Day 92

Standard

Judges 7:1–9:21(NIV)

Pastor Bob and Lynn Magie, Retired/Refocused

Specifically Judges 7:2

AGAINST ALL ODDS

Have you ever noticed that God’s math is different than ours? Just look at what the Bible says:

Addition:
“Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.” (Matt. 6:33 NLT)
Subtraction:
“Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. (Mark 10:43-44 NIV)
Multiplication:
“Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke them. Then he gave them to the disciples to distribute to the (5,000) people. (Luke 9:16 NIV)

In reading the story of Gideon, we see God’s math coming into play. First of all, ADDITION: God added signs and miracles to assure Gideon that Israel would be successful in the battle against the Midianites. Though Gideon was given many assurances, in his flesh he knew his army of 32,000 men was still no match for the enemy, but he finally trusted God, and was willing to go to battle with 300 men. (God’s Math: God plus one = a majority.)

Next, SUBTRACTION: God asked him to significantly REDUCE his troops! (God’s Math: obedience = humbly following God’s instructions.)

Finally, MULTIPLICATION: God multiplied Gideon’s “little” and produced a “lot” of success! (God’s Math: little in God’s hands = much.) Why did God ask this of Gideon? It was to remind the Israelites that He was in control, and any victory in this new land was for His glory. See Judges 7:2

“The Lord said to Gideon, “You have too many warriors with you. If I let all of you fight the Midianites, the Israelites will boast to me that they saved themselves by their own strength.” – Judges 7:2 (NIV)

Reading the story of Gideon has caused us to probe our memories, searching for God’s math at work in our own lives. Specifically, we began to discuss whether we’ve ever had a “Gideon experience” where God asked us to SUBTRACT what we had for a greater purpose? The first thing that came to our minds was in the area of “tithes.”

For years before entering full-time Christian ministry, we had tithed – believing in this biblical principle. When we left secular employment and joined the staff of Young Life, we were missionaries, and had to raise our own support. Our finances were lean – and we struggled with the tithe issue. In our minds we began to rationalize: “Since we were being paid to do God’s work, wouldn’t our time be considered more than a tithe?” In the end, we decided to just obey, continue tithing, and trust that God would take care of our needs. And He did! After 45 years in Christian ministry we’ve seen Him provide for our needs and many of our wants, giving tangible proof of the following scripture:

“Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.” Malachi 3:10 (NIV)

Perhaps, like Gideon, God is prodding you to try out His math. Do you have a lot of needs? Try His Addition:
“Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.” (Matt. 6:33 NLT)

Do you have a struggle with pride or self-reliance? Try His Subtraction:
“…and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all.” (Mark 10:43-44 NIV)

Do you need to see God work a miracle in your finances? Try His Multiplication:
“Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty. (Mal.3:10 NIV)

If we determine to insert God’s math into our lives, we will see amazing things happen, not so that we might gain the praise, but for God’s glory, so that we won’t boast that we saved ourselves by our “own strength” (see Judges 7:2).

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4 responses »

  1. Love this!!!!
    Thanks Pastor Bob and Lynn.
    May you both be abundantly blessed (using God’s math) for all your years of humble service for the kingdom.

  2. The situation at Succoth and Penuel is a reminder that when God is doing something big we should all get on board, especially when it’s in response to our own prayers (I’m sure the men of Succoth and Penuel prayed to be delivered from the Midianites, too). At such a time, prudent conservatism is NOT the correct response. The correct response is courageous faith.

  3. I love God’s math! AND, He never makes a mistake!! One thing that stuck out for me was concerning Gideon overhearing the Midianites dream of defeat. It says that he “worshipped” God (7:15). There are many forms of worship, such as shouting “Hallelujah, thank You, Lord!” But in this case, Gideon prostrated himself, face to the ground in submission to God. He didn’t hear the result (defeat of Midianite) and run out in his own military strategy. He honored God by submitting to His plan. I’m guessing that trumpets, torches and empty jars was not a trick Gideon learned in Warrior 101! Father, remind me worship You in that way in everything You call me to do, for Your glory.

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