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(Part 46)


August 16, 2011
Today’s reading: Judges 6:11-24

As we embark on our 31st year, having been given the theme “My God is now my strength!” (Is 49:5), God affirms our call through His call to Gideon.

“Go with the strength you have
and save Israel from the power of Midian.
It is I who send you.”
(Jgs 6:14)

Through the theme verses from Isaiah, God has consistently affirmed our calling, according to His call to Gideon.

God called us from all eternity and raised and gave us the name Couples for Christ in 1981. “The Lord called me from birth, from my mother’s womb he gave me my name.” (Is 49:1b). God raised us, restored us in 2007 (as CFC-FFL), and sends us to proclaim His salvation to the ends of the earth (Is 49:6). It is God who sends us to bring His salvation to others. And we are to go with God’s very own strength.

Like Gideon, we may have our doubts and questions.

Gideon asked, “if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us?” (Jgs 6:13a). Given the crisis and split, we may have “thought (we) had toiled in vain, and for nothing, uselessly, spent (our) strength” (Is 49:4a). We must see that God has purified us and has set us back on track after the veering away. We have been led to focus more on Him, given whatever circumstance. We are to trust in Him and rejoice in Him, knowing that our “reward is with the Lord, (our) recompense is with (our) God.” (Is 49:4b).

Gideon wondered how he could be God’s instrument of salvation, saying, “I am the most insignificant in my father’s house.” (Jgs 6:15b). We too are nothing on our own, but with God and acting in His strength, He can accomplish anything through us. For His purposes, God has “made of (us) a sharp-edged sword and .... a polished arrow” (Is 49:2a,c).

How shall we bring God’s salvation to the ends of the earth? Simple. “I shall be with you” (Jgs 6:16a), says the Lord. We are the Lord’s servants through whom He will show His glory (Is 49:3). We do divine work and we are mere instruments of God.

How do we know if we have found favor with God; what sign can we look to to know that God has really spoken to us through Isaiah (Jgs 6:17)?

First, have we brought “out (our) offering and set it before (God)” (Jgs 6:18a)? The offering is ourselves, our families, our community. It is everything that we are and everything that we have. Have we turned our life over totally to God? Is God our all? Are we striving to love Him with our whole heart, mind, soul and strength? Do we seek to serve only Him and not ourselves?

Second, are we resolved to follow and obey God without reservation? Will we act according to His mind and not ours? Gideon went to a lot of trouble to prepare his offering, but the angel of God told him to put the meat and cakes on a rock and pour out the broth (Jgs 6:20). Gideon did not question. He did not complain that it would be a waste of good food. Do we second-guess the leaders over us? Do we resist the hard teachings? Do we persist in doing things according to our own desires, preferences or agenda?

Third, are we ready to plunge into the battle fearlessly, because we have God with us? “The Lord answered him, ‘Be calm, do not fear. You shall not die.” (Jgs 6:23). God has taught us to have our hope in Him (2007), rejoice in Him whatever the circumstance (2008), trust in Him always (2009), look to His awesome majesty and endure redemptive suffering (2010). Have we learned all these? Have we truly learned the lessons of Lamentations and the lessons of Job? God conceals us in the shadow of His arm and hides us in His quiver (Is 49:2b,d). We have nothing to fear. And even if we have to give our life for the cause, we will preserve it for eternal life.

Gideon responded to God’s call by building an altar to the Lord (Jgs 6:24a). Let us always be in awe of our awesome God and give Him the worship that is His due. Let us live our lives such that we will become worthy temples of the Holy Spirit. And let us proclaim God’s salvation to the ends of the earth, so that the whole world will prostrate itself before God.

As we go forth in the very strength of God, let us hear the angel of the Lord say to each of us, “The Lord is with you, O champion!” (Jgs 6:12).

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