Friday, September 14, 2007

Don’t fight your own battles

In talking to other Christians, I realize how easily we hear the voice that says, “You can’t do this,” and then start fighting the whole idea of our helplessness instead of saying, “That’s right; I can’t.”

This morning’s reading is the story of Gideon in Judges 7. God asked him to go against an army that was much larger, but not only that, He also asked him to reduce his army of 32,000 to 10,000, and then to 300! Had I been in that small troop, I would be terrified and the voices in my head would be screaming, “You can’t do this. You are a fool to even try.”

Gideon was also somewhat unsure of this strategy, to say the least. However, the Lord told him, “If you are afraid . . . go down to the (enemy) camp with Purah your servant, and you shall hear what they say; and afterward your hands shall be strengthened to go down against the camp.”

Gideon did as God said. As he and his servant crept up to the enemy camp, they overheard a soldier telling another soldier about a dream he had of a loaf of barley striking their camp and collapsing a tent. The other man said, “This is nothing else but the sword of Gideon the son of Joash, a man of Israel! Into his hand God has delivered Midian and the whole camp.”

This is amazing. God used a dream to plant into the mind of Gideon’s enemies the notion that they were doomed; this Israelite would defeat them. The power of suggestion is well-known these days, but I never considered that God would use it.

Of course Gideon defeated the Midian army. Actually, the enemy soldiers were terrified when his 300 men attacked in the night and “the LORD set every man’s sword against his companion throughout the whole camp; and the army fled. . . .”

However, before that happened, I am touched by Gideon’s response to the overheard dream. Verse 15 says, “And so it was, when Gideon heard the telling of the dream and its interpretation, that he worshiped. He returned to the camp of Israel, and said, ‘Arise, for the LORD has delivered the camp of Midian into your hand.’”

My spiritual enemies sometimes loom as large as a Midian army. I look at my own resources (big mistake) and realize I don’t have what it takes to win (actually, a good observation), but instead of listening to God’s assurance, I often panic and moan that I cannot do this. My moaning keeps me from acting.

But I don’t have to rely on me, nor do I need to be such a wimp. God, the same God who won Gideon’s battle, is able to soundly defeat anything I face. I need to remember that He is incredible creative, ingenious, able to come up with strategies that I’d never imagine, almighty, and totally able to conquer obstacles and overcome barriers that (to me) are more than super-sized.

I also need to remember to stop looking in the mirror and recognize that the voices I hear that say, “You can’t do this” are partly right—by myself, I can’t—but with God, who knows what amazing things can happen!

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