Wednesday, June 22, 2011

God’s Blessings in the Midst of Discouragement

27And Gideon made an ephod thereof, and put it in his city, even in Ophrah: and all Israel went thither a whoring after it: which thing became a snare unto Gideon, and to his house.  28Thus was Midian subdued before the children of Israel, so that they lifted up their heads no more. And the country was in quietness forty years in the days of Gideon.  -Judges 8:27, 28 (KJV) 

The book of Judges shows us a period of godlessness in Israel’s history.  The people often lacked sound leadership, they were easily led astray, and when they did cry out to God and the Lord helped them they quickly turned away.  The life of Gideon is a bright spot in an otherwise series of discouraging events.  Following his victory over Israel’s enemies Gideon produced a gold ephod which was a priestly garment intended to be worn in the worship of God.  Unfortunately, the people took this sacred garment and turned it into a type of talisman, or idol, and worshipped it.  The Scripture says it became “a snare unto Gideon, and to his house.”  Despite this setback the people enjoyed 40 years of peace. 

Isn’t amazing how the Lord can still bless us even when our plans and our best efforts go wrong?  Gideon’s good intentions backfired when he made the ephod, yet the blessings of the Lord were upon the people for 40 years.  Never underestimate the power of God to bless us when we are faithful.  Our plans will sometimes go awry, our schedules will not go as planned, and our best efforts will at times fall apart.  However, the Lord knows our hearts, and He honors the faithfulness of His people.  We too will enjoy the peace of God in our hearts and lives when we walk in faithfulness to Him.   

Some days we feel as though nothing is going right.  If you read my blog post from a few days ago you saw how my best intentions to have a productive day were thwarted by a series of unanticipated events.  In the end, however, God was faithful and brought spiritual victory in an otherwise frustrating day.  We will have days such as these.  From the moment we arise it appears nothing is going right.  This is when we must trust the Lord and be faithful.  He has a plan and He will bring us through to victory and spiritual growth – if we will trust Him.   

A comedian of another era once remarked, “No good deed goes unpunished.”  We can easily feel this way when our good intentions do not go as planned.  The high call of God in Christ Jesus is to be faithful, trust the Lord, and continue forging ahead to new heights of devotion to Christ.  The person you try to help may snap at you.  The one you offer to pray for just may curse you.  Those we reach out to in love may inform us in no uncertain terms they do not want our help.   

Be faithful anyway and keep shining the light of Jesus Christ.  The result is the peace of Christ working in us.

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