Gideon and Paul

Paul and Gideon aren’t two people normally associated with each other. Yet when reading the Bible, sometimes a connection appears between two people or events you never thought of before.

For we do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, of our trouble which came to us in Asia; that we were burdened beyond measure, above strength, so that we despaired even of life. (2 Corinthians 1:8)

We’ve all felt like that at some time, whatever trial we’re going through is more than we can handle. That’s not an uncommon feeling, even Paul (the giant of the New Testament) felt like that. Perhaps you’ve sought out the advice of trusted friends or pastor (usually a good idea), and they’re not able to provide much help.

Enter our second character Gideon, stage right.

Gideon is about to enter into battle against the Midianites with an army of 32,000. Curiously, the Lord narrows down the army until they number only 300, or less than 1% of the original force. Would you like to go into battle with only 1% of your available resources?

It makes no sense, until you read verse two:

And the LORD said to Gideon, “The people who are with you are too many for Me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel claim glory for itself against Me, saying, ’My own hand has saved me.’

What does this have to do with Paul, and the trials we face? Sometimes we’ve got too many resources, and the Lord says “you’ve got too many men”; it’s only after your resources are narrowed down you find the Lord going forth.

By counting on your resources and abilities, you might begin to believe you had something to do with the situation being resolved.

Sure, you should seek out competent advice, but if those are unable to provide any help, it just might be the Lord telling you “you’ve got too many men, and you’ll claim ’my own ability has saved me’”.

And now — as Paul Harvey would say — you know the rest of the story.

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