Wednesday, 31 October 2012
Then Gideon said to God, “Do not be angry with me. Let me make just one more request. Allow me one more test with the fleece. This time make the fleece dry and the ground covered with dew.” Judges 6.39
Gideon asks for another sign. He has already placed the fleece, asking God to cover the fleece with dew and to keep the ground dry. This is precisely what happened. God answered Gideon’s request and assured him that he was truly hearing from God.
Now Gideon’s asking for another sign. What’s with this man? He’s certainly showing us that he’s far from the mighty warrior that the angel of the Lord called him. One gets the early impression that Gideon in something of a wimp. He certainly doesn’t show up differently with his ongoing doubts and fears. These verses tell us much about Gideon.
But, as I reflect on them, they also tell me a great deal about God. Some may be tempted to see Gideon’s actions here as testing God. I do not see this. What I do see is a weak and insecure man being commissioned by God for a mighty task, and being so afraid that he seeks God’s affirmation – twice!
I also see the patience and love of God as He complies with Gideon’s requests, and brings to him the assurances he so desperately seeks. God knew Gideon so well. He knew the man’s reactions to His request could well have placed him in a state of anxiety, even panic. He knew Gideon would need full and positive assurances that God was indeed calling him to something that he felt was way beyond him, and which truly frightened him. God knew Gideon, and He patiently and lovingly worked with him to give him the assurances he needed.
I then look beyond Gideon and I see myself, standing slightly to the side and wondering what it might be that God will require of me. Having reflected on Gideon’s experience, I can rest in the knowledge that God also knows me, even better than I know myself. He knows me and He knows what I might need in the way of assurance or affirmation. The same love, grace, mercy and patience that God has shown to Gideon, and countless others, is there for me. His attitude toward me is tender, caring and loving. If I need assurance from God I can ask for it, many times over if necessary. For God knows me, and He loves me too much to deny me the responses I need from Him. He led Gideon on to great things. I wonder what He’ll do with me!
O most loving God,
I thank You for this revelation of love. Gideon was so unsure that he asked You – twice. I am allowed to be unsure, and I can ask You for assurance, confirmation or direction as many times as needed until I am sure that I have clearly heard You. I thank You for this. I love You.
Sunday, 28 October 2012
He who has ears let him hear. Matt. 13.9
This phrase seems an important one to Jesus for He repeats it later (v 43). I can find no external insight into this verse so it looks as if I must trust to my own thinking and the leading of the Holy Spirit.
It seems to me that we all have ears. Even those whose physical ears do not function well are able to ‘tune in’ with spiritual ‘ears’. And ‘tune in’ is perhaps the phrase I need to consider in today’s meditation. Our ‘ears’ will pick up what they choose to receive. If we are tuned in to a particular subject or topic it is amazing what we will hear, learn, pick up and take in about that item.
I want to be fully tuned in to Jesus. I want to hear everything He has to say to me – audible and otherwise. I want to know all about the kingdom of heaven, and the best way I can learn is direct from the King. I want to hear also what He would have me do for Him. I want to hear, and I want to obey.
As an act of my will I open my ears to hear all that You would say to me. I ask You to speak and enable me by Your Holy Spirit not to miss anything that You have to say, to pick up any grand or humble general impressions, dreams or visions You may want to show me, and also to glean and take in every small detail You choose to reveal.
As an act of my will I open up my whole being to respond to Your call and direction. I want only to do what You would have me do. My deepest desire is to live in the fullness of Your will.
I’m Yours, Lord. I release myself fully. Take me and make me Yours, in everything.
I love you. I pray You will both receive me and enjoy my love. Let me live in and with You. In Jesus’ Name I ask. Amen.
Thursday, 25 October 2012
“But Lord,” Gideon asked, “how am I to save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh and I am the least in my family.
The LORD answered, “I will be with you; and your will strike down all the Midianites together.” Judges 6.15,16
In these two verses the frailty of man is confronted by the truth of God.
Gideon sees himself in actual human terms. The clan to which he belongs is seen as the weakest in the whole tribe of Manasseh. He sees himself as the least important in all his family. This is what he sees. This is who he is.
Then God faces him with a divine truth: “I, the Lord God Almighty will be with you. Understand what this means. The whole power of heaven will be with you. Every divine resource will back you up. You will face the Midianites and you will strike down every one of them. This is what I call you to see. This is who you are in me.”
I see a choice before me. I can opt for what I see in the natural – what circumstances, society and my own thoughts and actions tell me I am. Or I can receive my sonship in Him, and know that the whole of heaven is with me, that the Lord of all is, truly, my own heavenly Dad. Will I give in to the worldly view? Or, as a true and committed believer, will I receive His Word and know that He is indeed with me.
What do I choose? Surely the choice is obvious. Why would I hesitate?
