Judges 8:22-23 “Then the men of Israel said unto Gideon, Rule thou over us, both thou, and thy son, and thy son’s son also: for thou hast delivered us from the hand of Midian. And Gideon said unto them, I will not rule over you, neither shall my son rule over you: the LORD shall rule over you.”
Throughout the Bible, there is a common theme regarding this thing of who to follow. In the garden, Adam and Eve were given instructions on what to do and what not to do. Sounds simple, right? Yet, when God’s authority was questioned, Eve made the choice to reach out and pluck the fruit. Adam made a choice. He chose to follow Eve instead of God.
Even today, we lean toward following the man of God instead of the God of the man of God. It becomes much easier to follow the leading of someone than to lead ourselves. We rely on the work of another instead of seeking it ourselves. Getting up in the morning with time enough to devote to my relationship with God takes character; a will and a desire to meet with my Heavenly Father to make Him my priority. The Bible calls that giving Him the preeminence.
Colossians 1:17-18 “And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.”
If God is who He says He is, we should allow Him to have that which is His… don’t you think?
So many of us are influenced by what we see and hear. To listen to the news today or the conversations on talk radio, it is no wonder we have people rising up wanting to protest, rebel and to riot. This world is seemingly getting more out of control than ever. Yet, God has not fallen asleep, nor been overthrown from His place of Sovereignty. He is still over all.
God used Gideon to deliver the nation of Israel. Once they had peace, they sought to make Gideon and his sons rulers over them. Gideon knew who it was that delivered Israel. It was not him nor his brave band of three hundred men that put the Midianites to flight. God built Gideon’s faith and he saw firsthand the deliverance that only God can bring.
I believe one of the hardest parts of discipleship is walking with someone in faith; to allow them to see for themselves that God is real. That the God of Heaven answers their prayers; that He provides; that He will protect, bless and deliver. It is one of the more difficult jobs as a parent as well.
It not only takes the patient teaching of a parent to tell their children of a real God, but to live out that life of faith for them to see firsthand that God is who He says He is and will do what He says He will do.
We gave our children a very real example of this in the meeting of a specific need. Our children wanted a piano. We did not have the money to make such a purchase. But we used the opportunity for God to show us and our children that He truly answers prayer.
One day, we cleared out a section in our living room and left it bare. We then told our children that we are making room for God to bless us with a piano. If we believed that God could, we acted and believed that He would very visibly. We prayed together asking God to show us just how we could find the piano He wanted us to have.
Over dinner one night with some close friends, they were more than curious of the empty space in our living room. “Redecorating? Or waiting for delivery of a new piece of furniture?” they asked. We then told them of our step of faith with our children. As God so often does, He uses others to meet the needs of His children and that night was an answer to prayer.
My friend shared with us how that his brother-in-law’s wife had recently left him and he had a piano that he was looking to remove from the house as it reminded him too much of his former wife. We were given his number and on the day agreed, we drove out to see him.
We talked with him and tried to comfort the obvious hurt and pain he had suffered. He showed us the piano and found it as beautiful as it had been described to us. My heart sank, thinking we could never afford such a beautiful instrument. He said, “What do you think?” I told him it was beautiful but that it was far and away more than what we had the money to pay him. He said, “Make me an offer…” I said that I had only brought one hundred dollars as a down payment for a price we might agree upon.
He said, “Sold”. I questioned in disbelief, “You mean you are giving us this piano for one hundred dollars?” He said that he had no use for it and the obvious pain he was feeling came from the fact that it’s very presence reminded him of her. So much so, that he was willing to give it to us for so little.
We moved that beautiful piano into our living room in the space prepared and it was and has always been referred to as the piano that God gave us!
It took faith on our part. It took prayer and fasting. It took bringing it before our children to pray and depend on God. Yes, it took some work on our part. But, can I tell you, that the lasting faith that was rooted in our children that day when we moved that piano into our living room was priceless!
Every parent seeks to transfer their faith to be their children’s faith. Ultimately, it has to be their choice. But we must take every opportunity to show them that God is real. It is the mark of every good leader. They will operate under the principle – Follow me as I follow Christ.
Charles M. Sheldon illustrated this in his fictional work, “In His Steps” based on the scripture:
1 Peter 2:21 “For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:”
Jesus’ ministry is marked by His following the Father’s will.
John 4:34 “Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.”
We should then take the more earnest heed to His words:
John 12:32 “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.”
Self-promotion, no matter how it is disguised, will be exposed in the end. But the fruit of lifting God up and rejoicing in the fruit of others as He blesses, forgives and transforms is a joy that will last forever.
If we could just get out of God’s way and allow Him to work, we would find that the hardest of hearts would melt; the most impossible of situations would be solved and we can show a lost and dying world that God is indeed alive and well.
God seeks to be our all-in-all; our everything. He has from the beginning. But He gave ua a free will to choose. Choose today to follow the example that Jesus Christ left us – to walk in His steps and do as He would do; go where He would go and say what He would say. I can say with certainty – you will not regret such a life!