Summary: If we would just learn to wait upon the Lord by serving Him, trusting Him and living for Him, we would have so many fainting Christians.
By Pastor Jim May
In the hills of Tennessee there is a breed of goats that is called the “Fainting Goat”. They are also known as “Nervous Goats”, “Stiff-leg goats”, “Wooden-leg goats”, and “Tennessee Scare goats”. No one knows for certain where they originated from but the first goats of this type were owned by a man who was thought to have come from Nova Scotia.
It seems that they have developed a genetic disorder known as Myotonia that causes them to freeze up and faint very easily. The condition isn’t harmful to them and only lasts a few seconds and then they are able to get up and go on. Anything can make them faint. They even faint when they get excited about being fed.
I have seen some videos on the Internet of these goats in action and it’s hilarious to watch them. One owner just walked up into the middle of six or seven of them and suddenly waved his arms over them. Every one of the goats just fainted dead on the spot and fell over on the ground with their legs stiffed out. In another sequence the farmer was trying to herd the goats into a pen. Most of them were all together and moving slowly but one was separated from the rest. As the separated goat began to run to join the herd, his legs became still as a board and he fell head over heels while he was running.
As I watched those goats I began to think of a message that I had heard several years ago and I thought about how those “fainting goats” reminded me of how a lot of people are, especially those in the church.
One of the first recorded “fainting goats” in scripture can be found in Genesis chapter 25.
Genesis 25:29-33, "And Jacob sod pottage: and Esau came from the field, and he was faint: And Esau said to Jacob, Feed me, I pray thee, with that same red pottage; for I am faint: therefore was his name called Edom. And Jacob said, Sell me this day thy birthright. And Esau said, Behold, I am at the point to die: and what profit shall this birthright do to me? And Jacob said, Swear to me this day; and he sware unto him: and he sold his birthright unto Jacob."
There was Esau, the hard working farmer. There is no doubt that Esau was one hard-working man who loved his family and was very responsible.
How many of you have ever tried your hand at farming, or perhaps at just raising a garden? Let me tell you that it’s hard work. When you think about farming in the days before tractors and steel plows and all the machinery and tools at our disposal now, it’s hard to imagine just how tough it must have been to be a farmer in ancient times.
Who can blame Esau for being “faint” when he came in from a hard day in the fields? It was only natural for him to be famished and thirsty. He was learning what God meant when He told Adam that mankind would earn his living by the sweat of his brow.
The point is that too many people are like Esau in that when they are at their weakest and they have a great need, or when they are suffering, instead of waiting upon the Lord in prayer, they just faint away and fall out!