Profiles in Leader Courage … Judges 6:36

judges6Vol. 1, No. 8 – 2016

If Thou will deliver Israel through me, as Thou hast spoken . . . (Judges 6:36)

Do you ever feel over-extended?  Stretched?  Committed to too many things?  Have you said “yes” too many times, and now you do not have time to complete the latest “yes”?

Has this become part of who you are?  Is this a habit of your life?  Listen, you do not have habits; habits have you!  You need to establish marks in your life to give warning of danger for your limitations.

Take a lesson from Samuel Plimsoll, Englishman who lived from 1824-1898.  He got a law through Parliament requiring English ships to paint a danger line on the sides of all ships to indicate when they were overloaded.  When they were beyond safe.

Plimsoll had seen so many overloaded ships go down, causing heavy losses of life and cargo, he got Parliament to pass his law.  The line is still in use today, and is used on most of the ships of countries in the world.

In the world of 1200 B.C., Gideon could have well-used a Plimsoll line.  We, like Gideon, get overloaded in our capacities: leadership issues, decisions, projects, meetings, and impossibilities.   We do not know how to say “no;” never an easy thing.  However, we need to know where our Plimsoll line is located; if we have established one.

The son of Joash was so flummoxed, he sought reassurance that God really did want him to do as He said.  That God truly wanted him to proceed with this frightening venture.  Gideon was in over his head.  When you are over your head, the odds are terrifying.

Gideon sees the disparity of fighting men, weapons, and the overarching morale.

This leads to the soggy fleece incident.  Gideon places a fleece of wool on the ground and asks God to make it saturated with dew and leave the ground dry.  God does.  When you are not sure if you really want to do this thing, you test God again.  “Reverse it, God!”  God does.

God chooses, in gracious patience, to teach Gideon that He, God, is always dependable.  Gideon’s responsibilities are not the right path of choice.  However, God lovingly accommodated Himself to Gideon, because God understands the frailty of our human nature.

Nor was Gideon’s petition for a sign a demonstration of unbelief or doubt (or of presumption); it demonstrates a struggle in faith and a hunger for confirmation.  We have been there, have we not?

If you will carry me to success as you have said; if I am the man or woman You said I am; if these people are going to bring misery into my life; and if they have weapons that are forces of harm; confirm to me how far I should go.  Give me a Plimsoll line.  I do not want to sink here!  I do have feelings, you know!

Answered prayers do not depend upon our feelings; but on the dependability and trustworthiness of the One who promises.  “The Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you” (2 Thessalonians 3:3)

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Written by Dr. Larry Lightner

July 1, 2016

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