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In This Thy Might

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In This Thy Might

9 minuten leestijd

“And the LORD looked upon him, and said, Go in this thy might, and thou shalt save Israel from the hand of the Midianites: have not I sent thee?” (Judges 6:14).

The strength of the nation of Israel has always existed in the power of the Lord. When Israel departed from the God of their fathers, God gave them over into the hand of their enemies. When Israel walked in the holy ways of the Lord, God strove for His people. In reading Judges 6 we can find this confirmed in the events recorded there. The time which is there related to us was dark. The adversities under which the people were burdened were heavy, and no solution seemed possible, for the Midianites were strong and powerful. Yet there was a bright spot: Israel humbled themselves before God.

It is only in the way of humiliation that we can expect deliverance. The Lord had said, “When My people shall acknowledge their offenses, then will I remember My covenant.” That is the way, both in personal life and in the life of church and nation, by which the blessing hand of God will again be revealed unto a people humbled before His countenance. Lowliness and humility must be upright. Under difficulties there are often humblings which are only results of the troubles endured and the misery experienced, but which do not flow forth from the knowledge of the fact that we have sinned against a good-doing God.

It is only from a true knowledge of sin that a right humility will come forth. Then we know why the adversity which is upon us had to come.

In the text of our meditation we read something of the true humiliation. The Angel of the Lord came to Gideon and addressed him as a “mighty man of valour,” and testified that the Lord was with him. In his response Gideon expressed his amazement. It is as if he said, “Is the Lord with us? Do you not know? Indeed, there were times that the Lord was with us. Think only of the wonders wrought by His hand when He delivered us out of the land of Egypt. But now the Lord has forsaken us, and therefore we have been brought into this great adversity.”


Much is spoken about our inability without inability being truly experienced.


He meant to say, “Oh, no, do not call us mighty men of valor, for God has delivered us unto our enemies. Of what benefit is a mighty man of valor, yes, even ten thousand mighty men of valor, when the God of hosts no longer goes with us?” It is as if Gideon said, “In us there is no strength against this great company.” He confessed before the Angel of the Lord his lack of strength and his unworthiness of it.

And now we hear that wonderful and noteworthy answer, “Go in this thy might.” Even though you are totally lacking ability, yet you shall deliver Israel out of the hands of the Midianites. How so? Well, here is the answer, “Have I not sent thee?” Gideon, your might is not in yourself, but your ability shall be in the strength of the Lord God and in the might of His power.

Gideon was a fit means for the Lord to work such a wondrous deliverance only when he had learned to hold in contempt his own strength. Just when he was weak, he would be strong.

Behold, reader, that is the mystery which the Lord taught not only Gideon, but which the Lord according to His great grace now teaches all His people here upon earth. It is a mystery of which the world knows nothing and which men scorn as foolishness. Man willingly boasts of his ability and knowledge, his might and power, but God teaches His people the secret of which Paul spoke, “Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.” This secret can only be learned in the way of weakness. It is a way which is against our own nature and goes against our own existence, for there is nothing which humbles man so much as to learn that he is nothing. It is simple enough to confess with our lips that we are nothing. In this respect there is much spoken with our mouth while the experience of our heart is far from it.

Much is spoken about our inability without inability being truly experienced. For that reason we remain in the sad circumstances in which we find ourselves. All disputings without experiencing the true ministration of God's Spirit are nothing else than a living out of our enmity against God, for we became enemies in our deep fall. We are enemies of God and of our own salvation. We have pleasure in life without Him and can do well in the life which we lead. However, even though it is declared unto us that we live under the judgments of God, that we are traveling to eternal destruction, that it shall be terrible to fall into the hands of a living God, and that it is necessary that we be truly turned from our evil ways unto God who created us and yet patiently bears with us, with all these earnest and weighty witnesses man continues to harden himself against God. You hear many say, “I myself cannot change things; it must all come from God; we are unable to do any good.”

Indeed, these are truths which men say, but they misuse them to their own destruction, for it is only to excuse our unwillingness and enmity. How different it is when the truth receives true power in man. When the law of the Lord in the hand of the Holy Spirit convinces us of the majesty and holiness and justice of God, then we see all the demands of God's law as righteous. Then we see our own total lack of ability to fulfill His holy requirements as condemnable, and ourselves as totally lost before God. Then one must come to the acknowledgement that the Lord has forsaken him, but that it is right and just. Then the separation between God and the soul is completely according to God's law and justice, and it can be no different than that, agreeably to God's spotless virtues, a person is given over to the judgment which he has brought upon himself.

Yes, then a person sees that he is incapable of any good. God's Spirit convinces him that he cannot heave a good sigh nor bring forth a pure, God-honoring thought. Yet the Lord comes to such people who are stripped of all their own strength and worthiness with the words which He spoke to Gideon, “Go in this thy might.”

Why and how is this possible? Well, the gospel proclaims to us the power of Christ, His power to save the totally lost sinner and to deliver him from destruction. He who is the Savior is also the One who can say, “All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth.” He is the mighty One, the mighty God of Jacob, mighty to save. But when He saves, He does it only in such a way that He will receive all the honor for it, that the free grace of God shall be exalted. As long as a person does not fall at His feet as totally impotent and without strength, the glory of His eternal power shall not benefit us. His strength is completely sufficient; we need to add nothing to it. Jesus does not need our help in the fulfillment of His saving work.

The Word of God proclaims to us the power of Christ. He presents Himself in His might and reveals this to us in His testimony. His invitation is true, unfeigned, and unconditional. He says that He is willing to set the prisoners free, but He desires to do so Himself, for it is to His honor, and this honor He does not give to another. As long as we still can or want to do something ourselves, this invitation is of no value for us. We do not entrust Him with it.

You probably know the example of the drowning man. However, we must not make the comparison that we often hear, that the life-preserver of the gospel is already thrown to us. The danger in this is that some say the drowning man must himself grasp the life-preserver. If this were so, grace would no longer be grace, for then our taking hold would give us the honor for our deliverance.

You may have heard of the man who jumps into the water to save the drowning man. If he understands his task, he will not take hold of the drowning man until he is finished struggling, that is, when he begins to sink and has no strength left to struggle or to do anything for his own deliverance. When he is ready to sink, the deliverer can take hold of him, for then there is a possibility that he will permit himself to be saved.

As long as a sinner is making some efforts for his own salvation, the Savior does not come to his rescue. However, as soon as he has given up all his attempts and accepts his own perdition as fatal and unavoidable, then the time is there for the Savior to deliver him. Then only is the sinner a fit subject for salvation. There the mystery will be revealed to him, “When I am weak, then am I strong.” This being strong is nothing else than a relying by faith upon the eternal might and strength of Christ, to sink into His arms and to rely upon His eternal power. This mystery was what the Lord taught Gideon, who had no strength in himself. “Go in this thy might,” for now the Lord will be his power and his strength.

Reader, do you know something of this mystery, being weak but mighty? Blessed art thou if the Lord strips you of all your own strength. “Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” May the Lord teach us this in commencement or by renewal, for the despising of our own strength is learned at the school of Jesus.

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Bekijk de hele uitgave van dinsdag 1 juni 2004

The Banner of Truth | 28 Pagina's

In This Thy Might

Bekijk de hele uitgave van dinsdag 1 juni 2004

The Banner of Truth | 28 Pagina's

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