Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Economy of God

The Economy of God


And the Lord said to Gideon, “The people who are with you are too many for Me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel claim glory for itself against Me, saying, ‘My own hand has saved me.’  Now therefore, proclaim in the hearing of the people, saying, ‘Whoever is fearful and afraid, let him turn and depart at once from Mount Gilead.’” – Judges 7:2-3

The economy of God in solving our problems isn’t like what we would choose at all.  Gideon found this out when gathering his army to fight the evil Midianites that were oppressing Israel. 
Gideon started out with 32,000 able bodied men ready to go to battle.  Even as large a number as that is, it seems small compared to the Midianites who Judges 7:12 says were in the valley as numerous as locusts; and their camels were without number, as the sand by the seashore in multitude.But God didn’t want that many fighting because Israel would not see His strength to save them, but their own.  God always seeks to get glory for the work He does so that we can see that we can depend on Him to fight our battles for us.

So God had Gideon send home 22,000 men who were afraid right off the top.  Perhaps God choose not to use those who were fearful because fear is rooted in a lack of faith.  But left with 10,000 men, God still wanted less against the Midianites.  He had Gideon take the remaining men to the water, and watch how they drank.  Of the remaining men, 9,700 got down on their knees by the water, and put their face in the water to drink.  But a small 300 scooped the water in their hands and lapped it up. God choose the 300 to fight, and the others to go home.  So an army originating at 32,000 was dwindled to less than 1%. 
It’s a good thing Gideon was close to God!  Sending 300 men to fight against a proverbial nation of warriors would definitely be a situation where he needed God by his side.  But this is how God chooses to accomplish His work.  All things He does are so that we can draw closer to Him, learn to trust Him, and give Him glory. 

In 1 Corinthians 1:27-28 Paul is writing to the Church Of Corinth about giving God glory and how God operates.  He says that God has “chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty, and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are”. 
God’s resources are endless.  He could have given Gideon victory with the 32,000 men, but then they might brag upon themselves.  He could easily have called Einstein or other scientific geniuses to proclaim the truth of creation, but then we may have honored the discoverer instead of the creator.  He could have allowed Neil Armstrong to glimpse heaven and return to earth with news that would create millions of believers, but we might have sung the praises of man’s wisdom to create a rocket rather than that of God to provide an eternal home. 

God chooses to work through the simple things around us, such as the mouths of humble men called to preach.  He chooses to operate with the weaker elements available to Him to confound us, and give us nothing to brag about in our own human race.  Why?  Because He wants to be the one we brag about.  That’s what giving God glory is all about. He does all things for us so that we can bring Him thanksgiving and praise (2 Corinthians 4:15). 
Gideon’s war against the Midianites was a prime example of God working with weaker elements.  Not only did he have a very few men to fight, but they had no real weapons.  They went to battle with water pitchers, trumpets, and torches.  That’s all!  No swords, no fighting artillery at all.  They surrounded the Midianites, blew the trumpets, broke the pitchers, and shouted “The sword of the Lord and of Gideon!” to inflict fear in the Midianites. The Midian camp then became chaotic and they used their own swords against each other.  And when the war was over, Gideon took not 100, not 200, but all 300 of his men home.

And just as we humans would do, the Israelites wanted to grant Gideon the praise and glory and asked him to rule over them.  If you wonder why God chooses one man over another to do His great work, look at the response Gideon gave the Israelites in Judges 8:23 when he said “I will not rule over you, nor shall my son rule over you; the Lord shall rule over you.” Gideon gave all glory right back to God, and would not accept the praise from his people.
There is power in giving praise and glory to God.  It is the single reason he does all things for us, and not because God is some power hungry, prideful, gloating God.  By gaining glory from us, we show that we understand that He is our source for all things.  That understanding is the root of faith.

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