Do you have enough? Do you have too much? Do you know how? Do you know who? Do you have a criteria? Do you have a model? Do you have instructions? Do you have a plan?
Consider what it will take to get it done God’s way. Consider the faith it will take to let it go and do it God’s way. Consider the fact that it’s not all about you and what you can do, but rather it’s all about God and how He wants to do it and how it will glorify Him. It’s not all about pumping you us, it’s about showing people God’s power and love and faithfulness! Listen to God’s direction so that you will be encouraged to do what He is calling you to do!
Let’s first start by taking a look into today’s reading and how God works in and through Gideon…
1Then Jerubbaal (that is, Gideon) and all the people who were with him, rose up early and camped beside En-harod, while the camp of Midian was north of them, by Gibeath-moreh, in the valley. 2But Adonai said to Gideon, “Too many are the people who are with you, for Me to give the Midianites into their hand. Otherwise Israel would glorify itself against Me saying, ‘My own hand has delivered me.’ 3So now, make proclamation in the ears of the people saying, ‘Whoever is afraid or anxious may turn back and leave from Mount Gilead.’” So 22,000 people turned back, while ten thousand remained. 4But Adonai said to Gideon, “The people are still too many. Bring them down to the water and I will test them for you there. Now it will be that he of whom I say to you, ‘This will go with you,’ he will go with you, but anyone of whom I say to you, ‘This one will not go with you,’ he will not go.” 5So he brought the troops down to the water, and Adonai said to Gideon, “You are to set apart everyone who laps the water with his tongue, as a dog laps, and everyone who bows down on his knees to drink.” 6Now the number of those who lapped, putting their hand to their mouth, was 300 men, but all the rest of the people bowed down on their knees to drink water. 7Then Adonai said to Gideon, “With the 300 men who lapped I will deliver you and give the Midianites into your hand. So let all the other people go, every man to his place.” 8So the 300 took provisions and their shofarot in their hands. He sent all the other men of Israel each to his tent, but he kept the 300 men. Now the camp of Midian was below him in the valley. 9It came to pass the same night that Adonai said to him, “Arise, get down against the camp, for I have given it into your hand. 10But if you are afraid to go down, first go down to the camp with your attendant Purah. 11Then you will hear what they are saying, and after that your hands will be strengthened to attack the camp.” So he went down with his attendant Purah to an outpost of the army that was in camp. 12Now the Midianites, the Amalekites and all the people of the east were lying in the valley as numerous as locusts; and their camels were countless, as numerous as the sand on the seashore. 13Yet when Gideon came, behold, there was a man relating a dream to his fellow, saying, “Listen, I just now had a dream: there was a loaf of barley bread that came tumbling into the camp of Midian, came up to a tent and struck it so it fell, and turned it upside down, so that the tent lay flat.” 14His companion answered and said, “This is nothing less than the sword of Gideon son of Joash, a man of Israel—God has delivered Midian and all the camp into his hand!” 15Now when Gideon heard the account of the dream and its interpretation, he bowed in worship. Then he returned to the camp of Israel and said, “Arise! For Adonai has given into your hand the camp of Midian.” 16Then he divided the 300 men into three columns, and he put into the hands of all of them shofarot and empty pitchers, with torches inside the pitchers. 17Then he said to them, “Watch me and do likewise. So behold, when I come to the outskirts of the camp, do just as I do. 18When I and all that are with me blow the shofar, then you also blow the shofarot all around the camp, and say, ‘For Adonai and for Gideon!’” 19So Gideon and the 300 men who were with him came up to the outermost part of the camp at the beginning of the middle watch, when they had just posted the watch. Then they blew the shofarot and smashed the pitchers that were in their hands. 20When the three columns blew the shofarot and broke the pitchers, they held the torches in their left hands and the shofarot in their right hands to blow, and they shouted, “A sword for Adonai and for Gideon!” 21Each one stood in his place around the camp, and then the entire army ran, shouting as they fled. 22Now when they blew the 300 shofarot, Adonai set every man’s sword against his fellow throughout the entire army. So the army fled as far as Beth-shittah toward Zererah, as far as the border of Abel-meholah, by Tabbath. 23Then men of Israel were summoned from Naphtali, Asher and all Manasseh, and they pursued Midian. 24Gideon sent messengers throughout all the hill country of Ephraim saying, “Come down against Midian and seize the waters down to Beth-barah, all along the Jordan.” So all the men of Ephraim were summoned and took control of the waterside as far as Beth-barah by the Jordan. 25Then they captured the two princes of Midian, Oreb and Zeeb; they slew Oreb at the Rock of Oreb and they slew Zeeb at the Winepress of Zeeb. They kept pursuing Midian, and they brought the heads of Oreb and Zeeb to Gideon from across the Jordan.
