On December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks refused to obey a Montgomery, Alabama bus driver’s order to she give up her seat to make room for a white passenger. Although her action was not the first of its kind, Parks’ action sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott. 

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With that thought as my introduction, I want to propose to you that our destiny is determined by whether or not we seize the God-ordained opportunities presented to us.

In other words, are we seizing the God-ordained opportunities before us?

Like Rosa Parks did, we first need to see the opportunities that stand before us. Rosa Parks saw her opportunity AND she moved upon that opportunity (or in her case, she stayed, because of frustration and anger at the abuses she and those like her had suffered.} She stated that she was "tired of giving in.”

that reminds me of a biblical character, Gideon. Gideon, known as a Hebrew Judge or leader, almost missed his opportunity.

Judges 6: 11-16- “Then the angel of the Lord came and sat beneath the great tree at Ophrah, which belonged to Joash of the clan of Abiezer. Gideon son of Joash was threshing wheat at the bottom of a winepress to hide the grain from the Midianites. The angel of the Lord appeared to him and said, “Mighty hero, the Lord is with you!”

“Sir,” Gideon replied, “if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? And where are all the miracles our ancestors told us about? Didn’t they say, ‘The Lord brought us up out of Egypt’? But now the Lord has abandoned us and handed us over to the Midianites.”

Then the Lord turned to him and said, “Go with the strength you have, and rescue Israel from the Midianites. I am sending you!”

“But Lord,” Gideon replied, “how can I rescue Israel? My clan is the weakest in the whole tribe of Manasseh, and I am the least in my entire family!”

The Lord said to him, “I will be with you. And you will destroy the Midianites as if you were fighting against one man.” (NLT)Gideon threshing floor

In this narrative, the Messenger of the Lord, perhaps an angel … and some say God Himself in a pre-incarnate form, was standing before Gideon and was calling him to his destiny to lead the people of Israel.

Gideon was not only hesitant but he was almost defiant to the destiny God had before him.

But finally, Gideon realized that his destiny was a destiny from the Lord.

John Maxwell has paraphrased the saying, “The opportunity of a lifetime must be seized during the life-time of the opportunity.” Rosa Parks had seen enough and was moved to action … and she was terribly out-numbered in her endeavor.

Gideon, too, was grossly outnumbered.

Judges 7:1-7- So Jerub-baal (that is, Gideon) and his army got up early and went as far as the spring of Harod. The armies of Midian were camped north of them in the valley near the hill of Moreh. The Lord said to Gideon, “You have too many warriors with you. If I let all of you fight the Midianites, the Israelites will boast to me that they saved themselves by their own strength. Therefore, tell the people, ‘Whoever is timid or afraid may leave this mountain[a] and go home.’” So 22,000 of them went home, leaving only 10,000 who were willing to fight.

Gideon ParesBut the Lord told Gideon, “There are still too many! Bring them down to the spring, and I will test them to determine who will go with you and who will not.” When Gideon took his warriors down to the water, the Lord told him, “Divide the men into two groups. In one group put all those who cup water in their hands and lap it up with their tongues like dogs. In the other group put all those who kneel down and drink with their mouths in the stream.” Only 300 of the men drank from their hands. All the others got down on their knees and drank with their mouths in the stream.

The Lord told Gideon, “With these 300 men I will rescue you and give you victory over the Midianites. Send all the others home.” (NLt)

Then God gave Gideon instructions regarding how to defeat the Midianites and they were, seemingly, ridiculous.

In fact, when he had finished this paring down of his soldiers, Gideon was left with 300 brave men and he and his army were facing at least 135,000 enemies.

But Gideon took God at His Word, saw his opportunity, and realized that a great opportunity has been set before him … if he would simply obey what was placed before him.

From this idea, we should take the following to heart: Never underestimate your power as “one” … especially when you are equipped with the power of God.

Helen KellerHelen Keller, the famous deaf-blind girl who, by the way, was the first deaf-blind person to earn a college degree, once said, “I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do.”

 

So with this in mind, I k\now want to ask you: How’s your Prayer-life going?

Many people don’t know that Rosa Parks was a strong and devout Christian, and that it was her faith that gave her the strength to do what she did that day in 1955.

