Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Our Strength; God's Strength...

The stories of the Old Testament always seem to speak to me simple and obvious truths. Where I find myself struggling is trying to apply those truths practically to my own life and in most cases, it is a struggle with my will and pride.

Take the story of Gideon and how one day, God leads him to select an army to fight against Midian. The Midianites were as numerous as a swarm of locust. They had oppressed Israel for several years and had so laid waste to the land that Israel, "became poverty stricken...and cried out to the Lord."

God calls out Gideon to lead Israel against Midian. Gideon puts together an impressive army. Then, the Lord tells Gideon, "You have too many people for Me to hand the Midianites over to you..."

Gideon had amassed 32,000 warriors and God said that this was too many to fight a people who were as numerous as the sand on the seashore. God instructs Gideon to give a "go home free" card to those afraid of battle. Twenty-two thousand left leaving 10,000. God said, "There are still too many people." So God had them separated by the way they drank water. He instructed Gideon to choose only 300. God took what looked like an impressive army and whittled it down to 300 to face the Midianite hordes. And He did it all because, "...or else Israel might brag: I did it myself."

There is no math, no military strategy, no earthly reasoning that would say 300 is better than 32,000 when it comes to war. It is only in God's economy and in God's plan does this even begin to make a little sense.

Relinquishing our plans and our strategies to God and His way is no easy task. I do find it easy to champion "God's will" and even to fight passionately for it when it conveniently aligns with my interpretations. But when God's will becomes perpendicular to mine, that's when I struggle with, "Not my will but Yours..."

I think Gideon had to experience doubts when God left him with 300 men. I admire his willingness to follow God's way no matter how counterintuitive it was to all of his natural inclinations.

Foster says that through His prayer in Gethsemane, "Jesus shows us a more excellent way. The way of helplessness. The way of abandonment. The way of relinquishment. 'My will be done' is conquered by 'Not my will.'"

Lord, today and forevermore, may it be, "Not my will, but Yours."

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