Take the story of Gideon as an example. He is, by his own estimation, the runt of his litter! He’s the youngest in his family, the weakest in his tribe and an angel turns up and says “Greetings O mighty warrior!” He, like you or I would, turns to the kick-ass angel stood next to him and says “who, me?!!”
God doesn’t judge us by our present circumstances or by the past that we’ve had. God sees us as the finished article! That doesn’t mean that there won’t be battles and it doesn’t mean that we won’t stumble, trust me you will! I do! But what it does mean is that we’re not under the pressure of past failings or the limitations of our current state. Rather, in Him we are free to step out into our new God-given destiny! In Gideon’s case, that meant rallying his people to fight against the occupation of the Midianites, and God’s miraculous intervention meant that he was never in doubt of winning…
God’s plan for us is one to give us hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11. But it may stretch us, and it will definitely challenge us!
Our weakness is not is not a challenge to God though in fact He delights in taking those things we are rubbish at, and making those into our strongest assets.
“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12: 9-11 New International Version (NIV)
Admittedly, when it’s you that got you into the mess, it’s a little more difficult to get your head around this. But I can assure you for a certainty, having experienced the saving forgiving power of Jesus Christ in my own life, ALL THINGS, (not some things) but “ALL THINGS work together for the good of those who love Him!”
A guy I was speaking to at a party tonight told me that he was blessed by my story, of how Jesus has (and is still) not just restoring but RE-CREATING my marriage. He had tears in his eyes as I told him my story.
I don’t take any credit for this, I’m no scintillating speaker, I’m just a guy who blew it, who rediscovered Jesus! This same guy prayed for me in my friend’s kitchen. This kitchen being in the house of the one friend who came forward and offered me a place to stay just 15 months earlier because my wife had thrown me out for an affair. He then spoke into my life and told me to be strong and very courageous.
When God spoke these words to Joshua, he prefaced the statement with “Moses, my servant is dead.” It seems a heartless way to inform a guy that the man he’d served faithfully for 40 years had snuffed it! But the point God was making was this: They were stood at the edge of a wilderness that had taken them nearly 40 years to cross,since leaving Egypt. But, because of the stubbornness of the people, it took a while to get them to dance to God’s tune. In the meantime they just got led around the desert. When you’re stubborn and refusing to do things God’s way, you’re just going to keep going round in circles!
But, here Joshua is being told for certain, that way is done! Moses has died, cue Joshua! (For me this is particularly poignant because as will see in some of my earlier posts, I am on a journey… I’m 40 in a couple of years, so you could say that it’s taken me nearly 40 years to cross this wilderness too!)
This is why God tells him to be strong and very courageous, because he’s about to go face the giants in the land, tackle heavily fortifies cities, to take new territory! This is no longer going to be about going round in circles, this is going to be new, and scary!
So what will that look for you, or for me? I don’t know! But I do know that as we trust him, he will part rivers of opposition, bring down walls of rebellion and overthrow resident giants inhabiting strongholds of our mind, such as addiction and destructive behaviour patterns, and deliver you and me into a land and flowing with milk and honey, into our Promised Land!