Thursday, March 29, 2012
Welcome to Day 88 of our Life Journal!
Before you comment or read what I have posted, please read the following passages for yourself and complete your own S.O.A.P. exercise… How does this work?
S.O.A.P = Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer
Judges 6:1 “The Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD, and for seven years he gave them into the hands of the Midianites.”
7 “When the Israelites cried out to the LORD because of Midian, 8 he sent them a prophet, who said, “This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: I brought you up out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. 9 I rescued you from the hand of the Egyptians. And I delivered you from the hand of all your oppressors; I drove them out before you and gave you their land. 10 I said to you, ‘I am the LORD your God; do not worship the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you live.’ But you have not listened to me.”
12 “When the angel of the LORD appeared to Gideon, he said, “The LORD is with you, mighty warrior.” 13 “Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but if the LORD is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our ancestors told us about when they said, ‘Did not the LORD bring us up out of Egypt?’ But now the LORD has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian.” 14 “The LORD turned to him and said,
“Go in the strength you have
and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?” 15 “Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but how can I save Israel?
My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.”
Judges 7 “The LORD said to Gideon, “You have too many men. I cannot deliver Midian into their hands, or Israel would boast against me, ‘My own strength has saved me.’ 3 Now announce to the army, ‘Anyone who trembles with fear may turn back and leave Mount Gilead.’” So twenty-two thousand men left, while ten thousand remained. 8 Gideon sent the rest of the Israelites home but kept the three hundred, who took over the provisions and trumpets of the others.”
15 “He returned to the camp of Israel and called out, “Get up! The LORD has given the Midianite camp into your hands.” 16 Dividing the three hundred men into three companies, he placed trumpets and empty jars in the hands of all of them, with torches inside.”
20 “Grasping the torches in their left hands and holding in their right hands the trumpets they were to blow, they shouted, “A sword for the LORD and for Gideon!” 21 While each man held his position around the camp, all the Midianites ran, crying out as they fled.”
Psalm 52:8 “I am like an olive tree flourishing in the house of God; I trust in God’s unfailing love for ever and ever. 9 For what you have done I will always praise you in the presence of your faithful people. And I will hope in your name, for
your name is good.”
1 Corinthians 14, “The one who prophesies speaks to people for their strengthening, encouraging and comfort.”
18 “I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you. 19 But in the church I would rather speak five intelligible words to instruct others than ten thousand words in a tongue.
God uses broken people… Gideon didn’t see himself as God saw him. “My clan is the weakest, and I am the least in my family…” Not a great self-image of a mighty warrior as the angel referred to him.
And God doesn’t fight battles, or call us to fight battles, in conventional ways. Gideon started with 32,000 men. Paired down to 10,000 men, paired down to 300 men armed with a trumpet, a torch and a bowl.
Imagine being one of those remaining 300 men. And all you have is a trumpet, a torch and a bowl.
Oh… of course they won the battle.
Love the verses from Psalm 52. He saw himself as an “olive tree flourishing in the house of God.”
Compare that statement to Gideon’s…
“I am the least in my family.” vs. “I am an olive tree flourishing in the house of God.”
1 Corinthians 14 is loaded with blog-worthy content… about prophecy and tongues and doing things decently and in order. But if the assignment is to focus on what stands out in each day’s readings… I need to focus on Gideon.
This message has been preached for centuries… “Go in the strength you have, mighty man of valor.”
How God sees us, at times, is vastly different from how we see ourselves. How God fights battles is very different from how we might choose to fight them. His ways are higher than our ways. Etc, etc, etc.
How do I see myself? As the least in my family? Or a mighty man of valor?
I may never use the language David used, “an olive tree flourishing in the house of God,” but I like the imagery. Do I see myself as flourishing or floundering? Do I see what God sees when I look in the mirror? Am I content with trusting God and fighting the battles in life the way God instructs, or am I hiding in a winepress in fear?
God gives us what we need when we need it. If he calls me to fight a battle, he will arm me for it. We might think we need 32,000 to win… He says we need only 300.
As Paul said, “His strength is made perfect in weakness.” It’s not OUR strength that matters… it’s HIS strength.
God said, “Go in the strength that you have.” Sounds like a sliding scale to me.
Give me your strength, Lord… Give me your strategies to fight the battles that need fought.
I pray that you would strengthen each person reading this blog today!