Posts Tagged ‘locust’

” Now the Midianites and Amalekites, all the people of the East, were lying in the valley as numerous as locusts; and their camels were without number, as the sand by the seashore in multitude.” Judges 7:12

Yes I am still hanging out with Gideon.  Up to this point I was really focused on God’s commands to Gideon.  Then I caught the metaphor of the locusts.  We all have locusts in our lives.  For Gideon and the Israelites they were the Midianites and the eastern people.  If there were just a few of them it would not have been a big deal, but there were enough that they could keep coming and coming.  The author of Judges gives a picture that there were so many that even their camels could not be counted.  What are the locusts in our lives?  Perhaps the economy, unemployment, illness, bad relationships, poor working conditions, low pay, debt, or expenses are some of the things that come together to overwhelm us.

“Because the power of Midian was so oppressive, the Israelites prepared shelters for themselves in mountain clefts, caves and strongholds.  Whenever the Israelites planted their crops, the Midianites, Amalekites and other eastern peoples invaded the country.  They camped on the land and ruined the crops all the way to Gaza and did not spare a living thing for Israel, neither sheep nor cattle nor donkeys.  They came up with their livestock and their tents like swarms of locusts.  It was impossible to count the men and their camels; they invaded the land and ravaged it.”  Judges  6:2

It is all too easy to focus on the Locust.  We make the problems and issues of our lives the focus of our attention.  This takes our attention off of God.  When I lost my job in July of 2009, my attention was fully focused on the locust.  I blew the trumpet and gathered my army and marched off to get a new job.  When one job fell through after another I was crushed in my spirit.  I had not been unemployed since I was 16.  I looked over my army and felt ready to march against the locust again.  I felt that I gave God his due, asking him to bless my army and assuring him that when he blessed me with a new job I would serve him as never before.  BUT the whole time my eyes were not on GOD they were on the locust.  My focus was not on what God would have me do but on gathering my army and setting off to battle the locusts on MY terms with MY army….in God’s name of course….

So perhaps you have already read “What do you do when God says send your army home”.  So I sent my army home.  Don’t get me wrong I am still out there looking for a job but my focus is on GOD and the blessing have been incredible.  The opportunities for ministry have multiplied.  I don’t want you to get that unemployment is intrinsically a blessing from God or that we should just sit back and wait for God to do it all.  Gideon had to step way out of his comfort zone.  He had to tear his focus away from the Locust and move it onto God.

God anchored this focus by leading him directly into the middle of the locusts.  While he was hiding in the middle of perhaps 135,000 locusts God let him know that HE IS THE GOD OF THE LOCUSTS TOO.  And what happened to Gideon?

 ” When Gideon heard the account of the dream and its interpretation, he bowed in worship. He returned to the camp of Israel and said, “Arise, for the LORD has given the camp of Midian into your hands.”  Judges 7:15

Gideon worshiped.  There in the middle of the locusts, Gideon’s focus shifted to God.  The fear was gone.  The contentment that Paul talks about settled in

 Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.  I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity ; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need.  I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.  Philippians 4:11-13

Gideon found the source of strength that Paul is talking about.  He was ready to go with God and the 300 men chosen to serve God in a unique and miraculous way.  He was ready to follow God to victory.  The locusts were defeated the moment Gideon took his eyes off of them and put them on God.  The Spiritual victory won that day far outstrips the footnote in history that the real defeat of the Midianites amounts to. 

Lord help me to truly keep my focus on you and thank you for the opportunities for Spiritual Victory that you provide for my family and I.  Amen

Read Full Post »

During that night the LORD said to Gideon, “Get up, go down against the camp, because I am going to give it into your hands.  If you are afraid to attack, go down to the camp with your servant Purah …”  Judges 7:9-10

So back to Gideon for a minute.  Let’s run it down real quick…

winepress hiding…Great Warrior…Who me?…offering…fire…wow….Altar of Baal…Asherah pole….Broken down…burnt offering to the Lord…..who did it….let Baal defend himself….Midianites….Amelakites….Spirit of the Lord…fleeces…32,000…10,000…300 and here we are. 

