Saturday, February 28, 2015

you want me to do what?!!!

Judges 6

 The Israelites did evil in the LORD's sight.

So the LORD handed them over to the Midianites for seven years.

 The Midianites were so cruel that the Israelites made hiding places for themselves in the mountains, caves, and strongholds.

3 Whenever the Israelites planted their crops, marauders from Midian, Amalek, and the people of the east would attack Israel,4 camping in the land and destroying crops as far away as Gaza.

They left the Israelites with nothing to eat, taking all the sheep, goats, cattle, and donkeys.

 These enemy hordes, coming with their livestock and tents, were as thick as locusts; they arrived on droves of camels too numerous to count.

And they stayed until the land was stripped bare.

 So Israel was reduced to starvation by the Midianites.

Then the Israelites cried out to the LORD for help.

  7 When they cried out to the LORD because of Midian,8 the LORD sent a prophet to the Israelites.

He said, "This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: I brought you up out of slavery in Egypt.

9 I rescued you from the Egyptians and from all who oppressed you.

I drove out your enemies and gave you their land.

10 I told you, 'I am the LORD your God. You must not worship the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you now live.'

But you have not listened to me."

  11 Then the angel of the LORD came and sat beneath the great tree at Ophrah, which belonged to Joash of the clan of Abiezer.

Gideon son of Joash was threshing wheat at the bottom of a winepress to hide the grain from the Midianites.

 The angel of the LORD appeared to him and said, "Mighty hero, the LORD is with you!"

  13 "Sir," Gideon replied, "if the LORD is with us, why has all this happened to us?

And where are all the miracles our ancestors told us about?

Didn't they say, 'The LORD brought us up out of Egypt'?

But now the LORD has abandoned us and handed us over to the Midianites."

14 Then the LORD turned to him and said, "Go with the strength you have, and rescue Israel from the Midianites. I am sending you!"

  15 "But Lord," Gideon replied, "how can I rescue Israel?

My clan is the weakest in the whole tribe of Manasseh, and I am the least in my entire family!"

  16 The LORD said to him, "I will be with you. And you will destroy the Midianites as if you were fighting against one man."

And that's exactly what happened - Gibeon did what the Lord told him to do, & he got rid of all the Midianites.

The story of Gibeon & his leading Israel to get rid of the Midianites is in Judges 6-8. Give it a read when you get a chance.

Israel was in an impossible place - the Midianites were an evil bunch.

And the Lord called Gibeon, who saw himself as the least important, the least able person in the weakest tribe in all of Israel.

iow, he thought he was the least of the least - the most unlikely person to lead Israel against the Midianites, a really rough crowd.

And the Lord says 5 words to him that changes everything.

"I will be with you."

And Gibeon ended up doing exactly what the Lord told him he could do.

Now, we may criticize Gibeon for not trusting the Lord.

But then, we know the end of the story.

Gibeon didn't.

So it's understandable that Gibeon would find it hard to believe he was going to pull off what the Lord had told him to do.

Like Israel suffering under the Midianites, many of us seem to be in an impossible place.

And in that impossible, God tells us to be & do something.

And we look at the impossible thing(s) He tells us to be & do.

And we look at the impossible place we are in.

And we see how much impossible it is for someone as weak & inferior to be & do what He wants us to be & do.

And all God says back to us are 5 little one syllable words.

"I will be with you."

And that makes us able to be & do what He calls us to be & do.

I know Mother Teresa felt just like Gibeon.

So does Billy Graham.

Pope Francis does too.

And so did Bill Bright, founder of Campus Crusade for Christ.

Louis Giglio, founder of Passion, does too,

and Chris Tomlin, singer / song writer

and David Crowder, singer / song writer,

and a lot of other folks,

and me.

But if God calls us to be & do something for Him, all of us, including you, can hang on to those 5 words...

     "I will be with you."

And we can trust that He will be.

And we become capable as a result.

How do I know?

I've experienced it.

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