Judges 6:12-18 (New Living Translation)
The angel of the LORD appeared to him and said, “Mighty hero, the LORD is with you!”
“Sir,” Gideon replied, “if the LORD is with us, why has all this happened to us? And where are all the miracles our ancestors told us about? Didn’t they say, ‘The LORD brought us up out of Egypt’? But now the LORD has abandoned us and handed us over to the Midianites.”
Then the LORD turned to him and said, “Go with the strength you have, and rescue Israel from the Midianites. I am sending you!”
“But Lord,” Gideon replied, “How can I rescue Israel? My clan is the weakest in the whole tribe of Manasseh, and I am the least in my entire family!”
The LORD said to him, “I will be with you. And you will destroy the Midianites as if you were fighting against one man.”
Gideon replied, “If you are truly going to help me, show me a sign to prove that it is really the Lord speaking to me. Don’t go away until I come back and bring my offering to you.”
He answered, “I will stay here until you return.”
“God is rarely early, and never late; He is always right on time.” I don’t know if this statement is scriptural, or if it is a phrase repeated by those who have experienced His divine timing in this way.
Since this is how He responds to us, then it only makes sense that we respond to Him in the same way—right on time. The moment He tells us to do something, that is when we should do it; in His time, not when it suits us, when we feel like it or when we can work it into our schedules. The right time is in His time.
He finds us while we’re going about our busyness. Simon (Peter) and Andrew were at work, on their boat, when Jesus called to them. Levi (Matthew) was at his “desk” when He was called. The fellow who wanted to finish up his work at home (bury his father) forfeited his chance. Consider what the shepherds would have missed if they would have decided to wait until tomorrow to go to town, instead of hurrying to see the baby lying in the manger… they might have missed being the first of many to worship Him.
So, we get the message and know we have to act. How do we know it is the Lord speaking to us, that it is He, telling us to do something? Do we ask the Lord for signs, like Gideon did (Judges 6:36 and 6:39)? How can we be certain it is not the evil one trying to trick us into doing something? Satan is very crafty, after all. He can present something to us in a way that, at first glance, seems very good, but in the end, has disastrous results. God does not lead us to do something that does not bring Him glory or that does not benefit others or us. “He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to His name.” Psalm 23:3(b). Uncertainty should lead us to prayer—to ask God to open the right doors and to close the wrong ones.
I don’t know about you, but I get confused when I don’t understand why He tells me to do something. That is when faith and trust are especially important. Father God, the God who created all, has great things in store for His children. He is not going to prompt us to do something contrary to His word. He is immutable. He does not change. He is the same today as He was yesterday, and will be tomorrow. When in doubt, look it up! Refer to the Bible. He has led me to the right passage more times than I can remember.
Yahweh-Shalom, the Lord is Peace. We will experience a feeling of peace when we commit to do as He says. If we feel uneasiness, or dread, then we can know it’s not the Lord’s plan. We need to take the time to pray first, and avoid making ‘spur of the moment’ decisions. We may experience the same sort of bad feelings if we fail to comply with His commands!
We can feel confident that we’ll be able to accomplish the tasks the Lord assigns us to do. “For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13. We don’t need to fear because He is with us. “This is my command—be strong and courageous! Don’t be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9. He knows our strengths and our weaknesses. He knows everything about us. “You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb.” Psalm 139:13. He knows us better than we know ourselves. He will tell us to do things that challenge us. This will cause us to seek Him for His help, His guidance, and His strength. Just like a high-school teacher (most likely) won’t assign his class to memorize the alphabet as the day’s homework, the Lord is not going to have us do something we’ve already done. His project for us will teach us something new and make us grow in maturity. Maybe it will make us face something we’ve avoided for a long time, or result in a reconciliation with an estranged relative or friend. Maybe He will have us take a stand in an issue that will help to bring about change in a nation. “The LORD said to him, “I will be with you. And you will destroy the Midianites as if you were fighting against one man.” Judges 6:16
Whatever it is that God tells us to do, it is always in our best interest to do it, to do it when He tells us to do it, and to do it in His strength and in His way. We need to see ourselves as God sees us, capable of doing all things through Him, for “Nothing is impossible with God.” Luke 1:37.
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