A scripture read by our speaker this morning at church set off fireworks inside of me. It was really a continuation of a spark lit in intercessory prayer earlier in the morning when the prayer leader brought up the word “courage.” The church needs some courage right now, as well as commitment. Our society is in dire need of the love of God, and it will take courage to go out in this society and demonstrate that. It will take courage to believe God as society appears to crumble.
There is a mass exodus from our state (IL) happening because the progressive scythe is swinging throughout the state, demanding more and more money from its citizens and killing businesses, by all kinds of methods, some of them quite amazing. Who thinks of these things, really? Who actually comes up with the idea to tax a car on trade-in value after one has already paid sales taxes when they purchased the car? What’s next? Taxes on yard sale items? Oh wait… do we already have that? Maybe.
Our speaker read Judges 6:12 “And the angel of the LORD appeared to him (speaking of Gideon), and said to him, The LORD is with you, you mighty man of valor.” Our speaker pointed out that the definition of valor was “great courage in the face of danger, especially in battle.” There’s that word again…courage.
Most avid bible readers will remember the story of Gideon. Gideon was the least in his family (he said). Whatever his situation, Gideon had a very negative view of himself. Do you have a negative view of yourself? Most of us do in some ways. But God had a call on his life and a plan for him, which Gideon was just about to learn… But first, God had to send an angel to speak words to him about his identity, which was, “you mighty man of valor.” Gideon was about to go into battle against a most fierce adversary. A person needs courage and good self image to do that. If you keep reading, you will find that God whittled Gideon’s 32,000 man army down to almost nothing…leaving him 300 men to go up against an army, the size of which is recorded in Judges 7:12 as, “Their camels could no more be counted than the sand on the seashore.” That’s just like our God…He tells you to do something, giving you impossible odds (the 300 men), and then asks you to trust Him! (Trust Me, I know what I’m doing).
This brings to mind Romans 8:31, which says, “What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?” Judges 6:12 says, “The Lord is with you…” You and God are a majority, I don’t care how it looks!
And that’s the problem…we look at our circumstances, we look at the promise and we don’t see how that thing is possible at all. Because we have a “grasshopper” mindset.
The term “grasshopper” refers to the Israelites in the wilderness, when God showed them the Promised Land. They sent spies to see what was there. The ten spies came back carrying a cluster of grapes so large it took two men to carry it! They agreed it was a great and prosperous land, but…. and that’s what stopped them. They said it out loud, departing from the word that God had spoken to them. They said “We are but grasshoppers in their sight.” Twelve spies went, came back, and ten said, “we’re grasshoppers.” Only two, Joshua and Caleb, agreed with what God had said. And that was enough to keep the whole nation from going into the promised land for forty years, till all the naysayers had died off. You see, man can really slow down the plan of God. Read Numbers 13.
Are you a grasshopper in your own mind? When God comes and asks something of you, do you say negative things and stop His plan from happening in your life? Moses said “I can’t speak, I stutter,” when God came to him and asked him to go to Egypt and confront Pharaoh Do we think God doesn’t know our frailties?
Advancing the cause of the kingdom takes courage. But God is with us! You might be surrounded by enemies, but God is with you! People might be saying all kinds of bad things about you, but God is with you! You may be experiencing a lot of bad “luck,” as some would say, but God is with you! He loves you and never leaves you. Our circumstances are only temporary, and the secret of overcoming is this…gratitude. Being grateful and knowing God loves you no matter what is happening to you, holding on to your faith when all hell is breaking loose in your life…causes your circumstances to change. They will change. Standing and knowing that God loves you when it doesn’t look like it, is what it takes to WIN. Do you want to WIN?
In light of the great tribulations storming down on Illinoisans right now (and I know we’re not the only ones), I say, wow, it looks really bad! The battle is BIG, the giants are BIG in the land. But I refuse to give in to despair. Because I have seen David utterly destroy his Goliath. I have seen Gideon win victory with this little army of 300. There are too many stories of small numbers of God’s people winning against huge odds. The stories were written down for us, to build our faith.
We win, if we don’t quit. That is the principle. We win, if we put our faith and confidence in God’s promises and do not give in to our circumstances, to what our eyes see.
Read the story of David and Goliath in 1 Samuel 17. Read the story of King Jehoshaphat when he was surrounded by armies in 2 Chronicles 20. Read the “Chapter of Faith” in Hebrews 11 about what people of faith did against great odds.
Pray with me: Jesus, I really want to know and fulfill the plan you have for my life. I believe it is far above anything I could ever plan for myself. Creator of all things, I want to have the courage to fulfill Your desires, what you have created me to do. Thank You for Your great love for me and thank You for sending Jesus, that I might be saved from sin and the devil’s lies. Thank you for being the light of the world and coming to live inside of me and being my Savior and Helper.