Thursday, January 6, 2011
exhausted, yet pursuing
And Gideon came to the Jordan and crossed over, he and the 300 men who were with him, exhausted yet pursuing.
I have always been impressed with this simple statement in the story of Gideon. Gideon's elite little "army" of 300 has startled the Midianite camp, watched as the enemy in disarray attacked each other, seen Midianite kings captured by Israel, and now is in hot pursuit of two remaining Midianite leaders. They are tired, but will not give up until the task God has given them is complete.
I can identify with weariness. I think we all can. We live our lives at such a frenetic pace these days that burnout is always on the edge of any day. At least that is the way I feel, and I see it a lot when I minister to and with people. God made the Sabbath for rest. He took a break from His work. We are poor at developing rest margin, and there are times when we can't. The result is weariness.
But when we are operating under God's instructions and power, He can strengthen us to pursue the work, even in our tired state. Gideon did not get a fair shake when he was tired. Two Israelite cities, Succoth and Penuel, refused to provision his exhausted troops. But he went on still in pursuit of two pagan kings. God led his army to capture them, and then, upon the return journey, Gideon stopped to issue discipline to those faithless towns that ignored the need of his men. (Judges 8:13-17)
There are seasons in service were we may not get a fair shake. God did not promise easy service for the kingdom. We still carry a yoke and a burden. Jesus just lightens it. It is still work. And even without our own tendencies to overextend things, it can get tiring. There is always ministry to do. There are always people to reach. There is always an urgency to the gospel that compels us. And sometimes the ministry is such that we must pursue while weary. It is during those times that God will provide the strength needed to move forward! I thank God that He does so.
- Prepare your minds for action.
1 Peter 1:13