Life is an uphill battle and somedays the hill’s a little easier to overtake than others. And then there are those days when from dawn til dusk it seems like my battle is on the brink of being lost. Satan is too quick to whisper “you’re goin’ down this time… there’s no way you can win.” And in my weakened state I’m likely to concede. But then there are days like today as I read a little further into Judges.. not very much further than yesterday… when I come across a scripture that sends Satan packing and me unpacking God’s word.
The story of Gideon is a great story to read when you’re having an ‘underdog’ kinda day. Gideon, a mighty man of valour he’s called, and yet we first find him hidng in the wine press from the Midianites. Well the story goes that through the power of God, a couple of signs from God, the dwindling of Gideon’s army from 32,000 men to 300, Gideon wins his battle.
But in Chapter 8 today, I find a post war story of Gideon that first had me gigling but then encouraged my soul with great hope from the Lord. Perhaps you need it too.
Gideon’s battle continued even after the victory… can I stop here and say that none of us are ever completely free of the battle are we? There’s always somone or something waiting in the balance to cause us more grief and heartache. True story for us, and for Gideon as his path crossed the people of Succoth on his way to capture Zebah and Zalmunna. He and the 300 men were tired and hungry and ask for a little kindness from the people of Succoth, who responded unkind:
And Gideon came to Jordan, and passed over, he, and the three hundred men that were with him, faint, yet pursuing them. And he said unto the men of Succoth, Give, I pray you, loaves of bread unto the people that follow me; for they be faint, and I am pursuing after Zebah and Zalmunna, kings of Midian. And the princes of Succoth said, Are the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna now in thine hand, that we should give bread unto thine army?And Gideon said, Therefore when the Lord hath delivered Zebah and Zalmunna into mine hand, then I will tear your flesh with the thorns of the wilderness and with briers.
Does that sound like the guy who was hiding in the winepress? Oh no. It’s a new day for Gideon! He has witnessed for himself what the Lord can do when you give the battle over to him. And it didn’t matter if it was 10 or 10,000 Gideon knew he could whip a bear with flyswatter as long as God was on his side. His whole demeanor had changed. When these arrogant men of Succoth ask him “who he thought he was?” Gideon let’s them know that they’re about to find out, right after he whips the tar out of the Z-men. In the words of Arnold Swartzeneger “I’ll be back.” Perhaps Arnold got that attitude from Gideon.
So what was my encouragment? When I hear Satan say that “I’m done for.” I can hear my Lord say, “I’ll be back.” There is no doubt for me that Gideon drew strength from his victory even though at the present time he was feeling pretty low. In his weakened state he didn’t take those guys on. He let them go until he finished the matter at hand. But when he came through, it was new day.
In verse 16 it says of Gideon “And he took the elders of the city, and thorns of the wilderness and briers, and with them he taught the men of Succoth.”
Gideon taught those guys a lesson from God, “Don’t ever count God’s people out!”
Are you in the battle? Me too. Let’s tell the enemy it ain’t over until God says it over! Amen?