What we depend on for strength and encouragement may not always be there, but that can mean a shift in our focus back to God, alone. During various seasons of my life I have felt enveloped in “normal” circumstantial security. As most of us do, I was fortunate enough to have had an anxiety free childhood. And throughout life, I have enjoyed the security of many friendships, of a happy marriage, and of wonderful church families. During the season of raising kids, I was quite secure in the hustle and bustle of large family life. Mass chaos never bothered me as long as we could laugh regularly. I have enjoyed seasons of ample income, in which my husband and I enjoyed opportunities to pay off things and give to favorite causes.
All these things and more can be a blessing God allows, but sometimes, if we’re not careful, we can take it all for granted and not notice an insidious feeling of false security centered on these circumstantial things. Gideon, a man riddled with insecurities and with whom I can totally relate, had a “security blanket” when God called him to fight the Midianites. It was in the form of 32,000 soldiers. After patiently debunking Gideon’s faulty logic that led to Gideon hiding in the wine press and after tolerating Gideon’s requests for fleece proofs that God would make good on His word, God sent him on a mission to rid the Israelites of the Midianites once and for all. But God was going to rid Gideon of the security he found in his own logic while He simultaneously put the glory for Israel’s relief smack where it belonged; i.e. on Him. So he whittled the army down to 300. To fight against 128,000 Midianites, who were described as a swarm of locusts. They had “innumerable” camels (which can sprint up to 40 mph and cover 100 miles per day), giving them another huge advantage. God did not want Israel to brag. I’ll say.
Apparently, God is intently interested in us putting all our hope and trust in Him alone. Ps. 62:5 says, “Rest in God, alone, my soul, for my hope comes from Him.” I personally find it comforting that God was patient with Gideon with all his insecurities. He still allowed Gideon to find strength from a friend, his servant Purah, and made provision for Gideon’s looming trepidation by allowing Purah to accompany him and hear the enemies’ fearful dream. Puram was that friend we all need from time to time who reminds us who we are and what God said to us! Sure enough, the Israelites tried to honor Gideon for the miraculous outcome, but by this time, Gideon was well aware of Who gets the glory and determined to give it to Him!
As Pastor Matt said yesterday in his sermon from 2 Kings 3, often our greatest need becomes a blessing when it causes us to depend on Him. Yes, God offers us great trades when we hand over our unstable comforts and our failures; i.e., beauty for ashes, joy for mourning, freedom for oppression, trust in God for insecurity. All He asks is the glory that is rightfully His, and this for the benefit of our own hearts.