Who, me?

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What part of your life is the most challenging right now? There are situations that make us feel small. Sometimes it is the battle inside our head, attitudes and/or habits that we want to change but we know they will not yield easily. Sometimes it is the call of God! Yes, even when we are living close to His Heart, following His lead can be the cause of self-doubt, even fear. How do we get past that sense of inadequacy? The story of a farmer in ancient Israel teaches us a universal principle.

Gideon was hiding out threshing his wheat in a wine press! Normally the grain was separated from the stalk on an open threshing floor but the enemies of Israel were lurking about, ready to steal. So, this farmer was processing his grain in an odd place, out of sight, hoping to hang onto his family’s grain supply.  A heavenly messenger showed up to tell Gideon he was to become the leader of Israel. “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior!”

That man’s response is not so hard to understand given the oppression of Israel by her stronger neighbors. Wryly, perhaps even sarcastically, he asks, “Well, if God is with us, why are we in this situation?”  Fair enough. The messenger tells him that he is the one chosen to change things. Read his next words —  “But Lord,” Gideon asked, “how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.” Who, me?  He is not the first or only person that told God that He chose the wrong person.

Moses, when called, at first told the Lord- “I’m not a great talker, a nobody.”
When Samuel approached Saul to become king, he objected that he had no influence, that he was part of an obscure family.

God’s answer to Gideon is one we need to know, too. “The LORD answered, “I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites together.” (Judges 6:15-16, NIV) The key to confidence is an intimate relationship with the Lord.  Ah, I know that we tend to admire the tallest, the strongest, the one with the charming personality, the person who just looks larger than life. In our celebrity culture, we confuse popularity with wisdom, visibility with influence. God doesn’t!

The strength to live the life He’s designed for us – be it at home, at work, in the Church – rests in Him, not in us. Those first disciples that Jesus chose looked like a lot destined to fail. They weren’t wired into the ‘power structures’ of the time. They did not have the right kind of education. They were not trained leaders. In the Gospels, we read stories about their mistakes, their fears, and their lack of vision. But, they had a promise – they would not be alone. The Spirit of God would live in them.  Pentecost was a moment of transformation, the fulfillment of Jesus’ promise – “I will be with you, even to the end of the age.”

He is with us! This is our strength. Paul, writing to the Christians of Corinth, people who were impressed by earthly status and influence, tells them (and us) that they need to understand from Whom their real ability comes. “Such confidence as this is ours through Christ before God. Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God.” (2 Corinthians 3:4-5, NIV)

Feeling incompetent? Join the song of David that he wrote in his victory. Find hope in the promise.

“To the faithful you show yourself faithful,
to the blameless you show yourself blameless,
to the pure you show yourself pure,
but to the crooked you show yourself shrewd.
You save the humble but bring low those whose eyes are haughty.

 You, O LORD, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light.
With your help I can advance against a troop; with my God I can scale a wall.

 As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is flawless.
He is a shield for all who take refuge in him.
For who is God besides the LORD? And who is the Rock except our God?

 It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect.
He makes my feet like the feet of a deer;
he enables me to stand on the heights.
He trains my hands for battle; my arms can bend a bow of bronze.
You give me your shield of victory, and your right hand sustains me;
you stoop down to make me great.
You broaden the path beneath me,
so that my ankles do not turn.” (Psalm 18:25-36, NIV)

______

You Make Me Brave

(Amanda Cooke declares our hope)

I stand before You now
The greatness of Your renown
I have heard of the majesty and wonder of You
King of Heaven in humility I bow
 As Your love wave after wave
Crashes over me crashes over me
For You are for us You are not against us
Champion of Heaven
You made a way for all to enter in

 I have heard You calling my name
I have heard the song of love that You sing
So I will let You draw me out beyond the shore
Into Your grace

 You make me brave
You make me brave
You call me out beyond the shore into the waves
You make me brave
You make me brave
No fear can hinder now the Love that made a way

You make me brave
You make me brave
You call me out beyond the shore into the waves
You make me brave
You make me brave
No fear can hinder now the promises You’ve made

 Because of love  wave after wave
Crashes over me crashes over me
For You are for us You are not against us
Champion of Heaven You made a way 

Champion of Heaven
You made a way for all to enter in

Amanda Cook © 2013 Bethel Music Publishing

CCLI License # 810055

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