gideon (and us) how to think outside the box.
  • Super Powers: When we do things the way God asks us to we leave no room for people to say we were the reason for the success. When we do amazing things with little to no help, it is all the more evident that God showed up and worked through us.
In Summary
What really hit me was the fact that these men were always on. They didn't even stop to rest. And these were the guys God used. Not the fearful ones. Not the ones that wanted to slow down and rest. He used the ones that were always on.

Sounds exhausting. But sounds right. Why wouldn't I strive to do everything in my power to be the person God wants me to be all the time?

Not looking for the next time of rest. Not shirking responsibilities because I'm too busy. And not complaining for crying out loud.

I can't wait to get to heaven so I can meet Gideon and his 300 men.