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"Now the Ephraimites asked Gideon, 'Why have you treated us like this? Why didn't you call us when you went to fight Midian?' And they criticized him sharply. But he answered them, 'What have I accomplished compared to you? Aren't the gleanings of Ephraim's grapes better than the full grape harvest of Abiezer? God gave Oreb and Zeeb, the Midianite leaders, into your hands. What was I able to do compared to you?' At this, their resentment against him subsided." Judges 8:1-3
Sometimes other people get the opportunities you desire, even when your motives are good and you really desire to please the Lord, someone else just may get what you hope for. Have you been there? I have, just last night. And that makes these few verses a sweet little blessing.
The Lord didn't ask the Ephraimites to fight the Midianites, He asked Gideon and 300 others. Why? I mean really, why in the world would God not want (fill in the blank) ? The reason He didn't ask the Ephraimites was for His glory. Sometimes the most glory means sitting the bench. Yuck! Oh how I hated sitting the bench. I am a please give me a thousand things to do and I will thrive kind of person. Make me sit on the bench and my attitude goes down the tubes.
And ya know the crazy thing is that these guys got to play the last inning. They got to be part of the big come back, the big win but they forgot and just pointed the disappointed finger at Gideon as though it was his fault when really it was God who limited them. Sometimes victory can inflate our view of ourselves, something like, "Look how we won, why didn't you have us and all our incredibleness to begin with?"
So if the Lord chose someone else over you for a task, can you be content with that and keep pursuing Him and stewarding your gifts the best you know how in other ways?
And what a cool picture of how a gentle answer turns away wrath. The Ephraimites were unjustly criticizing Gideon and he responds with respect. Wow. Yet another fruit of being filled with the Holy Spirit, seeing fruit like patience, gentleness, love, peace, kindness...
Oh Lord, thank You for this glimpse that sometimes You just wont choose us for a task. Help us being willing to let go. Empower us to submit to You and all you have even when it just doesn't make sense. And Lord, give us Your ability to give gentle answers.
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