I share with you that which God has put on my heart this morning, early, before the sun rises, while the dew is still wet on the Carolina ground.
“And they cried out, ‘A sword for the Lord and for Gideon!’” (from Judges 7:20).
The message of the sword of Gideon is that the sword of Gideon was truly the sword of the Lord. All human and material resources were reduced to absolute dependence upon the provision of God to defeat the enemy of God and to advance the cause of God in Israel. Through this supernatural means, God we sure to get the glory and his people would see his power demonstrated before them. This not only conquered enemies but built faith in his people as they went forward. Such miraculous intervention of God would prepare his people for an even greater miracle.
As I think about our ministry together, and I take in the power of the word of God in this portion of Judges and in the story of Gideon’s sword, I ask myself questions. I challenge you to read this portion of God’s word and ask these questions together:
What if our forward movement in the face of many obstacles caused us to look not to development in human terms but development through God’s power?
What if our enrollment work soared to bring in a great new company of godly candidates for ministry, not because of the ingenious advertising methodologies or even the number of our enrollment officers, as wonderful as they are, but what if our enrollment soared because we had a singular message of Christ and his Gospel? What if that was all we had? A message that simply said, “We are here to prepare disciples who will prepare disciples who will prepare disciples… so that the kingdoms of this world would become the kingdom of our God and of his Christ?”
What if our campuses blossomed even more, not because of exacting administration, or even the number of our faculty, but because of the anointing of the Holy Spirit on our campuses? What if people felt like they were not walking onto a campus but walking into a Holy Spirit directed center of vocational and spiritual formation to send out missionaries to the ends of the earth? What if we grew through personal witnessing and people being saved and breaking down our doors to prepare to go out and preach Christ and Him crucified?
What if my own leadership were based not on marketing strategies and cultivated giftedness of communication but on regular, long seasons of prayer? What if the chancellor was just a preacher? And more a man of prayer than he is as he writes?
This reading from Judges this morning and its application to our ministry leads me to this question: what if God were to save the world not through an army but through coming as a servant and dying on the cross? What if He were to conquer the cosmos by lying dead on hey cold slab in a borrowed grave on a black Saturday? What if God were to bring in his kingdom through resurrection of a dead man — a dead God – man? What if everything changed because of a carpenter son from Nazareth?
The story of Gideon and his victory through God leads us to a lot of “what ifs.”The Gospel behind the story, interwoven into the story, leaves us with a dependence upon God and God alone.
We stand before a most remarkable time of opportunity and challenge in our ministry and in the world today. Nothing could be more important than picking up Gideon’s sword to meet that day. For the sword of Gideon was the sword of the Lord and the sword of the Lord is the Gospel. In that power, that sword, those resources, that reduction of all human materiel, that exaltation of the Cross of Christ, we are driven to our knees and it is there that we will find the provision we need to march forward.