–from Judges 7
It’s not by might! It’s not by strength! It’s not by numbers! It’s by faith! It’s by obedience! Then we will see the glory of God and how He is able to do exceedingly, abundantly more than we could ever ask or imagine! The battle belongs to the Lord! Victory is the Lord’s!
Ever been criticized for not doing it the way others expected? Ever been criticized because you didn’t do it someone else’s way? Ever been criticized because the way you approached something? Ever been criticized even though you won?
Gideon did too, let’s see how this took place as we continue into today’s reading…
Gideon’s Victories, Ephod and Death
1Now the men of Ephraim said to him, “What is this thing you have done to us, not calling us when you went to fight against Midian?” So they criticized him sharply. 2But he said to them, “What have I now done compared to you? Is not the gleaning of Ephraim better than the vintage of Abiezer? 3God has given into your hand the princes of Midian—Oreb and Zeeb—so what was I able to do compared to you?” Their anger with him subsided after he said this. 4Then Gideon reached the Jordan and crossed over. He and the 300 men with him were exhausted, yet still pursuing. 5He said to the men of Succoth, “Please, give loaves of bread to the people on foot with me, for they are exhausted, and I am chasing Zebah and Zalmunna, the kings of Midian.” 6But the officials of Succoth said, “Are the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna now in your hand? So why we should give bread to your army?” 7Gideon replied, “Therefore when Adonai delivers Zebah and Zalmunna into my hand, then I will thresh your flesh with the thorns of the wilderness and briers.” 8From there he went up to Penuel and spoke to them similarly, but the men of Penuel answered him just as the men of Succoth had answered. 9So he spoke also to the men of Penuel saying, “When I come back safely, I will tear down this tower.” 10Now Zebah and Zalmunna were in Karkor, and with them their armies of about 15,000 men, all who were left of all the army of the people of the east—the fallen were 120,000 swordsmen. 11Now Gideon went up by the road of the tent dwellers on the east of Nobah and Jogbehah, and ambushed the camp when it was off guard. 12When Zebah and Zalmunna fled, he pursued them and captured the two kings of Midian, Zebah and Zalmunna, and routed the whole army. 13Gideon son of Joash returned from the battle by the Ascent of Heres. 14He captured a boy from the people of Succoth and questioned him, so he wrote down for him the officials of Succoth and its elders—77 men. 15When he came to the men of Succoth, he said, “Behold Zebah and Zalmunna—about whom you mocked me saying, ‘Are the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna already in your hand? Why should we give bread to your exhausted men?’” 16Then he seized the elders of the city, and thorns of the wilderness and briers, and with them he punished the men of Succoth. 17He also tore down the tower of Penuel and slew the men of the city. 18Then he asked Zebah and Zalmunna, “What kind of men did you kill at Tabor?” “As you are, so they were,” they answered. “Each one looked like the children of a king.” 19“They were my brothers, the sons of my mother,” he said. “As Adonai lives, if only you had let them live, I would not kill you.” 20Then he said to Jeter his first-born, “Arise, kill them!” But the boy could not draw his sword, for he was afraid, since he was still a youth. 21Then Zebah and Zalmunna said, “Rise up yourself and fall on us—for as the man is, so is his strength.” So Gideon arose and killed Zebah and Zalmunna, and took the crescent ornaments that were on their camels’ necks. 22Then the men of Israel said to Gideon, “Rule over us—you, your son, and your grandson as well. For you have delivered us from the hand of Midian.” 23But Gideon replied to them, “I will not rule over you, nor will my son rule over you. Adonai alone will rule over you.” 24Yet Gideon said to them, “I would make a request of you, that you would give me every man an earring from his spoil.” (For they had golden earrings, because they were Ishmaelites.) 25“We’ll certainly give them!” they replied. So they spread out a robe, and each one of them threw an earring from his spoil. 26So the weight of the golden earrings that he requested was 1,700 shekels of gold—besides the crescent ornaments, the pendants and the purple robes that were on the kings of Midian, and besides the chains that were on their camels’ necks. 27Gideon made it into an ephod, and put it in his town Ophrah. But all Israel prostituted themselves after it there, and it became a snare to Gideon and his household. 28So Midian was subdued before Bnei-Yisrael, and they lifted up their heads no more. The land had tranquility for 40 years in the days of Gideon. 29Jerubbaal son of Joash went and lived in his own house. 30Now Gideon had 70 sons of his own issue, for he had many wives. 31Also his concubine who was in Shechem also bore him a son—he called his name Abimelech. 32Then Gideon son of Joash died at a good old age, and was buried in the tomb of Joash his father, in Ophrah of the Abiezrites. 33But it came to pass, as soon as Gideon was dead, that Bnei-Yisrael again prostituted themselves after the Baalim, and made Baal-berith their god. 34So Bnei-Yisrael did not remember Adonai their God, who had delivered them from the hand of all their enemies on every side. 35Nor did they show kindness to the household of Jerubbaal, namely Gideon, in accord with all the goodness which he had done for Israel.
