Sunday, March 15, 2009

When God is Father...

I've never been in a situation that is remotely comparable to the one that today's judge/rescuer found himself in, but it's a fascinating reminder that odds do not matter in God's economy.

Just before writing this, I watched a woman and her husband win a multi-million dollar home in Sonoma, California on HGTV's Dream Home special. It seems that she had entered a contest that over 34 million others also entered--and she was the one who was fortunate enough to win the prize. When they showed up at her current residence, a modest home in Lakeland, Florida, she was completely caught off guard and almost speechless, but she managed to mutter that it was like a dream come true. I entered the same contest, but had no real hope of winning because of such tremendous odds against being the one person out of so many who would win.

Today's scriptures, Judges 6 through 8, explain that after Israel had again returned to idolatrous living and suffered greatly as a result, God raised up a man named Gideon to be their new rescuer. The story is amazing on many levels and there are several lessons to be learned from reading the account of God's deliverance of Israel with just 300 men, but the one I will mention today is that odds mean nothing in God's economy. The men of Israel were outnumbered and they really didn't even have weapons--just clay jar torches and ram's horns.

So, why did God choose to allow such a small number of poorly armed men to fight against Midian? Here's what God said in verse 2 of chapter 7 about the original band of warriors that had been assembled:

...“You have too many warriors with you. If I let all of you fight the Midianites, the Israelites will boast to me that they saved themselves by their own strength.

Then, as now, God will not share his glory. When the Lord fought the battle for the men of Israel, their enemy lost 135,000 soldiers to an army that had begun their attack with just 300 men. Gideon learned a lesson that will benefit every person who discovers the same truth all these years later--obedience to God today means that He can be trusted with our tomorrow.

In obedience to The Lord, Gideon had released 22,000 soldiers simply because they were afraid, and then another 9,700 on top of that. The odds of successfully defeating the Midianites were incredibly grim from a logical perspective, and yet because Gideon followed God's instructions obediently, the victory was decisive.

I hope this journey through the Old Testament serves to keep us aware that our unchanging God is still able, capable, and willing to fight our battles for us, even when the odds seem overwhelming, because odds are not a factor when God is Father.

Thank you Lord that you are Father God, the One who gives victory to those who serve, obey and trust. Gideon's victory was yours alone, and so are all of mine. You are great, and greatly to be praised!

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