During that night the Lords aid to Gideon, “Get up, go down against the camp, because I am going to give it into your hands. If you are afraid to attack, go down to the camp with your servant Purah and listen to what they are saying. Afterward, you will be encouraged to attack the camp.”
Gideon arrived just as a man was telling a friend his dream. “I had a dream,” he was saying. “A round loaf of barley bread came tumbling into the Midianite camp. It struck the tent with such force that the tent overturned and collapsed.”
His friend responded, “This can be nothing other than the sword of Gideon son of Joash, the Israelite. God has given the Midianites and the whole camp into his hands.”
Judges 7: 9-11; 13-14
My husband and I moved our family from the northwest side of San Antonio to the Stone Oak area in February of 1999, but I still went to church on that side of town for a good five years. I served on Session there for three years, and would make the trek home once a month in the bedtime hours of the evening—close to 10:00 PM if the meeting was especially challenging. I had just started getting into the music of Third Day, one of my now-favorite Christian bands. I also started reading a weight-loss book entitled The Weigh Down Diet, which focused on weight loss from God’s perspective. I’m sharing this fact with you because one of the sections in the book talks about asking God to show you signs of His presence, and I had not experienced that yet. I was struggling with my faith and, feeling like I was on a precipice of full-on or lackadaisical belief (it must’ve been one heck of a challenging Session meeting, hmm?). Listening to KLOVE and feeling bold, I asked God to let me know He knew of my faith struggles by having the next song on the radio be one of Third Day’s songs. The current song ended and then the station went to a commercial break. I recall that I was on 1604 by the exit for Northwest Military when the song “Show Me Your Glory” by Third Day came on right after the break.
I was gobsmacked! My emotions ranged from shock to giddiness to gratitude to a humility that bordered shame that I had put the Lord to the test and then to joy. My thoughts raced over the concept that the Lord had willed that song to be played exactly when I had asked for it to play—He moved the radio host to line up that song on the proverbial turntable (or whatever they use these days). it was illogical. It was supernatural. It was glorious and I was the recipient of His answered prayer.
The Lord’s movement within the Midian camp in the time of Gideon, as referenced in the scripture above, struck me in a similar vein. You may recall Gideon’s story—he was one of the only (if not the only) judges to talk directly with the pre-incarnate Christ when the Angel of the Lord approached the young man to tell him He was sending Gideon into battle and win against the Midianites. Gideon also tested the Lord, twice, by having Him keep a fleece wet though the ground it was on was dry, and vice versa. The Lord culled Gideon’s 32,000-strong army down to three hundred so that everyone involved would know that the battle was the Lord’s to win, not Gideon’s. Given Gideon’s behavior since the Angel of the Lord met him, it was likely that Gideon needed reassurance that the battle would be won (that is not a dig; I can’t say I would feel any different!). So God, in His infinite wisdom and timing, sent Gideon down to the camp in the valley where the enemy’s numbers greatly exceeded the number in Gideon’s army—Scripture tells us that they “had settled in the valley, thick as locusts” and that “their camels could be no more counted than the sand on the seashore.” Gideon arrived at the very same moment when a man was telling a friend of a dream he had had, and the friend interpreted it, explaining that it was “nothing more than the sword of Gideon, son of Joash, the Israelite. God has given the Midianites and the whole camp into his hands.” This fantastic message gave Gideon the assurance he needed, and he went on to win the battle in the strength of the Lord.
When I read that, my mind reeled again at the level of involvement the Lord had in orchestrating all of these events. That Gideon, without instruction as to where in the Midianites’ camp to go, stopped in the middle of the night by the exact time that Midianite Man A was telling Midianite Man B about his dream? And that his friend had perfect knowledge of its interpretation? Just the mere thought of His involvement to that degree blows me away. God be praised that He cares like He does to get involved in the lives of His children, all for His glory!
Speaking of getting so involved in the lives of His children… I was praying a couple of Sunday morning ago, and had just asked Him to use me to help His children-to be Jesus to someone that day when barely a nanosecond had gone by when I got a text from Huei-Yi, stating that she didn’t know what happened, but there was a mix-up in the VIA transit bus she ordered to take her to Sunday School that morning so it wouldn’t be picking her up, and could I come and get her, as she didn’t want to miss Sunday School because she was sharing the morning devotional in class? I will own up to the fact (ashamedly) that I initially protested, as I needed to wash my hair before church, and that going to get her way across town would preclude that from happening, but even my partially rebellious heart knew instantaneously that God was orchestrating these events, answering my prayers, and calling on me to step up. Of course I went and got her, my hair a little less than glamorous but my mind and heart full of wonder at His involvement in all of this, even to the degree of causing a mishap at VIA that results in the loss of a transit bus reservation.
Friends, the very God who set the world in motion knows the very number of hairs on your head. Scripture tells us that not a sparrow falls to the ground outside of His care. He knows your yesterdays, and your tomorrows, and is with you throughout, regardless of how close or distant He may feel to you right now. May that comfort you immensely.
· For all of the new starts this time of year—little ones starting their school career with kindergarten; young adults starting college.
· For those with family members who are afflicted with mental illness whose behavior can cause an unimaginable amount of stress in the home
· Praise for the new faces we’ve been seeing in church these past couple of weeks
· For those recovering from surgeries and illnesses
Dear ones, the Lord, before He ascended, told us that He is with us always. Rest in that promise.
“To trust God in the light is nothing, but to trust Him in the dark—that is faith.” -- Charles Spurgeon
“God isn’t asking you to figure it out. He’s asking you to trust that He already has.”