Times of hardship and trial are always times of opportunity, because God always has purpose in the things He sends or the things He allows into our lives. The Lord has given us a sure way to cooperate with what He desires to do, a way that always works.
James 1:22 NKJV But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.
Gideon was a young man in a land in much greater trouble than our own. Every year at the time of the harvest, the Midianites would invade Israel and take all the crops and livestock that the Israelites could not successfully hide.
God certainly had plenty of purpose in allowing Midian to “get away with this” year after year. His purpose for Israel was to bring them to repentance. But God also had purpose in the lives of each family and each individual. Gideon was the youngest of his family, but God had a work in this young man´s life He wanted to accomplish.
The only portion of the written Word of God in existence at this time were the Books of Moses (Genesis through Deuteronomy) and possibly the Book of Job. So when God wanted to give Gideon a word, the Angel of the Lord brought it to him.
When the Angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon and told him the Lord was with him, Gideon didn´t believe the angel. He said, “If the Lord is with us, why is all of this happening? The nation is impoverished. People are dying.”
How many people are asking that same question today? Are you one of them?
Then God revealed that He Himself was the Angel of the Lord, and He said to Gideon, “I am going to deliver Israel through your leadership.” But Gideon doubted and demanded a sign. He prepared a meal for Lord. The Angel of the Lord reached out with His staff and touched the food, and flame vaporized it; and then the Lord disappeared.
The Lord returned to instruct Gideon later that night. At last Gideon believed he really had talked with the Lord, and the Lord told Gideon to destroy the altar of Baal built in his city. Gideon did! He obeyed the Word of the Lord.
God gave Gideon success in tearing down the altar of the pagan god, and Gideon began to exercise the leadership God had called him to do. He began to raise an army, but again battled with doubt, wondering if God could really empower him to defeat the Midianites. So Gideon went through the test of God´s call asking for there to be dew on a fleece in the morning when the ground was dry. When the Lord did this, Gideon reversed the sign to be sure it really was the work of the Almighty.
Folks, “putting out a fleece” as a way to get a sign from God is not an act of faith but of doubt! Nevertheless, God was growing Gideon, and He confirmed the sign. But when He did, Gideon again responded in obedience.
The next time God gave a command, this one to trim the size of his army from 32,000 to 300, Gideon obeyed without seeking a sign. Do you see the growth?
Israel was set free.
Gideon was a changed man!
Every time of trial and difficulty is an opportunity for growth in the Lord.
The twin keys to unlock God´s wondrous transformation are
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St. Andrew Baptist Church
3010 W. 15th Street
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