–from Judges 8
So why do you do what you do? So what is your motivation? So where do you point people in your walk? Where do you point people when it comes to your victories? Do you take it or do you point people to God? God is so good! God is so faithful! Even when we are weak, we need convincing, we need hope, we need encouragement, we need strength, we need courage, we need… God is faithful! God made a promise to Abraham and has kept and is continuing to keep His word! So how will we take the promises He has given us? Will we walk with Him? Will we turn back to Him when we stumble? Let’s walk with God! Let’s receive His grace! Let’s do it His way!
Consider what would Jesus do! Let’s be imitators! Let’s be ambassadors! Let’s make a difference in this world around us!
1Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, To the community of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Yeshua the Messiah: Grace to you and shalom.
Good News with Power
2We always give thanks to God for all of you, mentioning you in our prayers—continually 3remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadiness of hope in our Lord Yeshua the Messiah. 4We know, brothers and sisters loved by God, that you are chosen, 5because our Good News did not come to you in word only, but also in power and in the Ruach ha-Kodesh and with complete certainty—just as you know what kind of men we proved to be while among you for your sake. 6You also became imitators of us and of the Lord, having accepted the message in much tribulation, with the joy of the Ruach ha-Kodesh. 7So you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia. 8For the word of the Lord rang out from you—not just in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faithfulness toward God has gone out, so that we have no need to say anything. 9For they themselves bring news about what kind of welcome we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols, to serve the living and true God, 10and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead—Yeshua, the One delivering us from the coming wrath.
–from 1 Thessalonians 1
Let’s aim for the goal! Let’s finish the race strong! Let’s live to glorify God in all we think, say, and do!
Let’s purpose to please God over pleasing people! Let’s make sure our motives are pure! Let’s be humble! Let’s be servant leaders! Let’s not allow pride to trip us up!
Cherishing Spiritual Children
1For you yourselves know, brothers and sisters, that our visit to you was not in vain. 2On the contrary, after we had first suffered and been mistreated in Philippi, as you know, we had boldness in our God to tell you the Good News of God—even in the midst of much opposition. 3For our urging is not out of deceit or impure motives or trickery. 4But just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the Good News, so we declare it—not pleasing men but rather God, who examines our hearts. 5For as you know and God is witness, we never came with a word of flattery or a motive of greed— 6or seeking glory from people, whether from you or from others, 7even though we could have thrown our weight around as emissaries of Messiah. Rather, we proved to be infants among you. Like a nursing mother cherishes her children, 8in this way we were yearning for you. We were delighted to share with you not only the Good News of God but also our very souls, because you had become dear to us. 9For you recall, brothers and sisters, our labor and hardship—working night and day, so as not to burden any of you while we proclaimed to you the Good News of God. 10You are witnesses, along with God, of how devoutly and righteously and blamelessly we behaved toward you who believe. 11For you know how, as a father with his own children, 12we exhorted and encouraged and urged each one of you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into His own kingdom and glory. 13For this reason, we also thank God constantly that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but as it truly is—the word of God, which does its work in you who believe. 14For you, brothers and sisters, became imitators of God’s communities in Messiah Yeshua that are in Judea—for you suffered the same things at the hands of your own countrymen as they did from the Judean leaders, 15who killed both the Lord Yeshua and the prophets and drove us out. They are not pleasing to God and hostile to all people, 16hindering us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they might be saved. As a result, they constantly fill up the measure of their sins. But wrath has come upon them at last.
Longing to Visit and Reassure
17But brothers and sisters, after we were orphaned by separation from you for a short time (in person, not in heart), we were all the more eager in our great longing to see you face to face. 18For we wanted to come to you—I, Paul, more than once—but satan thwarted us. 19For who is our hope or joy or crown of boasting before our Lord Yeshua at His coming? Is it not you? 20For you are our glory and joy!
–from 1 Thessalonians 2