A week into the new year.
This is the time of year when I realize just how big my goals and ambitions were. It happens every year—at least every year that I set goals. I always start so well. And fall so fast. It seems the bigger the goal, the faster I fall.
Can you relate?
I have a feeling Gideon could.
Gideon, the man who was threshing wheat in a wine press, has been on my mind so much lately. God gave him a task to do that wasn’t just out of his comfort zone, it was way beyond everything he thought he could do. He was to deliver Israel from the Midianites—an enemy that was compared to a swarm of locusts. They swooped in, ate and destroyed everything in sight, and then high-tailed it out, leaving Israel to starve for another year. And God told Gideon to deliver Israel from the Midianites.
He said to Him, “O Lord, how shall I deliver Israel? Behold, my family is the least in Manasseh, and I am the youngest in my father’s house.” But the Lord said to him, “Surely I will be with you, and you shall defeat Midian as one man.” Judges 6:15-16
That’s a big job. No, it’s a huge one. And look at what God replied to Gideon’s question of how he was to do that.
“Surely I will be with you…”
The secret to Gideon’s success was God’s presence. It was nothing that Gideon or his band of 300 merry men did. The one thing Gideon needed most was the thing God promised him.
“Surely I will be with you…”
I’m sure that Zerubbabel felt the same way when God gave him the task he was to do. Israel had been in captivity, and when they returned home they had no protection because the city walls were destroyed. In addition to the hard physical labor required to rebuild the walls, their enemies were circling, taunting and threatening them. Fear and discouragement ran rampant among the Israelites. And God told Zerubbabel to rebuild the walls around Jerusalem. Here’s what God said…
“But now take courage, Zerubbabel,” declares the LORD, “take courage also, Joshua son of Jehozeadak, the high priest, and all you people of the land take courage,” declares the LORD, “and work; for I am with you,” declares the LORD of hosts. “As for the promise which I made for you when you came out of Egypt, My Spirit is abiding in your midst, do not fear!” Haggai 2:4-5 NAS
God has given each one of us a task to do. Regardless of how big or small it is, we have the same assurance and promise that God gave to Gideon and Zerubbabel. God is with us.
Are you feeling overwhelmed by life or even a goal you set for this year? Are your enemies circling and stealing every ounce of motivation and courage you might have had? Are you feeling there’s no way on earth you could ever do what it is you’ve been called to? You aren’t alone!
Just as God told Gideon that his strength was in God’s presence with him, so He has told His people through the ages. Our strength is in God. In His presence with us. We can do the work God has given us to do because He is with us! God’s presence with us, in us, is the secret of our success.
Turn away from the fear and the impending defeat, focus on God and all He’s done for us. Focus on His presence with us, and go forward.
Do the work.
Take courage and work for I Am with you…
My Spirit is abiding in your midst,
Do not fear!
Surely I will be with you.