I Can’t

“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.” [Judges 6:15-16 NIV]

Photo by Adem Kader

Photo by Adem Kader

The story of Gideon is such an inspirational one. Here is a man who is hiding away to do his work, but God chooses him to lead the Israelite army to a great victory. Straight away we see the message that God can and will use anyone, as long as we are willing. And Gideon is willing — after asking for and receiving confirmation several times. But that doesn’t mean God made it easy for him.

The Midianites joined forces with a number of other eastern armies and so a vast enemy came against Israel. Gideon called all the Israelites together to march against the Midianites and thirty-two thousand (32,000) men joined him. Gideon might have thought, ‘with this size of an army, maybe we stand a chance.’

But then God said, ‘you have too many men to go up against the Midianites.’ As if Gideon wasn’t already petrified enough and feeling as though he wasn’t good enough to do the job. Now God wanted to make it even harder?

In obedience however, Gideon offered the men a chance to go home. ‘If you’re too scared, you may go.’ I reckon Gideon himself would have liked to take up that offer, but he didn’t. Twenty-two thousand did though (that’s a lot of scared men!), leaving 10,000 to stay and fight.

But even that was too many for God. He wanted the miracle to be obvious. I wonder if Gideon thought God might be crazy, but again he obeyed. After another whittling down, there were only three hundred (300) men left. The perfect number to defeat a gigantic, terrifying enemy according to God. And defeat them they did.

Do you ever feel like God is stretching you too far? Asking too much of the little you have? Well, be encouraged. With God on your side, you can accomplish anything He asks of you. Just trust Him and obey.

Published in: on 1st April, 2013 at 9:43 am  Comments (2)  
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Overflowing

To know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.” [Ephesians 3:19-20 NIV]

Photo by Charles Thompson

God is not a god of adequacy. I think many of us believe He can and will meet our needs if we are faithful, but do we ever believe more of Him than that? Do we ask for more? Can we expect more?

I believe God is a god of abundance. He wants to bless us to overflowing.

When I read in the Old Testament about the promises the Lord made to His nation, Israel, they were promises of prosperity — abundant crops with leftovers at the end of the seasons, peace in the land, safety from wild animals, health, victory over any enemy even against the odds, and His constant presence with them — you can read them in Leviticus 26.

The Lord didn’t just say He would enable them to survive. He wanted to bless them with abundant living. But there was a condition on it. Obedience. The people were required to follow His laws and statutes, which really consisted of worshiping Him with their whole lives and honouring and respecting their fellow man. If they could not live their lives in obedience to Him, then the opposite was true of their fate — hardship.

Photo by Luis Solis

God hasn’t changed. He still wants His people to live abundantly. Do we honour Him with every part of our lives, and walk in obedience to His word? Do we love our fellow man as He would have us? I haven’t figured it all out yet, and I’m not exactly overflowing with abundance myself. But, I do believe this: that God wants me to prosper. I will keep living to the best of my ability for Him and wait for that blessing to flow.

Have you seen God’s abundance flow in any area of your life? I’d love to hear your stories. 🙂

Published in: on 6th March, 2012 at 10:00 am  Comments (2)  
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Obedience

If you love me, keep my commands.” [John 14:15]

Sometimes we read the Old Testament Ten Commandments and see them as a list of rules, a set of dos and dont’s which are rigid and cold as the stone they were originally written on. And around them is all the Levitical law – how many lambs must be sacrificed for a certain type of offering, or what should be done for a certain type of offense. When I read all of that it seemed like such a burden the ancient Jews had to carry. And to a certain extent, I think that kind of ritualistic obedience is.

When Jesus came, He fulfilled the law and gave us grace to live by, taking the burden out of obedience. But it now hinges on something quite different: relationship. Notice the word “if”. Obedience is not forced on us – we are not required on pain of death to obey every jot and tittle because we are saved by grace. BUT, if we love the Lord, we will obey Him with everything we have.

Obedience naturally flows out of love. Think about it. When you love and respect someone deeply, the last thing you want to do is hurt them, so you follow their advice, take up their suggestions, do what they ask. It is all on us. Do we love the Lord enough to do His will? If not, perhaps it means we love something or someone else more – that someone is most often our own selves.

I encourage you today, to build up your relationship with the Lord through His word, prayer and worship, and as you love Him more, you will find it easier to obey His word. Something to think about.

Published in: on 8th November, 2011 at 4:36 am  Comments (2)  
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