“Gideon came to the Jordan and crossed over, he and the 300 men who were with him, exhausted yet pursuing” (Judges 8:4).
Gideon’s life is a perfect example of how God creates impossible circumstances for his servants in order to demonstrate his glory. The Lord called this shy man to lead Israel into battle against an overwhelming enemy: 100,000 Midianites compared to Israel’s army of 22,000 — which was then reduced to a special fighting unit of only 300 men. These weren’t just overwhelming odds, they bordered on the impossible. God pushed the limit — well beyond Gideon’s limit — in order to bring himself glory.
I see four great lessons for us today in Gideon’s story.
Limited resources never limit God. Our Lord has made it pretty clear: We are to be “all in” when we follow him. And that means abandoning all self-reliance — all trust in our own abilities and resources — and trusting him to supply. God often purposely limits our resources to ensure he receives all glory.
Discouragement can hinder — but never halt — God’s ultimate plan for victory. This scene is easier to understand if you put yourself in Gideon’s shoes. Sometimes our most disheartening, soul-draining, energy-sapping experiences come not on the battlefield of life, but from our own spiritual family. Gideon face discouragement from the people but he didn’t allow it to keep him from moving forward.
Grace for victory is extended to the exhausted. Even in the face of exhaustion, Gideon knew that God was about to bring victory. May the same be true of us: As we continue to trust the Lord through our own difficult circumstances, then — just as happened with Gideon — we can know God’s complete victory is coming.
God doesn’t stop at half a victory. His plan is always for our full deliverance — and sometimes that comes only in the last half hour, when we’re frustrated, tired and can’t go one more step.
The fact is, every battle we face has an eternal purpose. It isn’t just the defeat of an enemy — it’s the exaltation of Jesus. When we trust in God beyond our own capability, he provides all strength to finish the battle — and he does it in a way that brings all glory to himself.
It is difficult for many people to think of God as a loving Father. They can't help but see God through the eyes of past experiences with an ungodly father or stepfather. It's all so sad. But listen to how God described himself to Moses: "The Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin" (Exodus 34:6-7).
When we're in the midst of our many trials, we tend to forget what God has said about his own nature. Yet if we would only believe him in such times, we would have such assurance in our souls! From cover to cover, the Bible speaks to us as God's voice, revealing how tender and loving he is.
When you go to worship the Lord in prayer, be very careful what kind of image of God you take into his presence! You must be fully convinced that he loves you and that he is all he says he is! Of course, God has a general love for mankind that can be embraced by anyone who comes to him in repentance. But there is also in God's heart another kind of love, a special love for his children!
"Serve the Lord with gladness; come before His presence with singing" (Psalm 100:2). God wants you to so trust in his love for you that you will be a testimony of gladness and good cheer!
How many Christians call themselves warriors but have never been tested or trained? We hear about the many prayer warriors in this nation. But the sad truth is, the vast majority of them have never been trained — they're not ready to fight. Many true believers refuse to fight the devil or do battle against his kingdom.
When God does find a believer with a hunger and a desire for his blessing, he puts him into the ring to learn to fight. The Lord is going to need well-trained warriors who will prevail over all the powers of hell in his last hour of warfare.
Right now God is doing a quick work in his remnant — it's called crisis training. These tested saints in this training are becoming the captains of his last-day army. God is putting Holy Ghost fight in them and he is bringing forth warriors who are tested and tried, because they've wrestled with God, just as Jacob did (see Genesis 32:24-32).
This kind of training calls for physical discipline as well as spiritual. Jacob threw his whole body into the battle, all his human ability. A fighting spirit had risen up in him and, Scripture says, "He struggled with the Angel and prevailed" (Hosea 12:4). This verse has great meaning for all who want to prevail in prayer. It says Jacob prevailed and won the battle. If you're going to prevail in these last days, you're going to have to put all your strength into it.
“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him” (1 Peter 5:8-9).
Many Christians expect God to somehow save their family, reconcile relationships, do miracles, all at no cost to them. They just want to rest in their rocking chair and "believe God for it all." But this matter of prevailing in prayer —- "breaking through" to God, getting answers and seeing results — is going to cost your flesh something.
God wants you to lay hold of Him because He loves you. He wants you to claim all his blessings. Rise up in faith and lay hold of His promises. Stand up and fight. You have his strength so use it!
Every true follower of Jesus Christ says he wants to do the will of God, yet most Christians think of God’s will as something that is imposed on them — something distasteful and difficult that they are forced to do. They picture God demanding that they give in to a hard set of rules and conditions: “Do it my way or you’re on your own!” How very wrong they are.
When a believer knows the glory of doing the Lord’s perfect will, he embraces it with joy and hope. To embrace means “to clasp, as in your arms” as an expression of love and affection. God’s will is not just for ministers or deeply spiritual saints, but for all his children. The New Testament exhorts us, “[God makes] you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight” (Hebrews 13:21). God desires that you enter into his plan and will today.
The early apostles had one desire for all the churches — that every member know God’s perfect will and embrace it. Paul wrote of a brother named Epaphras “who is one of you, a bondservant of Christ … always laboring fervently for you in prayers, that you may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God” (Colossians 4:12). Epaphras knew God had a perfect will for everyone in the congregation and that if they entered into it, they would find joy and have their needs met.
Christ told his disciples, “I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me” (John 5:30). “For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me” (6:38).
There was never a moment in Jesus’ life when he wasn’t aware that his purpose on earth was to do the will of the Father. And this ought to be true of you as well. Once you embrace the will of God, something incredible happens—Jesus manifests himself to you in new ways!
“I will take you as My people, and I will be your God” (Exodus 6:7).
God desires for you to know him! He wants to teach you to recognize his voice above all others. He revealed and manifested himself to his people, the children of Israel, over and over again — through great deliverances and miraculous signs and wonders — and yet they still did not know their God.
“For forty years I was grieved with that generation, and said, ‘It is a people who go astray in their hearts, and they do not know My ways’” (Psalm 95:10). God was saying, “In all of this you never really let me be God. You still did not know how I work!”
Beloved, God is still looking for a people who will let him be God to them to the point that they truly know him and learn his ways. We are like Israel in that we have witnessed miracles, experienced manifestation of his presence and had our prayers answered. We trust God in most areas of our lives but our faith always has boundaries and limits. There may be one small area that you block off where you don’t really believe God is going to undertake. Your doubt hinders God from being all that he wants to be in your life.
Dear reader, I cannot say whether you really know God as He desires you to. Only the Holy Spirit can reveal that. But let me share with you what God has revealed to me about how I have hindered Him from truly being God in my life: by not resting in his love for me.
It is time for you to rest securely in the love of God! You must stand up and say, "I won't accept the devil's accusations — because I'll never be worthy anyhow. All my worth comes through Jesus! He has cleansed me by His blood."
You see, you can't let Him be God to you unless you let Him love you!
When the enemy comes in like a roaring lion, don't panic — just rest. Say, "God loves me — Jesus loves me. I know and believe in His love!" Let Him be God to you by showing Him you will rest in His love. Accept it — and enjoy it. God is best at being God to you when you allow Him to shower you with His love.