So there we are standing on the edge of going forward in serving the Lord. Either facing down a crowd of mocking photography chairmen or facing down the Children of Israel. We each have a mission; something the Lord needs us to accomplish. And despite our fears, the Lord has promised us that he will “be with [us] withersoever [we] go.”
Some of my favorite scriptures are ones where the Lord does exactly as He promises Joshua and is big and strong and fights battles to save his children.
I love the story of Gideon and the battle of Midian. Gideon and the children of Israel were being bullied by the Midianites. An angel appeared to Gideon and said “go in thy might and thou shalt save Israel from the Midianites.” Gideon pointed out that he was poor and that he was the least in his father’s house. The Lord said “surely I will be with thee and thou shalt smite the Midianites as one man.”
Gideon somehow gathered a huge army together. But the Lord had other plans. The Lord told Gideon to weed out his army; twice. First the Lord told Gideon to let everyone go who didn’t want to be a soldier in that battle. 22,000 men packed up and went home. Then, the Lord said, have all your soldiers drink water at this river. The ones who drink this certain way, send home. The others you can keep.
So in the end, Gideon was to try to best this gigantic army of Midian, an army that was referred to as grasshoppers for multitude who’s camels were without number as the sand by the seaside. Gideon was going to go after this army with only 300 guys. Because the Lord wanted to show Israel that they didn’t win battles or wars because of their own strength. He wanted to show them (by using impossible odds) that they would win because He was going to win it for them.
So the Lord had Gideon give every man a trumpet, an empty pitcher and a lamp to go inside the pitcher. Gideon said we’re going to surround this valley of Midianites and when I blow my trumpet, you all blow your trumpets and yell “the sword of the Lord and of Gideon.” And then break the pitcher to expose the light. So, in the middle of the night, all three-hundred men simultaneously blew their trumpets, broke their pitchers, held the lamps up and shouted “the sword of the Lord and of Gideon.”
Then the tiny army of Gideon just stood there. The Midianites, awakened and terrified, ran and cried and fled and in their confusion nearly wiped themselves out with their own swords.
The Lord will help us. He will help us against impossible odds. David and Goliath odds. He will help us accomplish whatever mission he has requested of us. I read President Hinkley’s biography and was impressed that he accomplished so much. He didn’t stew and stress at the prospect of something scary. He didn’t hide under the covers. He got his things together and started to march out across his river Jordan. President Hinkley’s biography is entitled Go Forward With Faith.
May we all remember to be strong and of a good courage. To be not afraid, neither be dismayed. For the Lord our God is with us, everywhere we go.