Vineyard Life Journal

An online forum for our church family to connect around our 2012 daily Bible reading plan using the S.O.A.P. method.

Day 88

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Welcome to Day 88 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: Judges 6, 7; Psalms 52; 1 Corinthians 14 (2012 Daily Bible Reading Plan)

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

S cripture

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.

O bservation

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.

Right…

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.

A pplication

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.

P rayer

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!

 

 

 

 

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2 thoughts on “Day 88

  1. Gideon replied, “If now I have found favor in your eyes, give me a sign that it is really you talking to me. Judges 6:17 NIV

    It stood out to me that Gideon asked for a sign. We often think of this as testing God. “Do not test the LORD your God as you did at Massah.” Deut 6:16 NIV. Gideon, however, was not testing God in that he doubted in Him but more in a way to be sure he was clear about what he was supposed to do. It seems to be more inquiring instead of testing. I will do this when facing a big decision. I have had several big decisions in the last year and prayed for a message or sign. Expecting a subtle whisper, I ended up receiving humongous flashing neon sign.

    The one who prays using a private “prayer language” certainly gets a lot out of it, but proclaiming God’s truth to the church in its common language brings the whole church into growth and strength. I want all of you to develop intimacies with God in prayer, but please don’t stop with that. Go on and proclaim his clear truth to others. It’s more important that everyone have access to the knowledge and love of God in language everyone understands than that you go off and cultivate God’s presence in a mysterious prayer language—unless, of course, there is someone who can interpret what you are saying for the benefit of all. 1 Corinthians 14:4-5 MSG

    These verses often translate to “Don’t pray in tongues, but prophesy instead”. I like the way The Message presents this, which seems to say that we should use tongues as a private prayer language to develop better intimacies with God then relay His truth in the common language. Speaking in tongues should not be done corporately or in public unless someone who can interpret is available to relay. It is otherwise a waste of time. In addition to this, it can be counterproductive.

    If you come together as a congregation and some unbelieving outsiders walk in on you as you’re all praying in tongues, unintelligible to each other and to them, won’t they assume you’ve taken leave of your senses and get out of there as fast as they can? But if some unbelieving outsiders walk in on a service where people are speaking out God’s truth, the plain words will bring them up against the truth and probe their hearts. Before you know it, they’re going to be on their faces before God, recognizing that God is among you. 1 Corinthians 14:23-25 MSG

    Lord, we thank you for whatever language you put on our hearts. Thank you for the signs and confirmations that You give us. We eagerly seek the gifts of Your spirit to lift up the church and Your Name, not as a promotion of ourselves. We give you the Glory!

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