We live in a day of quantifiable success. How well you do is measured by a number on a graph,a test, a P&L statement or some other type of measurement. Numbers……………they seem to be the key symbol to measure our success or our likelihood of success.
No, I do not have a problem with numbers. I completely understand the need for them. You do need some type of measurable to compare your current reality to.
Large numbers are particularly helpful when you are seeking to enlarge or multiply your current capacity. For instance, 2 X 2 = 4. If your desire is to have a larger outcome, then you need to begin with a larger number. Multiplying 2 X 40 brings you to an outcome of 80 – a much larger outcome than 4. So, to reach this larger outcome, you needed to start with a larger number.
When God gets involved, it doesn’t take a large number to have a significant impact. You don’t even have to begin with a large number to end up increasing your capacity or your outcome.
The book of Judges tells us the story of Gideon. In chapter seven, we see the aforementioned point materialize.
Gideon is instructed by God to deliver the children of Israel from oppression. Gideon gathers people to help him fight against the Midianites, the oppressors of Israel. God speaks to Gideon in verse two:
“And the Lord said to Gideon, ‘The people who are with you are too many for Me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel claim the glory for itself against Me, saying, ‘My own hand has saved me.'”
This logic flies directly in the face of conventional wisdom. To achieve a greater success which, in this case would be determined by a larger number of enemy destroyed, Israel needed to begin with a large number of soldiers. But, in this instance, God is telling Gideon that to achieve what He (God) is after, the number of soldiers needed to decrease!
Have you ever been at a place in which it seemed as if what you had in your hand was way too small to achieve the outcome you needed?
So, what does Gideon do?
He follows God’s instructions and “pares” down the army; decreasing its numbers by twenty two thousand! He had begun with thirty two thousand! That means that Gideon has ten thousand remaining!
Well, success looked less likely than it did before God got involved!
So, what does God do now?
Verse four tells us:
“But the Lord said to Gideon, ‘The people are still too many; bring them down to the water, and I will test them for you there. Then it will be, that of whom I say to you, ‘This one shall go with you; the same shall go with you; and of whomever I say to you, ‘This one shall not go with you,’ the same shall not go.'”
If you were to look at things naturally, then you would conclude that God was setting Gideon up to fail. The term “too big to fail” certainly didn’t apply in this instance! “Too small too succeed” more accurately described Gideon’s situation!
Gideon’s dream of victory over the oppressor had just been “trumped” by the “dead end” of reality.
“You can’t win when what you possess is inadequate for the desired outcome.”
With God all things are possible.
Gideon went out to fight. What did he base his hope of success on? Large numbers? No, but upon faith in the power of God.
“Miracle people” must learn that to increase you often have to decrease first. Explainable outcomes always begin with factors that added together, bring about the explainable answer. To see a miracle, you begin with factors that, no matter how you multiply or add them do not equal up to the “God desired outcome.” The only thing that you need to begin with to see a miracle is faith in God.
What type of outlook are you going to have in life?
Are you going to be a “there is never enough type of person?”
Or, are you going to be the type who trusts God’s ability and wisdom no matter how much you currently have?
This decision is the defining characteristic which distinguishes between those who see miracles and those who do not.
Don’t judge the impact you can have by what you currently possess. Give what you have to God. And, once you do, don’t tell Him what to do with it. He can take a little and cause it to have a significant impact for His glory!