March 26, 2012
- By Ed Powell
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"And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him, and said unto him, The Lord is with thee, thou mighty man of valor." Judges 6:12
"The children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord, and the Lord delivered them into the hand of Midian seven years." A very short but conclusive and definite judgment of Israel. They simply did not follow God's word, so they suffered the consequences of their own choice. Now, they were under the bondage and oppression of the Midianites and Amalekites. For seven years they came at harvest time and took all their grain "and left no sustenance for Israel, neither sheep, nor ox, nor donkey" and sought to destroy the land.
They cried to the Lord, and He sent a prophet, who reminded them of the many times God had delivered them and how they had disobeyed God. Now "the Angel of the Lord appeared unto him [Gideon] and said unto him, 'The Lord is with thee, thou mighty man of valor.'"
Gideon took issue with the angel because of Israel's oppression. "The Lord turned to him and said, go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian's hand. Am I not sending you?"
Gideon took issue not with what God was but with what HE was; not what God could do, but with what he might do. We fall into the same pattern. It's not who we are, what we have, or what we can do, but altogether who God is, what He has, and what He can do. It's "not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the LORD of hosts" (Zechariah 4:6).
Gideon prepared for battle. He built an altar to the Lord and tore down the altar to Baal. If we are going to be effective in our testimony, we must destroy everything that will hinder the full working of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Gideon offers a burnt offering to the Lord. This signifies the complete surrender of his will and his entire devotion to the Lord.
When the enemy rose up against Israel "the Spirit of the Lord came upon Gideon." Gideon would soon see that God's power is mightier than a host of men. Now God comes on the scene. Gideon gathered 32,000 men. God said, "That's too many." Those who were afraid (22,000) were sent home. God put the rest to a test, and 9,700 were sent home. Only 300 were left!
Why do you think God reduced his army down to 300 men? It was so they would experience the mighty power of God and realize HE is the One they should trust for victory. How did they prepare for battle? God armed them not with shield and sword, but with a pitcher, a lamp, a trumpet, and a battle cry. When they executed God's plan, panic struck the enemy and they destroyed themselves!
What application is in this for us? Draw back from nothing to which you are called. Undertake nothing in your own strength. Go forth confident of His leading. Doubt nothing in which God has promised His help. Take no glory for what God does for you. Exercise unwavering faith in an omnipotent God.
The Holy Spirit is seizing upon and using for God's glory those that are of a "broken and contrite spirit." That which will stand the judgment fire of eternity will not be what we have done, but what HE has done through us! "If God be for us, who can be against us?" (Romans 8:31).
© 2007 by Ed Powell. Used by permission.
This page was reprinted by permission from: http://www.litmin.org/dare.php?row=86&date=2012-03-26
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