World Change on a Shoestring Budget 

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Saturday, August 20, 2016 0 comments

by Nathan Buck

A persistent theme in human history is monumental change, brought through minimal resources - especially when that change is initiated by God. A persistent assumption, and doubt, in human history is that overwhelming circumstances cannot be changed without substantially massive resources.

Even as I write this blog post, I am wrestling with an opportunity in front of me that I do not feel I have the resources to engage, and yet I feel a relentlessness in God's calling toward it. I know the spiritual answer is to just trust God, because He has all the resources for it anyway. Knowing that only deepens the struggle, because any excuses are being mitigated, at the same time the challenges of the opportunity seem to be getting clearer - and bigger!

Take a moment and read Judges 7:1-8. Gideon must have felt the same way as he was asked by God to overthrow the oppression of the Midianites, and God started shrinking the number of soldiers he had. Later in the chapter we learn Midian's forces were so numerous they could not be counted - a seemingly limitless army of soldiers and camels in Midian's camp.

Now, 32,000 had rallied to the call and we're ready to go to battle against Midian. And by the time we reach the end of this passage, God has shrunk an already small army down to a very small squadron of 300. 300?? Seriously?? How are we going to change the balance of power and overthrow the oppressive and abusive domination of Midian with 300 people?

There is a theme in the Bible of God using the least and weakest to demonstrate His power in overthrowing the strongest of evil. Some scholars debate about these 300 remaining soldiers, as to whether they were the strongest or the weakest based on how they drank. I think there is good reason to believe these were the best and only true fighting men, but it is still in the context of God's statement that HE will be the one to deliver Israel, so that no one in Israel can say they did it in their own strength.

Look at what God does. He starts by eliminating those who are afraid and trembling. 22,000 are gone right away. There is tremendous compassion here on God's part, because anyone who is fearful of battle is likely to be consumed by the battle very quickly, if not first.

Then He says, "...there are still too many, send home whom I say should go..." based on a "drinking" test He was going to do. Those who drank kneeling versus those who drank lapping like dogs would be separated. The "lapping dogs" get to stay, and the other 9,700 are sent home.

Now what is it about these 300 that God selected them? We know God wants all Israel to know it was His power that delivered them. By the sheer contrast of numbers that seems obvious. Even the best soldiers could not withstand these odds. So are they the best or the worst? Part of that question is irrelevant because the emphasis is on God's provision, not the talent of the soldier.

But I believe they were the strongest, wisest, most alert, and battle-ready soldiers. It would be so like God to use those He has already equipped and designed for a purpose, but to do so in a way that shows it was His power that enabled them.

In watching my dog drink, and many other dogs over the years, they often stand or crouch on their feet while drinking. They are alert and aware of everything around them. So much so that they are often distracted from drinking by some stimulus, and then come back when they are reminded of their thirst. To me, these 300 soldiers were the ones whose eyes were still scanning the area for activity, alert and aware of their mission, and concerned about being ready for the next moment MORE than being relaxed and sitting down in a moment to satisfy themselves. The mission was first, their alertness was focused, and their awareness was piqued for whatever would happen next.

I believe God used the men He designed for this battle in a supernatural way - exceedingly beyond their own ability, yet empowered in the strength and design they already had. So, what does that mean for us? Do you think we can trust God to put us where He wants us? Do we trust Him to be the one to accomplish His plan, especially when we know it is way bigger than what we can do on our own?

I don't think it would be tempting to do things on our own if we didn't believe at some level we could accomplish some imitation of God's plan. In our areas of giftedness and calling, we often put our hand to things in our own strength only. And while we may be doing the right thing (remember: Gideon was called to go and do this in the strength he already had), we may begin to believe that it's our responsibility to make it all happen. God didn't ask Gideon to figure out the military strategy; He asked Him to go. And as he went, God provided the strategy, strength, and power.

Are you staring at something big God is calling you to? Are you terrified that it's too big? Are you tempted to do what seems possible for you, instead of trusting God to bring the WHOLE victory?

Go in the strength you have, and let God lead the strategy, provide the strength, and show His power. If you are unsure of whether you are trusting like Gideon, ask this simple question: "Who is getting the glory from what I am currently doing?"

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