December 2, 2018
by: Jim Eschenbacher
1 Corinthians 10:13… No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation, He will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.
Pastor Drew started the sermon this week with the statement… “God will not give you more than you can handle” or “more than you can endure.” That is a bit of transliteration of the above verse; and that happens often. We remember verses the way we want to remember them and not always exactly as they were written. The subject of the verse above is… “temptation” . James adds this;
James 1:13…Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God” for God cannot be tempted with evil and He, Himself, tempts no one.
Drew went quickly to the story of Gideon, one of the most poignant about such things. When God told Gideon that he would lead an army against the Midianites, Gideon was not convinced. Under his own power and with his own thoughts, he was hiding from the Midianites, crushing a bit of wheat for food. God’s plan was much different than that.
The sermon as about proper interpretation of the Word and it was also about the difference between our own plans and Gods. Our plans are usually born from our self-will which involves our strengths. Using his own strength, Gideon was hiding and trying to secretly keep some food from the Midianites. God’s plan was for elimination of the problem. Gideon was doing what he could to live with the problem.
Drew read one of the funniest verses in the Bible…
Judges 6:12… And the angel of the lord appeared to him(Gideon), “The Lord is with you, oh mighty man of valor.”
Did the angel not see that Gideon was hiding, trying to put together a meal? He addressed him as a mighty man of valor. We tend to see ourselves in the light of our most recent accomplishments or failures. God sees a bigger picture and includes unfinished business that we can’t even see yet. Listen to how God addresses you. He knows stuff, even that which has not yet happened. He addresses us through the words of the Bible. You are a person of faith, hope and courage. The Holy Spirit, who lives in us, is all of those things. But even so, our response must be humility. If we truly believe in God and His greatness, humility will be our response.
The sermon continued on with many great examples but I was being taught by God on His timeframe. I have trusted in my own abilities. God has led me on a path to get away from that thinking. My physical mobility, which I treasured, was challenged by sore hips. They have both been replaced. One of the things I lost during all of that was my sense of balance. That eliminated my construction ability which requires good balance. So, I leaned instead on my singing ability, a gift from God. Lately, I have had moments when I realized that gift was not functioning so well anymore. To further emphasize the difference, my wife is now a sought out worship leader, a role that I held for decades. I sing to support her. I am not tying to complain; I am just showing the love of God as he strips me of self-abilities. He is our provider. That does not mean we have everything we need.
Check with the children in certain African countries.
Looking back, considering how life has gone, I can see that when I have taken credit for good things happening, I ended up in the quagmire of pride. In 1981, my wife of 10 years… the mother of 3 kids, died during a simple doctor’s procedure. As time continued on, I found myself feeling proud that I weathered that storm. That thought became an attitude which encouraged me to judge others, going through hard stuff. God dealt with me, albeit, patiently.
He is our provider. Trust Him.