You have to love Gideon. Israel is in bad shape. They have abandoned God. Not just a little but completely. Absolutely, positively left Him for good. They Midianites have devastated them and humiliate them for sport. It is embarrassing.
Gideon carries out his daily work in a pit so the Midianites won’t harass him. It works but God knows where he is. So … God shows up on the scene one day. Just like God when you think He can’t find you. The angel of God appeared to him and said, “God is with you, O mighty warrior!” Really? Seriously? He is hiding in a pit. You just have a sense this is going to be rich.
So how would you respond to this? How would I? Probably like Gideon. Skeptical is an understatement. Gideon replied, “With me, my master? If God is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all the miracle-wonders our parents and grandparents told us about, telling us, ‘Didn’t God deliver us from Egypt?’ The fact is, God has nothing to do with us—he has turned us over to Midian.”
That is a pretty honest and direct way to reply to God. Interesting in that it didn’t bother God. Not in the least. God had a plan. It involved Gideon. God was going to win. So God faced him directly: “Go in this strength that is yours. Save Israel from Midian. Haven’t I just sent you?”
At this point you would think Gideon would get it. I mean really. What is it going to take. This is God. But no. Gideon said to him, “Me, my master? How and with what could I ever save Israel? Look at me. My clan’s the weakest in Manasseh and I’m the runt of the litter.” Ha. The runt of the litter. That is good. But God doesn’t laugh. And … he said it to God. Now I’m thinking lightening is about to strike. But it didn’t bother God. Not in the least. God had a plan. It involved Gideon. God was going to win. He is so patient.
God said to him, “I’ll be with you. Believe me, you’ll defeat Midian as one man.”
And that was that.
One of my favorite stories is told in a book called “Believe in the God who Believes in You.” Robert Schuller tells about spending the week with a guide in Russia. The lady was an atheist. Bob prayed “What can I say to her?” Here’s what he said happened:
“My words came out without a forethought… I said “I have good news for you.” “Well?” She looked at me; she waited.
“God loves you,” I said. “even if you don’t believe it. And God believes in you even if you don’t believe in Him.”
Wow! That’s so powerful. Even when we don’t believe in Him. Even when we don’t know about Him. Even if we are being just plain stubborn… God believes in us.
It’s just a fact. Because our God is Good.
Nehemiah was an amazing man of God. He had a big yes going on in his life. He knew how awesome God is. He understood loyalty. He was humble at the core, seeking to get God’s work done. Like Nehemiah, we have come back to God. He has put us back in right standing with Himself. Now we get it.
May we be a mighty prayer warrior like Nehemiah. May we do God’s work and restore His people.
“I said, ‘God, God-of-Heaven, the great and awesome God, loyal to his covenant and faithful to those who love him and obey his commands: Look at me, listen to me. Pay attention to this prayer of your servant that I’m praying day and night in intercession for your servants, the People of Israel, confessing the sins of the People of Israel. And I’m including myself, I and my ancestors, among those who have sinned against you. ‘We’ve treated you like dirt: We haven’t done what you told us, haven’t followed your commands, and haven’t respected the decisions you gave to Moses your servant. All the same, remember the warning you posted to your servant Moses: ‘If you betray me, I’ll scatter you to the four winds, but if you come back to me and do what I tell you, I’ll gather up all these scattered peoples from wherever they ended up and put them back in the place I chose to mark with my Name.'” Nehemiah 1:5-9 MSG
- Nehemiah’s Story (thisdaywithgod.wordpress.com)
- Day 3 | Let us therefore repent before the Lord (mormonapologeticstudies.org)
- Daily Devotion from the Church Health Center – Nehemiah 8:5-6 (panoramicviews.wordpress.com)
- Gen. 23; Matt. 22; Neh. 12; Acts 22 (66books.wordpress.com)
What can go wrong? Our fear is that anything and everything will go wrong. That is an enemy whispering in our ear. It isn’t true.
We serve a loving savior, Jesus. The plans He has for us are good ones. May we focus on what He is doing and not listen to the enemy whispering in our ear.
“If you continue to love Jesus, nothing much can go wrong with you, and I hope you will always do so.” ~~C.S.Lewis
- Lessons Learned Through Forgiving My Dad’s Murderer (lauriecoombs.org)
- Faith Child – Serving Him? – He is best (ptl2010.com)
- Your Choice (shelleywilliamsblog.com)
There is my way and God’s way. What happens when we live God’s way? Imagine an orchard and the fruit that it produces. That is what God does for us. It is a gift because He loves us so much and is so very good. His gifts are like fruit just showing up one day. Bam!!!
So what are some of the gifts he gives us so freely? A real affection for others. Nothing fake at all. How about that amazing exuberance for living every day for Him? Remember the serenity that comes from knowing that He is so great? How about that compassion we sensed one day when normally we wouldn’t even care? And that conviction that we have never experienced before. A sense of being set apart for God and His purpose.
Now here is a gift worth receiving. Finding ourselves involved in loyal commitments we have never imagined before.
May we marshal our energy wisely taking full advantage of His gifts.
- What fruit am I bearing? (mww1954.wordpress.com)
Because of what Jesus did, we can walk right up to God. We don’t even have to hesitate. We can just go right in to His presence and the place where His absolute perfection radiates completely. Jesus made the way clear. It was by His blood and His sacrifice. Nothing I could do to make it happen. This is His new plan for us. He has a whole new strategy for how we can be with Him and His awesome love.
So … let’s do it. Let us believe and be confident that we are in fact presentable. We don’t have to be ashamed at all. We are clean inside and out. Let’s get a firm grip on the promises that keep us moving in to His way. Has He ever not kept His word?
In fact, let’s get creative in how we can encourage love and helping each other out. Let’s be really inventive coming up with entirely new ways to show it. The Big Day is coming. Let’s get ready for it.
May we spur each other on. May we help each other out every time we get a chance.
The work of Michelangelo is stunning. Clearly a man of creative vision and huge artistic talent. This sums it all up I think.
Of course I love the reference to the angel. God give us great talent. We can see but will we carve?
Jesus challenges us to see and carve.
“I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.” ~Michelangelo Buonarroti
- Viewing the Taddei Tondo (candiacomesclean.wordpress.com)
- Lessons from Michelangelo — Part 1 (caerusartresidency.wordpress.com)
- November 1 1512 Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel ceiling opens to public (craighill.net)
- Beethoven and Michelangelo: Colossal Utopianism (wqxr.org)