Judges 7-11 (NLT) 

Discover His Heart: He gives supernatural help when needed, tools included!

There is a cat of the tuxedo variety, silky black and white, in my neighborhood that frequents my backyard looking for his next meal. No, I don’t feed him, but I have a feeling that some of the birds and critters in my yard have kept him well fed.  The other day I watched him spy a lone bird snatching up seeds on the ground below the feeder. The cat got down on his back haunches, lowered his chin to the ground and slid along the grass like a stealth bomber under the radar.

As I observed, I stood ready to cause a distraction for the bird, but I’m ashamed to admit that I waited to see what would happen in this covert situation.  Well, my interception was not needed – black cat on green grass, crunching blades of grass approaching – that bird was outta there!  Whether in the animal kingdom or in human confrontation, there’s an art to warfare, and its strategies encompass many techniques.  However, few are as unique as those chosen by God and used by Gideon to defeat the Midianites in the valley near the hill of Moreh. 

@ Judges 7
“With these 300 men I will rescue you and give you victory over the Midianites. Send all the others home.’  So Gideon collected the provisions and rams’ horns of the other warriors and sent them home. But he kept the 300 men with him.” (7-8)  I’ve tried to put myself in Gideon’s place during this discourse with God and wondered if my response would put me in the Hebrews 11 Hall of Faith like his response did.  To go from 32,000 troops down to 300 against the Midianite hordes – not good odds!  And the only items they were given to fight this fierce battle were horns, clay jars and torches!

This entire war strategy just doesn’t make sense in the natural, but then Gideon was now operating in the supernatural.  Through hindsight, we understand that this small army was able to quietly move into a strategic position surrounding its enemy.  The Israelites used what was in their hands; and as their horns, broken jars and shouts echoed through the valley of the Midian camp and their blazing torches encircled the enemy, Midian panic ensued.  Without lifting a sword, the enemy was defeated, and with an army of only 300 men, no one questioned who really brought the victory that day.  Just like the old song says, Little is much when God is in it.

We are facing battles on many different fronts today, and our enemy will use any strategy he can to stop our progress and bring defeat, including our own thoughts, temptations, habits and fears. Israel was victorious because the troops filled with fear were sent away, and we should send to flight our fears and any other tool the enemy could use.

Today’s troubled economy has left many with very little to work with, but just like Gideon and his 300, with faith and unencumbered by fear, we can use what is in our hands, whatever gifts and tools He has given us, to keep moving forward.  When the 300 advanced at God’s command, God performed the supernatural, and He will do the same for you and me! 

Moving forward:  Today I will use the things that God has put in my hand, perhaps rediscover old things and discover new things.  Like Gideon, I will not be stymied by the circumstances that surround me, but trust God to perform the supernatural on my behalf.  No one will question who brought the victory – little is much when God is in it!

Tomorrow @ Psalms 18-20

Genesis 36-39 (NLT) 

Discover His heart: He will not allow us to be tempted more than we can endure

As a rule, it’s helpful to maintain a measure of self confidence as we move through life accomplishing God’s purpose for us otherwise we might not ever get out of bed.  We can spot individuals with this admirable attribute from the way they walk and carry themselves, heads held high, shoulders back, confident smiles. This demeanor works well for those who have it and most have learned to carry it with caution so that they don’t appear arrogant and self-absorbed.  From scripture it appears that young Joseph was one of these confident individuals – favored, handsome, well-dressed – but unfortunately he had not learned how to carry it off successfully. 

@ Genesis 37
“When Joseph was seventeen years old, he often tended his father’s flocks. He worked for his half brothers…But Joseph reported to his father some of the bad things his brothers were doing.  Jacob loved Joseph more than any of his other children…So one day Jacob had a special gift made for Joseph—a beautiful robe. But his brothers hated Joseph because their father loved him more than the rest of them. They couldn’t say a kind word to him.” (2-4)  Bad blood!  Add to Joseph’s favor and confidence the fact that he was the family snitch, and we can understand the disapproval from his half brothers.

“One night Joseph had a dream, and when he told his brothers about it, they hated him more than ever. ‘Listen to this dream,’ he said. ‘We were out in the field, tying up bundles of grain. Suddenly my bundle stood up, and your bundles all gathered around and bowed low before mine!’” (5-7)  I’ve often wondered just exactly how clueless Joseph was to share his dream, or was he intentional in his revelation?  Evidently, God saw some of the latter in Joseph and started to process this young man into a vessel worthy of the honor He would one day give him.

