A friend of mine, Jessica Patch, (you can click on her link to the right under the blogs I follow) wrote about peace last Wednesday on her blog. She talked of Gideon and the Midianites, about the Angel of the Lord sitting under the terebinth tree, without a care in the world and seemingly oblivious to all the turmoil going on around him.
I could go on and on about her post, but she did such a great job you should go and read it. When you are done, come back. I want to pick up where she left off.
Wasn’t it great? I agree. In fact, I had my hubby read it when he got home from work. It was perfectly relevant to what is going on in our lives.
Peace in the midst of troubles? Peace during a storm? Peace during a war, with bullets flying all around? Peace when all is lost? Peace when there is no food in the cupboard and nothing left in the piggy bank? Peace when a loved one suddenly dies? Peace in tribulations, trials and persecution?
Yes. Peace is possible in every one of those situations, and more. If Christ is our center, our eye of the storm, we can rely upon Him for perfect peace that passes all understanding.
As we were discussing Jessica’s post and God’s plans for Gideon I expressed doubts about what God’s plan are for my life. My husband asked me this, “Don’t you believe everything God has spoken over you? Do you doubt the prophecies? You know what is coming, don’t you?”
I pondered his question, “Yes, I know everything that has been said, but was it really God? What if it wasn’t God? How do I know it was God?” I continued “I mean, it was so easy for all the guys in the Old Testament. They had burning bushes, angels sitting under trees and ladders appearing out of nowhere. Their sacrifices were consumed by fire coming out of heaven and idols were toppled. Seas parted and manna rained from heaven. They knew it was God who was directing them. What do I have?”
A couple of days after reading Jessica’s post, I sat down with the book of Judges and began reading. I read the scriptures she quoted and I kept on reading. Then I read this:
Judges 6:17 “Then he (Gideon) said to Him, "If now I have found favor in Your sight, then show me a sign that it is You who talk with me.”
What? This is Gideon talking. He questioned God too? This blew a whole clean through my theory of all the patriarchs in the Old Testament knowing for sure that they were hearing from God.
Wait, there is more. Gideon prepares an offering. Fire comes down from heaven and consumes it. He still questions God and puts before Him the fleece test. Twice!
Judges 6:36-38 (NKJV) So Gideon said to God, "If You will save Israel by my hand as You have said-- 37 look, I shall put a fleece of wool on the threshing floor; if there is dew on the fleece only, and it is dry on all the ground, then I shall know that You will save Israel by my hand, as You have said." 38 And it was so. When he rose early the next morning and squeezed the fleece together, he wrung the dew out of the fleece, a bowlful of water.
At this point, I can hear the excuses that Gideon made to himself. Because I am pretty sure that I would have come up with the same ones.
He looks at the water collected and looked around for the prankster. Someone took a bucket of water and poured it on the fleece after I went to bed. That must be it!
Ok, God, don’t get mad at me…but can you show me one more time? Please? I just want to be sure it’s you. And the second fleece test is put before God.
This information gave me pause. But Lord? Those miracles were obvious. Why didn’t Gideon believe?
The Lord spoke to my heart. “And what do you have that Gideon didn’t have?”
“What do you mean what do I have? I have something that Gideon didn’t have?”
“What does My Word say you have?”
More than a thousand years after Gideon, Jesus is born of a virgin. He does what he came to do…die on a cross and be resurrected. He sends the comforter.
Yes, the patriarchs had angels, and signs and wonders…but they didn’t have the Holy Spirit dwelling within them.
The Holy Spirit, God Himself, lives within me and still yet…I doubt?
Jesus said in John 10:27 “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” (NIV)
My heart heavy, I hang my head. “Lord, we are all the same. We have everything we need to believe in You and Your promises and yet we still find cause to doubt.”
“Father, forgive me.”