You’re Possessed!

(Judges 6:34 NLT) Then the Spirit of the Lord took possession of Gideon!


 

The dictionary defines the word possession as “the state of having, owning, or controlling something.”

It is in the context of national disaster that we read this statement about Gideon. Once again, Israel finds themselves in a place of bondage because of their rebellion against the commandments of God. Verse 2 tells us that Israel, “fled to the mountains, where they made hiding places for themselves in caves and dens.” The writer of Judges further explains, “The enemy hordes, coming with their cattle and tents as thick as locusts, arrived on droves of camels too numerous to count. And they stayed until the land was stripped bare.” (Verse 5) We are told at this point, “The Israelites cried out to the Lord for help.” (Verse 6) God responded to their repentance by sending a prophet named Gideon to lead them to deliverance.

At first, Gideon resisted the call to lead this deliverance citing his own self-doubt. He argues, “But Lord, 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!” God was not impressed with his assessment. Instead, God reassured Gideon with these words. “I will be with you. And you will destroy the Midianites as if you were fighting against one man.”

What happens next is key. “Then the Spirit of the Lord took possession of Gideon.”  Once God had possession of Gideon, the victory was secured. Remember, possession means, “the state of having, owning, or controlling something.” Gideon’s words, actions, commands, etc. were completely yielded to the will of God. It is important to understand that God did not force Himself upon Gideon in a way that usurped Gideon’s free will. God did not make a puppet out of him. NO! He surrendered his will so completely that all of his faculties were available for God’s purpose.

Gideon knew that his only path to victory was through the supernatural intervention of God. Our unwillingness to submit everything to God is often the only thing standing between us and freedom.

As with Gideon, God wants to possess us so that He can produce the freedom we so desperately desire. If deliverance is what you desire, then pray this prayer with me…


PRAYER: Father, I realize the challenges I’m facing today are subject to my obedience to Your plan. I submit myself to you and willingly ask You to take possession of me today. May my legacy be, “He was a man who was possessed by the Spirit of the Living God.” Amen.

If? Then.

(Leviticus 26:3-5 ESV) 3 “If you walk in my statutes and observe my commandments and do them, 4 then I will give you your rains in their season, and the land shall yield its increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit. 5 Your threshing shall last to the time of the grape harvest, and the grape harvest shall last to the time for sowing. And you shall eat your bread to the full and dwell in your land securely.


When I took my first job, my employer said something like this, “If you will work hard and do your job, then I will pay your wages at the end of the pay period.” Later in life, my college professor said, “If you will read the assignments and turn in the work, then I will give you a passing grade.”  Life operates on “if-then” arrangements.

In our passage of Scripture today we read about an “if-then” arrangement God made with His people. The “if” required them to walk in His statutes, observe His commandments AND DO THEM! The “then” was a list of benefits that God had promised to provide them. The arrangement was a “crazy good” deal for them! It went something like this…If you do what I say, then…

  • I will give you rain in the right season.
  • The land shall yield increase.
  • The trees shall yield fruit.
  • The production of your harvest will be long lasting and sufficient.
  • You shall eat your bread to the full.
  • You shall dwell in safety.

If you were to read the remaining verses of this chapter you would be fascinated by the additional benefits that God promised to provide them. The one caveat was simply the requirement to “walk in my statutes and observe my commandments and do them.” It’s a classic case of sowing and reaping!

Scripture is very clear about this principle. (James 1:22-25 ESV) 22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. 24 For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. 25 But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.

As a pastor, every time I preach I pray that the hearers will value the Word of God enough to align their lifestyle to it. Why? Because I know that God’s blessings appear in an atmosphere of obedience. On the other hand, rebellion and disobedience always prevents advancement. “If” I obey, “then” I am blessed. It really should be an easy choice. And yet, so many people miss their blessing because of the attachment to their self will.

What is God asking you to do? Are there blessings attached to it? If so, why not just swallow your pride, obey His commands, and position yourself for the blessing? You won’t regret do anything that God has required.


PRAYER: Father, I really don’t know why being obedient is so hard. Will You help me today by softening my heart? I appreciate Your patience with me, and Your willingness to forgive me for the time that I fail. I want to experience Your best blessings! Amen.

Playing With The Cat

(Exodus 14:1-4 ESV) “1 Then the LORD said to Moses, 2 “Tell the people of Israel to turn back and encamp in front of Pi-hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, in front of Baal-zephon; you shall encamp facing it, by the sea. 3 For Pharaoh will say of the people of Israel, ‘They are wandering in the land; the wilderness has shut them in.’ 4 And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and he will pursue them, and I will get glory over Pharaoh and all his host, and the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD.” And they did so.”


Playing with a cat is fun and can be quite interesting. One of my favorite things to do is to get the cat to chase a laser pointer on the floor. The cat goes crazy as the laser appears, darts from side-to-side, climbs the side of the wall, and then disappears again leaving the cat scrambling in utter confusion. Its instincts kick in as it tries to destroy something that it has no ability to catch and no power to destroy.

The Scripture passage for today records the escape of Israel from the bondage of the Egyptians. As they were leaving, God spoke to Moses and told him to turn Israel around and have them establish their camp in view of Pharaoh. But why? It would seem that turning back was counterproductive to the ultimate goal of escape. Wouldn’t opening up distance make more sense? As usual, what makes sense to us often conflicts with God’s plan.

God wanted to play with Pharaoh the cat! He wanted him to try to catch and destroy a nation that he no longer had any authority over. It was Pharoah’s lack of power that God intended to expose while simultaneously establishing His own divine power.

In moments like these, we must learn to  “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6 ESV)

Moses, along with all of Israel, had one goal; they wanted to escape Egypt. God’s plan included their escape, but He wanted the escape to humiliate Pharaoh and cause the Egyptians to declare, “that I am the LORD.”

As good as God’s plan was, it required one element that only the people of Israel could provide. What was it? Obedience. Even though it made no sense to them, they realized that God had spoken and He was directing their path. His presence would surround them and He would be their protection. Their obedience verified their trust.

It is very difficult to remain in the danger zone. Ask Daniel about the den of lions. Ask Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego about the fiery furnace. Ask Paul about that pesky thorn. But, it is in the danger zone God receives the greatest glory!

God had promised their escape. But first, He wanted to play with Pharaoh the cat!


PRAYER: Father, I should know by now that trusting you is always the best option. Obedience requires that I swap my plans for yours. When I do that, you always rise to the occasion, provide my victory, and receive the glory you deserve. Amen

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