What is the one accomplishment you are most proud of?
What is that thing you did, or won, or finished, that makes you feel so good about yourself or that leaves you in awe of all the work you did to to accomplish it? What is that claim to fame, the best thing you’ve ever done?
What if I told you that you don’t deserve any praise for it? That all the applause and accolades you got were misplaced? That it wasn’t you who accomplished it at all?
Harsh, right? And completely unfair and untrue. Yet in Judges 7 we watch God basically deliver the exact same message to Gideon about his biggest accomplishment, saving the entire nation of Israel from their oppressors, the Midianites.
What’s going on here?
Impossible things are happening every day
At the beginning of the chapter, Gideon is suiting up to fight the Midianites.
This battle is no joke. The Midianite army is so huge that their camels can’t be accurately counted, much less their swordsmen and horsemen and archers! Gideon, on the other hand, has a much more countable army of 32,000 men.
So Gideon is understandably nervous, but he’s fighting it off. He’s hyping himself up, practicing positive self-talk, telling himself he’s got this, he’s going to win, he’s got the best of Israel’s military on his side.
And then God swoops in and ruins everything.
God tells Gideon to lead his men through a series of tests. Gideon obeys. But at the end of it all, Gideon has not 32,000 men, not 3,000 men, not even 1,000 men.
Gideon faces the Midianites with 300 soldiers. 300 men versus only God knows how many.
In other words, Gideon was leading his men to certain death.
But this was exactly what God wanted.
“The Lord said to Gideon, ‘You [had] too many men. I [could] not deliver Midian into their hands, or Israel would boast against me, “My own strength has saved me.”‘”verse 2
In reality, absolutely nothing had changed about Gideon’s army’s situation. They were just as dependent on God with 32,000 men as they were with 300 men. They just knew it now.
The same is true for all of us. We are completely, totally, and 100% dependent on God. We wouldn’t have our jobs, our money, our friends, our family, or even our very breath if God didn’t give it to us.
But we live as if that wasn’t true.
We praise ourselves, romanticize ourselves, and talk about ourselves as if we were the ones in control. But it isn’t until something bad happens that we remember that we need help just to wake up in the morning.
Just like Gideon and the Israelites, we need a perspective shift.
“I want you to rest and trust me.”
Take it from a control freak: the thought of being out of control is terrifying. But it’s different when God is in control.
It’s different when the One in control is the definition and the source of all wisdom.
It’s different when the One in control knows exactly what’s best for you.
It’s different when the One in control is willing to give up His life for you.
It’s different when the One in control loves you with unmatched purity and righteousness.
When we let go and acknowledge that God is the one in control, life is not terrifying, it’s peaceful.
This doesn’t mean that only good things will happen to us. But it does mean that what does happen will be what’s best for us. It does mean that we’re safe. It does mean we’re protected, looked after, cared for, and loved.
So let’s pray for a shift in perspective. Instead of the pride, the anxiety, and the loneliness that comes from doing all of this alone, let’s choose the peace and safety of handing all control over to Jesus.
What do you think? How would your life change if you acknowledged that God is in control of everything?