Most Friday nights we meet with our church small group and take time sharing what’s going on in our lives. It’s always a mixture of what looks like “good” things (praise reports) and “bad” things (prayer requests) on the surface.
I put “good” and “bad” in quotes because the way we tend to perceive the events that happen in our lives is all relative, meaning the “good” things aren’t always good, and the “bad” things aren’t always bad. I was discussing this concept with a friend yesterday, and we both agreed that as our faith and understanding of God’s character has grown, the way we view life has drastically changed. It’s the difference between seeing things through the lens of eternal perspective vs. the lens of human perspective; the difference between walking by faith vs. walking by sight.
In Judges chapter 7, we pick up on Gideon’s story as the Lord is preparing him for battle against the Midianites.
“The Lord said to Gideon, ‘You have too many men for me to deliver Midian into their hands. In order that Israel may not boast against me that her own strength has saved her, announce now to the people, ‘Anyone who trembles with fear may turn back and leave Mount Gilead.’ So nearly twenty-two thousand men left, while ten thousand remained.” (Judges 7:2-3)
I’m not going to go through the entire chapter, but while the Israelites were already sorely outmatched, God continued to reduce the number of men in Gideon’s army. The number eventually dropped from 32,000 soldiers down to 300. Yes, that’s a reduction of over 31,000 men that Gideon could have taken into battle against the 135,000 Midianites!
The key concept of what God was accomplishing here is in verse 2. God was teaching Gideon and Israel that they were not to win their battles on their own strength, but rather that victory was to come through their faith and obedience to the Lord.
How is that concept working in your own life? Are you going into your daily battles trying to control everything and desperately retaining as many soldiers as you can? Or are you letting go, marching forward in faith and obedience, and trusting God to fight the battle for you? The inability to let go of control is steeped in the fear of losing, while the ability to let God be God is steeped in the confidence of winning.
While it sounds ridiculous to intentionally go into battle with 300 soldiers against 135,000, God had a plan, and Gideon trusted it. It was understandably difficult for Gideon, so God gave him assurances along the way that bolstered his faith. God does the same for us today, as He gives us hope and glimpses of victory as we learn to let go of control and what we think our advantages are.
I’m not saying that this is an easy concept to grasp, because it isn’t. And it’s even harder to live out the concept even if you understand it in your head. Knowing spiritual truths isn’t the same as faithfully acting on those spiritual truths.
But God doesn’t work within the same boundaries and limitations that we do. He is infinitely more wise and infinitely more powerful than any of us. He is our Creator, our Father, our Savior, and our Lord, and that’s why He deserves all of the glory, honor, and praise. He simply calls us to walk in faith, especially when the odds are stacked against us.
300 vs. 135,000 may look terribly “bad” on the surface, but it isn’t when God is on your side. 300 vs. 135,000 may be an impossible victory for us, but it isn’t for God. 300 vs. 135,000 may be insurmountable odds, but that’s how God gets the glory. We must absolutely live by the truth that God works all things together for “good” when we love Him and are called according to His purpose.
What is the “300 vs. 135,000” battle in your life? Is it a battle concerning your spouse, your children, your job, your health, your finances, your ministry, or your relationships? Is it a battle concerning your own faith and relationship with Jesus?
Whatever it is, seek God for guidance through prayer and His Word, and be ready to trust and obey. He is calling for total surrender, that we would walk in ultimate trust and dependence on the One who loves us more than we can even imagine. Let go of control and whatever advantages you think you have, and move out of the way so that God can move into it.
When you do, you’ll find victory in Christ, even when the odds are stacked against you.
[Note: The precursor to the peace, comfort, joy, and hope that God gives in the midst of our battles, is the admission of our brokeness and acceptance of Jesus as our Lord and Savior. If you need help understanding God’s plan of salvation for your life, hit me up on a message and I’d love to walk you through it.]