I read a news article: How long will I be allowed to remain a Christian? We are living in times when our faith is being ridiculed and attacked more and more frequently, and more and more aggressively, causing many Christians to even begin to doubt their own faith. Have you not had times of trials or difficulty and thought quietly: "I wish I didn't live in these crazy and dangerous times?" "Where is the God that I read about in Scriptures?" "Why do I never see miracles told about in the Bible?" "Why doesn't God still work like that now?" "If He were real, we would see more proof in His works!" God is real, and God does still care, and yet we don't see Him move as we read about. It's not because He has changed, and not because He is not able. That leaves one factor to consider: us.
God tells an incredible story in the Book of Judges that we can relate to very well, and also, can give us a very clear answer of why we don't see God working in our lives today and how we can be the ones who see His Hand move again. Let's see what kind of man/woman God wants to partner with in His mighty works. Our story starts in the time of Israel's young history, when they were freshly freed from Egypt's slavery and the Promised Land had been taken and filled by God's people. But a group of people called the Midianites (Nomads of the desert), were terrorizing them by stealing everything they planted and harvested, and taking all of their sheep, goats, cattle, donkeys. The Midianites were so brutal, many Israelites hid in caves and strongholds. This had gone on for seven years, as a direct punishment to the nation for turning against God and following idols. Now, the Israelites are finally calling out to God for Help and mercy. Even Gideon, the focus of our story, hid in a winepress, threshing wheat, in order not to be seen by the Midianites: Judges 6:11-16. (v.11: Theophany- none other than Jesus Christ, (we'll see why later)). v12: God sees what all of the best, smartest, most successful people around us cannot-the heart and potential of a man/woman. V13: Just before one of the biggest miracles of Scriptures, the man to be used was living in similar times, with no works of God visible because the people of his time had turned to their own ways—as we have—and he had his doubts, just as many here do today. V14: This adventure starts, as all adventures for you and I will start today, with a call from God to step out. Most won't get any further than this because you aren't even listening for that call (The world has your full attention and concern). And if you did hear it clearly, would you be willing to follow? In all honesty most of us, including me would probably give the same answer as Gideon: v15: Gideon said, "My family has amounted to practically nothing.” [Can you relate?] "And even my, ‘nothing-special’ family thinks I'm the least gifted of all.”
[And later, in Judges 7:9-14, a Midianite dreamed of a single barley-loaf rolling down a hill and destroying a whole tent of the Midianites. Barley was the poor man's bread, fit for animal feeding. It represented Gideon in the dream (the lowest of lows)]
[Please stop limiting God by your abilities, or lack there-of. And please stop thinking you are usable because of your abilities. (And stealing away God's Power and Goodness, and Love)].
God called Gideon a, "Man of Valor" for different reasons. Reasons only He saw in Gideon. Reasons that were about to be revealed. Let's learn what those traits were which were so invaluable to God, in hopes that you and I may be called, "Mighty Men and Women of Valor."
Gideon became the one to be used miraculously, powerfully, in a time when God was not working. Why?
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