By Lillian Sparks
Today's Scripture: Judges 7:9
Central Thought: God provides a word of encouragement to bring us to victory.
Have you ever been fearful of taking a new step of faith or venturing into unknown territory? How many times, when faced with a new opportunity, do you question God's direction and leading in your life? Even though Gideon had received numerous signs of assurance from the Lord, he was still afraid of facing the Midianites. God was patient and provided two more means of encouragement: a direct, divine word—a 'go down against the camp because I am going to give it into your hands”—and a providentially planned dream described by a Midianite and overheard by Gideon.
The battle was already fought and the victory won; now it was Gideon's task to arise and claim the promises of God. These same promises of God in Christ are available to the believer today. Isn't it God's purpose that we should be saved from our sins and freed from our fears? Our task is to arise and claim the victory in the name of Jesus. Just as the Lord promised Gideon that He would be with him, He also gives us the assurance of His presence. Even when we cannot feel God's presence, we can be encouraged that He is with us by His Spirit when we accomplish what is pleasing to His heart.
Gideon and his servant Purah scouted along the edge of the Midianite camp with its scattered tents spread out like locusts, only outnumbered by the myriads of grazing camels. God's providence was beautifully exhibited: Gideon arrived just as a man was telling a friend his dream about a round loaf of barley bread that tumbled into the Midianite camp and overturned a tent. The other Midianite responded that this must mean that God has given the battle against the Midianites over to Gideon, the Israelite. Gideon understood the interpretation as an encouragement from the Lord that Israel would be victorious over Midian. Spontaneously worshiping God after this message, Gideon returned to the Israelite camp and proceeded immediately to rally his troops, passing on to them the same assurance God had given him: 'The Lord has given the Midianite camp into your hands” (Judges 7:15, NIV).
What can we learn from this story? God uses divinely planned circumstances to encourage us to accomplish His purpose and will for our lives. His presence will also accompany His promises, and it is through the power of the Holy Spirit that we will experience victory—victory over fear, sin, and complacency.
Devotional Prayer: Lord, help me to recognize Your leading and direction in my life, and claim the victory that You have already provided through Your death on Calvary.
Today's Bible Reading: Judges 7:1-8:17; Luke 23:13-43; Psalm 97:1-98:9; Proverbs 14:7-8