7/03/2013

Against the Odds

If you've ever read the book of Judges in the Old Testament, you know about the exploits of a man named Gideon.  He was one of Israel's judges before a king had been crowned. He was a leader when Israel was under horrible oppression by the Midianites. Life was miserable. The crops were destroyed and livestock stolen by these marauders from Midian. The Israelites went into hiding, living in caves and remote mountain areas, trying to survive. They were on the run and the Promised Land was in ruins.

Gideon was instructed by God to take out the enemy, so he sent messages out everywhere to gather an army. His call was answered with the arrival of 32,000 men. Not bad, but the Midianites had over 120,000 men. But God told Gideon that he had way too many men. God wanted His strength to be shown, not Israel's, so He commanded Gideon to cull the group by sending those who were afraid to fight back  home. Twenty-two thousand immediately hit the road. But there were still too many. I can see Gideon trying to figure out why an army of 10,000 men was too large. He was obedient despite what he may have thought, and put the remaining men to one more test. He had them drink from a nearby spring. The majority got down on their hands and knees to drink. Three hundred cupped their hands to hold the water and drank. You guessed it--9,700 got sent home. With those 300 men, and the power of Yahweh, the Midianites were soundly thrashed. Over 120,000 Midianites died in that battle. An amazing story of God's power with such a small army.

The account of Gideon reminds me of the birth of this country. A downtrodden, abused British colony fed up with an oppressive government, dared to stand up and declare independence. A group of 56 men from all sorts of backgrounds--farmers, attorneys, businessmen, physicians, and professors faced incredible odds and signed that sacred American document. It begins like this:
When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
Photo Credit: blog.galveston.com

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
There's much more to the document, and I encourage you to read it. You may find it quite eye-opening.  We have long enjoyed the freedoms gained by the courage and vision of these men. They paid for it with their reputations, livelihoods, and lives. Believing that God was with them, and that He would bless their efforts, they went to war against insurmountable odds. And He was with them. The British tyranny was defeated, and the United States of America was birthed. God loves terrible odds and He regularly uses small, insignificant things to bring about astounding events. He's still doing that today. If you begin looking for God to show up in your life, you'll be amazed. I am everyday.

As we celebrate the 237th birthday of this great country, overwhelming challenges face us. The odds aren't great that righteousness will prevail.   Don't let that stop you from doing what is right and from praying. Our true freedoms aren't tied to a political system or a country anyway. God is in control.

I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity.  I Timothy 2:1-2 NLT 

So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death. Romans 8:1-2 NLT


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Positively encouraging

7/03/2013

Against the Odds

If you've ever read the book of Judges in the Old Testament, you know about the exploits of a man named Gideon.  He was one of Israel's judges before a king had been crowned. He was a leader when Israel was under horrible oppression by the Midianites. Life was miserable. The crops were destroyed and livestock stolen by these marauders from Midian. The Israelites went into hiding, living in caves and remote mountain areas, trying to survive. They were on the run and the Promised Land was in ruins.

Gideon was instructed by God to take out the enemy, so he sent messages out everywhere to gather an army. His call was answered with the arrival of 32,000 men. Not bad, but the Midianites had over 120,000 men. But God told Gideon that he had way too many men. God wanted His strength to be shown, not Israel's, so He commanded Gideon to cull the group by sending those who were afraid to fight back  home. Twenty-two thousand immediately hit the road. But there were still too many. I can see Gideon trying to figure out why an army of 10,000 men was too large. He was obedient despite what he may have thought, and put the remaining men to one more test. He had them drink from a nearby spring. The majority got down on their hands and knees to drink. Three hundred cupped their hands to hold the water and drank. You guessed it--9,700 got sent home. With those 300 men, and the power of Yahweh, the Midianites were soundly thrashed. Over 120,000 Midianites died in that battle. An amazing story of God's power with such a small army.

The account of Gideon reminds me of the birth of this country. A downtrodden, abused British colony fed up with an oppressive government, dared to stand up and declare independence. A group of 56 men from all sorts of backgrounds--farmers, attorneys, businessmen, physicians, and professors faced incredible odds and signed that sacred American document. It begins like this:
When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
Photo Credit: blog.galveston.com

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
There's much more to the document, and I encourage you to read it. You may find it quite eye-opening.  We have long enjoyed the freedoms gained by the courage and vision of these men. They paid for it with their reputations, livelihoods, and lives. Believing that God was with them, and that He would bless their efforts, they went to war against insurmountable odds. And He was with them. The British tyranny was defeated, and the United States of America was birthed. God loves terrible odds and He regularly uses small, insignificant things to bring about astounding events. He's still doing that today. If you begin looking for God to show up in your life, you'll be amazed. I am everyday.

As we celebrate the 237th birthday of this great country, overwhelming challenges face us. The odds aren't great that righteousness will prevail.   Don't let that stop you from doing what is right and from praying. Our true freedoms aren't tied to a political system or a country anyway. God is in control.

I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity.  I Timothy 2:1-2 NLT 

So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death. Romans 8:1-2 NLT


No comments: