by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions
Judges 8:4-6 When Gideon came to the Jordan, he and the three hundred men who were with him crossed over, exhausted but still in pursuit. Then he said to the men of Succoth, "Please give loaves of bread to the people who follow me, for they are exhausted, and I am pursuing Zebah and Zalmunna, kings of Midian. "And the leaders of Succoth said, "Are the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna now in your hand, that we should give bread to your army?"
Judges 6:12 And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him, and said to him, "The Lord is with you, you mighty man of valor!"
"Exhausted but still in pursuit…" Well, now we know why the angel of YHVH addressed Gideon the way he did. With his small three hundred man army he had just decimated the army of Midian — but the victory wasn’t complete, and so the Jewish general and his small, exhausted, hungry, band were determined to cross the Jordan and take care of 15,000 additional Midanite enemies and their leaders, Zebah and Zalmunna.
Once chosen and appointed to his task, Gideon didn't settle for the slaughter of 120,000 Midianites. He might have reasoned that, having driven the remaining enemy force across the Jordan River, a natural barrier, Israel was now safe. After all, he and his men were exhausted and hungry. But this victory was insufficient, especially because the Midianite leaders were still alive. Instead, Gideon continued to press on, refusing to settle until the job was completely done. His refusal to allow serious physical discomfort to compromise his objective is apparently one of the things that qualified Gideon as a "mighty man" of God. No settling into a comfort zone for him.
Are you moving toward victory, but exhausted and hungry? Be careful now. Comfort could be your greatest enemy. And your so-called friends may not be standing there to give you a hand, but rather, watching skeptically from the sidelines to see whether or not you'll make it through your "heroic effort". Now is not the time for self-pity, fleshly resentment, or mediocrity. "The comfort zone is for those who are exempt from pain but denied progress; protected from failure but held in the grip of mediocrity." Keep your focus and spiritual passion for victory, and finish the job appointed to you — because God has too much invested to settle for mediocrity!
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