The Character of God!

Judges 6:13 ‘If God’s with us, WHY then has all this happened to us? WHERE are all his wonderful deeds? The Lord has forsaken us and given us into the hand of Midian.’

Never judge God’s character through your circumstance. Gideon was reflecting back to the angel of the Lord, the sense of loss and forsakenness that all Israel were feeling due to their oppressors, the Midianites. Gideon was a picture of Israel fearing for their lives, hiding away, concluding that God had forsaken them.

Don’t make conclusions about God based upon your circumstances. Circumstances are deceiving and generally lead us to asking God the wrong questions: God, WHY is this happening to me? God, WHERE are you in the midst of this situation? I’ve discovered a better question is, God, WHAT are you trying to teach me through this situation?

It’s amazing how warped our theology can become when we interpret God’s character through the filter of suffering, hardship and hurt. Many people have been taken out by their bitterness and offence during times of contradiction. Don’t you! 

God is faithful, loving, generous, gracious, slow to anger, abounding in much love, patient and just. He delights in your success and is always making all things work together for your benefit. God will never leave you, nor forsake you. He’s trying to teach you something in the midst of your trial and even this will turn out for his glory and your maturity.

The Oracle!

God is with YOU!

Judges 6:12 ‘The Lord is with you, O, mighty man of valour.’

There will come a day in everyone of our lives when we will face what seems like an insurmountable situation that requires a supernatural breakthrough to get through it. In that  day your breakthrough won’t come about because of a clever strategy or how pretty you are or who your friends are but because of one simple truth, God is with YOU!

All throughout the bible, God came to individuals and reassured them of his abiding presence with them. God said of Joseph, “The Lord is with him and had success everywhere he went.” God said to Moses, “I will be with you and help you deliver my people.” God said to Joshua, “Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I’ll never leave you, nor forsake you, be strong and courageous.” God said to Gideon, “The Lord is with you, O, mighty man of valour.” There come’s a time when it’s more than what you know or what you have but who is with you.

Fear makes us act like God isn’t with us. Gideon was found in a winepress beating out wheat in fear for his life from the marauding Midianites. Last time I checked a winepress was for treading on the grapes and extracting juice from them. God has hard-wired you up to be fruitful and multiply but the stain and poison of sin has marked us with the twin towers of immaturity and insecurity. This causes us to live by our fears, rather than by faith in God’s promises for our lives. Fear is a fruit of the sinful nature but faith is a fruit of living by the Spirit. The Spirit works into us the maturity and security God longs for us so we can live by faith and not by fear.

God sees you through the filter of his presence. When the angel of the Lord proclaimed to Gideon, ‘The Lord is with you, O, mighty man of valour’, Gideon was anything but a mighty warrior, he was hiding away in a wine press, fearing for his life. God never looks at you through your weaknesses, he looks at you through the filter of his presence at work in your life. God says, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in your weakness.’ We are so quick to look at what we haven’t got that we forget what we have got. When God is with you, you and God are a majority.

The Oracle!

Assurance, Not Guidance!

I’ve discovered that guidance from God is not always what we need. More often than not we know what God’s will is but what we need to complete it is assurance from God that he will be with us.

This is no more true than for Gideon after God called him to strike down the Midianites. The Lord said to Gideon, “The Lord is with you, O mighty man of valor… Go in your strength and deliver Israel from the hand of Midian. Have I not sent you?” Gideon said, “How shall I deliver Israel? Behold, my family is the least in Manessah, and I am the youngest in my father’s house.” But the Lord said to him, “Surely, I will be with you, and you shall defeat Midian as one man.”

Gideon has an initial conversation with God and then goes on a journey of giving God his final response. On a personal level Gideon feels much like us when asked by God to complete his will, he feels inadequate, insecure and lacking in confidence. When God issues a call to us, it raises our insecurities to the surface but this is a necessary part of our training to complete God’s will for us.

The very thing we think disqualifies us to answer God’s call (our weakness) is the very reason why we have been chosen, so we don’t confuse God’s glory with our ability.

Gideon knew the will of God but he puts out a fleece, not to get guidance but to get reassurance from God that he was in fact called to do what God had asked him to do. Why would someone who knows the will of God need a fleece to double-check? The fleece had nothing to do with finding God’s will and everything to do with his own poor self-image. Gideon wasn’t seeking guidance, he was asking for reassurance.

When it comes to our own calling, what we need most, is not more direction but reassurance that we are the one’s to fulfill it. Reassurance is a key part of Gods intention for us. When he commits us to impossible situations He knows that it will throw us into a crisis of self-confidence. It is in these moments that God will answer our insecurities with confirmation that he is with us and that he has called us to head in a certain direction.

Insight!