I have read the story of Gideon’s army and how God cut its size from 32,000 to 300, with an appreciation of God’s jealousy for His Glory and Honour. But as I read that scripture again, my eyes were opened to the significance of the process by which God made the cut. I am drawn particularly to the second test God put the soldiers through.
God said to Gideon: “There are still too many. Take them down to the stream and I’ll make a final cut. When I say, ‘This one goes with you,’ he’ll go. When I say, ‘This one doesn’t go,’ he won’t go.” So Gideon took the troops down to the stream. God said to Gideon: “Everyone who laps with his tongue, the way a dog laps, set on one side. And everyone who kneels to drink, drinking with his face to the water, set to the other side.” Three hundred lapped with their tongues from their cupped hands. All the rest knelt to drink. God said to Gideon: “I’ll use the three hundred men who lapped at the stream to save you and give Midian into your hands. All the rest may go home.” Judges 7:4-7 MSG
I have learnt from my interactions with the Scriptures that God is not a fan of too many. But for Him to thin out an army by the way the soldiers lapped water is just a very funny thing to do. I sought to understand the lesson in this story with specific interest in what made the 300 qualified to (just like it is with our pursuits of purpose) fight a battle God was determined to win for them. It is the understanding from my search that I wish to share very briefly with you.
The pursuit of purpose is a life of faith. But faith that cannot be tested cannot be trusted. So, we find that as we walk with God, our faith is tested on a daily basis. Just like the test of faith of the soldiers as they drank water, too many times our faith is tested in ways very unassuming and simple as we go about our daily routines.
God tests our faith as we encounter a very naughty bus conductor; our faith is tested as we are tagged in an immoral post on Facebook with link to a site full of junks; our faith is tested as we interact with people in our places of work and they so get on our nerves.
It is my understanding that many times, we think we are merely drinking water but God does more with such trivialities. He tests our faith, courage and convictions.
I once read about one leading minister who always took a drive with a prospective pastoral staff member in the latter’s car, just to see if the car was neat and if the man drove carefully. Whether or not neatness and careful driving habits guarantee ministerial success is debatable, but the lesson is worth considering. More than one prospective employee have ruined their chances for a job while having lunch with the boss, not realizing they were being evaluated.
I am reminded of an incident that I now see as a test of my faith. It was a Tuesday, almost midnight. I needed to blog but network refused to indulge me. I was angry at the network, God and even my laptop. I thought that if God gave me this piece to blog, why can he not work the network out too. But in all of that, I heard God say, in quietness and trust shall be my strength; but it was just too difficult be quiet or to trust him.
Philip Yancey wrote in his commentary on the book of Job, in his book, The Bible Jesus Read, that if Job had known that God had placed a bet on his righteousness, he probably would not have said some of things he said.
So, here’s my challenge to us this week: Take your everyday, ordinary life — your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life — and place it before God as an offering, walking circumspectly and making God famous!
Do you have a personal story of a testing of your faith in very little things that may not be thought to matter? Please feel free to share. You may just encourage someone else to pass their test. Just drop a comment!
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