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.
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.
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.
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.
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