"Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them. Be strong and very courageous. . . . Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go." (Joshua 1:6,9)
Don’t you just hate it when God starts off a conversation like that? That’s how He said hello to me recently. I’m making like Gideon, hiding out in a winepress, throwing a bunch of wheat around, when God gets in my space and tells me to be strong and courageous. Doesn’t He know I’m allergic to courage? And strong people don’t hide. Hello! I thought that was always perfectly understood. I’m a big fat el pollo. Southern fried.
Then He says (follow along in your Bibles), “. . . because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them.” What is that supposed to mean? Thanks a lot. Boy, you picked the wrong chick for this one, Papa. Then He says it again, “Be strong and very courageous.” He says it THREE TIMES. Because He knew I was going to ignore Him the first time. And the second time. Actually, it was because Papa tells me things in three’s. He knows I’m looking for rhemas three times. “Do not be terrified . . . “ WHAT???!!!!
“ . . . do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” I still don’t know. The wheat’s all flying around down here in the winepress and I’m getting a little dizzy from the effort and the fumes. Plus, my allergies are going nuts.
"But Lord ," Gideon asked, "how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family. So Gideon took ten of his servants and did as the LORD told him. But because he was afraid of his family and the men of the town, he did it at night rather than in the daytime.”
Well, truth is truth. That’s what he did. That’s what I would do if I were in his sandals. And God didn’t chew him out for it.
30 The men of the town demanded of Joash, "Bring out your son. He must die, because he has broken down Baal's altar and cut down the Asherah pole beside it."
See – that’s how it is when you get voted in as the leader. Ten other guys helped tear down this stupid idol, but the crowd came after Gideon, the local drunken baker. And am I supposed to find ten people to link arms with me when it’s time to take a stand? If there’s safety in numbers, where did those ten guys go after they trashed the town monument? I think at the end of the day, it’s always going to be just you and God standing there facing the music. I hope He wears something bright and visible when it happens. He’s a sturdier target than me.
39 Then Gideon said to God, "Do not be angry with me. Let me make just one more request. Allow me one more test with the fleece. This time make the fleece dry and the ground covered with dew." 40 That night God did so. Only the fleece was dry; all the ground was covered with dew.
I guess it’s time to ask for a sign. One scripture just isn’t enough. I ate all the bread and drank all the wine. Soon it’ll be time to leave this Italian restaurant and face the mob.
Judges 6:12 When the angel of the LORD appeared to Gideon, he said, "The LORD is with you, mighty warrior." "But sir," Gideon replied, "if the LORD is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our fathers told us about when they said, 'Did not the LORD bring us up out of Egypt?' But now the LORD has abandoned us and put us into the hand of Midian." The LORD turned to him and said, "Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian's hand. Am I not sending you?" "But Lord ," Gideon asked, "how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family." The LORD answered, "I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites together."
I sure don’t feel like a mighty warrior. I am Eula Marie – well spoken one who is no longer bitter and has been made sweet. The other night our friends, Greg and Peggy, came for dinner and laughed at the craziness I’ve endured with a name like mine. They roared with laughter when we told them McLeod means ‘son of ugly face’, from Nordic/Viking descent. Though God has literally changed the meaning of my first and middle names, I thought there was nothing we could do about the meaning of our surname. But Peggy thoughtfully interjected, “Well, Viking explorers probably had scarred faces because they were brave survivors of a lot of battles. So, really their marked faces were handsome reminders of their true identities – mighty warriors.”
Sigh. Is that another rhema? Okay. Then here’s the fleece, Papa – I have no script. I don’t know what to say. I need clarity of thought, calm emotions, clear vision and reasonable expectations. Until then, I’ll be here in the bakery with a glass of Stella Rosa. Cheers.