Not How I Would Have Done It

Re:Verse passage – Judges 7:1-11 (day two)

The Lord said to Gideon, “The people who are with you are too many for Me to give Midian into their hands, for Israel would become boastful, saying, ‘My own power has delivered me.’ vs. 2

We don’t often get insight into what God is thinking when he commands or creates, but in this instance we have a glimpse into his perfect understanding of human nature. Think about it 300 men who lap water like a dog is generally not how you would advertise for a group about to overthrow your enemies. God also understands that we need nothing confusing our reading of the situation: we can do nothing apart from God. Has God surprised you lately? Has he done something that you would have done differently? Perfect, then you know that God is still in control. Trust him in all things.

Bargaining

Re:Verse passage – Judges 6:36-40 (day two)

Then Gideon said to God, “Do not let Your anger burn against me that I may speak once more…vs. 39a

To be clear, Gideon had been in conversation with the Lord for quite some time. It was evident that the Lord was dealing with Gideon’s uncertainty and fear. This was not the first exchange between them. It is easy to look at this story and think that we can bargain with God. “Lord, I know you have given me a task to fulfill, and if you give me ten million dollars I will know that you really mean it.” That kind of logic will fail every time. Take your assignments from the Lord seriously, and seriously be in dialogue with him at all times. You will never regret seeking God in all matters. That is where to begin discerning how God wants you to proceed, not giving outlandish parameters for your begrudging obedience.

Obedience Despite Fear

Re:Verse passage – Judges 6:22-35 (day two)

Then Gideon took ten men of his servants and did as the Lord had spoken to him; and because he was too afraid of his father’s household and the men of the city to do it by day, he did it by night. vs. 27

Have you noticed that fear plays quite a role in the story of Gideon. His fear manifests itself in several ways: he doesn’t feel qualified, he fears reprisal from the people, and in next week’s reading we see his doubts again as he puts the Lord to the test. Even so, God does not change Gideon’s assignment. Don’t you think the Lord knew who he was choosing to help deliver Israel? Don’t you think he knew that we was the least among the least, and that his qualifications were less than officer candidate material? Of course he did! It’s the same with you. One of the things I love best about this interchange between God and Gideon is that despite his anxiety, Gideon obeys. Despite his many shortcomings he is still chosen. Friend, don’t let your fear stop your obedience.

Unexpected

Re:Verse passage – Judges 6:1-16 (day two) 

Then the angel of the Lord came and sat under the oak…vs. 11a

If we can be sure of anything in regards to how the Lord communicates, it is to look for him in any situation. Our images of messengers from heaven are likely tied directly to the Christmas story, am I right? Hillsides blazing with light and a heavenly host filling the night sky. This is how to make a heavenly visitation! If we’re not careful we miss those subtle and intimate meetings that are meant just for us. Sometimes messengers come in the heat of the day Genesis 18 . Sometimes in the most incredible part of mankind’s story, they are just sitting on a stone waiting John 20

God is definitely found in those grand and glorious gestures and moments in the Bible, but he is also the God who created the leaf, the stream, the wispy cloud; sometimes he’s sent a message that is sitting under a tree waiting to have a conversation with you. Look up, look around, and find the Lord.

Credit

Re:Verse passage – Judges 4:4-23, 5:7, 24-27 (day two)  She said, “I will surely go with you; nevertheless, the honor shall not be yours on the journey that you are about to take, for the Lord will sell Sisera into the hands of a woman.”  vs. 9

Credit where credit is due, right? We live in a world where it feels critical for us to be acknowledged. Who worked the hardest; who earned the most; who sacrificed more than any other; these are the things that occupy most of our days. We want to be given credit. Deborah had a longer vision than Barak did. Ultimately it wasn’t about who got credit, it was about the Lord delivering his people. Are we content with that? Can you be satisfied knowing that the Kingdom has advanced even if you don’t receive the accolades that come with victory? The ultimate question is where do we place our value; in man or in God.

