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When the Odds Are Against You - Part 2

In Touch / Charles Stanley
The Truth Network Radio
September 13, 2022 12:00 am

When the Odds Are Against You - Part 2

In Touch / Charles Stanley

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September 13, 2022 12:00 am

Dr. Stanley exemplifies the life of Gideon and seven principles to live by when you feel stuck.

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Welcome to the In Touch Podcast with Charles Stanley for Tuesday, September 13th. Let's discover some practical steps to take when the odds are against you from the story of Gideon found in Judges Chapter 7. When the odds are against you stacked heavily, no matter what they may be, it may be in your business.

It may be in some financial circumstance or whatever it might be. There are situations in which we oftentimes feel our backs to the wall and we don't know which way to turn. There are seven truths in this passage. If you will practice them, God will demonstrate His awesome power to deliver you no matter what you're facing. Now, the first one I want you to jot down and what we'll do is I'll give you each one of these and then God will show you how to apply it to your life. The first one is this, God will use our difficulty to build our faith. Number two, God will oftentimes require us to do those things that seem very, very unreasonable. The third thing I want you to notice here, God will lead us to do that which brings Him the most glory. Now, God cannot be glorified, that is, you and I cannot give God any more glory than He already has. But on the other hand, the way we respond to circumstances, God is glorified.

We allow Him to demonstrate His awesome power and we don't seek to take any glory. Look, if you will, in the seventh chapter and you remember what God said to Gideon here in the second verse. The Lord said to Gideon, the people who are with you are too many for me to give many into their hands. Lest Israel become boastful saying, my own power has delivered me. And he knew that if the odds were thirteen to one, if he knew the odds were four to one, they'd have walked away saying, we did it, we were outnumbered but we did it.

But when it got down to four hundred and fifty to one, there would have been no possible way they could have taken any of the glory or any of the credit. And as we've said here in this passage, He's going to lead us to do that by which He gets the most glory. Now, when we violate that, when we violate that simple truth, we're going to get ourselves in trouble. Now, the next point I want you to jot down, number four. God will usually strip us of all dependence on everything but Himself.

God will usually strip us of all dependence on everything but Himself. Now, look at this passage. He had thirty-two thousand men. God said, no, that's not, that's too many. Ten thousand is too many. Down to three hundred. Three hundred is a helpless little bunch. First of all, there weren't very good warriors to begin with. And very ill-equipped.

Three hundred, you can't do anything with that. Then He said, Gideon, here is going to be your arsenal. And He didn't say anything about swords and bows and arrows.

He didn't say anything about long javelins or spears. He said, here's going to be your arsenal. Number one, trumpets.

The guy says, what am I supposed to do, beat him over the head with this thing? Secondly, pitches or clay jars. I could throw that at him. Number three, torches.

Well, I could burn him a little bit. And number four, your voice. That's your arsenal. Look at that. Trumpets, clay jars, a torch, and my voice.

That's it. God will usually strip us of everything we depend upon but Himself. And the reason is because He doesn't want us depending upon anything but Himself. He doesn't want us depending on our past, our abilities, our talents. That does not mean that you and I are not to have a sense of confidence in the fact that Christ in us can do anything.

You remember what Paul said? He said, I discovered that when I am the weakest, then am I the strongest. And what he was referring to is not His strength but the power of the Holy Spirit within Him because you see what happens is this.

God releases the power of the Holy Spirit through us and in us to the degree to which we are totally and completely and helplessly dependent upon Him. And that's why pride and arrogance and self-confidence based on one's own fleshly nature is an absolute disaster. If you want guaranteed failure, trust in your personal self-reliance. You'll get through some things.

You'll be victorious in some things as far as the world is concerned. But in the eyes of God you want and ultimately you come tumbling down. Number five, God will send us encouragement when we grow faint-hearted. And in verse 9, look at this. They've come down to 300 now and verse 9 says in chapter 7, Now the same night it came about that the Lord said to him, Arise, go down against the camp, for I have given it into your hands.

And then look at this. But Gideon, if you're afraid to go down, go with Purah your servant down to the camp and you will hear what they say. And afterwards your hand will be strengthened that you may go down against the camp. So he went with Purah his servant down to the outpost of the army that was in the camp.

