A Crumb on the Table
The book of Judges describes a time when Israel, God’s own people who were called to be a supernatural testimony in the earth, began to deal deceitfully with His presence.
They refused to walk honestly with God and grew casual in their
worship of Him, if not casting off the worship of God altogether.
Dealing deceitfully with God will always result in powerlessness, which eventually gives way to the enemies of that society. By enemies, I am referring to those who do not
know God, who have no desire to know Him, and who do not want anyone else in relationship with Him.
You and I are living in a day very similar to that period
of time in the Old Testament. It was during harvest season
that Israel’s enemies, in this case the Midianites, came to devour
everything that was being gathered by the people of God. They intended to bring the Israelites to an impoverished place so as to render them unable to fulfil their God-given purpose on the earth. Knowing that they were far outnumbered by the enemy, which Judges Ch 6 actually describe as being so numerous that they covered the earth like grasshoppers – and the children of Israel began to cry out to the Lord—as is beginning to happen in our present critical times.
God hears the cry of the single mother whose children are out on the streets; the cry of the father who doesn’t know how he is going to provide for his family. He hears the cries of those who read the news and see the horrific and brutal crimes that are becoming a daily occurrence in this generation.
The Bible tells us that in response to the cries of His people, the
angel of the Lord appeared one night to a young man named
Gideon—the least in his father’s house; his father’s house the
least in Israel. It is therefore no surprise that when God greeted
him, addressing him as a “mighty man of valour,” he was dumbfounded.
Imagine if the Lord were to come to you today and call you a mighty man or woman of God—would you believe it? If Gideon already had a hard time believing that, imagine his shock when God told him that he was being sent to eradicate the enemy—and that he was going to do so with an army of only three
hundred! Obviously, an army that size up against a hundred and twenty thousand Midianites was not very good odds in the natural. However, there are certain seasons in history when God decides to do the supernatural again, typically through
the most seemingly insignificant people. It has happened all
throughout history, and Gods ways do not change.
Now before we continue in the story of Gideon, I would like you first of all to consider the somewhat similar story we read a moment ago which Jesus told in the book of Luke. This Obviously wealthy philanthropist issued an invitation to his great banquet, much the same as the Lord invites you and me to come to His incredible feast of life and strength. Vision, direction, provision, and a future can be found there; – Everything is ready.
However, those who were invited to the banquet began to present their excuses as to why they couldn’t come. No doubt, some people simply did not want to go. Yet I cannot help but feel that some among them felt obliged to bring something to
the banquet. Perhaps they were embarrassed at their own lack of
resources, which ultimately led them to decline the invitation.
This is the same dilemma that many face when they first encounter the Gospel. For many people, there is an innate sense that they should be providing something. After all, it is common practice even in our society today that the gift one buys for a wedding should be of equal value to the meal that is being set before them at the Reception?
Of course, knowing that the price of the banquet was the blood of His Son Jesus Christ, it is preposterous to think that you and I could ever bring something comparable to that price, even if we did feel obliged. It tends to take us a long time to get to the point of realizing that this is a “come as you are” banquet.
The prophet Isaiah said, “Come, those who have no money; come, those who have no skill; come, those who have no ability. Come and buy and be satisfied! Eat that which will truly fill and satisfy you” (Isaiah 55:1). Nevertheless, we often are afraid of our own smallness, aren’t we? We are afraid that we are incapable of meeting the great need that is all around us in this hour, and therefore many of us choose to stay at home.
Sure, we don’t mind going to church and singing the hymns. We would gladly support some influential preacher who would rise up and do the work for us. It is almost like Moses who might have initially said to God, “What a great idea for You to set three million people free! I just want You to know that I am with whoever You send to do it.” But the Lord said to him, “It is you I am sending!” “But I stutter. I have lost my power of speech,” Moses objected. “And in case You haven’t noticed, I am
eighty years old now. All my natural strength is gone. I no longer carry a sword; I carry a stick. I no longer have access to Pharaoh’s court, for I have been in the backside of the
desert for forty years.” Now it is not unbelief to consider our
own insufficiencies. It is not wrong to say, “But I am weak, and I am not a confident speaker. I do not have any royalty in my blood, I have no access to power, and no resources in the bank.” It is not wrong to be realistic in analysing these things, but the danger comes when we then draw the wrong conclusion.
