Summary: This sermon looks at the need to overcome our fears by looking at how God changed Gideon. Our church is considering merging with another church and fear has some people paralyzed.
Handling Our Fear Of Change
How many of you are afraid some things, and you don’t even know why? You just know that if you see it you are going to go the other way. Our professionals have identified 322 unique phobias. The word phobia comes from the Greek word for fear and it refers to a panic that is completely out of proportion to the perceived threat behind it. Some of you are willing to stand toe to toe in an argument with somebody bigger than you, but if a mouse comes across the floor, you are ready to run.
The top five phobias in our society are 5 .Claustrophobia Fear of being trapped in small confined spaces. 4.agoraphobia Agoraphobia involves intense fear and avoidance of any place or situation where escape might be difficult or help unavailable 3. Aerophobia Fear of flying. 2. Social Phobia Fear of being evaluated negatively in social situations. 1.Arachnophobia Fear of Spiders. Half of women and 10 per cent of men have, to some degree, a fear of spiders.
I had a secret fear coming out of college. I was graduating when computers were first starting to come out, and I had never had the opportunity to take a course on computers before I graduated back in 1979. I was terrified that I would never learn how to use a computer, and I would get left behind in this new computer world that was going to happen. Little did I know, just how much I would benefit from something I was scared to death of having to one day face.
Sometimes, making a change can be frightening. It was once believed that cars would not be the wave of the future, because if you drove a car more than 30 mph, it would take all the breath out of you and you would suffocate.
It was once believed that using radio and tv signals were of the devil, because the bible makes a reference to Satan in the book of Ephesians as Satan being the ruler of the air. Since the signals went through the air, somehow they came under Satan’s control. Yet we know today that the Gospel of Jesus Christ has been preached to millions thanks to tv and radio signals.
There are times when God wants to bring about a change in our situation, but instead of just doing it, God allows us a choice in making it happen. Some of us here are in some pretty bad situations and we want to get out of them, but we are afraid of the price that we might have to pay to move forward.
We are afraid of leaving what’s comfortable and known to risk going through a door, where we are not sure what exactly sure of what is on the other side. That feeling is completely normal, and sometimes it keeps us from making unwise choices. Yet if we do not take risk, we do not experience all that God has for has.
In our Old Testament reading today we ran into a man by the name of Gideon. God’s people are in the midst of a crisis. Their enemies have them terrified. Each year the Midianites would wait until it was time for the crops of God’s people to be harvested, and then they would invade the land with all of their animals and herds to eat up the crops and destroy whatever food was left.
A whole year of farming was going down the tubes. God’s people had rejected God, and so God had left them to their own fate. Sometimes God will listen to us when we tell God, “I don’t want your help and I don’t need you in my life.” Well God will wait until we realize that things are not going the way we had planned they would. We’re not getting what we thought we were going to get. But now we are afraid of change.
Gideon was one of God’s people who was terrified of the Midianities. The Midianites and their allies had an army of 135,000 men armed with swords. It was easy to understand why everbody was afraid of them and willing to risk starvation rather than having an uprising to be free. This past week was the anniversary of Dr. King’s assassination. Think of how many black people were willing to accept things as they were, because of a fear of what trying to change things might mean.
Think of how many white people wanted to keep things as they were, even though they knew it was wrong, out of fear of what a change might mean. The fear of going through an unopened door can be paralyzing.
Gideon is from a former wealthy family because he has more than ten servants at his disposal. He is threshing wheat to get some food. Normally the wheat would be scattered on a floor and rolled over with carriages pulled by oxen. But Gideon does not want to be discovered by the Midianites, so he goes to a place and beats the wheat with a stick, which is only what a poor person would usually do.