Iíve never really stopped to consider the parallel between Gideonís situation in defeating the Midianites with 300 and my own spiritual journey. But letís picture it for a moment. There is something about the western church that lives for retreats, those mountaintop experiences with God. I imagine Gideon was little different. After all, heíd just been face-to-face with God and lived, experienced the presence of the Lord leading him from baby steps to no-apologies obedience, closely followed by a two-fold fleece miracle. If this is what living for God is all about, letís have at it.
Canít you imagine Gideonís euphoria when next he finds himself on the very mountaintop with 32,000 fighting men, and the enemy on the valley floor below? Oh, the protection the mountaintop affords!
But, wait! Surely thatís not Godís voice I hear!
I donít know what words screamed across Gideonís mind, but I know what words would be thundering across mine, with my heart following in fast pursuit.
You want what, Lord? You want me to divest myself of all these warriors? Youíre going to leave me only how many? Alright! Alright! Iím listening. Iím learning this obeying thing. At least Iíve got the advantage and security of the mountaintop.
You Ö want me to Ö what? To leave the mountaintop? But, Iím up here with You, Lord, and the valleyís over-run with the enemy! I hear You! I hear You, but Iíve got eyes, You know. You given them to me, after all. Ok! Ok! Donít trust the Ďeyesight.í But, You canít be serious? The valley! You want me in the valley?
But thatís the nature of God. To lead us from the mountaintop, where we were never intended to live, and move us into the valley. Itís in the valley we discover the fruit of His promises. Itís in the valley where the seeds of our faith produce the fruit of the vine. Itís the fruit of the vine, when submitted to the winepress, which issues forth the sweet wine of obedienceís joy.
On the mountaintop weíre tempted to stand in our own strength, but itís in the valley when all we can hope in is Him.
I donít know if it lies within the nature of man to choose the valley over the mountaintop. But I hear this voice, and it seems to be telling me thereís a secret Iíve yet to learn.
The valley, My Child. The valley. I want you in the valley. Come, with Me, to the valley and see My hand of deliverance at work on your behalf.