25 November 2008

Preparing for Blessing in the face of Adversity

Judges 6:11-14
11 Now the Angel of the LORD came and sat under the terebinth tree which was in Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, while his son Gideon threshed wheat in the winepress, in order to hide it from the Midianites. 12 And the Angel of the LORD appeared to him, and said to him, “The LORD is with you, you mighty man of valor!” 13 Gideon said to Him, “O my lord, if the LORD is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all His miracles which our fathers told us about, saying, ‘Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt?’ But now the LORD has forsaken us and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites.” 14 Then the LORD turned to him and said, “Go in this might of yours, and you shall save Israel from the hand of the Midianites. Have I not sent you?”

The story of Gideon is perhaps my all time favorite in all of scripture. As I was pondering our nation this the week that we celebrate Thanksgiving (come on 4-day weekend!), I began to pray for our nation and it’s leaders. As I did the Lord brought the story of Gideon to my mind again, and this is what He has shown me:

Sometimes when things look their worst, when we are faced with uncertainty, when we feel oppressed and as if God has abandoned us, He is about to do a great work in your life!

Looking through scripture and through history we can see this pattern. God will withhold a blessing, or allow a circumstance to bring a people or person to a point where they have to choose between a continued dependence on self, or a renewed dependence on God. The bible is replete with revival. Old Testament and New Testament. In people and in nations. When the world throws distractions at us, it gets pretty easy to focus on the circumstances, rather than on God who is the real provider.

Look at Gideon’s response. “Sure you’re with us God, that’s why we are all still in bondage!” Sarcasm was the attitude, and God recognizing this, did not send lightning to smite ye old Gideon (like he probably had coming…), but rather used Gideon, empowered Gideon, and made Gideon an example of God’s grace, power and love.

What Gideon failed to realize is that he had the Lord in him. When the angel called Gideon a ‘mighty man of God’, he already had the might in him. The same can be said for all believers. Gideon denied it by lack of faith and a sarcasm towards God. He viewed his lack of prosperity as a denial of the power of God. You will never find me supporting a blind, name-it and claim-it type prosperity doctrine that defines your success by your financial and physical blessings, and that the lack thereof as completely your fault because of lack of faith. But you will find me preaching that God does want to bless us, and that He desires that we seek His face and His hand by devotion and commitment to Him. Living a life in denial of the power of God will hinder you, that is for certain.

When we are faced with uncertainty, when we feel oppressed and perhaps even as if God has abandoned us, think of the words that God gave Gideon: “Have I not sent you?” God, has sent you! The might is in you, and it belongs to God. Go in this might of yours, and do what God has planned for you. Prepare for rain, prepare for revival