God wants Gideon go after more than 100,000 with 300 and IF he is afraid God has an even better plan.  Walk into the enemy camp, just two of you.  I have no idea how difficult it would be for the Midianites to recognize two Jews among them.  Regardless it doesn’t seem like a great plan to me.  But often God calls us to walk into and through the Valley of the Shadow of Death.  It is there in that valley that we can receive the greatest encouragement.  It is there in the valley that our faith is affirmed.  I think of David and Saul, Daniel and the lion’s den, three young men and a fiery furnace

 The Midianites, the Amalekites and all the other eastern peoples had settled in the valley, thick as locusts. Their camels could no more be counted than the sand on the seashore.  Judges 7:12

“As thick as locust”, most of us have not had a opportunity to see a locust swarm utterly destroy an entire agricultural area.  I have seen videos but I am sure it cannot compare to feeling of the locusts beating against your body as you desperately try to salvage the crop that is your life.  This would have been a very pointed picture to the people of the day.  It alludes to more than just the number.  Locusts are incredibly destructive and in this time period the people had no defense.  I can almost hear Gideon describing the Midianite army to his grandchildren and their squeals as he describes them as a huge swarm of locusts.

   Gideon arrived just as a man was telling a friend his dream. “I had a dream,” he was saying. “A round loaf of barley bread came tumbling into the Midianite camp. It struck the tent with such force that the tent overturned and collapsed.”  His friend responded, “This can be nothing other than the sword of Gideon son of Joash, the Israelite. God has given the Midianites and the whole camp into his hands.”  When Gideon heard the dream and its interpretation, he worshiped God. He returned to the camp of Israel and called out, “Get up! The LORD has given the Midianite camp into your hands.”  Judges 7:12-15

God supplied exactly the encouragement that Gideon needed and he supplied it from the mouth of the enemy.  God has it ALL under control.  Trust Him and he will demonstrate it over and over.  Gideon’s encouragement came from the object of his discouragement.  God recognized Gideon’s fear, drew him to it and then blew it away.  If we trust Him with the object of our fear and discouragement, He will blow it away. 


Read Full Post »

I find the fact that God is laying Gideon on my heart a little concerning.  I don’t want to send my army home.  I want to rely on my talents, skills, intelligence and education to do the things that he has called me to do.  I am finding that there is a great but often unrecognized difference between using your God given gifts and relying on your own resources.

As I begin this summer of service to him I find myself staring at that dividing line.  Sometimes it seems precise and clear.  Other times it seems blurry and tenuous.  I find myself praying, “Lord help me send the army home and rely on YOU! AND help me use the GIFTS that you have given me to bring your KINGDOM to the very best of my ability.”  I am excited that even at this late time in my life and after years of relying on myself God has given me great opportunity to serve HIM.

OK ARMY, I guess it is time for you to go home….

Read Full Post »

I have been thinking about Gideon lately.  God has me running Judges 7:2 over in my mind. 

 The LORD said to Gideon, “You have too many men for me to deliver Midian into their hands. In order that Israel may not boast against me that her own strength has saved her,

I am ever amazed at the unity of a book written over a period of millenia. 

If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about–but not before God.  Romans 4:2

 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.  He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things–and the things that are not–to nullify the things that are,  so that no one may boast before him.  It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God–that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.  Therefore, as it is written: “Let him who boasts boast in the LORD.”  I Corinthians 1:27-31

 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God– 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.  Ephesians 2:8-9

God wanted to save Israel by faith.  So he reduced her to the point that there was NO salvation except by His grace.  Here lies the tension between faith and works.  Gideon could have all of the faith in the world but if he had not stepped out in obedience to God, it would have been dead faith.  This is what James is talking about in James 2.  When we accept our own absolute inability to contribute in the slightest bit to our own salvation and step out in faith because he said to, that is when God says ok, now I will do it because in this you will know that I am God.

  When we send the majority of our force home, when we stand facing the Red Sea with Pharaoh at our backs, when we step onto the stormy sea because He said to….then we say with David “The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold” (Psalms 18:2).  When God asks you to give up your advantage, take the risk, it is because he is preparing to do great things.

Read Full Post »