Summary: Facing the struggles that so often following our step of faith.
THE WAY IT SHOULD BE: Following God’s voice leads to feelings of peace.
- In both v. 23 and v. 24, we see peace emphasized. When we follow God, this is what we expect: that our hearts would be filled with peace.
- We may be expect a warm fuzzy glow from our conversation with God.
- Unfortunately, even though that is often how we feel for a while, it is not always our long-term emotion.
- Often in following God at first all you feel is peace, but soon all you see are pieces.
HERE COME THE HURDLES: Our initial peace often gives way to obstacles – in Gideon’s case, (1) a test of commitment and (2) words of opposition.
1. Test of commitment.
a. vv. 25-26 – The test.
- God puts a test before Gideon. He is to tear down the Asherah pole and burn it, putting an altar to the true God in its place. This is a very public test.
- Here at HHS, if they came in Monday to find that I’d cut down their totem pole and then used it as kindling for a fire, they’d be mightily hacked off. . . and there is not even any religious implications to that action.
- Or, at most churches, if you went in and started cutting up the communion table or the pulpit. You’d have a lot of angry people on your hands.
- When we start out with God, we’re often excited about what He’s doing in our hearts and with us in church, but some folks find it difficult to talk publicly (at the job site or among friends) about what’s going on in their lives.
- It’s tough when God asks us to stand for something. Faith that is all “me and God” doesn’t require much of us.
- Test examples:
a. A daughter’s decision to get saved receives a negative reaction at home.
b. A high school student’s enthusiasm at growing in their faith meets the harsh realities of the first week back to school.
c. A man’s rededication to God quickly faces his long-term pornography habit.
d. A woman’s comfortable life is threatened by people around her with a lot of baggage who are in need of a mature Christian friend.
- Seeing God use you in a powerful way sometimes requires you to first take an uncomfortable stand for Him.
- “Priceless” faith is worthless.
b. vv. 27-30- The fearful response.
- I love what the Bible tells us of Gideon’s response.
- He obeys, but does all he can to “minimize the damage.” He does it at night because he’s scared of the response he’s going to get.
- It might be in our case that God leads us to talk to someone about a sin in their lives and we use more qualifying statements than have ever been seen before (“Well, now this is just my opinion, but I was thinking, and this is just me, but I’ve been concerned about what you’ve been doing, and feel free to just lay this aside if you want, but. . .”).
- We like to negotiate and compromise while we’re “obeying God.” What He puts in front of us to do may indeed be a great challenge and so we struggle with how to do with the least amount of negative impact. We try to minimize the “collateral damage.”
- Test examples:
a. A daughter’s decision to get saved receives a negative reaction at home. She wonders if she should quit going to church and just go to FCA at school.
b. A high school student’s enthusiasm at growing in their faith meets the harsh realities of the first week back to school. He wonders if maybe faith should just be personal.
c. A man’s rededication to God quickly faces his long-term pornography habit. He tries to negotiate what kind of images would be ok for him to still look at.
d. A woman’s comfortable life is threatened by people around her with a lot of baggage who are in need of a mature Christian friend. She tries to limit contact to just phone calls.
- There are people out there who follow God’s will boldly and seem to relish the negative response that comes with it, but most of us walk forward with fear and trepidation. People like Peter.
- The big idea: it’s encouraging to know that God is able to use Gideon even though his obedience is not particularly bold.
- It’s also worth noting that this required him to go against family beliefs. His father (in v. 30) is confronted with his son’s actions and doesn’t say he’s right or that the Lord is God. The best he can come up with is “Let Baal defend himself.”