So they're sneaking along the edge of the camp now. Now the Midianites and the Amalekites and all the sons of the east were lying in the valley as numerous as locust. And their camels were without number, as numerous as the sand on the seashore.

That's the way they looked. When Gideon came, behold, a man was relating a dream to his friend and he said, Behold, I had a dream, a loaf of barley bread. Now barley bread was what the poorest folks ate and they fed it to the animals. A loaf of barley bread was tumbling into the camp of Midian.

And it came to the tent and struck it so that it fell and turned it upside down so that the tent lay flat. And his friend answered and said, This is nothing less than the sword of Gideon, the son of Joash, a man of Israel. God has given Midian and all the camp into his hand. And it came about when Gideon heard the account of the dream and its interpretation that he bowed in worship. He returned to the camp of Israel and said, Arise, for the Lord has given the camp of Midian into your hands.

Now this is a very, very important point. Listen. God will send us encouragement when he knows we grow faint-hearted. Our Heavenly Father knows that there are some situations and circumstances when you and I get faint-hearted because we're human. God in this one incident demonstrated his sensitivity to a man's faint-heartedness, his unconditional love for a man who is willing to be obedient, and his sovereign power at a very strategic moment.

Now think about this. He said to Gideon, Gideon, array your army for battle. Gideon, do I detect a little bit of fear in you? Yes, Lord. To be honest, when I think about us going against such odds of 450 to 1, Lord, to just tell you the truth, in spite of everything you've done, I am a little fearful. God said, Gideon, I understand that.

Get your servant purer and do what I tell you. You go down to the outskirts of the camp and get as close as you can, and I want you to hear something. God led them to this particular tent where he just sent a man a specific dream. And the contents of the dream are so designed by God. This man says, I had a crazy dream.

This barley loaf of bread came rolling into the camp, hit this tent, threw it up in the air, turned it upside down, and it fell flat on the ground. What in the world do you think that means? And God happened to have the right interpretation, the right friend.

His friend said, I can tell you what that means. That means that God has given Gideon, the son of Joash, a nobody really, and his army, he has given the camp of Midian into the hand of Gideon. The Bible says, and I think of this, I just want to weep. God says, the Bible says that Gideon, when he heard that, that he bowed down. Listen, here he is on the edge of the enemy camp, and he and Pur on their knees worshiping God. He bowed in worship and praise and thanksgiving for what he had just heard.

Wasn't that a beautiful act of God loving a man? In the heat of the battle, when his heart grew a little faint-hearted, God could have said, muster your courage, Gideon, and get with the battle. He said, Gideon, I think I detect a little bit of fear, and I'm going to help you handle that. Just do what I tell you.

Follow me. Well, I want you to notice something else. The Scripture says something happened in that camp.

So number six, jot this down. Now let me tell you why I want to put it this way. I want to use the word camp here because sometimes the situation, the circumstance, and the odds are against us. It doesn't mean that the other side happens to be our enemies. It could be in your home, for example, your husband or wife, certainly not your enemy.

You may feel like it, but they're not, your parents or your children or in your business or among your friends, whatever it might be. So I want to say that to preface this sixth point here. That is, God always, God always works in the other camp in our behalf. God always works in the other camp in our behalf. And so what was he doing in the other camp? He was creating fear because as that man more than likely told his friend what he felt, I'm sure he didn't keep that to himself. And that probably went through that whole army. Maybe not all of it, but a portion of it.

They were saying so and so had a dream, and what he dreamed meant that we were going to be defeated. And let me show you how the Lord works. He's always working in the other camp. Now listen to this. Everything is perfectly timed when God is in control. The Scripture says, verse 19 of chapter 7 now, So Gideon and the hundred men who were with him came to the outskirts of the camp at the beginning of the middle watch.

Now think about it. It's 1030 at night. The beginning of the middle watch, that means the men who had been watching were sort of sleepy and sort of a little hazy, and so they were getting ready to go to bed. The men who had been asleep were sort of up, you know, brushing their eyes, they're sleepy out of their eyes and sort of getting to their position. And so you have a change of guard here, and this change of guard, these are half sleep, and these are about half sleep, and when they had just posted the watch, then all of a sudden the attack came. And the Scripture says, if you'll notice, in verse 22, And when they blew three hundred trumpets, the Lord set the sword of one against another, even throughout the whole army, and the army fled.

