Lesson Forty Two
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I know of an organization where there have been a myriad of challenges. COVID played a part, as did layoffs, new personnel, financial issues, and more. It’s not surprising, then, that morale might be somewhat low. There appears to be an attempt to rebuild, reorganize, and restructure. Whether the attempt will succeed or fail will depend on many things, not the least of which are the employees themselves.
I recently was made aware of a conversation between some of those employees. One, in particular, was extremely negative—recounting all the past challenges, poor hires, and poor decisions, essentially expressing a lack of confidence in leadership to fix any of it. While we may understand and even have experienced something like this ourselves, it made me wonder if this might be the kind of individual that God was “sorting” from Gideon’s army.
It seems a peculiar strategy when one believes that quantity wins.
It seems a peculiar strategy when one believes that quantity wins. The more soldiers or people or votes, the better chance for victory. But God’s perspective is entirely different. He sorts out the fearful, the faithless, and the false. I’m sure Gideon was alarmed when 31,700 of his men were dismissed by God and he was left with a mere 300.
But a greater point remains. This story demonstrates that even one person deficient in their confidence and faith in God can influence others whether it is in a family, a church, or an organization. A small group confident in God’s leading will always be more successful.
A small group confident in God’s leading will always be more successful.
Sometimes it’s hard to let people go. Sometimes it’s hard to see people quit or walk away angry. But losing that individual may be exactly what is needed to arrive at the place God has planned. The point is not that smaller groups are more effective than larger ones, but that the influence of one individual may be the very thing keeping the fulfillment of God’s plan possible.
First, a hard question. Are you someone who is keeping God’s plan from moving forward? If the Holy Spirit leads you to answer yes, how can you be more of a facilitator than a deterrent? (Read Digging Deeper for another reason we might not want to move forward.)
Or are you the “Gideon” God has called to lead a small group of believers? Pray about God’s plan. Let Him guide your heart and mind. If convicted, don’t be deterred from listening to the Holy Spirit’s call if large numbers of people won’t join the effort. If people scorn, delay, ask for more research, surveys, or outside experts, listen, but weigh it against what God has said in His Word. It may mean going forth alone or with a few because God can and will bless and make a difference. Be strong. Be of good courage. Be renewed.
There is another takeaway from this story that involves fear and the ability to trust in God.
Between Judges 6 and 7, we find a fearful Gideon. He asks for a sign and it is given. The sign is enough for Gideon to feel confident enough to tear down an altar, but only enough. He asks for a second sign involving the fleece. God answers this request directly, but this time the sign doesn’t last even a few minutes before Gideon asks for a third sign—the reverse of his previous one. God obliges and assures that, yes, He will be with Gideon.
Gideon gathers his forces together, but God steps in and winnows them down. If Gideon was confident in God’s leading thus far, he begins to waver as he sees thousands leaving his command. Now God steps in and creates a sign of His own—if Gideon will go down to the Midianite camp, he’ll be encouraged. Gideon does, and coincidentally finds himself at just the right tent at just the right time to hear two Midianites say exactly what God has said from the beginning! Gideon didn’t seem to find confidence in God’s words, but he does from two unbelievers!
Our fears are no match for God’s leading. When God wants to use us, no matter the circumstances, He will remove all obstacles. We only need to believe and follow. But our God is also long-suffering. He patiently waits, provides, and encourages us to rest in Him and allow Him to lead.
Making it Real
Is God calling you to serve? Maybe we are doubtful of our ability. Perhaps we’ve never given a Bible study before. Our voice might not be what we think the choir needs. We’ve never thought we were great with children. It doesn’t take much to talk ourselves out of something God is impressing on our hearts.
What are some things you’ve thought about doing for God? Or if you haven’t thought about it, do so this week. Make a list. Start to pray upon that list. Do it every day at least once. Open your heart and mind to listen to His voice. He will answer. Keep praying until He does. Then with bold assurance go forth and do His bidding.
Respond & Share
Have you ever put out a “fleece” for God? Did it help or hinder your faith? Share with us in the comments below!
Merle Poirier writes from Silver Spring, Maryland, where she works as the operation manager for Adventist Review and Adventist World magazines as well as the designer for KidsView, a magazine for 8-12-year-olds. She enjoys spending time with her family including being the grandmother of two active little boys, who greatly enjoy Starting With Jesus.