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Bible and Glasses

We have been commemorating Jesus death on Passover, burial on Unleavened Bread, and resurrection on First Fruits. Through Jesusfulfillment of these, He gave us salvation and a future hope of eternal life. These benefits of Jesussuffering and resurrection are incredible, and if those were not enough, He has still more to give. The Bible says that He daily loads us with benefits (Psalm 68:19).

Through Christ’s death we have received many benefits as listed in Isaiah 53. He bore our griefs, carried our sorrows, was dishonored for our rebellion, was crushed for our depravity, was disciplined for the sake of our peace, and by his wounds and bruises and stripes we are healed. Psalm 103 also lists the benefits of forgiveness, healing, redemption, a crown of lovingkindness and tender mercies, satisfaction and restoration of youthfulness.

Let’s focus in on one of these benefits in particular: peace. He was disciplined for our peace.

There is a lot that could be said about this peace. To begin with, this is a peace between God and man. Secondly, it is a peace in spite of circumstances. Thirdly, and most importantly, it is a peace that only God has given and can and will give.

Gideon

In the book of Judges we find a story about Jehovah Shalom, “The LORD is peace.” Judges 6 begins by saying that Israel had done evil in God’s sight and because of that God had given Israel as a gift to Midian. Because of this, Israel was terribly oppressed even to the point of hiding in caves while Midian destroyed their crops and took all of their animals. It would be equivalent today of destroying all of our grocery stores, restaurants, the farms that produce all that, and taking anything edible away.

It is in this destitution and fear that we find Gideon secretly threshing wheat in a winepress. And an messenger of God appears to him as he hides in the winepress and addresses him as a mighty man of valor. One thing leads to another, and Gideon is gripped by the startling realization that he’s just seen a messenger of the LORD face to face. It is then that God speaks to him saying, …Peace be unto thee; fear not: thou shalt not die.” Gideon is so moved by God’s words that it says, “…Gideon built an altar there unto the LORD, and called it Jehovah shalom…” which means, “The LORD is peace.”

Yet, there was no peace in any of Gideon’s circumstances. Many fearful obstacles still surrounded Gideon and would continue to face him. Nevertheless, he moved forward at the prompting of the LORD. He tore down his father’s altar to Baal and grove of trees wherein the Israelites committed idolatry. He then faced the zealous, idolatrous men who would have killed him on behalf of their fallen idol. He then successfully gathered 32,000 men to do battle against the Midianites, and after getting further confirmation from God, prepared for battle. The man who at the beginning of the story was hiding in a winepress, and who throughout the story kept asking for signs, was unmoved by his and his nation’s overwhelming circumstances in light of the God of peace who had appeared to him and had spoken directly to him.

And things got crazier! God said that 32,000 soldiers was too many! Judges 7:1-3 reads, And the LORD said unto Gideon, The people that are with thee are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel vaunt themselves against me, saying, Mine own hand hath saved me.3 Now therefore go to, proclaim in the ears of the people, saying, Whosoever is fearful and afraid, let him return and depart early from mount Gilead. And there returned of the people twenty and two thousand; and there remained ten thousand.”

So, there were to be ten thousand to fight against a multitude. Judges 7:12 says that “the Midianites and the Amalekites and all the children of the east lay along in the valley like grasshoppers for multitude; and their camels were without number, as the sand by the sea side for multitude.” Ten thousand against an enemy so countless that they were like a swarm of locusts blackening the sky and devastating all in their path.

