Here’s the next installment in the series about ‘Developing our spiritual senses.’ Today we’re going to think a bit about the sense of sight and look a little at how to get God’s perspective. The main text for this talk is from Judges 6 so it would be helpful for you to read this before you read my talk!
[Apologies to the person who put their talk up online and I’ve adapted for this talk. I can’t find the link anymore. I wanted to credit you with a link. Thank you so much for helping me out and anyone feel free to use any of my material for your ministry!]
Have you ever been surprised to discover that a situation was very different when you saw it from a different perspective?
I heard a story of two mothers talking about their children one day. As they talked, one mom said to her friend, “My life has been transformed.”
“I took your advice and bought a play pen.”
“That transformed your life?”
“Yes, I get in and the kids leave me alone for at least an hour.”
How often have you been in a situation and on the surface it looks like things are a bit hopeless and you are tempted to give up? What happens if you pray and ask God to show you how He sees that situation?
In the Book of Judges, early on the Bible there is a story of a man named Gideon who had his life forever changed when he was given God’s perspective.
A group of people called the Midianites were making life miserable for the people of God. In verse 6, the Bible indicates that Midian so impoverished the Israelites that they cried out to the Lord for help.
Gideon, an ordinary farmer, was threshing wheat in a winepress in order to keep his meagre harvest away from the Midianites when an angel appeared and greeted Gideon by saying, “The Lord is with you, O mighty warrior” (v. 12).
God saw Gideon’s potential, not his limitations.
From Gideon’s perspective, because of the oppression of their enemies and their lack of resources, God must have abandoned them. The truth was that God was aware, and He was about to bring deliverance. The Lord then turned to Gideon and said, (v.14):
“Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?”
Gideon’s response was to question the angel’s statement. Gideon asked,
“Please sir, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all his wonderful deeds that our fathers told us about?” (v. 13).
When Gideon heard himself being called a mighty warrior and heard his assignment, he could not see what God saw. Gideon replied, who, me? I’m a nobody, my family is small and I have no influence!
God, however, saw Gideon’s potential — not his limitations.
That is an amazing truth.
God always sees our potential and what He can do through us.
God is looking for ‘Gideons’ today — men and women of faith who will take God at His word, step out in faith, and do great things for God.
God uses ordinary people to do extraordinary things.
He can use every single one of us here to do extraordinary things.
After God gave Gideon the vision of delivering Israel, He told him to start by righting a wrong in his own family. Gideon was to tear down an altar to Baal set up by his father and build a proper altar to the Lord.
We have to sort ourselves out before we can have any credibility in sharing with others what needs to be done in their lives. If there is known sin in our lives that we do not deal with, then there will be no power or standing to speak out against other sin.
Jesus talked about this in Matthew 7, we must remove the log from our eye before we look at the faults of others.
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged.
2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?
4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?
5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”
Gideon obeyed, and, despite opposition, the Lord gave him favour and protected him from harm. Not only did Gideon’s act of obedience increase his own faith, but also it inspired others.
People heard what Gideon had done, and that encouraged them to believe that hope was not lost. When Gideon called people to stand up and prepare to fight against seemingly impossible odds, 32,000 men rallied together.
For years it was believed that no one could run a mile in less than four minutes. The ancient Greeks tried to get men to run faster by having wild animals chase them. Unfortunately, nothing worked, so they decided that it was physically impossible. They said our bone structure was wrong, the wind resistance too great, and our lung capacity inadequate. Then one day a human proved that the doctors, trainers, and other athletes themselves were wrong. Roger Bannister broke the four-minute mile threshold. After Bannister did what was said to have been impossible, hundreds of other runners then believed that they too could break the record. Today, the current world record holder is a Morroccan man called Hicham El Guerrouj who ran a mile in 3 minutes 43 seconds in 1999 in Rome.
As we step out in faith, others will be encouraged to take steps of faith as well. This is why it is so important to share our stories of faith.
When God is at work, numbers are meaningless
After Gideon had amassed an army, God surprised him by saying that he had too many men. From an army of 32,000, God whittled the army down to just 300 men. In this way, only God could receive the glory for the victory and deliverance. We often think that our strength is in numbers.
The truth is that when God is at work, numbers are meaningless. A small number with God is huge! God loves to work through the few. Through the faithfulness and readiness of just 300, God delivered His people from an enemy too numerous to count.
Our success and strength come from the Lord. He can use the weak to confound the mighty. He can use little to bring about miraculous results. He can take doubt and turn it into great faith. As Paul stated in Romans 8:31:
The battles we face truly do belong to the Lord.
God is looking for ‘Giants of Faith’ like Gideon today. In order to become the mighty warriors the Lord wants us to be, we must first be willing to believe God at His Word.
Gideon left his wine-press. We have to come out into the open as well and take our stand for the Lord. When we do, others then can be encouraged to rally together as we courageously pursue God’s will. Many people will not get involved until they see someone courageously step out in faith first.
The good news is that as we trust God for the victory, miracles happen, and we have a testimony to share. The task may appear overwhelming and the odds against us, but God can route the enemy before us. With simply the blast of trumpets and a shout of victory, the enemy fled before Gideon. As we trust in the Lord for deliverance, supply, or a victory only God can provide, remember that nothing is too hard for God.
So, this week, let’s ask God to give us His perspective on whatever is going on in our lives. As Paul writes in Ephesians chapter 1:
‘17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.
18 I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe.
That power is like the working of his mighty strength, 20 which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.
22 And God placed all things under Jesus’ feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.’
Let’s remember from the story of Gideon that God sees our potential and wants to help us do extraordinary things for him. He loves each of us and wants to work in us and through us to bless others here in church, at home, at school and at work. Wherever we go, let’s ask God to give us his perspective on our situations and to see people and events with his eyes this week.