Suggested Reading: Judges 7
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Key Verse: Judges 7:20
Then the three companies blew the trumpets and broke the pitchers–they held the torches in their left hands and the trumpets in their right hands for blowing–and they cried, “The sword of the Lord and of Gideon!”
In today’s reading there is an unmistakable geographical description of the very spot where, 3,400 years ago, God separated the army of 300 from the multitude at the Spring of Harod. And the 300, having circled around the Midianite army, descended the hill of Moreh to break their pitchers, shine their lights, and blow their ram’s horns, creating panic in the ranks of the enemy. By dividing the 300 into 3 companies of 100 each, they were able to come from three different directions and win a God-given victory. Many of us who read this blog are members of churches that may have from 50 to 300 in regular attendance. The Pastor likely knows everyone by name, including the children. There is wisdom in having many churches, rather than one mega-congregation with several thousand members. Yes there is a special appeal in the large church…great music, a well prepared staff, and a large missions budget. The Pastor may be the most gifted preacher in the area. However, we need to recognize that the smaller congregations have much to offer also. The Pastor will visit you personally when you are sick. He will know you personally and thus will be able to care for each member individually, that is if he or she is truly God called and totally committed, as were the 300, watching, on guard, and filled with God’s Spirit.
PRAYER FOR TODAY:
Lord Jesus, You know Your sheep by name. You know my name, and the names of all who join me in daily readings. You’ve called into ministry Pastors, Teachers, Evangelists, Administrators, and helps in many areas of life. Please show me how to be a strength to those who care for my soul. I ask for the grace of loyalty to the congregation where I serve and worship. Bless those who prepare the spiritual food of Your Word and serve good nourishment at Sunday services, as well as at mid week services and other gatherings. Amen!
100 PERSONAL WORDS:
Being retired (sort of), I have the opportunity of attending a relatively small congregation in Canada and a very large one while in Florida. I see the blessings of both large and small. I remember well, while a student in Bible College, one of the teachers pointing to two Toronto churches which, in his estimation, were “successful.” I couldn’t let the occasion pass without pointing out that the Pastor and congregation in Moose Factory, an island at the tip of James Bay, were just as successful. Success was being in God’s will and not in numbers. I was probably considered disrespectful, but I also said that the smaller churches have probably fed the city churches with their members and that transfer growth from one congregation to another is not the same as bringing new people to Christ. Perhaps three companies of one hundred each can accomplish more than one company of three hundred. There’s a website that I encourage you to check out. It’s NewSmallChurch.com. My attached video from Israel happened at the place where the three hundred were chosen. I’ll explain more in the P.S.
Yours for the One who said, “I will build My church,” God’s great success story!
P.S. Back in 2001, Norma-Jean and I had the privilege of leading a group of 550 to Israel in what was called, “The Journey of Hope.” David Damien, M.D., and Pastor Gideon Chiu, of Zion Church in Vancouver, initiated this amazing trip. Pastor Gideon is originally from China, and his roots are from the the tribe of Manasseh, one of the northern tribes of Israel who were exiled in an early version of ethnic cleansing. His ancestors ended up in China. Before Gideon led in prayer at the Spring of Harod, or Gideon’s Fountain, I felt no breeze. But as he began to pray, the trees began moving, and I could hear the sound of the wind. Our camera crew caught some of that movement. So here is Pastor Gideon at the very place where the Biblical Gideon chose his army of 300. Enjoy this glorious prayer and worship celebration! (click on the video below).