This is what the children of Israel did when they came out of Egypt. They reached the very border of the Promised Land, and the men who had been sent in to spy out the land came back and reported, “It is everything that God said it is. But there are giants there, and we seem so small in the sight of what we are going to have to fight against—not only to conquer the land but to maintain and keep it. I don’t think we can do it”
They rightly estimated themselves, but they came to the
wrong conclusion. Jesus continues in Luke 14:33, “So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsakes not all he hath, he cannot be my disciple.” That does not mean you have to give away your house, empty your bank account, and quit your job. Jesus was essentially saying that you must give away your own ideas of ever doing this in your own strength. The forces against the
testimony of Christ in this generation are too powerful. The social trends are going in the opposite direction of the Word of God. The battle is too strong, and our natural resources are
insufficient to meet the need.
That is why we must choose to cast away all self-reliance and show up, just as we are, to an incredible banquet of God. You may feel like a crumb on the banqueting table, but understand that God is inviting you to come with your struggles, your frailties, your confusion, your pain. There is something He’s calling you to do in this hour, far beyond what you could ever imagine possible. You see, the recruitment strategy of God in the Church of Jesus Christ has never changed—He calls the natural to do the supernatural. He calls the ordinary to do the extraordinary. That means that you and I qualify! But that also means that you and I must not refuse the invitation to partake of this incredible banquet of God’s strength.
As God calls us to walk in the supernatural—in the things that
we consider ourselves unqualified for—it is likely that fears may arise in our hearts, as was the case with Gideon. (Who is my real focus today) And so the Lord instructed Gideon: “And it came to pass the same night, that the Lord said unto him, Arise, get thee down unto the host [to the camp of the enemy]; for I have delivered it into thine hand. But if thou fear to go down, go thou with Phurah thy servant down to the host: And thou shalt hear what they say; and afterward shall thine hands be strengthened to go down unto the host” (Judges 7:9–11).
In other words, if you are afraid, go down to the enemy’s tent. You are going to hear what they are saying, and it will give you strength to go into what, in the natural, is a suicide mission.
“Then went he down with Phurah his servant unto the outside of the armed men that were in the host. And the Midianites and the Amalekites and all the children of the east lay along in the valley like grasshoppers for multitude; and their
camels were without number, as the sand by the sea side for multitude. And when Gideon was come, behold, there was a man that told a dream unto his fellow, and said, Behold, I dreamed a dream, and, lo, a cake of barley bread tumbled into the host of
Midian, and came unto a tent, and smote it that it fell, and overturned it, that the tent lay along. And his fellow answered and said, This is nothing else save the sword of Gideon the son
of Joash, a man of Israel: for into his hand hath God delivered Midian, and all the host” (Judges 7:11–14).
You would expect the Lord to come up with something a bit more extraordinary, something intimidating, something threatening and nasty ? – No, instead, he saw a barley bap roll down a hill, and it just flattened their whole camp. And from that vision, the other man immediately concluded, “Well, this is none other than the sword of Gideon and the sword of God! He has given the whole host into the hand of Gideon!” How did the enemy know it? They knew what we often forget, – because they had been on the receiving end time and time again. They knew what happened when suddenly even just a few of God’s people got up and decided to go forward. They knew what danger was posed to the kingdom of darkness when a barley bap came rolling down the hill!
Do you know what a barley bap is? It is nothing more than a bunch of crumbs that get together and decide to move as one! You and I are living in an hour when we must surrender
our pride and our human reasoning; we must surrender wanting to be seen as someone great. No, we are all crumbs invited to a banqueting table—every last one of us!
By ourselves we are no match for the enemy of our souls, we are no match for the evil forces that stand against the Church at this hour. All we have is what God chooses to give us.
“So Gideon, and the three hundred men that were with him, came unto the outside of the camp in the beginning of the middle watch; and they had but newly set the watch: and they blew the trumpets, and brake the pitchers that were in their hands. And the three companies blew the trumpets, and brake the pitchers, and held the lamps in their left hands, and the trumpets in their right hands to blow: and they cried, The sword of the Lord, and of Gideon. And they stood every man in his place round about the camp; and all the host ran, and cried, and fled.” (Judges 7:19–21).
