Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Information and Speculation

“When Gideon heard the account of the dream and its interpretation, he bowed in worship.” (Judges 7:15)

A scarcity of information invites speculation, and speculation often leads to fear. Fear then has the potential for paralysis, or hesitation at least. In our vernacular we might describe this as “a deer in the headlights.”

Thus it was for Gideon. Review his story. When Gideon gathered an army, he had 32,000 men to go against a Midianite army of 120,000 (some say as many as 200,000). God told Gideon that his 32,000 was too many, that Israel might brag that it was their strength that brought them victory. So God instructed Gideon to tell the army that anyone fearful should go home. Only 10,000 remained, but God said that was still too many. He told Gideon to take the men to the Spring of Harod. Those who lapped water like a dog were to be dismissed, while those who used their hands to scoop water were to be retained. Only 300 remained.

Would going up against an army that covered an entire valley with just 300 soldiers make any sense to you? It didn’t to Gideon either. Thus, the scarcity of information invited speculation that led to fear and the potential for paralysis. So, God told Gideon to go to the edge of the Midianite camp and listen. He did. He heard one man tell of a dream of a barley loaf that came rolling down a hill and destroyed the Midianite tents. Another interpreted the dream: “This is none other than the sword of Gideon, and God has handed the entire Midianite camp over to him.”

That quick glimpse into what God was doing, unknown to Gideon before, brought release from the fear and replaced it with trust and worship. That was when Gideon knew that God would give the victory.

It would be nice to have those “glimpses” into what God is doing. In some ways, it could be helpful. But if you have not noticed, God does not often do that. Maybe the reason He does not is that He wants us to just proceed in faith to the fullest extent possible. Maybe He would prefer that we approach “the scarcity of information that invites speculation” with faith eyes, trusting Him with the outcomes He desires. That may be the higher road He invites us to travel.

Lord, May this day be a day of trusting You on the journey. Amen.

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