“When the Ishmaelites, who were Midianite traders, came by, Joseph’s brothers pulled him out of the cistern and sold him to them for twenty pieces of silver. And the traders took him to Egypt… the Midianite traders arrived in Egypt, where they sold Joseph to Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, the king of Egypt.” (28,36)   And this began the processing of Joseph, confident son of Jacob, now slave.

While we may think that Joseph received a little comeuppance, as they say, God was preparing this confident young man to save His people.  The thing that put Joseph in this dire situation is the very thing that pulled Joseph through to the other side of his trial because fortunately he was even more confident in the Lord than he was in himself.  When Potiphar’s wife came after Joseph (39:6-23), he confidently declared, “How could I do such a wicked thing? It would be a great sin against God.” (9)  God was not surprised in Joseph’s response.

God uses the strengths He has placed within us to accomplish His good when we surrender them to Him, acting out of humility rather than pride.  Sometimes we are processed like Joseph in order to bring this about.  This is not done to crush us or to destroy who we are, but to transform us into useful vessels of honor.  “The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience.  And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, He will show you a way out so that you can endure.” (I Corinthians 10:13)  In the process we may not believe this, but it is true nonetheless – God is on our side and just as He did with Joseph, He sees us as we will become. 

Moving Forward: I’m grateful that He loves me enough to process and perfect me.  Sometimes I’m a slow learner, but He’s a patient God. 

Tomorrow @ Ruth

Judges 7-11 (NLT) 

Discover His Heart: He gives supernatural help when needed, tools included!

There is a cat of the tuxedo variety, silky black and white, in my neighborhood that frequents my backyard looking for his next meal. No, I don’t feed him, but I have a feeling that some of the birds and critters in my yard have kept him well fed.  The other day I watched him spy a lone bird snatching up seeds on the ground below the feeder. The cat got down on his back haunches, lowered his chin to the ground and slid along the grass like a stealth bomber under the radar.

As I observed, I stood ready to cause a distraction for the bird, but I’m ashamed to admit that I waited to see what would happen in this covert situation.  Well, my interception was not needed – black cat on green grass, crunching blades of grass approaching – that bird was outta there!  Whether in the animal kingdom or in human confrontation, there’s an art to warfare, and its strategies encompass many techniques.  However, few are as unique as those chosen by God and used by Gideon to defeat the Midianites in the valley near the hill of Moreh. 

@ Judges 7
“With these 300 men I will rescue you and give you victory over the Midianites. Send all the others home.’  So Gideon collected the provisions and rams’ horns of the other warriors and sent them home. But he kept the 300 men with him.” (7-8)  I’ve tried to put myself in Gideon’s place during this discourse with God and wondered if my response would put me in the Hebrews 11 Hall of Faith like his response did.  To go from 32,000 troops down to 300 against the Midianite hordes – not good odds!  And the only items they were given to fight this fierce battle were horns, clay jars and torches!

This entire war strategy just doesn’t make sense in the natural, but then Gideon was now operating in the supernatural.  Through hindsight we understand that this small army was able to quietly move into a strategic position surrounding its enemy.  The Israelites used what was in their hands; and as their horns, broken jars and shouts echoed through the valley of the Midian camp and their blazing torches encircled the enemy, Midian panic ensued.  Without lifting a sword, the enemy was defeated, and with an army of only 300 men, no one questioned who really brought the victory that day.  Just like the old song says, Little is much when God is in it.

We are facing battles on many different fronts today, and our enemy will use any strategy he can to stop our progress and bring defeat, including our own thoughts, temptations, habits and fears. Israel was victorious because the troops filled with fear were sent away, and we should send to flight our fears and any other tool the enemy could use.

Today’s troubled economy has left many with very little to work with, but just like Gideon and his 300, with faith and unencumbered by fear, we can use what is in our hands, whatever gifts and tools He has given us, to keep moving forward.  When the 300 advanced at God’s command, God performed the supernatural, and He will do the same for you and me! 

Moving forward:  Today I will use the things that God has put in my hand, perhaps rediscover old things and discover new things.  Like Gideon, I will not be stymied by the circumstances that surround me, but trust God to perform the supernatural on my behalf.  No one will question who brought the victory – little is much when God is in it!

Tomorrow @ Psalms 18-20