The whole host of the enemy fled before Gideon and his three hundred! At the sound of the trumpets, the Israelites broke the pitchers in their hands—representing the breaking off of all human reasoning, all human frailty, all sense of self-loathing and self unworthiness. They smashed it all and held up the torch that was inside the clay vessel, which was symbolic of the
power of God.
“The sword of the Lord and of Gideon!” they shouted. That means the power of God through people who believe Him. You see, when you ad I decide to stand in a public place, refusing to let the testimony of God be hidden, God will do for you what He did for Gideon and his army— He will send confusion into the ranks of the enemy! The Bible tells us that the Midianites started turning and fighting with each other. Confusion ensued because a visible testimony of God had arisen in the earth again— through people who simply believed God in spite of their own weakness and frailty.
And so the same incredible victory is available to you and me today. All that has ever been necessary is for someone—or perhaps ten or twenty or fifty or a few more—to rise to their feet and declare, “I believe God! I believe that God can take my life and make a difference. I believe He can put compassion in my heart and make me a voice in this generation. I believe Him even in my insufficiency. I know that I do not have much to bring to this banquet, but I believe God will provide everything that I need at that table!”
In the natural, it may look like a suicide mission for God to send you. But when you declare, “The sword of the Lord and of Gideon!” on that hill, watch and see what God will do. God’s Word through a surrendered and believing heart is all that is needed to make the difference. This has always been God’s answer to such moments in our history.
And so it is time for a bunch of crumbs to get together and roll
down the hill one more time! We as the Church, the Blood bought people of God, potentially have the power to flatten the camp of the enemy. Even now, I believe that all of Hell is trembling, for the enemy knows what could happen when you and I dare to believe a word like this! – But we can only do it together – united – When we become ONE – God will command the Blessing.
I was taught that Opportunity brings Opposition – but it has never stopped me from seizing the moment. I stand on no platform or pulpit today, I represent no congregation, or no denomination, I have no visible means of support in my hand, I am nearing the age of retirement, I am tired after more than 40 years of ministry, – BUT way down in the very heart of my being, God Almighty has put a fire, it burns day and night, it never lets up, and it never dies down.
And anytime that God sets something on fire in your life that doesn’t burn up – God is trying to get your attention – like he did with Moses and the Burning Bush.
The fire that is ablaze inside of me is a burning desire to see IRELAND won for Christ. It may surprise even offend you to learn that in the heart of God, there are no natural or political borders on this island! – “In Christ there is no east or west, in Him no south or north“. That’s why for every single one of the major Denominational groups on this island, their Church is the Church in Ireland. Ireland for Christ is not a new idea of mine – it is centuries old, and was first born in the heart of that Godly Saint we know as Patrick whom we celebrate worldwide on March the 17th.
But Patrick would weep sore today if he only knew how our divisions and our sectarianism has broken up the body of Christ and robbed us of our testimony and our effectiveness on this Island. On my bended knees I beg you, particularly you Church Leaders and Church Officers, lay down your pride and your theological differences, for the sake of Ireland and its children and its people – and stand together with me, all insignificant crumbs together on Gods table, then and only then can we expect to see Ireland Saved for Christ.
NOW THIS FINAL WORD
Years ago, as a boy soprano in my home Church Choir in Bessbrook South Armagh, we sang a lovely song … the words still burn with a flame in my heart – here they are …
Ireland for Christ the martial chorus echoes near and far
While the banner floating o’er us, bids us forth to war
Ancient land of Saints and Sages, circled by the sea
From the slavery of ages rise to liberty.
Peal it over Hill and Valley,
Tell it out through Street and Alley
This the Song to which we Rally
Ireland for Christ!
Bring forth the Harp so oft’ in sadness touched by bards of old – Sweep its chords with Psalms of gladness
Hail your age of gold
Fairest isle of all the ocean all your tribute bring
Pour it forth in full devotion to your rightful King.
Once more let Erin’s Sons and Daughters for her own dear sake
Join her children o’er the waters in the vow they make
By the grace of God we’ll never break our solemn tryst
Brightest hope of our endeavour – Ireland won for Christ.
Soon shall the Royal proclamation end the long campaign
Soon over our united nation Christ shall come to reign
Then throughout our ancient sire land – man to man shall call
Crown Him King of dear old Ireland, Crown Him Lord of all.
Peal it over Hill and Valley,
Tell it out through Street and Alley
This the Song to which we Rally
Ireland for Christ!
God Grant it. Amen.