Thursday, August 20, 2015

Are You Part of the 300? (Part 1)


I couldn't sleep. My churches are my life, and there were issues at both of the churches where I'm secretary … I tossed and turned for a long time and then decided to get up and read until I was sleepy. This was on the page I turned to:

"Though the church is winnowed down like Gideon's army ... don't over react. 'Be still in the presence of the Lord and wait patiently for Him to act.' Psalm 37:7 NLT" [taken from Max Lucado's book, "Fearless" page 159]

I looked at the opening page and learned that Max wrote these words in 2009.  Was it ordained of God that in 2015 on a bleak night, I'd find them?

A startling thought came to mind:  "Are the few of us that call my church home the Gideon's 300 God wants to use all these hundreds of years later?"

I decided to study the story of Gideon, and when I did, I became encouraged. You see, God can take a timid person and turn him into a leader facing impossible odds and use him to win a battle using unconventional means.

Join me as we study Gideon's story in depth. Because there is so much to be found in Gideon's story, I'm breaking it down into parts. I'm also posting a link for each section of scripture where you can click on the link and read the actual scriptures for yourself. (Okay, enough housekeeping. Back to our study.)

You remember the story of Gideon, right? You can find him in chapters 6-7 of Judges.

Here is the backstory:  Basically, Israel had 40 years rest from fighting off their enemies and what happened?  They got complacent and "did evil in the sight of the Lord."

Same old story ...

Judges 6:1-6  ENEMIES WITHOUT NUMBER

  • So, in order to get their attention and turn their hearts toward Him, God allowed the Midianites to come against them. A horde of enemies that were without number.
  • The Midianites would swoop down during harvest time and ravage Israel so that their hard work came to nothing. They were deprived of the basic necessities of life.
  • So THEN the Israelites cried out to the Lord. Why is it we always wait until we are desperate to ask for help?


Judges 6:7-10  HERE'S YOUR PROBLEM

  • And God sent an un-named prophet to tell them the problem wasn't because the Midianites were so evil, it's because the Israelites were so disobedient. (Have you ever went through a struggle brought on by your own disobedience?)

Judges 6:11-13  GIDEON:  A MAN OF QUESTIONS
  • In answer to the Israelite's prayer, He sends a delivering judge - a very unlikely one!
  • Most scholars agree the Angel of the Lord was the pre-incarnate Jesus who finds Gideon threshing wheat, not on top of a hill or high place so the wind could blow away the chaff, but in a low place, both literally and spiritually.
  • The Lord called Gideon a man of valor, but all Gideon could do is question God. (Isn't this just like us?) 
  • Gideon thought God had forsaken His people. Are we guilty of thinking God has forsaken us when experiencing hard times?

Judges 6:14-16 GIDEON:  A MAN OF DOUBTS

  • Gideon thought of himself as the least of his family. 
  • God told him "Surely, I will be with you." 
  • No matter what we are facing, we can be sure that God has not forsaken us, He is with us. God told Moses the same thing in Exodus 3:12, and Jesus told all believers He would be with them ALWAYS, UNTIL THE END OF THE AGE, in Matthew 28:20.

Have you ever asked God for a sign to help you decide what to do? Gideon did. Part 2 of our lesson will ask, and answer the question, "Is it okay to ask for a sign."

See you next Thursday!


7 comments:

Ceil said...

Hi Jerralea! I think the story of Gideon is our story. Chosen, but feeling unworthy, we keep asking for signs, thoughts, directions, well, anything really. Where is my faith?
God has the plan, and that's what I have to rely on. Will Gideon???
Blessings,
Ceil

Denise said...

I love this.

betty said...

I like how God was patient with Gideon and gave him several signs. I know in my youth I would have asked for signs; not so much these days. Great study so far!

betty

Karen said...

Thank you for doing this. Looking forward to part 2.

Joyful said...

Gideon story is a great one. I often find myself feeling just like this. Asking the same questions. Thanks for the study and I will be back next week.

Megan Whitson Lee said...

Wow. I felt like God spoke to me through your blog post. I have actually been throwing out a fleece to God this week, and waiting for an answer from Him. I'm feeling really timid right now, just like Gideon, and I'm definitely in need of some strength from the Lord. Thanks for doing this study. I look forward to reading Part II.

Lisa notes... said...

Part of the 300...yes, we probably all have been part of that small number at one time. Faith-building times! I do love the story of Gideon; it makes me feel not so bad about my smallness. :)It's all about what GOD does through us.