Summary: When God is talking are you listening? Are you ready to follow? What holds you back?
Responding to God’s Voice
Because the kids are with us this morning…Let me see how you do with this superhero quiz.
Q: Why do the Hulk’s tulips look so healthy?
A: Because he has a green thumb.
Q: Why won’t Captain America use the metric system?
A: He refuses to support a foreign ruler.
Q: Why was Aquaman angry with Aqualad?
A: His grades were below “C” level.
Q: Why didn’t the Joker join the Penguin’s club?
A: He thought it was for the birds.
Q: Where does Spiderman go for information?
A: The web.
Superheroes are still popular today. While I haven’t kept up with the new action figures, I went to see X-Men one and hope to see X-Men 2: I can recall reading the comic books when I was a kid. It is interesting though, that our appetite for superhero escapism is directly proportional to our feelings of powerlessness. Unfortunately, superheroes don’t really exist. Most heroes are more like the man in this next story:
I read a story recently about a young woman who was on a pleasure cruise. As she was leaning against the ship’s rail scanning over the clear blue ocean, she lost her balance, and was thrown overboard. Immediately another figure plunged into the waves beside her and held her up until a lifeboat rescued them. To everyone’s astonishment the hero was the oldest man on the voyage ...an octogenarian. That evening he was given a party in honor of his bravery. "Speech! Speech!" the other passengers cried. The old gentleman rose slowly and looked around at the enthusiastic gathering. "There’s just one thing I’d like to know," he said a bit angrily, "Who pushed me?"
Isn’t that a little like most of the biblical heroes? They are called to do something they aren’t comfortable with. But when they hear God, what else is there to do?
King David was originally a simple shepherd boy.
Joseph was a household slave.
Moses was an eighty-year old sheep herder.
Gideon was a common laborer working on the threshing floor of a mill.
1. Let me tell you some of the story of Gideon.
a. This is the time after Joshua has died, and a succession of what the bible calls “Judges” are raised up to deliver the –un-unified people of Israel from a variety of oppressors.
i. Gideon’s story starts off showing him as a farmer, threshing his wheat in a winepress, so it cannot be seen and stolen by the Midianite raiders that have been ravaging the land.
b. Look at Judges 6:11-17:
i. 11 Then the angel of the LORD came and sat beneath the oak tree at Ophrah, which belonged to Joash of the clan of Abiezer. Gideon son of Joash had been threshing wheat at the bottom of a winepress to hide the grain from the Midianites. 12 The angel of the LORD appeared to him and said, "Mighty hero, the LORD is with you!" 13 "Sir," Gideon replied, "if the LORD is with us, why has all this happened to us? And where are all the miracles our ancestors told us about? Didn’t they say, ’The LORD brought us up out of Egypt’? But now the LORD has abandoned us and handed us over to the Midianites." 14 Then the LORD turned to him and said, "Go with the strength you have and rescue Israel from the Midianites. I am sending you!"
ii. First of all, Gideon doesn’t realize he is speaking to an angel (messenger.)
1. And the angel calls him a MIGHTY HERO even though Gideon is hiding out from the raiders by doing his wheat threshing in the basement of a winepress.
2. Funny how God sees us much differently than we see ourselves!
3. And that is part of the reason why we have to hear Him. We need to hear His perspective because it is the only one that counts!
iii. Lets look at Gideon response:
1. He does so with an excuse!
2. He tries to redirect the question by putting the focus back on God and not himself.
3. He asks, “Why doesn’t God do something about this Midianite problem? These guys are a real nuisance!”
4. And God says through the angel…that’s why I’m here, Gideon! I’m calling you to deliver Israel from the Midianites!
a. Gideon, going to use YOU!
b. I’m choosing You!
5. And Gideon’s response is exactly what you would expect. He’s overwhelmed!
iv. As a Pastor, I see God calling people to do things all the time. The trouble is they don’t even realize it.
1. They bring me their complaints and say, “The church ought to do this or that!”
2. Some are especially passionate about their observations.
a. And they don’t realize that their passion is from God! Passion is one of the ways God speaks to us.