A Good Formula

Re:Verse passage – Judges 3:31  and Acts 2:42-47 (day two) 

They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. vs. 42

What strikes me first about this passage is that the actions being described are taken by the new believers. This isn’t just an account of what the apostles were doing, but more what those with a new found purpose in Christ felt compelled to do. They immersed themselves in learning all they could about Jesus. The learned about his life, the stories he told, his incredible ministry, and the power of his resurrection. They spent time with other believers learning from one another, about one another. As an extension of that they also ate together. Is there a better formula for fellowship than food? More to the point, they honored the Lord by remembering his words at the Last Supper. And they prayed. Does this remind you of our church? Shouldn’t it? What can we do today to word for a better reflection of this early gathering?

Consequences

Re:Verse passage – Judges 3:11-30 (day two) 

Now the sons of Israel again did evil in the sight of the Lord. So the Lord strengthened Eglon the king of Moab against Israel, because they had done evil in the sight of the Lord. vs. 12

Let’s be clear: God’s ways are not our ways. In his infinite wisdom, he allowed an enemy of Israel to gain strength in order to subdue them because of their sin. It is not a wise idea for us to try and draw a straight line between suffering and sin. But we should be honest with ourselves enough to realize that our neglect of God has consequences, and sometimes that means he allows us to stumble. The path forward is always the same, however. Repent. Recognize your departure from where you were intended to be, and he is faithful to restore. Don’t get to the point where you have to wonder if your struggle is because of sin. Stay centered on Jesus.

Stuck in a Rut

Re:Verse passage – Judges 2:11-20, 3:5-11 (day two) Yet they did not listen to their judges, for they played the harlot after other gods and bowed themselves down to them. They turned aside quickly from the way in which their fathers had walked in obeying the commandments of the Lord; they did not do as their fathers. 2:17

During the filming of our last RE:Vlog special this past winter Chris, Bryan, Jeremy, and I spent some time in Colorado. It was a real treat to worship on the mountains and marvel at God’s handiwork. One day we came upon a stranded motorist who had been forced off the road to make way for another oncoming vehicle on a narrow road. She was unable to get back on the road, and was stuck. By the time we came upon her she had tried, unsuccessfully, for some time to get her car out of the rut she had created. No matter how she tried she was only making her situation worse.

The end of the story involves Pastor Bryan saving the day, but I’ll let him tell it. The nation of Israel was in the same situation. Even when they seemed to course correct, they would fall back into the patterns of sin and destruction. Sin is insidious. The familiar grooves will call you back to a routine that will continue to lead to ruin. The judges were temporary fixes. Our need is to get clear of those ruts, and drive away from the pattern of sin. A changed heart from Jesus is the only way forward.

Caleb

Re:Verse passage – Judges 1:1-2, 8-13, 20 (day two)

Then they gave Hebron to Caleb, as Moses had promised; and he drove out from there the three sons of Anak. vs 20

But My servant Caleb, because he has had a different spirit and has followed Me fully, I will bring into the land which he entered, and his descendants shall take possession of it. Numbers 14:24

What do we know about Caleb? His life coincided with some of the Patriarchs of our faith. He was delivered out of Egypt by Moses. He entered the Promised Land with Joshua. He followed Aaron as high priest. Yet Caleb was not listed as a political or spiritual leader. His contribution to Israel was not his skill as an artisan, or priest, or judge. Caleb, however, was faithful and obedient. Regardless of his power and prestige, each time we meet Caleb he is trusting that the Lord would deliver on his promises. Caleb’s life is a testimony to trust. To be sure, this was a LONG game approach to faith and life, but to Caleb it was worth it. We may not be called to be a Moses or Joshua, but we are all called to remain faithful.

Godly Counsel

Re:Verse passage – 2 Chronicles 9:13-31 (day two)

And all the kings of the earth were seeking the presence of Solomon, to hear his wisdom which God had put in his heart. vs. 23

Are you that person that people seek out for counsel? Perhaps you’re a good listener, or maybe people trust your discernment when tackling tough issues or decision. Regardless of why they seek you out, it is quite a responsibility to help others navigate their lives and choices. You must always take those opportunities with care and recognize the burden of wise counsel requires humility on your part. There can be a tendency to think you are the dispensary of knowledge and wisdom. The truth is that we are simply the vessel the Lord has chosen to use at a particular time. Take great care to always keep that focus, and he may, perhaps, continue to use you!