Then Jerubbaal (that is, Gideon) and all the people who were with him rose early and encamped beside the well of Harod, so that the camp of the Midianites was on the north side of them by the hill of Moreh in the valley.
2 And the Lord said to Gideon, “The people who are with you are too many for Me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel claim glory for itself against Me, saying, ‘My own hand has saved me.’ 3 Now therefore, proclaim in the hearing of the people, saying, ‘Whoever isfearful and afraid, let him turn and depart at once from Mount Gilead.’” And twenty-two thousand of the people returned, and ten thousand remained.
4 But the Lord said to Gideon, “The people are still too many; bring them down to the water, and I will test them for you there. Then it will be, that of whom I say to you, ‘This one shall go with you,’ the same shall go with you; and of whomever I say to you, ‘This one shall not go with you,’ the same shall not go.” 5 So he brought the people down to the water. And the Lord said to Gideon, “Everyone who laps from the water with his tongue, as a dog laps, you shall set apart by himself; likewise everyone who gets down on his knees to drink.” 6 And the number of those who lapped, putting their hand to their mouth, was three hundred men; but all the rest of the people got down on their knees to drink water. 7 Then the Lord said to Gideon, “By the three hundred men who lapped I will save you, and deliver the Midianites into your hand. Let all the other people go, every man to his place.” 8 So the people took provisions and their trumpets in their hands. And he sent away all the rest of Israel, every man to his tent, and retained those three hundred men. Now the camp of Midian was below him in the valley. Judges 7:1-8
My daughter lives in Lynn Ma which is South and East of my home in Winchendon MA. The most direct route to her home involves going North before I go South. That seems strange doesn’t it? It would seem the fastest way to get somewhere should be to head directly toward that place. If my daugther lives South and East then it would seem that going South and East would be the fastest way to get there, but it is not. Oh, eventually I do have to go South but starting out that way actually takes longer.
That’s how it is in the kingdom of God too. I am not sure it is how God is but, I do know for certain it is how He works in the world. I think something in the fallen nature of our world causes the journey to our God-goals to start out by going away from the goals themselves. Scripture bears this out, for instance: God saves the world by killing all but eight people in the flood; God begins to create a unified Kingdom in the world (a process that has been going on for some five thousand years) by separating people into language groups; God raises up a powerful army by reducing it’s size 98%; God brings His life to the world by dying, and so on and so on….
We really shouldn’t be surprised when our lives and projects, once committed to God, begin to reflect the patterns of Scripture. Set backs are a part of God’s plan. They are a part of the journey. They are the way God forces us to keep Him included in the process.
Are you facing a trial or a setback today? It could be the Devil trying to shut you down. Then again it could be God too. Maybe, just maybe, it is a little bit of both. That is why we so desperately need the Holy Spirit’s guidance. Our world is a series of roads going North that actually lead South. What seems like a wrong way to us looks like a perfectly acceptable pathway to Him. He knows the things we will have to give away in order to obtain the better promise. He knows the dreams that have to die in order for THE GOD DREAMS to be resurrected. He knows the areas we have to be weakened in so that we can become stronger. BUT WE DON’T KNOW THOSE THINGS!
Jesus said these words to His disciples just before His crucifixion and if they were true then they are true now.
7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. …
12 “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.13 However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. 14 He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. 15 All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you.
Are you on a road heading North While trying to go South? Ask the Holy Spirit for help. He knows the way.