Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Reader's Choice Post of 2013 #4

I think this post is such an encouraging reminder of how God can use anyone and anything because it is really His power and action taking place.  Maybe that is why this post is the fourth most read post written in 2013.  I know I have had times where I've really needed this reminder of God's power working in the most unlikely.  It encourages me when I feel inadequate for the task in front of me.

A Horn, A Torch, and A Jar

A few years ago, my mother and father-in-law were given the opportunity to go to Israel.  They were completely amazed at the things they experienced and saw and of course, they came back with gifts for the family.  One of the gifts they gave my son was a ram's horn (or shofar).  It was fun watching everyone trying to get a sound out; some were more successful than others.  When played correctly, the ram's horn can be very loud and heard from a great distance.  It was used on holidays and important events and was also used as a call to arms.  Some scholars also say that it was a reminder of Abraham's trust in God when he was told to sacrifice Isaac; God substituted a ram instead.  The shofar played a huge role in how God used Gideon to defeat the Midianites.  That's not exactly what you would expect for a weapon, is it?  Please use the link and read Judges 7:15-25.

In Gideon's story, we get to see how God transformed Gideon from a struggling person who claimed to be the weakest of the weak to a mighty warrior that was willing to make his first attack on the Midianites with a horn, a torch, and a jar.  Think of that - all within a few days!  He quietly assembled 300 men around the enemy camp and they all blew their horns and broke their jars at the same time.  Just knowing how loud one ram's horn can be, I'm sure hearing 300 blasting at the same time must have been an amazing sound!  Then add the sound of 300 clay jars shattering at the same time.  Think of how disorienting it would have been to wake up to that sound in the middle of the night.  Then think of coming out of your tent and seeing all the blazing torches surrounding the camp.  Even with all of that, what happened next can only be explained as a tremendous show of God's power.  The Midianites began attacking and killing each other!

When God has called us to something that seems so much greater than ourselves, one thing we can count on is His incredible resourcefulness.  God can take the most unlikely things and use them for His purposes.  No one would have ever imagined Gideon to be a great warrior and leader.  No one would have imagined shaking the army down to only 300 men.  No one would have imagined using the enemy to speak encouragement into Gideon.  And no one would have imagined that the most powerful weapons used in battle were a horn, a torch, and a jar.  But it doesn't matter if it fits with our understanding of how things work because it fits with God's understanding.  God tells us in Isaiah 55:8-9 (NIV), "'For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,' declares the Lord.  'As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.'"

Are you willing to trust God's ways - even if it goes outside of our conventional thinking?

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