But God was not finished. It got crazier! Judges 7:4-8 continues, “And the LORD said unto Gideon, The people are yet too many; bring them down unto the water, and I will try them for thee there: and it shall be, that of whom I say unto thee, This shall go with thee, the same shall go with thee; and of whomsoever I say unto thee, This shall not go with thee, the same shall not go.5 So he brought down the people unto the water: and the LORD said unto Gideon, Every one that lappeth of the water with his tongue, as a dog lappeth, him shalt thou set by himself; likewise every one that boweth down upon his knees to drink.6 And the number of them that lapped, putting their hand to their mouth, were three hundred men: but all the rest of the people bowed down upon their knees to drink water.7 And the LORD said unto Gideon, By the three hundred men that lapped will I save you, and deliver the Midianites into thine hand: and let all the other people go every man unto his place.8 So the people took victuals in their hand, and their trumpets: and he sent all the rest of Israel every man unto his tent, and retained those three hundred men: and the host of Midian was beneath him in the valley.”

Three hundred men. Three hundred men versus a multitude. But Gideon chose to rest in the LORD of peace, for the battle belonged to Him. And with the faith of that one man and the foolishness of three hundred men smashing pitchers and blowing on ram’s horns, God scattered the host of Midian and in their fear the enemy even killed each other.

The BIG Question

How big is our God? No I mean, how big is He in our lives today? When we are faced with great emotion, who is bigger? God or the emotion? Who is bigger? God or the problem? Who is bigger? God or the roommate issue? Who is bigger? God or the medication issue? Who is bigger? God or the communication issue? Who is bigger? God or the loneliness issue? God or . . . you think of your own situation whatever it might be?

Walking on the Water

In Matthew 14 we come upon a scene of amazing grandeur. There, Jesus has separated from His disciples and gone off to pray. The day had been wearying to Jesus and the disciples. Many had been healed, and it had ended in a mind-boggling multiplication of the five loaves and 2 fishes. The disciples had stood in shock as that meager amount fed a great multitude of hungry men, women and children. Now, Jesus had insisted on dismissing the enormous crowd himself and insisted that the disciples go ahead and sail to the other side of the great lake. He’d meet up with them later. Meanwhile, it says in verse 24 that they were in the middle of an agitated, restless sea that tossed their ship about as the wind blew antagonistically.

That of course is when Jesus appeared . . . walking on the water, and His disciples thought He must be a ghost. That’s when Jesus called out to them, and Peter daringly said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.29 And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.30 But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.31 And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?32 And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased.”

Conclusion

There is a difference between fact and truth. It was a fact that the army of Midian was enormous. But the truth was that God was greater. It was a fact that the wind was contrary and the waves rising, but the truth was that Jesus was the Lord of the wind and the waves. No matter how much Gideon planned or strategized, the army of Midian was still too vast and too numerous that even 32,000 men in their own strength could not have defeated them. General MacArthur himself could not have bombed, blasted or barricaded them away. And as for the sea, no one has ever tamed the sea nor ever will. Only God!

And indeed, it is no different in our lives when faced with the sea of anxiety and fear and emotions of all kinds, as well as army of physical problems, relationship issues, or any circumstance that is overwhelming of unfair. It is then that the enemy of our entire being swarms upon us and rages against us like the fury of Midian, and we like Gideon hide and wonder where God is. The sea comes crashing in and the wind threatens to blow apart our ship. But Jesus said in John 14:27, Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” John 16:33,These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”

“Be Magnified” Song written by Don Moen

I have made You too small in my eyes
O Lord, forgive me;
I have believed in a lie
That You were unable to help me.
But now, O Lord, I see my wrong
Heal my heart and show Yourself strong;
And in my eyes and with my song
O Lord, be magnified
O Lord, be magnified.

Be magnified, O Lord
You are highly exalted;
And there is nothing You can’t do
O Lord, my eyes are on You.
Be magnified,
O Lord, be magnified.

I have leaned on the wisdom of men
O Lord, forgive me;
And I have responded to them
Instead of Your light and Your mercy.
But now, O Lord, I see my wrong
Heal my heart and show Yourself strong;
And in my eyes with my song
O Lord, be magnified
O Lord, be magnified.

Be magnified, O Lord
You are highly exalted;
And there is nothing You can’t do
O Lord, my eyes are on You.
Be magnified,
O Lord, be magnified.”

youtube video sung by Kim Hill: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sX4yYJg-5G8