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Doing a big job with a crooked stick

When God gives us a job, He works on our character to match the job. And how does He do that? Gideon comes to mind. No, he is not the guy who sneaks Bibles into motel rooms. God chooses the most unlikely guy to do the job. Just look around us, how many of us are ready for the job? We are all in an on-the-job training course.

Gideon’s assignment: Lead an army against the Midianites. They are burning your crops. Scared to death, Gideon is found hiding in the wine press where he threshes wheat. The Angel says to him, “You mighty man of valor.” I can see him now, kicking and screaming, “Don’t make me do it. I’m not that guy. You’ve got the wrong guy.”

“Buck up, you’re the right man for the job. You’re not that guy yet but when I get through with you, you will be.”

Second assignment: Tear down the family idols in your father’s field. Afraid and trembling, Gideon and ten men went at night. “No one will see us.”

The next morning, the father asks, “Who did this? Who tore down my Baal idols?”

Someone is always ready to tell on us. “Gideon did it.” Busted!

“Let’s kill him.”

Joash, father of Gideon whose idols Gideon pulled down, steps in to save his son. You need a support system, and you might have to convert them along the way.

Thirdly, “Gideon, you’re double minded. Fear is eating you up. We need to work on you, making you one on the inside.”

“Why me? Why has all this happened to Israel? I’m the least in my father’s house.”

The whys come, but why not you?

Gideon gets a bright idea.

“I need a sign. I know I’ll put out the fleece. I need to know for sure if I heard right.” We start giving instructions and God let’s us, because He has a bigger purpose in mind. Only He knows how to get us from the winnowing barn to the battle field.

God passed the test.

OK, Gideon is ready to go. But who will go with him?

Twenty-three thousand men came to his call. Too many, send them all home except one thousand. “What? You must be kidding.”

“There’s still too many, take them down to the water. Watch how they drink, everyone who laps from the water with his tongue, as a dog laps, send him home. Everyone who keeps his eye on the target and draws his hand to his mouth, keep him.”

“OK, you have three hundred men left. That’s just enough.”

Next assignment — know your enemy. Get the right perspective about the job. So Gideon took men and spied out the enemy. He hears them say, “I had a dream; a loaf of barley bread tumbled into the camp of Midian, fell and overturned the camps. There is nothing else but the sword of Gideon the son of Joash who God can deliver Midian into his hands.”

Our enemy knows more about us than we do ourselves. They see us as a threat. When God calls us to a job, it’s already done. He has already dealt with our enemy.

“You’ve got to be kidding. You want me and my men to go into battle with only a trumpet in each hand and empty pitchers with torches?”

“Yes. Go at night, since that seems to be your mode of operation. Blow the trumpets together and break the pitchers and say, “The sword of the Lord and of Gideon!”

“When the enemy heard the trumpet, they set themselves against each other and destroyed themselves.”

After the victory, Gideon and the men were hungry and exhausted. They asked for food from the men of Succoth, who they had defended. Out of jealousy of Gideon’s victory, they refused.

Gideon’s reaction is surprising. “For this cause I will tear your flesh with the thorns of the wilderness and with briers! When I come back I will tear down your tower.”

The same man hiding in the winepress is not the same man who went through the battle. God has made some mighty blows with some crooked sticks and all the time He is straightening us out.