450 To 1

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Some 200 years after Joshua led Israel against Jericho, she found herself dealing with the consequences of failing to do what God told her to do. They had conquered the Amorites, Ammonites, Hittites, and the Jebusites… all the “ites” except one. They failed to drive out the people of Palestine and now, two centuries later, the Canaanites had regained their strength and they began to dominate Israel. The Midianites so plagued them that Israel had resorted to living in caves. That is where we find Gideon and the battle that we are all so familiar with.

The Lord, being the same yesterday, today and forever, shows us the way we need to deal with the Midianites in our life. All those relentless spiritual attacks by the “ites” in our lives that we encounter every day. Those attacks that sometimes have us, like Gideon, hiding down in the “wine press.” But that’s not where God wants us to be. Let’s take a lesson from Gideon that will keep us victorious on the battlefield … we need to remember who we are in Jesus’ eyes:

Judg 6:12 And the angel of the Lord appeared to him and said to him, “The Lord is with you, O mighty man of valor.”  ESV

As we explored in Wake Up And Rest, we need to see ourselves through Jesus’ eyes if we are ever going to be able to have the relationship with Him that He desires. It was only after those encouraging and challenging words that Gideon was able to pick himself up and act. As Jesus’ bride, if we want to live a Godly life, we need to face the fact that we will suffer (2 Tim 3:2). Trying to hide from our challenge is to turn our back on the One who has already won our battles for us, even those where the odds seemed stacked against us. But something must happen before we can hope to be successful.

Consider that God slowly stacked the deck against Gideon, changing the odds from 4:1 to 14:1, and if that wasn’t tough enough, He increased them to 450:1, just like He would later do to Elijah (1 Kings 18). But before sending Him into battle God revealed to him that the enemy was already in fear of the upcoming battle (Judg 7:13-14). 

When God has our defenses reduced to those He has provided, we are ready to face our Midianites. And if we are listening for His voice, we are going to learn all we need to know about our enemy. He will tell us exactly what we are to do. And if it seems strange and at times doesn’t make sense … so much the better. I have found in my life that if I can figure out the answer, it isn’t going to work. We need to be totally depended on God, just as Gideon was because God was aware of something that Gideon was not.

His strategy was brilliant because although the Midianites were brutal, powerful, and arrogant, since they were steeped in superstition and the occult, nighttime terrorized them. In addition, they were suspicious of each other due to the battles they had fought between tribes within their own ranks. God’s plan was perfect and it worked “perfectly” because Gideon didn’t second guess God, he carried it out without question. He didn’t balk at entering battle with a candle in a jar in one hand and a trumpet in the other. And when they had surrounded the Midianites, they were to rise, break their jars, and blow their trumpets. I am certain that didn’t sound like a great plan at the moment, but to the enemy it would look completely different.

It was normal in the day for a company of 1,000 soldiers to be led by a trumpet and a torch.  And to the Midianites it appeared as though they were surrounded by 300,000, not 300. Suddenly God turned the odds back to 4:1 in favor of Gideon. In the chaos that followed the Midianites began killing each another. What an example that is for us.

Yes, we are nothing but earthen vessels. But when we are “broken” the light shines forth in our lives that causes Satan to become as confused as the Midianites.

2 Cor 4:6-7 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. Treasures in Jars of Clay 7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. ESV

The Lord wants to release the light He has placed in His bride so that others are blessed. But that can only happen if our jars of clay are broken. That is why He is continually breaking us for His light to shine. And it is during our “hard times” (not our good times) that the world is impressed with our light … when we are broken. When we, like Gideon, hang tough and depend on our bridegroom in the difficult times, it’s then that the trumpet of Jesus is heard and His light shines. When those times come and things don’t seem to make sense, we need to be like Job… I do not know His ways, but He knows mine and that is all that matters.

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