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Posts Tagged ‘Gideon’

Our numbers are not looking good.  My denomination, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), lost 510,536 members between 1998 and 2009. Eighty-eight congregations closed in 2009 alone.  My own congregation is mourning the deaths of many dear saints.  We are also watching with sorrowful joy as most of our children move away in order to answer their calling.  I am sure Gideon was utterly dismayed when his army of 32,000 was reduced to 300 in the face of a massive contingent of Midianites, and then utterly amazed at what God did next.  I wonder whether God is using similar tactics with us.  Could God be doing a “Gideon’s Army” kind of thing here and now?

Gideon’s Army

Judges 6-8

Gideon could not believe his ears! Just when he was getting his confidence up, just as he was really beginning to believe this job was do-able, here comes God saying, “Gideon, this army’s too big! We’ve got to cull this herd!”

Who ever heard of anything so foolish? If anything, the Israelite army of 32,000 needed to get bigger. Why? Because the Midianite army boasted 135,000 soldiers, and they were mounted on camels. Their strength was massive!

Just when Gideon was beginning to trust God. God had given sign after sign to show Gideon that God really was with him, and that God really would use him and the Israelite army to stop the Midianite menace. Remember Gideon’s fleece? It is the most famous of the signs God gave him.

Gideon said, “Lord, I need some reassurance that you really are going to deliver Israel by my hand. I need to be sure I’m not just dreaming this up. Tonight I am going to lay a fleece of wool on the threshing floor. Tomorrow morning if the dew is only on the fleece and the ground all around is dry, I’ll know I’ve heard you right.” God acquiesced. It was so.

Gideon’s reply? “Don’t get mad at me, Lord, but I need another sign. Let’s use the fleece again, only this time, let the fleece be dry, and the ground all around be wet.” Once again, God acquiesced. It was so.

Gideon was convinced—mostly. He tested God and was reassured. Somehow the 32,000 Israelite soldiers would be enough to go against the enemy. But hold on: not time to start the war yet. Here comes God with a huge test for Gideon! (more…)

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