READ: Judges 7:1-7
(1) Jerub-Baal (Gideon) got up early the next morning, all his troops right there with him. They set up camp at Harod’s Spring. The camp of Midian was in the plain, north of them near the Hill of Moreh.
(2-3) God said to Gideon, “You have too large an army with you. I can’t turn Midian over to them like this–they’ll take all the credit, saying, “I did it all myself,’ and forget about me. Make a public announcement: ‘Anyone afraid, anyone who has any qualms at all, may leave Mount Gilead now and go home.'” Twenty-two companies headed for home. Ten companies were left.
(4-5) God said to Gideon: “There are still too many. Take them down to the stream and I’ll make a final cut. When I say, ‘This one goes with you,’ he’ll go. When I say, ‘This one doesn’t go,’ he won’t go.” So, Gideon took the troops down to the stream.
(5-6) God said to Gideon: “Everyone who laps with his tongue, the way a dog laps, set on one side. And everyone who kneels to drink, drinking with his face to the water, set to the other side,” Three hundred lapped with their tongues from their cupped hands. All the rest knelt to drink.
(7) God said to Gideon: “I’ll use the three hundred men who lapped at the stream to save you and give Midian into your hands. All the rest may go home.”
THINK: The book of Judges is filled with violence. Christians struggle to understand how God’s redemptive plan can involve these events. Yet God’s power is at work when the Israelites battle foreign, pagan armies. God uses Gideon to lead the nation into battle for his purposes. But as he guides Gideon, he asks much of him. God cuts Gideon’s army down from thirty-two thousand men to ten thousand, and eventually to three hundred. God wants to show HIS power through Gideon. He wants Israel to credit him.
When have you accomplished things in your own strength and taken all the credit while forgetting about God? When have you accomplished things that seemed big and impossible, knowing you did so only because God intervened?
PRAY: Write a list of huge requests you have for God–things so large that if they came to fruition, you would know they did so only because God intervened. Spend time praying through this list.
LIVE: Review your list on a regular basis, watching for God’s incredible–and at times subtle–intervention. As you see God’s faithfulness, thank him often that he is a caring friend.
My husband and I have had pretty big plan for our lives for nearly all of our married lives. Life has happened and things have popped up that have made us rethink when this plan might be able to come to fruition, but it’s never ceased to be our plan. With our current situation, it appears as though our plan has been derailed. I don’t know if this means that God has a new plan for us or if He has decided to make this plan happen in His timing so we can’t take credit for it, but I can say that, right now, things look pretty bleak on the front of this thing happening. And this is not the only dream that has seemingly been derailed. Usually, I chock situations like this up to the idea that “this must not be God’s will for my life” but these things were pretty big. So big, in fact, that we had arranged big chunks of our lives and our plans to make them happen. And they were good goals. But if I have learned anything over the course of our last three years (and this last year specifically) it has been to remember to hold things loosely, with an open hand. Everything in my life that I have ever tried to clutch onto, to cling to, has been yanked from my grasp. And IT HAS HURT to have it wrenched away from me. But what hurt the most was the realization that what I most hated losing my grasp on was control.
Funny how, when you think you’ve surrendered your life to the Lord, He has to point out to you all the areas where you haven’t really surrendered complete control It’s like we tell God: You can have this much, but no more. You can go this far, but not farther. Have you ever noticed: That only works with God for so long before you are brought to a point where he pushes the issue. Eventually, you have to take a step of obedience (or not). You have to take a leap of faith (or not).
Maybe you’ll be like Gideon and have to throw out 3 fleeces before you are certain God has really meant what He said or that He was really talking to you. Maybe you’ll be so scared to be obedient that you’ll have to do so in the cover of darkness, but you WILL do it. Maybe you’ll question God every step of the way because none of what He’s asking you to do makes any sense, but you still keep walking the path He has set you on. And maybe you’ll be scared the entire way, but you’ll keep walking. It’s the faith that keeps you walking, not the fear you feel with every step. And it’s the faith that will be rewarded – like the so great a cloud of witnesses mentioned in Hebrews 11. Just don’t stop walking, scared or not. Then, once you’ve reached the end, you will see that you have walked the path God laid out for you, scared as can be, and what has been accomplished is a lifetime of actions that you never would’ve dreamed you could’ve accomplished on your own. And for that, you will have to give God all the glory, because without Him, you’d still be sitting in your tent, thinking that surely God is requiring too much of you, even if what He’s asking you to do will lead you straight to the big dreams you’ve hoped for your entire life.