Summary: No matter how old we are we still grow more!
Last June, there was a small group of us who went and climbed Mount Major in New Hampshire. Similar to any mountain that you would climb, Mount Major had different degrees of difficulty along the way to the top. We started out in the parking lot, where it was completely flat and very easy to walk around. We all prepared and got our bags on as we prepared to begin our hike up the mountain.
From the parking lot we headed over to the beginning of the trail and began to walk through the woods. The beginning was a very easy climb. It was pretty much flat with a few roots or rocks that we had to watch out for so we didn’t trip. As we continued climbing though the trail began to have more hills and we started heading up the mountain. It was still a fairly easy climb but some of us who were out of shape began to feel a little bit of a burn in our calves and legs. We also began to see a lot more rocks and roots that we had to climb around or over to continue up the mountain.
Once we got about half way up the mountain the hills began to get steeper and more difficult to climb. We now had to scale up and over large boulders that were in the way of the path. Not only that, but we had to stop and think about how we were going to go up. Some of the rocks had a few different paths, varying in difficulty.
The climb was becoming a very good workout and a lot of us were getting pretty tired. We had to stop a few times before getting to the top to rest, drink some water, and regain some of our strength.
All of this paid off in the end though as we got to the top of the mountain. The view was spectacular and beautiful. All our hard work had paid off!
This experience of climbing a mountain is pretty similar no matter what mountain you are climbing, whether it’s Mount Major or Mount Everest. The higher you get up the mountain, the more difficult the climb becomes. It is these experiences of a mountain climb that, author and theologian, James Montgomery Boice compares the idea of faith to. He says the following in his book, Ordinary Men Called by God,
“The walk of faith is like that. The steps of faith lead uphill, but they begin gradually because our faith starts small. At first the incline is gradual; the climb is easy. But God has arranged the route so that the way becomes harder and the faith of the climber is inevitably strengthened with each step of his journey” (40)
It is this idea that our faith and relationship with God needs to continually grow that Gideon learns in the passage that we are going to look at today. Please open your Bibles to Judges 6:33-40 (pg. 239 in the pew Bibles)
***Read the text***
In this passage the enemy gains power and gathers together to prepare and destroy the Israelites. Gideon is moved by God to gather together his own army in the hope that they can defend their home land. We have to remember what has happened right before this to fully understand what Gideon is going through. Just before this, Gideon has had a face to face encounter with God which turned out to be this amazing experience. He saw fire come out of a rock to burn some meat which he gave as an offering to God. This truly was an amazing experience of God that gave him boldness and courage to carry out God’s plan to destroy the idols of Baal that his father had owned. Had had this amazing faith now AND he put it into practice immediately.
As Gideon gathers his army he makes a rather interesting request to God. He says in verse 36, “God, you promised that my army is going to kick butt and save Israel, but… can you just do this one thing so then I really will know that you will save us in battle?”
So Gideon makes this deal with God. He puts a piece of wool on the ground outside his tent and asks God to make it wet with dew and to keep the ground around it dry. When Gideon woke up, God had honored his request. The wool was soaked with dew and the ground was dry. So, that was enough to convince Gideon and he gathered his army and headed out for battle…and…wait a minute, that’s not what happened.
Gideon goes to God again and says, “Umm, can…you…just do that thing again…umm...but this time do the opposite. Make the wool dry and the ground soaked. Then I will really know you will protect us!!”