Saturday, December 1, 2012

“Contemplation”, 11” X 14”, colored pencils.

This work involves themes that inspire me. Knights and medieval ideals are very moving to me. The sword is a symbol of strength and noble inspiration. The portrayal of being under a hood brings a feeling of inner thought. Hidden in shadow, alone in thoughts of these inspirations and private pondering. Preparing in ones heart the desires and yearnings to be a man with the quiet strengths and fortitude to no longer live a life hidden away.
With this piece I also reflect on the passages in Scripture concerning Gideon. In the book of Judges is related how the Angel of the LORD appeared to Gideon and greeted him in a most unusual way. Indeed, compared to any other man in the Bible. He says to him, “The LORD is with you, you mighty man of valor!” Quite remarkable. Afterwards He says, “Go in this might of yours” and “Have I not sent you?” Was it Gideon’s own might He was proclaiming, that Gideon was a bold hero God was impressed with? Gideon in fact was hiding in the wine press at the time, and revealed in his character in later passages that he was a man of anxieties. The key is that the LORD was with him and would bless him.
God called a timid, fearful man hiding from the Midianites, whose people were being oppressed by them, the complete opposite of what he was. While others of stronger character or personality, such as Moses, were taken to task for doubts or complaining in timidity, with Gideon God had very wide latitude of compassion and tender care. Not to coddle him or excuse him. To give Him courage and His strong guiding and upholding support.
Later in the story of Gideon we see this played out boldly. The LORD would be his strength so much, and it was God’s intention to use him in this way to such a degree, that God literally removed 22,000 of the Israeli army gathered to fight the Midianties, to fight with only 300 men with Gideon - and win. Just 300 against a great army. Since when do we send our armies home so just a few can go to fight a foe of hugely superior numbers? Most armed forces seek to overwhelm the enemy with numbers, or at least to meet the number equally. They certainly do not send an already mustered force home or say "we have too many"! This is opposite the conventional wisdom of the world or military planning. God had Gideon send them home as a striking picture to him and the Israelites that He was their strong hand alone. That he could trust God utterly.
It says much to me in my own lifelong struggle with anxiety. That God is my strength and I am in His wonderful care. Weakness is strength in Him, for it removes our own striving so God can work within us and in our lives. I know what I see before me may be daunting, but I trust Him who carries me and enables me.

And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9a.

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