“‘It was not because of his sins or his parents’ sins,’ Jesus answered. ‘He was born blind so the power of God could be seen in him.'” John 9:3
This morning before my long run, I was reading in Judges and was reminded once again of God’s almighty power. Why is it in our busy day-to-day life that we fail to remember that God is in charge and has already won the battle?
From my reading: God called Gideon to lead the Israelites – this man was from the weakest clan in all the tribe of Manasseh and he was the least in his entire family (Judges 6:7). [So, it wasn’t because of Gideon’s “greatness” that God chose to use him.]
At this time in history, the Israelites had continued to sin against God by forgetting Him and worshiping other gods. So, the Lord had allowed their enemies to oppress them. But, when they cried out for help, He continued to be faithful and rescue them. [If your situation is because of your own sin, take heart that there is still a God who cares and will rescue us when we cry to Him!]
Judges 6:33 tells us “Soon afterward the armies of Midian, Amalek, and the people of the east formed an alliance against Israel and crossed the Jordan, camping in the valley of Jezreel.” To put it in layman’s terms, the Israelites were in deep doo-doo! Realistically, looking at the problem without God’s perspective, the Israelites didn’t stand a chance.
Let me stop here and say that this is how I felt when I thought about losing weight. I had someone tell me in tears the other day that it’s just so hard to lose weight. I got teary, too, because I KNOW!!!! When you reach a certain weight, it comes from years and years of habits that are hard to brake. It feels impossible to say no to eating (who can survive without food?), and who has the time or the energy to work out? Even if we try to work out or skip one dessert, sometimes the scale will go up instead of down for various reasons – and the discouragement is more than we can bear. Trust me, I’ve been there! I was so obese and so used to being the fat girl that I looked at the battle without God’s eyes and had raised the white flag of defeat. I didn’t think change was even possible for that’s WHO I WAS. Or at least, who I thought I was. But, we have to see the battle from God’s perspective. Seriously. We have to see God as the Creator of our bodies and as the One who could snap His fingers and change us or simply speak the word and it would be so!
“The Lord said to [Gideon], ‘I will be with you. And you will destroy the Midianites as if you were fighting against one man'” Judges 6:17. God can make the battle manageable! If He is with us, that’s all we need!
And this next part is where I have to stop and smile. Is there ever part of a story that you absolutely love? Well, this was my “God is so cool!” moment! In Judges 7:2: “The Lord said to Gideon, ‘You have too many warriors with you. If I let all of you fight the Midianites, the Israelites will boast to me that they saved themselves with their own strength.” Ah, God even knows our weakness and pride!
If we were able to save ourselves, how would God receive the glory? Some folks have told me that my weight loss is from my better eating or from my exercising or running. And while God *may* have used them as tools in my life, I really don’t attribute my success to either one. Honestly, I am still learning how to eat. I still struggle many times (too many times, honestly)! And I enjoy exercise, but it hasn’t “saved” me. If I could have saved myself, it wouldn’t be God’s victory. I was on my way to being morbidly obese, and God had mercy on me in my struggle. If you have ever struggled with weight – or really, in any area – you know what I mean. If you could fix yourself and save yourself, you wouldn’t need God. And you wouldn’t really have the problem, right? So, don’t become discouraged! For the battle – and the victory – belongs to God!
This is where the first verse comes into play. Perhaps for you, your struggle isn’t from your own sin. Perhaps you have an illness or something else that you struggle with, and you’ve struggled since birth or as long as you can remember. Why? Well, could it be, my dear friend, that God is looking to show off His works in Your life? Could it be so that His glory might be displayed through you? Could this very battle ground be for God’s honor and He chose you, even if you feel like you’re the “least” of your family or town, like Gideon?
Going back to the story from Judges (just in case you’re unfamiliar with the ending), Gideon sent home those soldiers who were afraid and those who lapped water and with only 300 men, God told Gideon to get up in the middle of the night “for I have given you victory over them!” Judges 7:11. Gideon obeyed (and this is where *we* come in – we MUST obey what God is telling us!) and “the Lord caused the warriors in the camp to fight against each other with their swords,” thus giving Israel the victory (Judges 7:22).
Do you believe that God can heal you? In your heart, do you know that He can? Your first step is believing. Your next step is obeying. I was encouraged this week in our women’s Bible study that the man blind from birth (from the first verse above – John 9:3) was told to wash his eyes without being told that he was going to see afterward. But, he obeyed and his eyes were opened! He had been healed by Jesus!
What is something you feel God is calling you to do? What action can you take today? I encourage you to take some quiet reflection time. And then obey! Remember, you might be in the battle, but the victory belongs to God!
Dear Heavenly Father, we come to You with thankful hearts. We rejoice over the stories You give us in Your Word. Thank You for calling Gideon, for giving Him signs that You were with Him, for guiding him in rescuing Your people. Thank You that You continue to have plans for us today. Thank You even for our weaknesses – for Your glory and Your strength are emphasized where we are powerless and weak. Lord, for those reading this who are struggling with their weight, I want to humbly ask You to turn the playing field. Just like the warriors starting fighting each other as the Israelites watched, please take this burden from each one. Teach us what You want us to do, and help us to obey. Will You take the battle into Your hands and prove that You alone are victorious in this area? Will You help us share our struggles with others, not just to encourage them, but also to glorify and honor You with our lives? Thank You that sometimes You use the most difficult parts of our lives to display Your power and Your work. And, Lord, there’s no place I’d rather be than where You are at work! God, we love You. And we want to take time to confess that we have been sinful. God, we have at times treated food as an idol to be worshiped. Even when we knew we should say no, we’ve indulged the craving. Please forgive us. And please help us to develop a healthy relationship with our bodies, our fuel, and our lives. But, may they not be what we glorify in the end. For, at the proper time our bodies will become dust once again. What we ask is that when they do, the work that You’ve done – the refinement in our lives – will prove to be the most special part of who we are and where You’ve been. We praise You, Lord, for being in charge and for being the One and Only God. We turn these blessings of Yours back into praise for Your Name. Thank You! In the powerful and precious Name of Jesus we pray, AMEN!