Let me ask you a question.
Do you feel like you lack stuff to succeed in life?
Warning: This Bible story will blow you away.
How God Teaches You To Work
With What You Have
Once upon a time, Israel and Midia were at war.
Israel was a puny nation, barely surviving, and the Midianities were many times more powerful.
That was when God raised a man named Gideon to fight for Israel. Soon, he formed an army of 32,000 soldiers.
Seems like good news, right?
But don’t be too impressed.
We’re using the term “soldiers” in a very loose way.
These 32,000 men were actually farmers, fishermen, and carpenters who happened to carry a long stick.
On the other side of the fence, the enemy called the Midianites had 135,000 soldiers—all trained and armed to the teeth.
Not a very fair battle if you ask me.
But God looked at the situation in a very different way.
God speaks to Gideon and says the most unbelievable thing.
God says, “The men you have are too many.”
Why You Shouldn’t Be Controlled By Fear
I find this really funny.
God’s math is very different from our math.
Gideon must have been scratching his head wondering, “What is God talking about?”
The Bible says God’s reason for doing this. God says, “They might think that they had won by themselves, and so give me no credit. Announce to the people, ‘Anyone who is afraid should go back home, and we will stay here at Mount Gilead.’ ”
Why send the fearful guys home?
Here’s why: I believe God can’t use anyone who is controlled by fear.
Hey, it’s okay to be afraid. Fear is normal.
Remember that once upon a time, Gideon was a scardycat, hiding from the Midianities, before God told him, “You’re a mighty man of courage.” That woke him up.
I repeat: It’s okay to have fear.
But here’s the big question. Are you controlling the fear or is the fear controlling you? You’ll never succeed in life if you’re controlled by fear.
So what happened?
When Your Resources Are Cut Down
The Bible says that 22,000 went back, and 10,000 remained.
You think God was satisfied.
But He wasn’t.
He wanted to whittle it down further.
God says Gideon, “You still have too many men…”
Sometimes, God will allow circumstances to cut down your resources.
Perhaps you’ve gone through hardship, poverty, brokenness.
Perhaps you’ve lost your marriage.
Perhaps you’ve lost your loved ones.
But this may be God’s way of bringing you to a place of desperation. Remember: The place of desperation is also the place of deliverance.
The Crazy Water Test
How did God bring down the number of Gideon’s army?
He said, “Take them down to the water, and I will separate them for you there. If I tell you a man should go with you, he will go. If I tell you a man should not go with you, he will not go.”
So Gideon took 10,000 guys to the river.
300 guys scooped up water in their hands.
9700 guys bent down to the water drank like a dog.
God says, “I will rescue you and give you victory over the Midianites with the three hundred men who scooped the water with their hands. Tell everyone else to go home.”
Geewhiz, what a crazy test!
Bible scholars wrangle about this.
But let me give you one interpretation.
Those who scoop water with their hands can see an enemy approaching. Those who lap water like a dog can’t see anything but the water they are drinking. With the enemy only 3 miles away, this was dangerous.
Meaning? In the first test, God removed soldiers who were fearful. In the second test, God removed soldiers who were foolish.
In the first test, God picked soldiers who had courage.
In the second test, God picked soldiers who had caution.
Here’s the lesson: If you want God to use you, you need both passion and prudence. It can’t just be all zeal. You need wisdom too.
Read the exciting victory from the Bible itself: That night the Lord commanded Gideon, “Get up and attack the camp; I am giving you victory over it. He divided his 300 men into three groups and gave each man a trumpet and a jar with a torch inside it. Then they blew the trumpets and broke the jars they were holding, and the other two groups did the same. They all held the torches in their left hands, the trumpets in their right, and shouted, “A sword for the Lord and for Gideon!” Every man stood in his place round the camp, and the whole enemy army ran away yelling. While Gideon’s men were blowing their trumpets, the Lord made the enemy troops attack each other with their swords.
Work With The Impossible
God operates in the area of the impossible.
If you want to find God, operate in the area of the impossible as well. If you work with what’s possible, you may not need God. But if you work with what’s impossible, you will be forced to look up to God.
Friend, God wants to use you.
You may be like this small army.
You may be facing a huge enemy in front of you.
Your financial problems. Your family problems. Your health problems. Your relationship problems.
Have no fear. God is by your side.
He will create a miracle in your life.
Let me end with one last story.
The Most Beautiful Chopsticks
One day, a couple and their little boy were going to watch a concert. In the concert, one of the international, top pianists in the world will perform—together with an entire orchestra.
The concert was about to begin, so the husband and wife were walking quickly to their seats. When they turned left, they didn’t know that their little boy went straight.
Straight to the stage.
And there he saw a beautiful great grand piano. He’s never seen anything like it before. In their house was an old, upright piano.
He slipped passed the curtain, sat on the bench, and was taken aback by the gleaming, white ivory keys.
He didn’t notice that the curtain was pulled away.
He didn’t know that the audience was now watching him.
Except for the horrified parents, everyone thought this was part of the concert.
The boy placed his little hands on the keys and began to play chopsticks—to the delight of the crowd.
And that was when the boy felt two arms around him—a hand on the left and hand on the right.
It was the world-renowned Master Pianist.
He stood behind the boy and began to play with the boy a Beethoven symphony adjusted to the Chopsticks melody.
And upon the Master’s cue, the entire 101-piece orchestra—complete with violins and horns, began to play along.
The parents of the boys had tears in their eyes, watching their little boy perform with the Orchestra. It was the most beautiful rendition of Chopsticks the world has ever heard.
What made the difference?
The Master stepped in.
Work With What You Have
Even if you only know Chopsticks, play it anyway.
Work with what you have.
Work with the talents that you have.
Work with the money that you have.
Work with the circumstances that you have.
Be the best that you can be.
Because the Master stands behind you, his arms around you, creating a miracle in you.
May your dreams come true,