August 2 – Coward to Conqueror – “Purah’s in Our Lives”

Read Judges 7:9-11

She was a master manipulator, and knew how to con me into doing just about anything. Whatever the task, she could turn it into a game and make me laugh. My sister was an artist at making the ordinary sound like an adventure. She turned dish washing into a bubble magic show. Awestruck with wonder, as the little kid sister, I thought it was great fun to be her audience. Her biggest con gig was to coerce me to join her in our basement for a “piano concert”. Little did I know, until the mastermind revealed it years later, that my presence was merely to keep her company in the scary basement while she completed her drudged piano practice. I can still hear her words “Come with me” echo in my mind. Nothing could harm us in the basement. As a four or five year old, I was no protection to her, just an added presence to help ward away her fear and insecurity of being alone.

None of us like to be alone when fear knocks. Even if fear is irrational, we are comforted by the presence of a companion. Six times Gideon had been reassured that God would use him to defeat the Midianites. Now the same night it came about that the Lord said to him, “Arise, go down against the camp, for I have given it into your hands.” (Judges 7:9) Victory was promised. It was a sure thing because God had already given it. But the very next verse shows how God understood Gideon’s fear even in light of the promise. God was with Gideon, but Gideon needed a companion to also be with him. “But if you are afraid to go down, go with Purah your servant down to the camp, and you will hear what they say; and afterward your hands will be strengthened that you may go down against the camp.” So he went with Purah his servant down to the outposts of the army that was in the camp. (Judges 7:10,11) As far as I know, this is the only time Purah is mentioned in the Bible. He is a rather insignificant figure, but not to Gideon. He was a friend that provided security and comfort in the midst of gripping fear.

God told Moses that He is the I AM. Jill Briscoe explains that “I AM” means that God is all that  I need Him to be when I need Him to be all that I need.  He is sufficient. He is enough. But God understands our frailty and often provides a “Purah” for us. For David God provided Jonathan. For Naomi He provided Ruth. For Esther He provided Mordecai. For Elijah He provided Elisha. For Moses God provided Aaron. Over and over again we see God providing a companion and helper in the time of greatest need. A companion or friend to stand in the gap in the midst of fear and weariness. One of my favorite passages that illustrates this is found in Exodus. The Amalekites fought against Israel. As long as Moses kept his hands held up, the Israelites prevailed and when he let his hands down the Amalekites prevailed. Moses’ hands were heavy and tired. So Aaron and Hur supported his hands, one on one side and one on the other, so that his hands were steady until sunset. And Joshua and the Israelites overwhelmed Amalek and his people.  (see Exodus 17:8-13)

Is God enough? Absolutely! Does God keep His promises? No doubt! But God in His goodness provides us with “Purah friends” to help ease the burden and to alleviate the fear. We are never alone because He is with us, but He understands the importance of us walking through the storms of life with another person by our side. I’m thankful for the “Purahs” in my life and I hope and pray that I can be a “Purah” to someone.

“Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up.” (Ecclesiastes 4:9,10) Gideon had Purah to provide extra support to walk into the enemy’s camp. We all need a companion to remind us we are not alone  and provide courage to help us face our fears, even the fear of the basement.

Charline Engle

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