That is, they began to kill each other because everything that moved, they thought must be an Israelite, and they start killing each other there in the dark and knocking over the lights and destroying one another and finally began to flee, and ultimately, the Bible says that Gideon sent the word to his men who had already left, that the enemy was on the way to cut him off at the river, sent the word to the Ephraimites to also catch him on the other side, and so they defeated the whole Midianite army along with the Amalekites. Here's something we forget. When the odds are against us and we don't know which way to turn and we look at what appears to be the enemy or the opposition, whatever the characteristic of it may be, what we forget is that if God is giving us direction here, what to do, He's also working on the other side. Now, this last point is absolutely essential.

If you miss this one, you blow the whole thing. Number seven, listen to what happens now. God will give us specific instruction resulting in victory if we obey Him. God will give us specific instruction resulting in victory if we obey Him.

Now, think about this. At any point in which Gideon had disobeyed God, no matter what his reasoning may have been, he would have suffered defeat. Suppose he'd have said, we only have 32,000. That's better than a four to one odd. God, there's no way I'm going to send anybody home. Then they would have been defeated. Down to 10,000. God, 13 to one odds.

There's no way I'm going to do that. They would have been defeated. Down to 300, and God said, here's what I want you to do. I want you to divide these 300 men into three groups of 100 each. They ought to take a trumpet.

They ought to take a torch and to cover it with this clay pitcher or jar. And then, here's what you ought to do. You are to lead this by blowing the trumpet, breaking that pitcher, raising the torch and shouting the sword of the Lord in Gideon. If Gideon had disobeyed God in a single command that God had given him, they would have suffered ultimate defeat.

Now listen carefully. The reason you and I get defeated is we defeat ourselves. We defeat ourselves by choosing to do it our way.

The reasonable, the comfortable, the more secure, the less risky way. God's way is usually more risky. God's way is usually more difficult.

That is, appears to be difficult. God's way is usually more taxing, more threatening, more challenging, more demanding, requiring more sacrifice. But it is always the best way. If you want victory, the way to be victorious is one simple word, obedience. If you want to do it your way, you can remember this. That when you leave God out of it or you try to change God's plan to fit your program, you are going to suffer defeat. Because what you're saying is this. First of all, you're expressing pride and secondly, you're saying, God, at this little itsy-bitsy juncture over here, I do feel, I really do feel that this is the better way. Let me ask you a question. Why have you not trusted Jesus Christ as your personal Savior and asked him to forgive you of your sins? Now let me tell you why.

You may have a thousand reasons, but let's boil it down to the bottom line is this. Somehow in your thinking, you have decided, now you've never said this, but you've decided your way is really a better way. But it's not. You're going to wreck and destroy your life. You're going to ruin your potential to be used of God.

Your way is not a better way. You cannot improve on God's way. I know to have to confess your sins and admit that you have wronged God and you've been disobedient and rebellious requires humbling yourself before God, and your pride will cause you to stumble. Your pride may separate you and your God. I challenge you to be wise enough to ask God to forgive you of your sins and tell him that you're placing your trust in him for the forgiveness of your sins.

You do believe that his way is the best way, and you do need him in your life because the truth is no matter what you have in your resources or finances or people to assist you or material wealth, I want to tell you, my friend, you don't really have anything till you have God. What is it that God has been challenging you with and you've backed off and said, Lord, there's no way? And God has been in the process of stripping you of your resources and you've been blaming God and saying, Lord, what's wrong?

I can tell you what's wrong. God strips us of our resources in order to teach us to trust him. Listen, do you know what he'll oftentimes do? When you and I learn to be trustworthy, listen carefully, when you and I learn to be trustworthy and learn that no matter how large or great our resources become, we are absolutely, desperately, hopelessly, helplessly dependent upon him. No matter what we have, God oftentimes will heap the resources and abound in the blessings towards you because he knows you are trustworthy and are not trusting in your blessings. You know, when I think about it, he's made it so simple, but only if I'm wise enough to obey him.

That guarantees the victory. Thank you for listening to part two of When the Odds Are Against You. If you'd like to know more about Charles Stanley or In Touch Ministries, stop by intouch.org. This podcast is a presentation of In Touch Ministries, Atlanta, Georgia.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-02-26 07:06:49 / 2023-02-26 07:14:21 / 8

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