And Gideon came to the Jordan and crossed over, he and the 300 men who were with him, exhausted yet pursuing. -- Judges 8:4
Thursday, May 22, 2014
Tuckered But Still Truckin'
I’ve been there. We are going the right direction, doing the things or thing we know we are supposed to do, yet we are so tired of pursuing. I’m remind of that scene in the movie version of The Two Towers where, as the three friends track the orc raiders that have Merry and Pippin, Gimli remarks that for three days they have had no food, no rest, and no sign of their quarry. Weary as we are, we are wearier of the pursuit, and would welcome a stand-up fight.
Though they had passed over to the east side of the Jordan, Gideon and his men were not in enemy territory but in territory belonging to the tribe of Gad. As they passed by the towns of Succoth and Penuel, they asked their brothers for help, not in the chase or the battle, but to sustain them with food and water. The leaders refused, partly, perhaps, out of fear, since the final outcome of the conflict was not clear, and they did not want to raise the ire of the Midianites if Gideon were defeated. But there is also a hint of disdain for Gideon. He did not seem to be, in their minds, the right sort of man to be picked by God as a judge. They might have thought if God wanted to liberate Israel He would have chosen from among them.
False brethren, as Paul calls them, can be more of a problem than an open enemy. We can see that lived out in the political realm here in America with the Republican Establishment being dismissive of Tea Party candidates and supporters. The GOP-e was happy enough to benefit from Tea Party fervor in 2010 to retake the House, but in the depths of their dark souls, they are big government sympathizers.
It is the same in the Church as a whole, and in any local body of believers. Anyone who steps out to speak the truth and act in faith would do well to watch his or her back. There is a good chance the thrust that brings you down will come from the pew behind you. At church, at work, even in our own families and among our friends, we sometimes find ourselves the target of opposition based on jealousy, envy, or resentment. Sometimes we wish we could execute a little payback, and running somebody through the briar patch in their drawers can sound a lot like justice.
As much as I might enjoy it, it is not my job to get even, and I certainly can’t turn aside from the task at hand to teach a lesson to those who would hinder me. I’ll leave it to the Lord and try to keep going until the work is done.
It's easy for us to get discouraged and dismayed when the end is not in sight, and those who should be on our side turn away or work against us. As the song says, that's when faith is really put to the test. Don't give up. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up (Galatians 6:9).