Read here Parks’ words regarding her faith in Jesus:

"Every day before supper and before we went to services on Sundays, my grandmother would read the Bible to me, and my grandfather would pray. We even had devotions before going to pick cotton in the fields. Prayer and the Bible, became a part of my everyday thoughts and beliefs. I learned to put my trust in God and to seek Him as my strength."

So I want to ask you again, “How’s your prayer life?”

Gideon, too, had a vibrant prayer life that not only sought God … but heard from Him as well.

Judges 7:8-15- “So Gideon collected the provisions and rams’ horns of the other warriors and sent them home. But he kept the 300 men with him.

Gideon hears dreamThe Midianite camp was in the valley just below Gideon. That night the Lord said, “Get up! Go down into the Midianite camp, for I have given you victory over them! But if you are afraid to attack, go down to the camp with your servant Purah. Listen to what the Midianites are saying, and you will be greatly encouraged. Then you will be eager to attack.”

So Gideon took Purah and went down to the edge of the enemy camp. The armies of Midian, Amalek, and the people of the east had settled in the valley like a swarm of locusts. Their camels were like grains of sand on the seashore—too many to count! Gideon crept up just as a man was telling his companion about a dream. The man said, “I had this dream, and in my dream a loaf of barley bread came tumbling down into the Midianite camp. It hit a tent, turned it over, and knocked it flat!”

His companion answered, “Your dream can mean only one thing—God has given Gideon son of Joash, the Israelite, victory over Midian and all its allies!”

When Gideon heard the dream and its interpretation, he bowed in worship before the Lord. Then he returned to the Israelite camp and shouted, “Get up! For the Lord has given you victory over the Midianite hordes!” (NLT).

If we expect God to meet us in prayer, we must realize that He expects us to be obedient to that Word with which He has shown up and spoken.

Remember that prayer is only in (small part) speaking to God; it is also listening to God. … And a huge part of the art of listening in then acting upon when you have heard.

Here is another truth: If you wait for perfect conditions to seize an opportunity, you will be waiting until the day you die.

Judges 7: 2-7- “The Lord said to Gideon, “You have too many warriors with you. If I let all of you fight the Midianites, the Israelites will boast to me that they saved themselves by their own strength. Therefore, tell the people, ‘Whoever is timid or afraid may leave this mountain[a] and go home.’” So 22,000 of them went home, leaving only 10,000 who were willing to fight.

But the Lord told Gideon, “There are still too many! Bring them down to the spring, and I will test them to determine who will go with you and who will not.” When Gideon took his warriors down to the water, the Lord told him, “Divide the men into two groups. In one group put all those who cup water in their hands and lap it up with their tongues like dogs. In the other group put all those who kneel down and drink with their mouths in the stream.” Only 300 of the men drank from their hands. All the others got down on their knees and drank with their mouths in the stream.

The Lord told Gideon, “With these 300 men I will rescue you and give you victory over the Midianites. Send all the others home.” (NLT).

Gideon men dip waterGideon strategically did not have too many soldiers; in fact, he didn’t have nearly enough. He started out with 32,000 soldiers. (We don’t know exactly how many Midianites they were facing but according to Judges 8:10, there were at least 135,000.) Gideon had pared his men initially down to 10,000. But God still wanted fewer men in Gideon’s army. These were pared down further, to 300.

God’s ways and ideas are much higher than ours.

Isaiah 55:8-9- ““My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord, “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.

For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.”” (NLT).

God wants the glory for His fights.

Judges 7:2- “The Lord said to Gideon, “You have too many warriors with you. If I let all of you fight the Midianites, the Israelites will boast to me that they saved themselves by their own strength.” (NLT).

And in like manner, God wants the glory in your and my life too.

Rosa Parks was convinced that she had a right. And because of that, she refused to get up. "Since I have always been a strong believer in God," she says, "I knew that He was with me, and only He could get me through that next step."

Certainly, there is a whole lot more to this story than what I have told here … and perhaps I‘ll get to tell more in the not too distant future

But I want to close with this very simple set of questions:

1) Are you afraid to fail?

2) Do you want to be used by God?

3) Can you recognize when He places an opportunity in front of you?

4) Then, how’s your prayer life?Warriors strike