by Donna L. Watkins
As humans we like to have something with flesh on to share our burdens and our souls, but ultimately God is our best friend and one who can allow us to see the good of any circumstance. Friends and family can offer comfort, but only The Comforter can touch and heal the hurts and wounds of our lives.
© 2009 Donna L. Watkins - Mantled Howler Monkey - La Selva Biological Station - Costa Rica
Sometimes we become dependent on others to do what only God can do. Not only do we set them up as our idols, but we have the loss of true wisdom and direction we can only find from fellowship with God. Often I hear people quote, "In a multitude of counselors there is safety," (Prov. 24:6) to defend their running from person to person to find answers to their current troubles. Surely we are to encourage one another, but only God can offer the hope that conquers all our fears ... and don't most of our troubles involve letting fear get a strong grip around our throats?
Christian friends are one of God's blessings, but we must keep God first. If we don't keep that balance sometimes God intervenes and we see the reality of human frailty when those we counted on can no longer stand. When God reduces your support, it's to give you a miraculous victory. It's to show how somebody who has lost everything can make a comeback through Christ. God helps to eliminate those who aren't fit for the battle. He also doesn't like to share the Glory.
Remember Gideon? God sends an angel to him and calls him a "mighty warrior." As Gideon looks about to see who the angel is talking to, he is told that God is going to use him to save Israel from the Midianites. He's so uncertain that he can possibly go through this trial and battle that he uses a fleece to ask God for a confirming sign. We don't always get signs but if we listen closely to our hearts we will be aware that within us is a knowing of what God wants and what we can do with our faith in Him.
Gideon finally stepped forth in faith and gathers the men for battle at Mount Gilead. God tells Gideon that 32,000 men are too many and tells Gideon to send home those who are fearful. That cut the warriors down to 10,000 which I'm sure wasn't giving Gideon any comfort, but before he can ponder that for long, God tells him there are still too many.
God now separates the remaining men by having Gideon observe how the men drink water from a stream. Gideon is to use only those who drink by scooping the water into their hands first rather than drinking directly from the stream. In the end a group of only 300 remains. Gideon is encouraged by God when he overhears two Midianites discussing a dream, so Gideon returns to the camp with obvious wisdom and creativity from the Lord. When we listen up, we gain amazing insight.
Gideon gave each of his men a trumpet and a clay jar with a torch inside. He then divided the group into three companies and marched on the enemy camp. The account is an amazing victory which was gained because Gideon chose faith over fear and sought to obey God's will. Here's the Bible's account of the battle:
"Watch me," he told them. "Follow my lead. When I get to the edge of the camp, do exactly as I do. When I and all who are with me blow our trumpets, then from all around the camp blow yours and shout, 'For the Lord and for Gideon.' " The three companies blew the trumpets and smashed the jars. Grasping the torches in their left hands and holding in their right hands the trumpets they were to blow, they shouted, "A sword for the Lord and Gideon!" While each man held his position around the camp, all the Midianites ran, crying out as they fled. When the three hundred trumpets sounded, the Lord caused the men throughout the camp to turn on each other with their swords. (Judges 7:17-22, NIV Bible)
Ultimately the men never fought. What an amazing thing faith can accomplish. God's Word gives us many stories to build our faith and many promises that come from being faith full. God will never leave you empty if you block out a segment of time for Him. We can't learn faith by being on the run. In the end, I believe it takes less time to spend hours with God than to try to live life depending on others to give us direction or to bounce about trying every idea that comes to mind. Wisdom is available if we stop, sit and seek.
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