Saturday, April 27, 2013

The Step BACKWARD is the Step FORWARD

One Year Bible
Old Testament passage for Saturday, April 27, 2013: Judges 7:1-8:17

And the Lord said to Gideon, “The people who are with you are too many for Me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel claim glory for itself against Me, saying, ‘My own hand has saved me.’ Now therefore, proclaim in the hearing of the people, saying, ‘Whoever is fearful and afraid, let him turn and depart at once from Mount Gilead.’” And twenty-two thousand of the people returned, and ten thousand remained. Judges 7:2-3 (NKJV)

Sometimes we must take steps BACKWARD before we can take steps FORWARD.  That's what happened with Gideon, and that's what happens with you and me, too.  This never makes sense from a worldly point of view.  But then, we must remember a very basic truth.  Isaiah 55:8-9 says, 'For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,' says the Lord.  'For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.'

Gideon was a WIMP who was made into a WARRIOR.  He started out as a coward hiding in a winepress.  He ended up as a courageous captain leading God's army to victory against overwhelming odds.  God tears us down so that He can build us up!

You must give Gideon credit.  When he finally "manned up" and obeyed God, he did so while being hopelessly outnumbered.  He took 32,000 soldiers against a Midianite army between 150,000 and 200,000.  But, surprisingly, God told him, "You have too many men..." (Jud. 7:2)!  After two tests, Gideon sent home 31,700 men!  That left 300.  Sometimes you must take steps BACKWARD before you can take steps FORWARD.

God's strength is not made perfect in our abilities.  It is made perfect in our WEAKNESS (II Co. 12:9).  God took 300 men and defeated 200,000.  How did He do it?  Not with weapons of warfare, but with trumpets, pottery jars, and small torches.  God can bring victory by His own means.  as a result, He alone gets the glory.

The "tear down" process is necessary to set up the "build up" results.  It's like a slingshot or an arrow.  You must pull it back in order to release it forward.

In New Testament terms, the Lord says, "Repent and believe" (Mark 1:15).  The way forward always includes a step backwards.  We cannot trust in our own ability, but fully trust in Jesus.  He always leads us to triumph (II Co. 2:14).

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