Lord, Mighty God,
I claim my sonship in You. I welcome and embrace all that You offer me in the glorious relationship You have drawn me into. I thank You with every fibre of my being.
I receive Your presence with me. Wherever I go and whatever I do, may it always be in company with You. Strengthen and equip me in Your love. Journey alongside me please! May Your light shine in me and through me. Hallelujah! Amen.
Sunday, 21 October 2012
But David said to Abishai, “Don’t destroy him! Who can lay a hand on the LORD’s anointed and be guiltless?” 1 Sam. 26.9
David, with Abishai, had infiltrated Saul’s camp. He was in a position to do whatever he chose to Saul, and he chose to do nothing whatsoever to harm him.
Saul was hounding David. He was jealous of him and had nothing but evil thoughts in his heart towards him. David had several opportunities to damage Saul, even to kill him. Previously, in the desert of En Gedi, David has ample chance to slay Saul. Instead he cut off a corner of his robe, and afterwards even felt badly about doing that.
On both these occasions we read that Saul was delivered into David’s hands by the Lord
(1 Sam. 24.4; 26.8, 23). Yet, despite these apparently God-given opportunities, David stood firm. He was true to his resolve not to harm the Lord’s anointed. Was God testing David in these times? I don’t know. But I do know that David held the firmest conviction that Saul was anointed king by God Almighty and, as such, no man had any right to take action against Saul. David suffered great persecution and heartache. Yet, despite the clear opportunities to take action against his oppressor, he was true to his strong conviction in God.
I wonder how I might fare in a similar situation. Would I stand strong? Or would I buckle, give in, and even thank God for helping me?
What a wonderful example David is! I’m almost glad (well at least relieved) that he misbehaved with Bathsheba. It shows his weakness and his humanity. Against the strength of all that he endured from Saul, he presents as a man who, nonetheless, goes off the rails. Yet for all this, we know him by repute as a man after God’s own heart. There is hope for each and every one of us.
I sincerely thank You for the example there is for me in David. I applaud his resolve not to harm the Lord’s anointed. Even when it seems You gave him opportunity to avenge himself on Saul, he would not.
For my part, I ask for wisdom to know those absolute truths in You and to abide in them at all times and never, ever, give in to any feelings to extract justice and reparation – even when the opportunity to do so appears to be God-given – where such action would be against precepts of truly Godly living.
I know You will give me the strength to bear up even under the seemingly unbearable.
I thank You also for the reminder of David’s weaknesses. Dear Lord, I do not rejoice that this great man failed at times, but I thank You that his greatness enabled him to come before You in abject penitence and contrite confession when he had realised how his actions had been so dishonouring of You and of his relationship with You.
I know I stray. I do the wrong thing, I think the wrong thought, or I speak the wrong word. I don’t want to be like this. Precious Lord, I would delight to delight You, always abiding in You and living fully in Your will. But I am a sinner. Help me, Father. I cannot stop myself sinning, but I can ask You to lead me in paths of righteousness. I ask You to strengthen me. As I seek to focus on what is right and righteous, I pray that the temptation of others’ ways will wane, and lose influence and power over me.
I want to walk with You, every step of the way. Today, I give myself to You afresh. May I be Your man? Would You share Your heart with me and lead me into being a man after Your own heart?
I surrender. I give up and come to You. How wonderful this is. Lord God, I sit in Your presence. I exult in You. Hold me close. Lead me only in Your way, in Jesus’ name I ask.
Wednesday, 17 October 2012
In everything he did he had great success, because the Lord was with him. 1 Sam.18.14
What wonderful encouragement this verse is! David could not fail to succeed when he looked to God in all that he did. Indeed, later on (2 Sam. 11) we see what happens when David acts in his own flesh and not with his eyes firmly fixed on God.
I can’t point a finger at David in this for I know how I forget to place every single thing before God. Often, I act in the flesh without even thinking. Sometimes, I act when I know my actions might not be fully approved by God. How weak we are in our humanity! Yet we are not lost. God says, “If you seek me, I will be found by you.”
It’s never too late to retrace, to lay our sins and our weaknesses before God and ask for, and surrender to, His help.
As I opened my journal to record this prayer to You, I uncovered the slip of paper on which I have written – Yet not my will, but Yours be done. In my heart I want this so much, yet in my actions I often betray this desire.
I come before You now and ask You to forgive me all those times I have disappointed You. I want to do better, to be more like Jesus. Hear my prayer. Know my heart. I pray Your mercy and grace will cover me and release me to go forward with You.
I pray that my activity, whatever it might be, will be fully with You.
I rejoice in the life I have in You and the privileged position I enjoy as a child of God. Help me, dear Lord, never to abuse what You have given me but, rather, to steward it in wisdom and truth, playing my small part for the Kingdom of God.
I ask these things in Jesus’ name. Amen.