North East Circuit of IM Churches

Devotional for Sunday 9th May 2021

This devotional for Sunday 9th May has been produced by the North East Circuit for use in their churches, and is made available for any churches/individuals who would like to use it this weekend.

Introduction

After over a year of restrictions which have affected the worship and witness of many Churches and individuals many may feel despondent about the future but God is still in control.


Hymn – I’ll go in the strength of the Lord


Bible Reading – Judges 6: 7 – 14

When the Israelites cried out to the Lord because of Midian, he sent them a prophet, who said, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: I brought you up out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.  I rescued you from the hand of the Egyptians.  And I delivered you from the hand of all your oppressors; I drove them out before you and gave you their land.  I said to you, ‘I am the Lord your God; do not worship the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you live.’  But you have not listened to me.”

The angel of the Lord came and sat down under the oak in Ophrah that belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, where his son Gideon was threshing wheat in a winepress to keep it from the Midianites.  When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.”

“Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us?  Where are all his wonders that our ancestors told us about when they said, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up out of Egypt?’  But now the Lord has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian.”

The Lord turned to him and said, “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand.   Am I not sending you?”


Reflection

The Israelites had been oppressed by the Midianites for seven years.  During this period their lives were disrupted as they hid from their conquerors, living in constant fear.  They must have given up hope that they would ever see peace and prosperity return to their land.  In their desperation the Israelites cried out to God about their situation.  God’s answer was to remind them of His former acts of deliverance and of their failure to listen to Him and act in accordance with His word.

This is a lesson for today, we should pour out our concerns to God.  The value of prayer is often spoken of but there is a constant need to put it into practice.  In prayer time needs to be made to listen for God’s direction and to ask for courage to act upon it.  We can be confident that God will encourage us with reminders of His acts of power in the past.

Gideon politely but definitely criticised God’s failure to act on behalf of the Israelites when he met the angel of the Lord.  The angel of the Lord’s answer was to send Gideon out in God’s strength.  Too many are brave in confronting what they see as God’s failure to act but shy about playing their part in tackling a situation.  God will always strengthen those who are doing His will and will bless their endeavours.

We should move forward prayerfully, in accordance with His will and with hope as we go in the strength of the Lord.


Prayer

Heavenly Father, we give thanks that you bring hope to the despondent.  Your power is unlimited and Your love unbounded.  Remind us of Your acts of love and power as we look to the future.

As we face changes in the coming weeks lead us as we seek to extend Your Kingdom, guide us to glorify Your Name and share the gospel.  Build, we pray, Your Church in our land that we might see many led to faith.

We rejoice in the roll out of the vaccine programme and the hope that it gives us of returning to a more normal way of life.  May we go forward in Your strength to extend Your Kingdom and glorify Your holy name.

Amen.


The Lord’s Prayer


Benediction

May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all, now and forever.  Amen.