Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Oh Gideon..

             I have been reading through the Old Testament this year, along with other places in the Bible, and my journey through has been an interesting one. I have loved learning a lot of things that I feel like I never learned as a young child, and also revisiting those I was familiar with. Well, now I am in Judges. (I know--I still have a LONG way to go.) I am learning so much and finding the stories quite comical as I chug along. In chapter 3, Ehud kills the Eglon king by pulling out a long sword from his right thigh with his left hand and plunges it into the very, very fat king's belly. The detail here is quite entertaining. In the next chapter, Jael, the wife of a Kenite, hides a fleeing Sisera (King of Canaan), gives him milk to drink, watches him fall asleep, and then drives a tent peg through his skull into the ground. That was a pretty intense read. A bit before that is Deborah who fights alongside Barak because he won't go alone. Extreme girl power there! All of it has been good, and the small tidbits of history and lessons the Lord teaches are rich in instruction.
             Today I read the few chapters about Gideon, and it is here that Lord encouraged me to camp and share. So the Israelites are again in rebellion of the Lord. They are worshiping all these gods of the pagans around them and are heavily oppressed by the Midianites, who have taken all their crops and livestock and have pushed the Israelites into the clefts and caves of the mountains in fear. It is then when the Israelites call out to the Lord in desperation. The Lord, being all-merciful, sends an Angel of the Lord to remind them of the past, how He provided for their exodus out of Egypt, provided for them in the desert, led them across the Jordan, and laid the promised land at their feet. He also reminds them of their rebellion and how they were so easily persuaded by the pagans around them, to the point of worshiping their "gods." Then God speaks specially to Gideon. He says, "The Lord is with you, mighty warrior. Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of the Midian's hand. Am I not sending you?"
             Gideon basically is like, "Who? Me? Don't you know I come from the weakest clan in Manasseh and I am the least in my family?" If you also look at details within this story, you will see that Gideon's family worships Baal; Gideon's dad even has an altar for Baal! Of course, the Lord is quick to tell Gideon to tear that down and replace it with an altar for the Lord. (Gideon however does this at night in fear of anyone seeing him.) Throughout this back-and-forth deal with the Lord telling Gideon he is to be the one to save Israel form the Midianites and Gideon saying how unworthy he is, God performs sign after sign, miracle after miracle to give light to His perfect plan. In the end, Gideon and his small 300-man army (read about that in Judges 7--it's cool), do defeat the Midianites. Of course they do! God said it would happen!
             What the Lord really showed me was the way He used someone like Gideon. Gideon came from a family that blatantly ignored the Lord; they worshiped Baal. Gideon was the least in the weakest clan of his tribe. Yet God chose him, and who got the glory from it? The Lord did. It took a lot of 'convincing' (if you want to call it that) on the Lord's part to make Gideon believe that His promises were true. He made His plan crystal clear to Gideon, but the kicker is that Gideon kept asking for Him to. I find so much comfort in how God used Gideon. I know I don't come from a cookie-cutter God-fearing family, and I am surely not the strongest or wisest or most loving in our 'clan.' But I do know that God called me, an ill-equipped Christian who put faith in her own efforts, blatantly ignoring the Lord to be a mighty warrior and "to proclaim good news to the poor, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair." (Isaiah 61) 
            He is calling us all according to His will to do these things. He uses the weak ones, the ill-equipped, the ones from lost families, the ones with horrible pasts, the ones who played church for years, ALL OF US, to something greater than ourselves. The question is, 'Are we asking Him to show us? Are we looking for it, believing He will reveal it to us?'
            One HUGE way the Lord began to reveal His plan for my life was through actively serving Him on the mission field. Through Tennessee Collegiate Missions (Lightmessengers!) I was able to join the Lord where He was already working and serve Him. I would be completely amiss if I didn't tell you that I have grown with the Lord so much in the last four years, especially because of what I have seen, heard, learned, and been able to experience in my summers away from home serving. I want to challenge you to ask (like Gideon) for God to give direction to your path. Remember that His light always shines in accordance to His word. Take a huge leap of faith and trust the Lord to make you that mighty warrior. The important thing to do is just ask. Don't just assume that you are supposed to stay at home and work or for that matter don't just assume you are to go on a mission trip. The Lord wants you in a certain place! Let's ask, believe, and remember he calls the ones who may think they are not worthy or equipped to be called.

"Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: “Let him who boasts boast in the Lord." (1 Corinthians 1:26-31)

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