Too often, when we find ourselves in uncomfortable situations, our first instinct is to blame the devil. The thing is, more often than not, our own stubbornness and disobedience are the root of our problems.
In the book of Judges, the children of Israel found themselves at the mercy of their enemies because of their disobedience to God. Their relationship with God is what you might call “off and on,” because they would often go off track and worship other gods, pursuing selfish things like money, popularity, and wrong relationships. When they would stray too far and for long enough, God would lift His hand of protection off of them, which is what allowed the Midianites to oppress them. Like the children of Israel, if you insist on living without God, eventually, God will accommodate that request.
It took seven years of suffering under the hands of the Midianites for the children of Israel to cry out to God. After they prayed, God released a Word through a prophet, reminding the Israelites that He had already delivered them from bondage, and that their current situation was the result of their own evil actions and stubbornness.
God chose Gideon to lead the Israelites out of their oppression. When the Lord appeared before Gideon, he was hiding in a hole from the Midianites, filled with fear and self-doubt. He asked God, “O my Lord, how can I save Israel? Indeed my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.” — Judges 6:15 (NKJV)
You see, Gideon judged himself based on the hole he was hiding in, but God judged him based the power He gave him to get out of that hole! Likewise, many of us assess ourselves based on our circumstances, but God sees you based on the power He gave you to overcome, get over, and put behind those circumstances. God gave you this life because He gave you the power to live it!
Gideon had to become more than who he thought he was. When God showed him his potential, Gideon stepped in to it. God assured Gideon that He would be with him, saying, “Surely I will be with you, and you shall defeat the Midianites as one man” — Judges 6:16 (NKJV). When you know and believe that God is with you, that’s all the assurance you need.
After seven years of oppression, God raised Gideon to lead the Israelites into battle with the Midianites. They were outnumbered to start with, and then God cut the Israelite army down to just 300, telling 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’” — Judges 7:2 (NKJV). When just the 300 faithful Israelites remained, Gideon led them into the Midianites camp at midnight. They weren’t armed with swords, but trumpets, torches, and pitchers.
“Then the three companies blew the trumpets and broke the pitchers—they held the torches in their left hands and the trumpets in their right hands for blowing—and they cried, ‘The sword of the Lord and of Gideon!’ And every man stood in his place all around the camp; and the whole army ran and cried out and fled.” — Judges 7:20-21
They cried out and made sounds of victory instead of despair. You must decide to put your foot down and have an air of expectation to make the devil cower and run. You must keep the Word of God in your hand and let it guide you. No matter how far you’ve strayed from God, you can always come back. But you must take the first step – like the children of Israel – and cry out to God. He is able to turn any situation around, and when you make up your mind to seek Him out, He will cause you to be triumphant over any problem, any issue, and any enemy.
Dr. Derek Grier
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