Aside from Jesus, my three favorites; make that “heroes”; of the scriptures are David, Job and hapless Gideon. From David I learned that sincerity is the key to Abba’s heart. Even after David committed adultery with Bathsheba and then plotted, arranged and facilitated the dastardly murder of the faithful Uriah, and then helped himself to Uriah’s widow, Abba forgave him. But David was only forgiven after he confessed, sincerely repented of his crime and begged for forgiveness. The result of his sincerity was a life of joy and success; the birth of a son who would be heralded for all time as the wisest man to have ever lived.
Job on the other hand didn’t have a clue as to the reason for all his suffering and loss. He was baffled because he knew in his heart of hearts that he’d committed no sin that would justify what had happened to him. To make matters worse, his buddies, his pals and confidants, accused him of having done something horrible and trying to hide it through denial. To top it all off his bride, the woman who bore his children, suggested he just end the misery and die. With that kind of support who would have blamed him for giving up and taking the short route. The lesson of Job was that he was honest with Abba and his friends, and refused to confess guilt when he was innocent. The result there was not only a return of all he’d lost but that it was returned twofold.
I even have to confess a genuine affection for poor Gideon. There he was, working away at threshing grain in the bottom of a winepress so the Midianites wouldn’t know what he was up to and suddenly he’s interrupted by “The Angel of the Lord” who says to him, “Hey dude, you are one lucky guy. God’s gonna give you a hand.”
Oh really? Says Gideon, if I’m so lucky then why am I threshing grain in a winepress? And now that I think about it where are all those miracles the folks have been tellin’ us about for years? Hmm?
And Abba says, “Yeah, well don’t sweat the small stuff. I’m promoting you to Five Star General and you’re gonna take your army out and run the Midianites out of town.”
Well, apparently Gideon has no doubt about to whom he’s speaking but he certainly has doubts about the wisdom of the assignment because he says to Abba, “Are you nuts? You’re telling me that the “half” tribe of Manasseh, the weakest clan of the bunch by the way, led by the puniest guy of that bunch is gonna take the Midianites to the woodshed? Yeah, right! Who are you kidding?
Abba says “Don’t sweat the small stuff General. Everything is gonna be just fine.”
“Yeah, well if you really are The Lord you’re gonna have to prove it. Wait here and I’ll be right back.”
“Okay! I’ll wait.”
So Gideon runs home, whips up nice picnic lunch and dashes back, lays out a nice spread for The Lord who immediately zaps it all with his flame throwing staff. Then He takes off … vanishes. Then His voice is heard. “Proof enough General?”
“Yep. I think that’ll do. So now what?
What follows for General Gideon is more do this’s and do that’s until it’s time to actually deal with the Midianites. What does Abba do then? He says, “General … We need to make this effort really impressive. You know how Israelites are. They’ll think they did it without any help. I want you to send a bunch of your guys home, so tell all the wimps to pack up and beat it out of here.”
Then, Abba says, “Nope, still too many.” After another sorting process determined by the way the men drank water from the stream. Gideon is left with only 300 men and Abba says. “Now that will be an impressive win, don’t you think?” And it was.
Where’s all this leading to you ask. It’s leading to a comparison between me, my bank account and my feeling that Abba has been trimming my “resources,” to prove a point. Just what point He wants to prove I’m not certain. I admit that I’m probably not as innocent of wrong as Job, but I am just as confused as he was. So … late last night I found myself wandering about the neighborhood engaged in the “David routine;” crying, complaining; actually a more accurate description of what I was doing would be to say that I was whining and bitching. And, I was not keeping it to myself either. Although I was complaining to Abba, I was sharing my woe with anyone within earshot. I went on for about an hour until I felt better and felt I’d made my point.
I think that David’s Psalms reflect that experience often … and he did almost always manage to end on a positive note so I will too. I feel much better now and guess what? Abba is still in charge so …
“Wait here! I’ll be right back.”