Thursday, April 18, 2013

Irresistibly Valuable

My goal this today is to tell you of how irresistibly, amazingly valuable you are to God. God can do extraordinary things with ordinary people because of the value He sees in them. Today I want to tell you about the journey of Gideon, who was quite the regular guy on an extraordinary life journey. 

Before we get on the road with Gideon, let me give you some background information on the times he lived in. The people of Israel at that time were terrorized by the people of Midian, or the Midianites. They would wait until the Israelites planted a crop and they would destroy everything. It was so bad they wouldn't leave anything untouched: they'd take anything of value such as cows and jewelry. It is said that  they would even hide in caves because the persecution was so intense. 

So we find Gideon beating wheat in the winepress so the Midianites would not see him and seize the food. An angel comes to him with a peculiar greeting. Here's Judges 6:12-16:

And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him, and said to him, “The Lord is with you, you mighty man of valor!”
 Gideon said to Him, “O my lord, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all His miracles which our fathers told us about, saying, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt?’ But now the Lord has forsaken us and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites.”
 Then the Lord turned to him and said, “Go in this might of yours, and you shall save Israel from the hand of the Midianites. Have I not sent you?”
So he said to Him, “O my Lord, how can I save Israel? Indeed my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.”
 And the Lord said to him, “Surely I will be with you, and you shall defeat the Midianites as one man.”
Because Gideon was on a journey, let's imagine that like us, he would take a suitcase. The first thing we can identify in Gideon's suitcase is INFERIORITY. Have you ever talked to someone who can't receive a compliment? You try and try to compliment them but they will not accept it. Not because they are so humble, but because they just don't have it in them to do it. It's just like throwing a tennis ball on the wall: inferiority is a massive wall of defense in the heart, it stops a person from receiving word of encouragement. Gideon told the angel that not only his tribe was inferior but he was the least in his father's house. The angel tried to encourage him in three different instances but inferiority kept Gideon from accepting the value God saw in him. 
Friends, when God speaks to us, He looks beyond our faults and He uses the language of heaven. You are a mighty man or woman of valor although you might feel less then or inferior sometimes. It was important to let Inferiority go so Gideon could be used by God. 

The second thing in his suitcase was PRIDE. Let me tell you exactly how that came about. Gideon finally accepts the fact that he is the one to lead Israel to victory over the Midianites. They need to put an army together to win this fight so they have a type of "Army American Idol." Check this out, 32,000 people show up. Gideon is feeling REALLY good about this here's what God tells him: 

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.’ (Judges 7:2 NKJV)

So this is the "Army's American Idol' right? In the first elimination, God tells Gideon to ask everyone who is Fearful and Afraid to leave at once. 22,000 people leave. God tells Gideon that there are still too many people. So for the final elimination, God tells Gideon to instruct the people to do the following: go down to the water. Whoever drinks the water like a dog will be eliminated and whoever gets down to their knees to drink will qualify for the army. Only 300 people remained and that's who God said he'd use to give Israel the victory. 300 out of the initial 32,000! I'm sure that if Gideon had any pride, it would have left by then. It's important that God gets all the credit (or the glory) for all we do in life.

The last thing in Gideon's suitcase was FEAR. God knew that Gideon was afraid but remember, He was not speaking to Gideon's fearful nature but to the mighty man of valor in him. The night before the battle God told Gideon to attack with the instructions that if Gideon was afraid to go to the Midianite's camp, that he should go in secret and hear what the enemy was saying. So he goes and sees them lying in the valley, there were so many of them, it looked like a multitude of locust but he hears two soldiers talking about a dream. The soldiers tell each other: "we're gonna lose this battle. God gave me a dream that Gideon and his army was crushing us." Friends, that's exactly what happened at the end of the story. 

God understood that Gideon was dealing with fear. But it is important NOT to let fear paralyse you. If you function in fear too much, that will lead you to be tormented. 1 John 4:18 says that "there is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment."
Motherhood is an amazing season where we inject Value and encouragement daily to our spouses, children and friends but sometimes, it is so difficult to accept how Valuable we are. 

You are amazingly valuable to God and He wants you to know that's how He sees you!

Hear these words of life from Romans 8:
"If God is for us, who can be against us? Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 
Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.