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Category: Judges

Ruled by Christ

Then the men of Israel said to Gideon, “Rule over us, you and your son and your grandson also, for you have saved us from the hand of Midian.” Gideon said to them, “I will not rule over you, and my son will not rule over you; the LORD will rule over you.”

Judges 8:22-23

In response to being saved from the hand of Midian, the Israelites desired for Gideon to rule over them. Quite frankly, that seems like a rational response. After all, were it not for the intervention of Gideon, the Israelites would have at best been put in bondage as slaves and at worst, they would have been killed. In light of being rescued from slavery and death, they express their allegiance to Gideon and they desire that he rule over them.

Of course, we see in the verses referenced above that Gideon rightfully redirects their attention and acknowledges it is the LORD who will rule over them. After all, it was the LORD who raised His mighty hand to save the Israelites and it was the LORD who was worthy to receive all the glory.

Have you taken the time lately to reflect on the fact that you also have been granted freedom from slavery and have been rescued from death? And just as the Israelites response was a desire for their rescuer to rule over them, we too should desire that the One who saved us – Jesus Christ – would rule over us.

The Bible teaches that He is faithful to do so. The question for us is, will we humbly submit to His rule and lordship?

God’s Glory

When experiencing financial, relational, physical, or any other type of hardship, many Christians receive it as the Lord’s discipline in their lives. They perceive that God is using those trials and circumstances in their life to purify, refine, and sanctify them.

While God certainly does, can, and will use those things to accomplish His purposes in our lives, we forget about another motivation. I was reminded of it this morning while reading through Judges 7.

The LORD said to Gideon, “The people with you are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hand, lest Israel boast over me, saying, ‘My own hand has saved me.’

Judges 7:2

Here’s the thought that struck me this morning:

God is all about His glory.

Now don’t misinterpret what I’m saying. Don’t believe for a minute that I’m saying God is narcissistic. Please hear me. Yes, God loves us and wants us to be conformed into the image of His Son that we might be holy as He is holy. But even so, God’s primary motivation behind everything He does is to bring glory to Himself. And in this particular context in Judges, He not only wants the glory, He also wants His children (the Israelites) to learn to trust, rely, and depend on Him and Him alone.

My prayer is that when I experience hardships and trials of every kind, may I rejoice in how God’s glory might be revealed in and through may circumstances. And my I be thankful for how, in His love, by His grace, and through His Spirit, He allows those things to be useful in refining me. For my joy and His glory.

Excuses, excuses

This morning I read about the call of Gideon as referenced in Judges 6. I came away thinking that Gideon seemed like a pretty grounded guy. He seemed like someone to whom I could relate. Maybe I felt this way because upon being addressed by an angel of the Lord and called into service, Gideon had some good excuses at the ready. Not excuses why he should respond in obedience but rather reasons why the angel was surely mistaken and had the wrong guy. It went something like this:

And the angel of the LORD appeared to him and said to him, “The LORD is with you, O mighty man of valor.” And Gideon said to him, “Please, sir, if the LORD is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all his wonderful deeds that our fathers recounted to us, saying, ‘Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt?’ But now the LORD has forsaken us and given us into the hand of Midian.” And the LORD turned to him and said, “Go in this might of yours and save Israel from the hand of Midian; do not I send you?” And he said to him, “Please, Lord, how can I save Israel? Behold, my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.” And the LORD said to him, “But I will be with you, and you shall strike the Midianites as one man.” (Judges 6:12-16 ESV)

Here are some things that I notice from this account:

  • The Lord saw the truth about Gideon – in my reading of Genesis through to the book of Judges, this is the first time I learn anything about Gideon. However, it is clear that the angel of the Lord knows something about Gideon that I don’t. Perhaps he knows something about Gideon that even Gideon doesn’t realize about himself. Notice how the angel of the Lord refers to him as “mighty man of valor”. Was the angel using flattery to butter up Gideon? Was he just sweet talking him to make Gideon more amenable to the Lord’s plan? I believe the God that created Gideon knew his heart and is simply reminding Gideon of who he really is.
  • Gideon allowed his circumstances to define God’s presence and power – this is a pretty common response isn’t it? Gideon wonders, if God is with us, why have all these terrible things happened? What happened to the God that our forefathers described to us? You know, the one who lead them out of Egypt? Gideon doesn’t see the big picture. And perhaps, his forefathers did him a disservice by not giving him the full story of how God also disciplined His people as He lead them out of Egypt.
  • Gideon thinks of all the reasons why he can’t obey God – Gideon explains that his clan is the weakest in Manasseh and how he is the least in his father’s house. In other words, “I’m not qualified”. I wonder, does Gideon really think he’s delivering breaking news to the angel of the Lord? The angel is not concerned with what Gideon can do for God. He is more interested in what God wants to do through Gideon.

In light of that, here are a few thoughts:

  • I need to remember that I am created in God’s image and my frame was not hidden from Him when I was being made in secret. I am to seek, and be affirmed by my identity in Christ and not allow my own insecurities or the evaluation of this world to define who I am.
  • It can be difficult to be aware of God’s grace in the midst of unpleasant circumstances. But I, like Job, need to remind myself that I must accept both good and evil from God. God is never absent from my circumstances and always provides grace that is sufficient for the moment. As a father, I need to ensure that I teach my children that God is omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent. I need to give them a complete picture of God as revealed through the Bible as well as sharing the many testimonies of God’s grace in my own life.
  • When God invites me to participate in the supernatural, He is not dependent on my “natural” abilities, wisdom, strength or qualifications. The only qualification that matters is whether I have an obedient, willing and trusting heart.

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