God is Working Behind the Scenes

Judges 7:9-15

 

9     That same night the Lord said to him, “Arise, go down against the camp, for I have given it into your hand. 10     But if you are afraid to go down, go down to the camp with Purah your servant. 11     And you shall hear what they say, and afterward your hands shall be strengthened to go down against the camp.” Then he went down with Purah his servant to the outposts of the armed men who were in the camp. 12     And the Midianites and the Amalekites and all the people of the East lay along the valley like locusts in abundance, and their camels were without number, as the sand that is on the seashore in abundance. 13     When Gideon came, behold, a man was telling a dream to his comrade. And he said, “Behold, I dreamed a dream, and behold, a cake of barley bread tumbled into the camp of Midian and came to the tent and struck it so that it fell and turned it upside down, so that the tent lay flat.” 14     And his comrade answered, “This is no other than the sword of Gideon the son of Joash, a man of Israel; God has given into his hand Midian and all the camp.”

15     As soon as Gideon heard the telling of the dream and its interpretation, he worshiped. And he returned to the camp of Israel and said, “Arise, for the Lord has given the host of Midian into your hand.”

 

            Have you ever thought to yourself that you would like to share your faith with someone, but it just wouldn’t do any good?  Have you ever thought that your effort might be too little, too poorly timed, too socially awkward, and thus simply not worth the effort or risk?  Have you ever thought that a little word of gospel would not be worth sharing?  If so, take a look with me at what God did with Gideon in Judges 7, and see if it doesn’t’ encourage you just a bit.

 

            In Judges 7, Gideon is facing unbelievable odds.  There is an army of 135,000 well-armed men opposing his little band of 300.  There is just no way that those guys from the smallest and weakest tribes in Israel could ever do anything to get rid of the armies of Midian. 

 

            As Gideon shakes in his boots, knowing full well that God had called him to take on that army but not believing it could be done, God pulls back the curtain for Gideon to show him something wonderful.  God sends Gideon down into the Midianite camp, and lets him ease drop on a conversation between two Midianite soldiers.  What Gideon learns helps him to see that God has done the work behind the scenes that would bring down the Midianite army.  God has been sending the Midianites nightmares.  The soldiers of Midian were having dreams about being crushed by the army of God under the leadership of Gideon.  When Gideon hears this truth, he realizes that God has made it possible to see the Israelite army victorious over their enemies.

 

            What happened next?  Gideon gathered his men, and helped them to sneak up on the Midianite camp.  The Israelites were carrying torches and trumpets, not much for battle gear.  The torches were shaded with clay pots on top, so the flames would not be visible.  Then, Gideon instructed them to smash those pots, making the sound of destruction audible from all around the camp.  The previously-hidden torchlight would have flared in the darkness.  Then the Israelites  blew their trumpets and shouted. 

 

            The Midianites, who were sleeping and suffering the terrors of the dreams that God was giving them awoke to the crash of breaking pottery, the flash of brilliant light where there had previously been darkness, the blast of trumpets, and the shouts of their enemies.  The terror of the Medianites reached such a level that they took up their swords and slaughtered each other without ever even turning to attack their enemies.  God delivered Israel from the hand of Midian, though it looked truly impossible.

 

            Now, back to our original question:  Have you ever felt like sharing a gospel witness will simply not work?  You have no idea what God has been doing behind the scenes.  You do not know what God has done in the heart of a person you are thinking about or meeting for the first time.  You do not know what kind of dreams they have been having, what kind of struggles they have gone through, what kind of secret thoughts they are having that might be heightening their understanding of their need for grace.  You never know whether or not God has done the work before you to bring a sinner’s dead heart to life, even if you cannot see that work being done.

 

            If you do not know what God has been doing behind the scenes, you do not know what kind of a glorious impact your word of witness might have.  God can use your effort to point someone to Christ to be the one that breaks through their darkened heart and helps them to be saved.  God can use weak instruments like Gideon, like me, or like you to help others to become his children.

 

            Dear Lord, as I watch what you did through Gideon, I see that you can use the smallest and weakest people to accomplish your will.  I know that you can use me, though I am certainly not worthy of that honor.  I pray that you will remind me that I do not know what you are doing behind the scenes in the souls of others.  It is not my job to know such things.  It is my job to be faithful, to share Jesus with others, and to entrust the results to you.  Lord, help me to share my faith and to see you do mighty things that I could never predict because of your great, soul-saving power.

 

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