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Lest I boast… A Lesson from Gideon

I had one night left.  Just one night. One night where I didn’t have an alarm clock waking me up in the morning.  One night where I could go to bed knowing I could leisurely sip coffee when I got up. One night where I knew I could decide what I wanted to do the next day.

I had one night and one day left of my summer vacation.  All I wanted to do was sleep as late as I could – which probably meant 7 o’clock –  and spend the day relaxing and piddling. I had some speaking engagements coming up and the new school year, and I really wanted to just mentally prepare for those moments.

I didn’t think I was asking too much.  Just a calm day at home, enjoying those last moments.   

Well, as you can imagine, the night nor the day happened like that.  I was plagued with insomnia, which I have happen every now and then. I lay there just wanting to go back to sleep so badly.  I did not want to be tired for the moments ahead. I wanted to be at my best.

And then the day… It really was not an overall bad day.  It just became a day of errands and busyness. Not the day I wanted…

Towards the end of the day, I was praying and questioning, I mean, I didn’t think I had asked for that much.  And then God put those little whispers in my head and heart…

Remember Gideon!

Just days earlier I had heard a message on Gideon.  God had chosen Gideon to save the Israelites from the Midianites. And even though Gideon had spoken to the Angel of the Lord, he still had his doubts.  I just love that God was using him through his doubts – but that is not why God whispered his name to me.

See, by the time Gideon made it close to the Midianite camp, he had an army of 32,000.  Before he could go any further, God stopped him. “The people with you are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hand, lest Israel boast over me, saying, ‘My own hand has saved me’” (Judges 7:2)

But God’s explanation makes perfect sense.  He says, “‘ You have too many men. I cannot deliver Midian into their hands, or Israel would boast against me, ‘My own strength has saved me.’’’ And we know Israel, so we know God is exactly right. (And we know us – which is probably why we now have this story in the Bible…)

So God gives Gideon two different sets of instructions to weed out some of the men and by the end of it, Gideon is left with 300 men.  Just 300. Gideon needs some reassurance before he faces the Midianites. He gets it and of course, they go on to be victorious.

It’s the reasoning that God gives Gideon that simmers in my soul.  It is what God was whispering to me.

 “The people with you are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hand, lest Israel boast over me, saying, ‘My own hand has saved me.’”

See, I wanted my day to go perfectly.  I wanted the ideal amount of sleep, the ideal amount of exertion, the ideal amount of peace and quiet.  I wanted everything to be just right to help me ensure success with my speaking engagements and the first days of school.  

But God needed me to have some discomfort.  He needed me to have some imperfections, some annoyances.  He needed to remind me that my own strength is not going to save me, nor is it going to get me through.  

I was so focused on taking care of myself and making sure I was ready to go.  But, that is not what God wanted at all. God wanted me focused on Him. And a little bit of discomfort does just that.  A little inconvenience. A little annoyance. Or a lot of all those things, depending on just what we need and maybe how stubborn we are.

Remember that God sometimes puts these things in our lives, not to aggravate us or to trip us up, but to remind us who is our source.

If the Israelites went in with those 32,000 soldiers, they would have easily won on their own might and they would have known it.  

But God wanted to remind them who was in charge, who was guiding them, who was their source of strength, who was their source of life…

That is all He wants to do for us.  Sometimes He has to take us down a notch or give us a little of something, just to remind us where our strength lies, to remind us where we should always be looking.  

I know that is why God reminded me of Gideon and now, as trouble and inconveniences come into my daily life, I am reminded not get frustrated and aggravated.  Instead, those are the moments to sit back and let God show His strength just like He did with Gideon.

Those are the moments that I am reminded, I have nothing to boast about.  But God has done it all.

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