Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Waiting for Battle

Bible Eric 2Image via WikipediaFor the past five years I have had a goal; read all the way through the One Year Bible. The words, "One Year" indicate this should not be a five year project. I should probably give it up, but every year, on some random day, I pick up the One Year Bible, flip to the corresponding day, and start my quest again.

Today was that day.

My One Year Bible follows the following daily format;
  • Old Testament reading
  • New Testament reading
  • Chapter from Psalms
  • One little Proverb
I'm not going to lie to you, those Old Testament chapters are usually what bogs me down. The New Testament is filled with so much hope, joy, and red print to easily identify the most important parts. The Psalms bring comfort and peace in the midst of trials. And who doesn't love Proverbs? Besides being extremely short, they are uber-practical, even for non-believers. "Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife." Proverbs 25:24. Awesome.

But the Old Testament . . . somewhere after the familiar stories of creation, Noah's Ark, and the parting of the Red Sea, it seems filled with war, a bunch of laws that don't make any sense, and pages and pages of names that I can't pronounce.

But since it was my first day back, I opted not to skip the Old Testament reading; Judges 7 a.k.a.the story of Gideon. Being a preacher's kid, I'm familiar with the story of Gideon (I think we even have a Vegie Tales to that effect). But somehow today the story looked different.

Here is the Cliffs Notes version. A giant army (swarming like locusts and too numerous to count) attacks the Israelites and strips the land bare. Then they camp, basically inciting a man-made famine. God's help comes in the form of a man named Gideon, who just so happenes to be a member of the weakest clan around.

Gideon is unsure of this arrangement to say the least, but he rounds up 22,000 men. This rag tag group is about to head to battle when God says something like, "Sorry Gideon, I know you are outnumbered like a million to one, but I think your army is a little big.*" He proceeds to send 10,000 of the men home.

But 12,000 Israelites vs. a gazillion bad guys still seems to be weighted in Israel's favor, so God whittles it Gideon's army down to a measly 300 men. To make matters more interesting He sends them to battle with trumpets and torches.
Just trumpets and torches.

Somewhere along verse 2, my life flashed across the pages.

After a year of health, the past month has been filled with trips to the ER, hospital stays, and more blood draws than I care to remember. An abundance of tests (which are starting to look like a swarm of locust) with no answers.


I keep fighting, but after every small victory I just get pummeled again.

"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 by their own strength" Judges 7:2

Seriously, God? Too many warriors. At this point, I can barely hold my head up, much less hold a weapon, or even a trumpet for that matter.

Still, I knew it was true. When things are running smoothly in my life, I view my accomplishments with an "
I did this" attitude. It is only when I am completely outnumbered, outgunned, and overwhelmed that I finally say, "There is no way in the world I can do this," and look outside myself and into the face of God.

What the April 27 Old Testament reading reminded me is that the more hopeless my circumstances, the more hope I find in Him.

Gideon's tiny army from the weakest clan won their battle. Not because they were stronger, or smarter, or even soldiers for that matter. They won because they knew
they couldn't win, so they let Someone else do the fighting.

*This is the Kristen interpretation.

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