Friday, February 26, 2016

5 Lessons from Gideon




Gideon hid in a hole when times got rough.
Jonah tried to run away from God rather than obey Him. 

I hate to say it but I totally identify with these two men in Scripture. I’ve hidden and I’ve run away. It didn’t work for them and it hasn’t worked for me either.

The best thing about these accounts is that God pursues both Gideon and Jonah. He gives them second and third chances. God has always pursued me with love and patience, no matter how many times it took to get my attention.

Let’s begin with Gideon’s story, told in Judges 6. I don't know about you but, sometimes, I feel pretty comfortable down in a hole!

1. God’s always nearby.
The angel of the LORD came and sat down under the oak in Ophrah that belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, where his son Gideon was threshing wheat in a winepress to keep it from the Midianites. Judges 6:11

Gideon was scared to death and I bet he felt pretty hopeless. I’m sure he thought God had turned His back on him and walked off. But God was there, sitting nearby, under a tree. Unfortunately, Gideon couldn’t see Him because he was hiding down in a hole.

There have been plenty of times I wanted to dig a hole under the bed. Several years ago, my husband and I entered December with the possibility of one or both of us being laid off on December 31. I assumed the worse and decided it was all hopeless. I couldn’t see God because I was deep in the hole of fear. Well, Charlie was laid off but I wasn’t. I was still panicked, but we tightened our belts until we were almost cut in half and we managed until Charlie found a new job. Just like with Gideon, God was nearby.

I don't know what "Midianites" are attacking your life: financial problems, broken relationships, physical or mental illness. I beg you to lift your eyes above your circumstances and look for God. He is there! It might not be easy, it might not be comfortable, and you might sometimes let fear get the better of you, but God never leaves you or abandons you.

He was and is always faithful!

And, by the way, what were the angel of the LORD's first words to Gideon? “The LORD is with you."

2. God sees the best in us.
When the angel of the LORD appeared to Gideon, he said, “The LORD is with you, mighty warrior.” Judges 6:12


Mighty warrior! Are you kidding? Not too many mighty warriors hide in winepresses. In fact, over the next few verses, Gideon describes himself as the least of the least. Gideon doesn’t think very highly of himself.

In November, 2005, I was pretty down on myself. I had just been laid off and felt pretty useless and worthless. Over then next few months, God shocked me, “ I’m with you, Bible-study author.” I responded much the same way Gideon did, “Are you kidding? I can’t do that! I don’t know how!”

When God looked at Gideon, He saw his potential. He knew what Gideon could be if he surrendered himself to God. And, later in the story, Gideon became what God proclaimed him to be: a mighty warrior. And, guess what – a couple years later, I became what God said I would be: a Bible-study author!

You might feel like a coward or loser, but trust me, you are not! When God looks at you, He sees your potential in Him. God saw Gideon as a mighty warrior because He knew Gideon would be one. What does God call you? Great parent, mighty nurse or doctor, excellent friend or family member, outstanding Walmart associate. Whatever you are God sees you at your best. Close you eyes and see yourself as God sees you. Tape those words to your bathroom mirror and the rear view mirror in your car.

You ARE who God says you are!

3. God’s big enough to take our questions.
“Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, but if the LORD is with us, why has all this happened to us?...But now the LORD has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian.” Judges 6:13

Gideon may have been terrified of the Midianites but he wasn't afraid to question God. The oppression around him convinced him that God had abandoned him; he blamed God!

I promise you, I'm not afraid, either. I've asked Him "Why," "When," "What are You doing?" and several others. Even Jesus asked God, "Why have you forsaken me?" from the cross (Matthew 27:46).

You might have lots of questions about your life. Go ahead and ask them - but then listen for the answers. Gideon didn't turn His back on the angel of the LORD after he questioned Him. He listened for His answer. God can use our questions to teach us and to reveal Himself to us.

4. God enables us to act when He calls us.
The LORD answered, “I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites, leaving none alive.”  Judges 6:16

Gideon thought he was totally unqualified and that God had called the wrong person. But God answered his fears, “I will be with you." God wasn't going to snap His fingers and defeat the Midianites. He was going to walk beside Gideon as he went into battle.

Ninety percent of the time, God doesn't deliver us miraculously. When lies attacked my family, I begged for deliverance but God promised His presence. 

You are never without His presence. 

You might wade through the floods but you won't drown because God is with you.
You can walk through fire but you won't be burned because God is with you.

These promises are in Isaiah 43:2-3 and they have carried me through many a crisis. 

God reveals His faithfulness to us through our circumstances, just as He did to Gideon. Sure, Gideon reluctantly lifted his eyes but God understood his doubt and fear, just as He understands ours. 
  • Hold on to God's promise of His presence. 
  • Believe in His power to enable you. 
  • Have faith that He is victorious through Jesus Christ.  
Next week, we'll learn from Jonah!


This post is drawn from my Bible study, Storms of Life. This might be a great Bible study for your ladies group.

If these words bless you, please share!

Raccoon photo: morguefile.com
Who me?: depositphotos.com
God is with you: 1illustratinglady

8 comments:

  1. Sherry, raising my hand in guilt! So appropriate for us "mighty warriors!" Not. I'm so afraid many times, but God does come thru. The first of last year is another recent proof. So very thankful! And thank you for sharing that timely reminder. Your posts are always uplifting.

    ReplyDelete
  2. My hand's waving around, too, Carole! God is always faithful. Blessings, sweet friend!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Sherry
    Love this because it reminds us we serve an almighty God who has no limitations. Oh, how often I forget. Thanks for the encouragement to keep looking up.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We all forget, Deb. Praise God that He never tires of reminding us that we are mighty in Him.

      Delete
  4. Beautiful thoughts. Yes, God indeed reveals His faithfulness through our circumstances. Blessings to you!

    ReplyDelete
  5. What would we do without His faithfulness - and His patience! Thanks for stopping by, Cheryl

    ReplyDelete
  6. I need this so today!
    I will read more about this thema.
    Thank you so much.

    http://kostbaar.blogspot.nl/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Isn't it amazing how God leads us to something we need on just the day we need it? He loves us! Thanks for commenting, Jedidja.

      Delete