February 9
When the Odds Are Against You 

Judges 7

The story of Gideon offers scriptural guidance for times when the odds are overwhelming and defeat seems imminent. No matter what your challenges are, the Lord is able to demonstrate His awesome power and deliver you.

God uses difficulty to build faith. Gideon was willing to believe God and go up against an army four times larger than his own. Trusting the Lord is a process which must be learned through experience. At times God takes the people He uses and places them in impossible situations—in that way, they discover that He is faithful. We may prefer to acquire faith by reading a book, but the Lord knows that the best classroom is a place of utter helplessness.

God may require us to do what seems unreasonable. The Israelites were already outnumbered, but the Lord instructed Gideon to reduce the army to a mere 300 men. That made the odds 450 to one! Although God's ways may seem illogical to us, His wisdom and power are far greater than ours, and His plan can be trusted.

God leads us to do that which brings Him glory. The army was now so small that its men could in no way take credit for the victory. The Lord delights in demonstrating His awesome power and glory through our weakness and inadequacy,

Consider life's challenges as opportunities for the Lord to build your faith and prepare you for ministry. He uses those who are willing to obey Him even when the task seems illogical or impossible. And He takes pleasure in showing His faithfulness to those who trust in Him regardless of the situation.

EXTRA COLUMN: On Obedience

"The golden rule for understanding in spiritual matters is not intellect, but obedience." 
—Oswald Chambers

"I was not born to be free. I was born to adore and to obey." 
—C. S. Lewis

"Nothing is really lost by a life of sacrifice; everything is lost by failure to obey God's call." 
—Henry P. Liddon

"You may as well quit reading and hearing the Word of God, and give it to the devil, if you do not desire to live according to it." 
—Martin Luther

"When God gives a command or a vision of truth, it is never a question of what He will do, but what we will do." 
—Henrietta Mears

"If two angels were to receive at the same moment a commission from God, one to go down and rule earth's grandest empire, the other to go and sweep the streets of its meanest village, it would be a matter of entire indifference to each which service fell to his lot, the post of ruler or the post of scavenger; for the joy of the angels lies only in obedience to God's will, and with equal joy they would lift a Lazarus in his rags to Abraham's bosom, or be a chariot of fire to carry an Elijah home." 
— John Newton

"Obey God and leave all the consequences to Him." 
—Charles F. Stanley

"It is much safer to obey than to govern." 
—Thomas à Kempis 

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