All right

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Cross at sunset

By Tom Wiles | For The Times-Post

“It is all right,” the Lord replied. “Do not be afraid. You will not die.” And Gideon built an altar to the Lord there and named it Yahweh-Shalom (which means “the LORD is peace”). The altar remains in Ophrah in the land of the clan of Abiezer to this day.” — Judges 6

“Seriously?!” I said to myself as the van ever-so-slowly slid off the side of the road into the little ditch.

I thought for sure it would be easy to go backward through the snow I just slid through and get back on the road.

Oh no, not a chance.

Between gravity and inches of snow, I couldn’t budge it, even with others helping push.

But then, right at the point of surrender, a pick-up drove up with a nice long tow strap, 4-wheel drive and a guy who knew how to use them.

“Thank you Lord!” I said. Everything was going to be all right.

The people of Israel were beyond being down in the dumps.

They were down in the winepress threshing wheat.

It turns out God meant what he said about the consequences of turning to idols.

Their enemies were merciless in their raiding and destruction.

If not for God’s intervention, they were headed for a wipeout.

Gideon was called up for duty. Out of the pit and into the battlefield.

Naturally terrified, God had to nudge him along slowly beginning with the end in mind.

“It is all right,” he told him.

As Gideon obeyed, he experienced God’s “all right.”

It’s easy to say everything is all right when the circumstances are in our favor.

But what about the rainy days? The devastating days? The failure days? The losing days?

On what basis would or could anyone say, “It’s all right.”

Gideon discovered, when following God, everything was all right even when everything was all wrong.

Have we made this discovery?

So amazing was this truth that Gideon built an altar and named it “the LORD is peace.”

Peace, God reveals, comes from a PERSON not a place or a thing.

Nothing left

“What do you mean what’s the matter?” Micah replied. “You’ve taken away all the gods I have made, and my priest, and I have nothing left!” — Judges 17, 18

Unaware of some purchases that my wife had made earlier in the day, I didn’t even hesitate to use my debit card at the checkout line.

However, our bank was fully aware of all those purchases as well as the one I was attempting to make at the present moment.

Clearly, the math didn’t add up.

Something from nothing is something less than nothing and that, as it turns, is frowned upon by our aforementioned bank.

In short, the bank told the merchant there was nothing left and the merchant told me, “Declined.”

Micah was one panicked individual.

His personal little self-directed and self-centered religion was coming apart at the seams. He had idols. He had priests. He had a shrine and even a sacred ephod (a priestly garment).

All this, he thought, secured the LORD’s blessing.

When the warriors from the tribe of Dan came and took everything, he went hysterical. Every self-created tangible expression of his hope was gone leading him to tragically conclude that he had nothing left.

There’s a great deal of fear in our world today.

Perhaps, you find some lurking in your heart as well.

Micah’s extreme example reveals one of its greatest sources — misplaced hope.

What do we do when every source of “truth” lies, when our human institutions fail, when our personal resources are plundered and our personal relationships are fractured?

What’s left when our carefully created constructs of reality crumble?

Fear.

Fear then leads to anger, truckloads of anger.

Into this reality, Jesus speaks, “Come to me all of you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.”

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