Summary: We wonder whether the plans we are considering are from God or from another source. Here are four distinquishing marks of the call of God.
Passage: Judges 6:33-40
Intro: So Fred was walking along a narrow mountain path when he slipped over the edge, but saved himself by grabbing a branch. He called out for help, and the Lord answered by calling him to let go of the branch, and God would catch him. “Is there anybody else up there?”
1. what Gideon was struggling with we all struggle with.
2. all thru this story, the same question comes up over and over.
3. “is that really you, God?”
Il) story about kid who bought yellow car because he dreamed in yellow for several nights. Car turned out to be a lemon
4. what can we learn from this passage to help answer that question?
5. what things are characteristic of the call of God?
6. If God is calling, there will be…
I. A Challenge in the Physical Realm
1. up to this point, Gideon’s call had been mostly hypothetical.
2. other than tearing down the altar, the call to battle the Midianites in the future.
Il) like pre-marital counseling. This is what is going to happen. Always a degree of surprise when the knot is actually tied.
3. but in v33, everything changes. “They’re baaaack”
4. predictably, they go to the lushest area in Israel, the Valley of Jezreel.
5. close to Sea of Galilee, still today the breadbasket.
PP Photos of Valley of Jezreel, map
6. not just the Midianites, but the good news had spread about easy pickings.
7. every Bedouin there to graze and pillage.
8. up until this point, Gideon could have imagined victory, how God might do it.
Il) flood the Jordan, plague, internal mutiny
9. but here they were, as big as life.
10. the decision was on Gideon, the battle was to be joined or abandoned.
11. we would like to keep it hypothetical, discuss options and theory.
12. but over and over in Scripture we see this same pattern.
13. God calls us to respond in very practical ways, in physical obedience in the world of space and time.
Il) he called Adam, Abraham, Moses, Joseph, David, Daniel, even Jesus to exhibit faith in the physical realm
14. God’s goal is to cause our spiritual faith to overcome our physical fear. That is where our battle is fought.
15. can what is unseen overcome what is seen?
16. there will ultimately be a physical component to every challenge if God is at work.
17. what we are inside is demonstrated in what we do!
II. A Push From the Holy Spirit
1. I find v 34 almost humorous
2. Gideon has shown himself to be very hesitant about this whole adventure.
3. so it’s no surprise that v34 states that the Holy Spirit took control of his body to blow the trumpet call to arms!
4. this phrase (HS came upon him…) used most often in Judges, a book full of weakness and fear.
4. does anyone here believe this was Gideon’ idea?
5. because the Midianites were in the Valley of Jezreel, the call went out to those tribes around,
6. once done, Gideon was committed
Il) he was like a young bird pushed out of the nest and forced to fly!
7. suddenly there were others around him responding to the call.
8. in our lives, this might be a sudden confrontation, an unexpected opportunity to stand for God.
Il) my son Tom at Mesa Community College, right after class about evolution/creation, heard guys saying how sure evolution was, joined in and spoke the truth!
9. in the NT, with the indwelling Holy Spirit, this “push” is more often a burden placed on a person’s heart
10. Paul was burdened for the Gentiles, Philip was lead to share the gospel with the Ethiopian eunuch, Peter was lead to include the Gentiles in the church.
11. in each case, it was something they might have avoided if left to themselves.
12. everything we have learned about Gideon so far convinces us that this push from the Spirit was required!
13. God was calling Gideon to go far beyond his personal abilities.
14. the burden of God is unmistakable
Il) friend in seminary who used to preach in his sleep!
15. when it persists, it demands action.
III. A Call for Greater Faith Than Before
1. it has been very interesting to follow Gideon’s faith journey.
2. from his original bitter doubt (v13) to the nighttime raid on Baal’s altar (v27)
3. and now facing the Midianite horde, his faith had grown
4. this request for signs has been the object of debate.
5. but look at the statement, “If you will save…” so he knows if it happens, it will be God.
6. “as you have promised” So he agrees that God has actually made a promise, but is still nervous about banking on it