Transformation Garden - May 16, 2009


May 16 

“Then the men of Israel said unto Gideon, ‘Rule thou over us, both thou, and thy son, and thy son’s son als 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.’”
Judges 8: 22, 23, King James Version


“Actions and Intentions” Part II

Who’s on the Seat of Power?

“Power is never good, unless the one who has it is good.”
King Alfred

Who sits in the “seat of power” in my life?

“The boast of heraldry, the pomp of power,
And all that beauty, all that wealth e’er gave,
Await alike the inevitable hour,
The paths of glory lead but to the grave.”
Thomas Gray
Elegy in a Country Churchyard


“Most (human) power is illusionary and perceptual.  You have to create an environment in which people perceive you as having some power.”
Carrie Saxton Perry

Besides enjoying all my English classes in school, I also took great delight in studying history – especially the stories of leaders in times past.  Recently, I’ve been watching a special on Catherine the Great and after seeing the way she grasped power, the words in the “Hymn to Inanna” describe Catherine the Great very well, “You have gathered the many powers, you have clasped them now, like necklaces unto your breast.”

So it is with us humans as we wander planet earth.  How we long for power – the power to control, not only our own lives, but those around us.  And when we see someone who seems to be successful at wielding the influence of power, how quickly we bend the knee and bow the head.  I never cease to be amazed at who we, you and I, choose to follow just because the scepter of power is held in their hand, be it some Hollywood starlet, a charming politician or a smooth-talking financial wizard. If we perceive their power will assist us, we will even jump on the bandwagon of someone we know little about or care little for.

It seems history has taught us little or maybe we have just chosen not to learn, for down through time, the “crowds” have followed, sometimes blindly, the individual whom they think sits in the “seat of power.”

This is what happened in the story of Gideon and the battle against the Midianites.  Remember, just like all the children of Israel, Gideon and his family were living in dens, afraid for their lives.  None of the Israelites went to Gideon and asked him to lead them against the Midianites.  Nor did Gideon’s parents tell him he was Israel’s deliverer.  Instead, it was God who saw the potential in Gideon.  This is a critical lesson for us to learn.  The power to call someone didn’t come from a man or woman – it came from God.

There’s more.  When Gideon responded to God’s call, he shared the challenge with the other Israelites who decided, it appeared at first, they would like to be part of the battle.  But God informed 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.”” (Judges 7: 2, K.J.V.).  There you have it.  God understood that if the Israelites thought they possessed the power, if they believed they sat in the “seat of power,” they would never recognize how their victory really came to pass.

By the time all the people who didn’t have a heart for the challenge ran home, Gideon was left with 300 men.  Now I ask you, “Who had the power?”  Certainly not 300 Israelites against all of Midian’s army.  And this was exactly the point God intended to make.

Unfortunately, we little weaklings have short memories.  We like to believe, mistakenly, we can go-it-alone.  I know, for I’ve tried the “keep your hands off, I can do it myself” technique more than once, only to fall flat on my face or run myself into a ditch.  Thankfully, God’s powerful rescue tools are fitted perfectly for getting you and me back on our feet and on His highway of hope again.

In the case of Gideon and his rag-tag army of 300, God provided not only a decisive win, but there was absolutely, positively no doubt as to who gave the army the power to win.

What was the result?  Did the Israelites thank God for His hand of power that released them from the clutches of the Midianites?  NO!

In Judges 8:22, the Israelites, we are told, came to Gideon and implored him, “Be our ruler – you and your descendants after you.  You have saved us from the Midianites.”  See how quickly we follow the person we perceive has the power.  All of a sudden, Gideon, the den dweller, hiding in a cave – became Gideon the hero.  “Let’s elect him as our leader,” the people howled, completely overlooking “Who” was really sitting on the throne in the seat of power.  What’s more, the people were even willing to turn the power over to Gideon’s children, who we will later learn, were not individuals to be trusted with power in their grasping hands.

Wisely, Gideon showed heavenly wisdom by refusing to clutch the worldly power he knew he did not deserve and instead he told God’s children, “The Lord will be your ruler.” (Judges 8: 23, Good News Bible).

However, I want to remind you of one important thing.  You and I have the gift of the power to choose who sits on the throne of power in our lives.  We can hold on tightly to the seat of power or we can make the choice to relinquish our grasp and let our heavenly Father sit in the seat of power.

Who will sit on the seat of power in my life – and yours? Who will we choose?

“All our natural powers can be used mightily by God, but only when we think nothing of them and surrender ourselves to be simply the vehicles of divine power, letting God use us as He wills, content to be even despised by men if He be glorified.”
G. H. Knight


Your Hand

“From Your hand, O Lord, we receive everything.  You stretch Your powerful hand, and turn worldly wisdom into holy folly.  You open Your gentle hand, and offer the gift of inward peace.  If sometimes it seems that Your arm is shortened, then You increase our faith and trust, so that we may reach out to You.  And if sometimes it seems that You withdraw Your hand from us, then we know that it is only to conceal the eternal blessing which You have promised – that we may yearn ever more fervently for that blessing.”
Soren Kierkegaard

Your friend,
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus 
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