"During that night the LORD said to Gideon, "Get up, go down against the camp, because I am going to give it into your hands. If you are afraid to attack, go down to the camp with your servant Purah and listen to what they are saying. Afterward, you will be encouraged to attack the camp." So he and Purah his servant went down to the outposts of the camp." Judges 7:9-11
Bible Reading: Judges 7
Jesse Tree Symbol - Ram's horn trumpet (go to Jesse Tree ornaments 2
Israel, once again, had fallen under the persecution of another people, the Midians. God chose a man, Gideon, to lead them out of slavery. But who was Gideon" He, like Moses, was a man who immediately questioned God's choice of him as a leader: "My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family."Judges 6:15 He then went on to test God, not once but twice, with the wet and dry fleece. When God, through His loving patience, showed Gideon that indeed, He was truly calling him and would be with him, Gideon obeyed.
But Gideon is human and thankfully, God recognizes that. After God had reduced his army from 32,000 men to only 300, "in order that Israel may not boast against Me that her own strength had saved her," Judges 7:2; He knew that Gideon would be fearful. How could an army of only 300 defeat an enemy who "had settled in the valley, thick as locusts. Their camels could no more be counted than the sand on the seashore?" Judges 7:12
God can do anything, but we humans often need to see His miracles more than once for us to believe Him. So "during that night the LORD said to Gideon, 'Get up, go down against the camp, because I am going to give it into your hands. If you are afraid to attack, go down to the camp with your servant Purah and listen to what they are saying. Afterward, you will be encouraged to attack the camp.'" Judges 7:9-11
What a wonderful God we serve! He knows that sometimes the things He asks us to do seem so impossible. We want to simply "trust and obey," but fear gnaws at us and uncertainty clouds our vision. It is at those exact times that God will often step in and encourage us, showing us, through various means, that He is God and He is still on His throne and that He will never leave us nor forsake us.
Even Jesus, at the Garden of Gethsemane, needed the Lord's encouragement in the trial He was about to face. "He withdrew about a stone's throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, 'Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.' An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him." Luke 22:41-43
If we will step out in obedience, like Gideon and Jesus Christ, we will find that God is patient with our fears and will encourage us in the journey. We serve a loving, patient and understanding God!
The above commentary on Judges is part of a 4-week Advent Reflection for the Jesse Tree. The Jesse Tree is similar to an advent calendar. Every day you will read a Bible passage to your child(ren), discuss what it means to them in personal terms and color an ornament to hang on your Jesse Tree. A fuller description of this can be found at The Jesse Tree
When you are finished today, you might want to discuss how Christmas is about giving much more than getting. One way that your family can give is through their daily prayers. This might be a good time to pray for a specific country or for a group of people who do not know about Jesus. Today, over 2 billion people, 1/3 of the earth's population, have never heard the Gospel message. We need to step out in obedience and pray for them as God asks us to.
Two great websites to help you do this are:
Another way to give is by giving a gift to those, throughout the world, who have very little. It might be a chicken, or sheep or a goat...maybe you can help pay for the digging of a well or provide a sewing machine to a widow so she can provide for her family. There are many ways to help this Christmas. Visit Gospel for Asia and take a look at their Christmas Catalog.