Summary: This is about Gideon’s God encounter.
Have you ever felt inadequate for the task at hand? When I was a kid, a professional carpenter helped us re-roof our house. I took ten swings of the hammer to the nail in, but he only took two. Once my boss asked me to take a look at her care engine. Then there was the time that our kids were born. I was a father. Oh boy, did I feel inadequate at the point.
Last week we looked at Moses. He felt inadequate. Today we look at a man named Gideon. Set the stage: Midianite oppression.
Read Judges 6:11-27.
This passages tells us 4 things that a God encounter requires…
· Our immediate ANSWER.
A God encounter will force us to answer immediately. We either say, “Yes,” or “No.” If we say, “I’ll get back to you,” we mean, “No.” Abe’s responded with obedience. Moses responded with a litany of excuses. The two thieves on the crosses next to Jesus each had a different response. We can’t remain neutral.
o Again, with the EXCUSES.
There are many parallels between the account of Gideon’s God encounter and Moses’ God encounter. The excuses flow freely. Gideon says, “Hey, I’m the youngest of the weakest.”
Sammy Taylor was a catcher for the 1962 NY Mets. He batted only .222 that year for one of the worst teams ever. The difference is he didn’t have God on his side in his baseball career.
Gideon was right. He was a nobody. We are all nobodies without God.
o Again, God ENCOURAGES.
In Exodus 3:12, God tells Moses, “But, I will be with you.” Here, God tells Gideon, “But, I will be with you.” Romans 8:31 says, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” If God is on our side, it doesn’t matter who is against us.
· Our immediate ACTION.
Have you ever heard the old blacksmith saying, “Strike while the iron is hot”? That same night that Gideon had his God encounter, God called him to immediate action.
o It isn’t SPONTANEOUS combustion.
I’m hardly a car expert, but car engines don’t just start. There is a complicated process that involves fuel, sparks, ignition and other things to get the motor running.
When we have a God encounter, it’s not spontaneous combustion. Spiritual awakening, revivals, church growth and the like don’t just happen.
o It is our INTERNAL combustion.
For a God encounter to have any lasting meaning, we must act on it. Abe went on the journey. Jacob’s character changed. Moses led the people out of Egypt. Gideon obeyed God.
We must obey God. It is a matter of our own internal combustion. We have to internalize it and do it. Fire needs ignition from a match, lighting, heat, etc. We have to have the fire inside us.
· Our ongoing ALLEGIANCE.
In addition to an immediate answer and action, there are some ongoing aspects of a God encounter. Our allegiance must be ongoing. Someone once said, “I told my wife I loved her the day we got married, if I change my mind I’d let her know.” Is that ongoing allegiance?
o Our allegiance is SINGLE.
Our allegiance is to God and God alone. Jesus said, “You cannot serve God and money.” We can’t straddle the fence.
We cannot be a supporter of Osama and George W. Bush at the same time. We can’t love the US an Al-Qeda at the same time.
o Our allegiance is SOLID.
We can’t have shifting allegiance. There are fair-weather fans in sports, but we can’t be fair-weather followers of God. We’d be like the guy showing up at the Duke-UNC game wearing a Duke shirt and a UNC cap. That’s a sure recipe for disaster.
Trying to follow God and our own agenda is also a recipe for disaster. The nation of Israel had tried that. There is a cycle of rebellion, anger of God, crying out to God, and God saving the people. Gideon knew the past (v. 13). Head knowledge is hardly a replacement for heart knowledge.
· Our ongoing ADVANCEMENT.
A God encounter isn’t a one-and-done deal. We may have had a God encounter 20 years ago, but we need ongoing advancement. There are many Christians who are “saved, sanctified and petrified.” Some say it’s great to remember the “good old days” when God was really working. My question is, “What has God done for you lately?”
o It takes TIME.
Our advancement takes time. No one earns a Master’s degree in Kindergarten. None of us were full-grown adults when we were toddlers. It takes time to develop educationally and physically. It also takes time to grown spiritually. In fact, as we grow, we begin to realize how little we really know.
Gideon started off slow. He did what God asked, but he did it at night, because he was afraid. He was taking baby steps in his faith. Hebrews 5:12-14, “For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.” Baby steps are okay, as long we continue to grow.