Water for the Thirsty
Weekly Devotional

Water for the Thirsty

Gideons

Weekly Devotional

‘As the deer pants for streams of water so my soul pants for you, O God’. (Psalm 42:1)
‘…Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink”…’ (John 7:37)

The human scene some three thousand years ago in the times of the Judges of Israel was a depressing one.

The nation's fortunes followed a monotonous, repetitive cycle. Israel deserts God for the heathen gods. In consequence God allows them to suffer at the hands of the Canaanites. Israel cries to God for help.

Nowhere in Scripture is man's essential bias to sin more graphically portrayed than in the Book of Judges.

In troubled times such as those, stories of people of faith make encouraging reading.

One such man of faith was Gideon.

The 'Judges' of Israel, such as Gideon, were not simply legal advisers. They were men of action who delivered tribe or nation from subjection to surrounding kingdoms and became local or national rulers.

Bedouin from the east, the Midianites, swept through southern Israel. The terror spread by these fierce camel-riders is vividly told in Judges 6:1-6. The faith of Gideon, for all his initial caution, is seen in his preparedness to face the Midianite hordes with a force of only 300 men. He used his wits in a surprise attack, but the victory in the ensuing rout is God's.

This is the standard of faith and obedience that the Gideon association, formed in 1899, is trying to establish in all its members.The organization describes its link to the story of Gideon:

"Gideon was a man who was willing to do exactly what God wanted him to do, regardless of his own judgment as to the plans or results. Humility, faith, and obedience were his great elements of character. This is the standard that The Gideons International is trying to establish in all its members, each man to be ready to do God's will at any time, at any place, and in any way that the Holy Spirit leads."

In view of the fact that almost all of the Gideons in the early years of the association were travelling men, the question quite naturally arose regarding how they might be more effective witnesses in the hotels where they were forced to spend so much of their time.

One trustee went so far as to suggest that The Gideons furnish a Bible for each bedroom of the hotels in the United States. He commented, "In my opinion, this would not only stimulate the activities of the rank and file of the membership, but would be a gracious act, wholly in keeping with the divine mission of the Gideon Association." This plan was adopted by the convention at Louisville, Kentucky, in 1908.

Today the Gideons International ministry is carried throughout the world in over 170 countries utilising a workforce of over 240,000 lay men and women from local Christian churches. They distribute around 65 million copies of God's Word each year in 81 languages - that's one million Bibles every 6 days. Close to 1.5 billion have been distributed since 1908

A couple of Scriptures come to mind:

"And the gospel must first be preached to all nations" (Mark 13.10).
“As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. (Isaiah 55:10-11).

Gideons - truly a ministry of faith and obedience.

As you go about your normal daily routine are there ways you can be an effective witness of the gospel? The potential is limitless.

Have a good week stepping out in faith and obedience.

Pastor Barry

30th August 2009

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