Ever wondered what one thing is common in the lives of men who attained greatness in their pursuits? Master writer, Nicolo Machievelli, in “The Prince” said this ‘Without doubt princes become great when they overcome the difficulties and obstacles by which they are confronted, and therefore, fortune, especially when she desires to make a new prince great, who has a greater necessity to earn renown than an hereditary one, causes enemies to arise and form designs against him, in order that he may have the opportunity of overcoming them, and by them to mount higher, as by a ladder which his enemies have raised.’
Picture this, that very problem you have been avoiding all this years could be the stepping stone you need to push you to greatness! We can easily miss out on the move of God in adversity because His “language” is different from ours; His ways are not our ways. Here is how,
- It’s Unconventional
Being successful and fulfilling your life’s purpose are not the same thing. The world has a limited view of greatness, centered on resources: human and financial. However, a sure sign that whatever we are doing is God’s work is where the glory goes; not on people or finances but on Him. God’s plan is never as we expect it to be, He uses the foolish things of this world so that all praise goes to Him. In fact, He does not work with many options or sets of plans and at times things seem to get worse before they get any better.
In the bible, a man named Gideon was asked to do some radical things while selecting before even going to war with the Midianites, and to any human logic, he was bound to fail (Judges 7:2-7). He had gathered an army of 32000 men, which seemed a reasonable number but God had other plans for them. First, he was instructed to turn away those who were fearful while at Mount Gilead and on that day 20000 departed. As if that was not enough, God instructed Him to send away even more men through another criterion. Gideon was to take them by the water and those who lapped the water with their tongues were set apart from those who went on their knees to drink. Logically many knelt to drink as opposed to lapping like dogs but those who lapped, 300 men, were chosen by God to go with Gideon. Talk about an army selection criterion! Nevertheless, true to His word, the three hundred men led by Gideon got the job done.
Judges 7:2 And the Lord said to Gideon, “The people who are with you are too many for Me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel claims glory for itself against Me, saying, ‘My own hand has saved me.’ ”
Judges 7:7 Then the Lord said to Gideon, “By the three hundred men who lapped I will save you, and deliver the Midianites into your hand. Let all the other people go, every man to his place.”
- It’s Simple
How do I know God’s plan? The secret is in simplicity. When God gives instructions, no matter how big the task, the steps to accomplish it are so simple. It’s never about the precision in strategy or the resources we have, rather it’s the favor of God that brings our victory. It doesn’t take more energy to have big faith than it does to have a small one; if you limit your choices to what seems possible or reasonable, you disconnect yourself from what you truly want and all that is left is compromise. At times, very “small” steps bring great impact, but we have to trust God in that.
Gideon’s plan of action was based on a dream, and he won! (Judges 7:16-25). He divided his three hundred men into three companies, gave them trumpets, empty pitchers and torches of fire. The plan was to make simultaneous shouts as they blew their trumpets saying, “The sword of the Lord and of Gideon.” This scared the Midianites because it was like a prophecy fulfilled and so they ran scattered in confusion. This great army was brought down by 300 men, who had a plan that would have worked better in a choir and not in war. It wasn’t a tactical innovation, it was simply blowing trumpets.
Judges 7:20-22 Then the three companies blew the trumpets and broke the pitchers-they held the torches in their left hand and the trumpets in their right hands for blowing-and they cried, “The sword of the Lord and of Gideon!” And every man stood in his place all around the camp; and the whole army ran and cried out and fled. When the three hundred blew the trumpets, the Lord set every man’s sword against his companion throughout the whole camp…
One of the tragedies of life is for a man to arrive at the time he has finished his tent and has nothing to do except to play in it, with no new tent to begin~ James P Cornett.
Human nature has a way of not being satisfied even with great success. There is always the next big thing no wonder many people die miserable despite the resources they accumulate in their lifetime. Regardless how small our achievements may seem, God makes our souls satisfied, removing us from the constant chase that is life. Sometimes things go so well in our lives that we begin to take up things that were never meant to be done by us, believing on our brilliance. The limelight can easily blind us from what our calling was in the first place.
Gideon did many great exploits for the Lord, leading the Israelites to victory against the Midianites who had oppressed them for seven years. People approached him to be their leader but Gideon had come to know his place; his assignment was to deliver the Israelites and not lead them once they were freed. The exploits did not puff him up, they humbled him. He did not see it as an opportunity to seize power and wealth, his call was to fight the Midianites and when it was done, he willingly ‘hang his gloves.’
Judges 8:22-23 Then the men of Israel said to Gideon, “Rule over us, both you and your son, and your grandson also; for you have delivered us from the hand of Midian.” Then Gideon said to them, “I will not rule over you, nor shall my son rule over you; the Lord shall rule over you.”
What is amazing about Gideon’s victory is the process behind it. It starts with men lapping water like dogs, dreams about barley bread and finally men blowing trumpets! Read out of context, these things have nothing to do with war, in fact they do not even make sense when put together. To top it up, though he had an opportunity to rule, he declined, being satisfied with the greatness that was upon him. This is exactly how God’s messages are in our human understanding, they never make sense outside the context of Him and they only seem to align after the job gets done, not before.
- Greatness: You Have It in You (christoid.wordpress.com)
- Greatness: Ask! Ask! Ask! (christoid.wordpress.com)
- Gideon: Unsure in himself but still a warrior for God (anedutoit.wordpress.com)