Sunday, July 03, 2011


TODAY'S SPECIAL: Judges 6:19-40

TO CHEW ON: "But the Spirit of the Lord came upon Gideon; then he blew the trumpet and the Abiezrites gathered behind him." Judges 6:34

"The activity the Spirit of the Lord in the book of Judges is clearly portrayed in the charismatic leadership of the period," says my Bible's introduction to Judges. In Gideon's case the moment where God's power really took over is described in Judges 7:34: "But the Spirit of the Lord camp upon Gideon." A footnote in my Bible says. "In Hebrew this literally says 'the Spirit of the Lord clothed Himself with Gideon.'" (New Spirit Filled Life Bible p. 324) What an understandable and powerful image!

But this did not happen all at once. Gideon seems to have been naturally timid and certainly cautious. When the angel first appeared to him and told him how he would save Israel, he asked for a sign (6:17-18). When God told him to tear down his father's idol images, he did it at night "because he feared his father's household and the men of the city too much" (6:27). Even after he was Spirit-empowered, he asked for physical confirmation that God would really do what He said and God indulged him, twice (6:36-40).

The Holy Spirit in him didn't overpower his personality, but worked through his 'quirks' to bring him to the place of doing the needful thing: to obey. If he had heard God's destiny for him  yet balked at tearing down those idols, would the Holy Spirit have come upon him as He did? Perhaps not.

We can cooperate with God's purposes for us by modeling Gideon and obeying God's instructions to us. As Oswald Chambers says:
"If there is something upon which God has put His pressure, obey in that matter, bring your imagination into captivity to the obedience of Christ with regard to it and everything will become as clear as daylight….

The tiniest thing we allow in our lives that is not under the control of the Holy Spirit is quite sufficient to account for spiritual muddle, and all the thinking we like to spend on it will never make it clear. Spiritual muddle is only made plain by obedience. Immediately we obey, we discern."
- Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest (September 14th reading).

PRAYER: Dear Holy Spirit, I want my life to be clothes for You. Please point out and help me deal with areas of self-will, stubbornness, disobedience. Amen.

MORE: Signs?

Gideon's request for a sign has made its way into our language. We all know what it means when someone says they are "laying a fleece." But is asking God to confirm something to us with a sign a good thing?

In the New Testament, it was the skeptical scribes and Pharisees, those religious leaders who seemed determined to scoff in spite of everything, who were continually bugging Jesus for signs:

Mark 8:11; Luke 11:16; John 2:18; John 4:48; John 6:30

We hardly want to be lumped in with them when Jesus praises those believers (in His time and in the time to come) who trust without the need of a sign. (John 20:24-29)

(This meditation is a re-post from July 3, 2010)

Do your 8-12-year-olds have daily devotions? Point them to Bible Drive-Thru.

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