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Stand and Watch

Posted by Sarah Bourns , 11 February 2014 · 1238 views

God doesn't need me. He doesn't need you either. He is working right now to bring about His kingdom on earth, and He could do it just fine all by Himself. But He loves us, so He invites us to partner with Him.

God drives this point home with Gideon so clearly that it's almost comical. In Judges 7, Gideon and his ridiculously outnumbered army of 32,000 Israelites are up against an army of 135,000 Midianites (that's 1 good guy to every 5 bad guys). God had called Gideon to lead them into battle and after much convincing (see Judges 6!) Gideon is finally ready. Or so he thought.

God sees the meager Israelite army and says it's too BIG. He knows He needs to cut it down in size or they'll think they "saved themselves by their own strength." So, 22,000 are sent home because they were afraid. Meanwhile I'm sure Gideon was panicking that 2/3rds of his already small army was no more! (Now a 1 to 13 ratio)
Have you ever panicked over the numbers game? Do we have enough people? What if someone else drops out? What if no one comes? Sounds all too familiar…
But God loves to prove that He can accomplish His mission with a few people just as easily as with a few thousand!
Lesson 1: God doesn’t need our numbers, but wants our awareness of His presence.

Next, God tells Gideon that his reduced army is STILL too big and He needs to further shrink it. This time God implements a very odd test to determine who stays and who goes. Instead of testing their fighting skills or battle experience or use of weaponry, God simply wants to know how they drink water (?!). It was apparently a way to reveal the men’s character and courage rather than their natural abilities. Only 300 of them passed this “heart” test, although I’m sure many more were highly qualified and capable warriors with years of training. But they weren’t who God chose.
Have you been tempted to lean on the experience or charisma or natural gifting of the people you choose to “fight” with you? What about on your own gifts and abilities?
Lesson 2: God doesn’t need our natural skills and abilities, but wants our hearts to trust in His power.

So Gideon’s army of 300 is outnumbered by 1 to 450 now. Yikes. You’d think God would at least give them some giant cannons or fighter planes, but that is definitely not the case. Each man gets a ram’s horn and a clay jar with a candle as their fierce battle utensils! It probably sounded like a cruel joke at first, but they soon realized it sure wasn’t going to be their state of the art gear that would win the war!
God was proving that He would have to fight for them, and He knew just the kinds of tools and weaponry HE would need.
Have you ever thought that if only you could have the flashiest tools or newest resources or slickest materials THEN you’d be able to succeed?
Lesson 3: God doesn’t need our fancy resources, but wants our dependence upon His provision.

Gideon and his men are now ready. They even heard confirmation from the enemy camp that “God has given Gideon victory over the Midianites!” All they need is a battle plan. And God, of course, has a good one! Split into 3 groups of 100 and stand at the top of the valley where their opponents “who outnumber the grains of sand on the seashore” are encamped… and… blow their horns and break their jars. That’s it!? Anyone could see that’s a ridiculous fighting strategy. Yet again, God loves to prove that His ways are far above our ways!
Have you ever told God that you have a better plan than His?
Lesson 4: God doesn’t need our strategies, but wants our eyes on Him and HIS plan.

And so the battle begins… But Gideon and his men don’t even fight! They “STAND AND WATCH” as the LORD fights for them. And wins!
He never needed their large numbers, or refined skills, or fancy resources, or slick strategies. He just wanted people fully given to Him and to His ways, willing to surrender all they had in themselves so that HE would be put on display.

FACT: God will finish His mission NOT because of our numbers, skills, resources, or strategies, but because of HIS presence, HIS power, HIS provision and HIS plan.

May you stand and watch God fight your battles today. And may He be made famous through you!

  • Kent Copley and Don Sappington like this

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