VISION: Seeing The Obstacles - Rowena Parrish
Judges 6:1 The people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, and the Lord gave them into the hand of Midian seven years… 6 And Israel was brought very low because of Midian. And the people of Israel cried out for help to the Lord. (ESV)
The Israelites were facing adverse circumstances
adverse-opposing one's interests or desire.
Judges 6:7 When the people of Israel cried out to the Lord on account of the Midianites, 8 the Lord sent a prophet to the people of Israel...10 And I said to you, ‘I am the Lord your God; you shall not fear the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell.’ But you have not obeyed my voice.” (ESV)
The people were blaming God for their problems but it was their own disobedience that put them in this predicament. But God heard them and called out from among them a warrior.
Judges 6:11 Now the angel of the Lord came and sat under the terebinth at Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, while his son Gideon was beating out wheat in the winepress to hide it from the Midianites. (ESV)
Gideon was a farmer. He was being resourceful and found a way to provide for his family. The beating of wheat normally took place at the threshing floor. Threshing was done in a big open area where the wind could blow away the chaff (outer shell) of the grain. The wind helped to make the work easier. He was in a winepress beating wheat. It was a hole in the ground with no wind making it harder work. He was all about surviving. He was living in the moment and failed to look ahead for what God had for him or the people. Gideon had limited vision of his next steps.
I do not believe it was a coincidence that Gideon was found in the winepress. I see it as a symbolism. Grapes go into the winepress as fruit and come out juice. They go in one way and come out something different. Gideon saw himself one way but God was about to extract something more from him.
Just like God saw Gideon, God sees you: School Teacher, C3Kids Teacher, Stay-At-Home Mom, Ministry Leader, Medical Professional, Worship Team…
God wants to extract something more from you! In the midst of his adverse circumstances God had plans for Gideon. His adversity was not a limitation but an opportunity. It was the opportunity to take the next steps for life, but he could not see past the obstacles.
What obstacles keep you from the next step?
1. Hesitation to commit to the next step.
Judges 6:12 And the angel of the Lord appeared to him and said to him, “The Lord is with you, O mighty man of valor.” 13 And Gideon said to him, “Please, my lord, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all his wonderful deeds that our fathers recounted to us, saying, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt?’ But now the Lord has forsaken us and given us into the hand of Midian.” (ESV)
During this time of adverse circumstances as a church family, I have heard many say, “I know God is wanting me to take that next step, but I have trouble committing.”
Why? It will cost me something. In hesitating you fail to obey.
2. Feeling unqualified to take the next step.
Judges 6:14 And the Lord turned to him and said, “Go in this might of yours and save Israel from the hand of Midian; do not I send you?” 15 And he said to him, “Please, Lord, how can I save Israel? Behold, my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father's house.” (ESV)
God expands and uses the abilities He already built into us. Some may already know the next steps; get going in that direction. Some may not have any idea; start taking steps toward something. Parents, if your child shows an interest in something resource that desire.
3. Strongholds keeping you from taking the next step.
Judges 6:16 And the Lord said to him, “But I will be with you, and you shall strike the Midianites as one man.” (ESV)
A stronghold is a fortress. It was designed not only keeps things in but also keep things out. God is a force that wants to come into your life, but the walls are high. What strongholds are keeping you from taking your next step?
Holding on to an offense, a friendship gone bad, failed business venture, making a judgement due to a past experience.
God says to you, “But I will be with you.”
In spite of his obstacles, Gideon chose to take the next steps in faith! I would like to quote Ps. Phil Pringle from his book, You The Leader. He says,“God also tests faith before it is trusted with great exploits.”
In Judges 6-8 we can read about Gideon’s great exploits. God did not waste any time. As soon as Gideon took that next step in faith, he sent him to chop down their false gods. Gideon is also commended in Hebrews 11 as a man of faith.
Avoid the obstacle and see your next steps:
Be obedient in taking the next steps regardless of the cost; no time to hesitate
Be confident that God has qualified you for the next step; you have the abilities
Be assured that God will be with you in taking the next step; surrender your stronghold