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Image by Annie Spratt

Crying Out

Judges 6 v7-10

‘When they cried out to the Lord because of Midian, the Lord sent a prophet to the Israelites.

He said, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel says: I bought you up out of slavery in Egypt. I rescued you from the Egyptians and from all who oppressed you. I drove out your enemies and gave you their land. 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."

When things got tough enough, Israel called out to God again. And again He immediately answers. He delivers them, takes from their enemy and gives to them. And He shows them how to live, how to be happy. He says don’t worship things that aren’t God, they will always lead to disappointment, as nothing else can sustain you.

God takes from the enemy and gives to you.

What enemy are you fighting? Not only does God want to deliver you, he wants to take from the enemy to give to you, to profit you, to bless you. But keep your mind, your heart, your eyes on Him. The world cannot sustain you. It’s to be enjoyed, absolutely! I think God delights when we enjoy our lives and His creation, but it can’t sustain you.

Call to God and He answers.

Israel had done evil in God’s eyes, and yet when they called for Him, He came back to them. He won’t force things - He’ll wait for you to want Him, to call for Him, but He does answer.

Lord we thank you that you are for us. We ask you to help us see our ‘enemies’ clearly, to see what it is we’re fighting- distractions, addictions, apathy, pride, loneliness, illness, any situation we’re in where we’re having to fight. Even Paul had a ‘thorn in his side’. We all struggle with something. Lord thank you that it is your intention to not only help us have the victory, but to give to us more than we had before - more love, more peace, more stability, more ambition, more joy and delight. Thank you, Lord, that struggling and adversity can make us humans beautiful. Thank you, God, for helping us to fix our eyes on you, focus on you, and know you. Thank you for giving us the revelations of who we are - that we’re sons and daughters of The King. Victory is ours. Please help us to receive from you with willing hearts, receiving fully what it is you’re giving us. Then Lord please help us delight in you daily instead of turning to the things of the world. In Jesus’ name we believe. Amen.

Who am I?

Judges 6 v11-17

 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.  

When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.”

“Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our ancestors told us about when they said, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up out of Egypt?’ But now the Lord has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian.”  

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?”

“Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.”

The Lord answered, “I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites, leaving none alive.”  

Gideon replied, “If now I have found favour in your eyes, give me a sign that it is really you talking to me.”’

What strikes me first is the dialogue between Gideon and God/God’s Messenger. How much dialogue do you have with God? If it’s not a lot, then how can you be guided by God? Can you get more into the habit of having a chat with God during the day? What do you enjoy, what’s worrying you, what do you think about the current situation, what can you thank Him for then and there?

You can only experience God in the present, and this is a good tip for helping you to stay present. Give God time and space to talk to you - start with one minute a day. What does God want to say to you?

It might be what He said to Gideon - He called Gideon ‘mighty warrior’, and yet Gideon says himself that he was the least, in a family that was the weakest. God, however doesn’t look at our earthly circumstances, He see’s us as He has made us, so, to God, Gideon was ‘mighty warrior’!

Are you seeing yourself as God does? With God in you, you can ‘destroy the Midianites as if you were fighting one man’. It’s time to stand. It’s time to fight. It’s time to see yourself as God does. It’s time to let God work with you to bring down the enemy, the injustices in this world. Rise up Child of God. The time is now.

Father, God All-Powerful, we are ‘sons and daughters of The King’. We are your own. Please lift the veils on our eyes Father, help us to see true. Give us revelations of who we are, and Lord we ask for your help in learning to communicate with you better. And because relationships are important to you, we also ask that you help us to learn how to communicate with those in our lives better. Then Father, please help us to use discipline to keep up those open channels of communication between us and you, and with each other. Lord we thank you for the work you’re doing in us already, and we look forward to a deeper relationship with you from now on. In Jesus name we thank you. Amen.  

Nothing Is Impossible With God

Judges 7 v4-17

But the Lord said to Gideon, “There are still too many men. Take them down to the water, and I will thin them out for you there. If I say, ‘This one shall go with you,’ he shall go; but if I say, ‘This one shall not go with you,’ he shall not go.”

5 So Gideon took the men down to the water. There the Lord told him, “Separate those who lap the water with their tongues like a dog from those who kneel down to drink.” Three hundred men lapped with their hands to their  mouths, all the rest got down on their knees to drink.

7 The Lord said to Gideon, “With the three hundred men that lapped I will save you and give the Midianites into your hands. Let all the others go home.” 8 So Gideon sent the rest of the Israelites home but kept the three hundred, who took over the provisions and trumpets of the others.

Now the camp of Midian lay below him in the valley. 9 During that night the Lord said to Gideon, “Get up, go down against the camp, because I am going to give it into your hands. 10 If you are afraid to attack, go down to the camp with your servant Purah 11 and listen to what they are saying. Afterward, you will be encouraged to attack the camp.” So he and Purah his servant went down to the outposts of the camp. 12 The Midianites, the Amalekites and all the other eastern peoples had settled in the valley, thick as locusts. Their camels could no more be counted than the sand on the seashore.

13 Gideon arrived just as a man was telling a friend his dream. “I had a dream,” he was saying. “A round loaf of barley bread came tumbling into the Midianite camp. It struck the tent with such force that the tent overturned and collapsed.”

14 His friend responded, “This can be nothing other than the sword of Gideon son of Joash, the Israelite. God has given the Midianites and the whole camp into his hands.”

15 When Gideon heard the dream and its interpretation, he bowed down and worshiped. He returned to the camp of Israel and called out, “Get up! The Lord has given the Midianite camp into your hands.” 16 Dividing the three hundred men into three companies, he placed trumpets and empty jars in the hands of all of them, with torches inside.

17 “Watch me,” he told them. “Follow my lead. When I get to the edge of the camp, do exactly as I do. When I get to the edge of the camp, do exactly as I do.”’

Was it hard for Gideon to whittle down his men to fight with only 300? Did it look bleak, impossible? Or did Gideon keep his eyes on God, in which case the more it looks impossible, the more thrilling it is to wait to see how God will give you the victory? If Gideon had doubted, had refused to let God take away his human resources, the plan would never have worked. God did want to encourage Gideon though - He understood Gideon was human and therefore prone to fear. To do this God sent Gideon to the enemy’s camp to overhear the conversation so that he had the courage to do the last bit. Gideon, the least of the weakest family, let God use him, and the result was beyond anyone’s imagining. They killed 120,000 men with 300. They defeated their oppressors to be free.

Just as He used Gideon, God wants to use us too, you just need to be willing. What has God put on your heart? Who does your heart ache for? God can use you, and He’ll use you in His Power, not yours. You don’t need to be special, just willing.

God thank you that you care about people. Thank you that you want to set the captives free. Thank you that anything is possible with you. Lord, we’re so sorry for keeping our eyes on the things of the Earth, the things we can see. Thank you so much that you are working in the background. Please bring to mind now the times when you have proven yourself to us, helped us, shown your love to us. Please help us to discipline our minds to focus on the times you have been faithful, and  on you. Please help us to believe in you and your promises to us Father. And Lord please help us not to be discouraged when things look bleak. Help us Lord to look to you expectantly, in anticipation of what you are doing in that situation to make all things good. Lord we love you, and thank you, in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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