Summary: The Lord took timid Gideon and trained him to trust. How does the Lord train us to trust? Parts: A. He chooses the timid. B. He trains us with his promises.
Text: Judges 6:3, 5, 11-16, 34-40
Theme: The Lord Trains the Timid to Trust
A. He chooses the timid
B. He trains us with his promises
Season: Pentecost 14c
Date: August 29, 2010
Web page: http://hancocklutheran.org/sermons/The-Lord-Trains-the-Timid-to-Trust-Judges6_3,5,11-16,34-40.html
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen. The Word from God through which the Holy Spirit strengthens our trust in Jesus is Judges 7.
"Whenever the Israelites planted their crops, the Midianites, Amalekites and other eastern peoples invaded the country . . . They came up with their livestock and their tents like swarms of locusts. It was impossible to count the men and their camels; they invaded the land to ravage it.
"The angel of the LORD came and sat down under the oak in Ophrah that belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, where his son Gideon was threshing wheat in a winepress to keep it from the Midianites. When the angel of the LORD appeared to Gideon, he said, "The LORD is with you, mighty warrior."
""But sir," Gideon replied, "if the LORD is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our fathers told us about when they said, 'Did not the LORD bring us up out of Egypt?' But now the LORD has abandoned us and put us into the hand of Midian."
"The LORD turned to him and said, "Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian's hand. Am I not sending you?"
""But sir," Gideon asked, "how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family."
"The LORD answered, "I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites together."
"Then the Spirit of the LORD came upon Gideon, and he blew a trumpet, summoning the Abiezrites to follow him. He sent messengers throughout Manasseh, calling them to arms, and also into Asher, Zebulun and Naphtali, so that they too went up to meet them.
"Gideon said to God, "If you will save Israel by my hand as you have promised- look, I will place a wool fleece on the threshing floor. If there is dew only on the fleece and all the ground is dry, then I will know that you will save Israel by my hand, as you said." And that is what happened. Gideon rose early the next day; he squeezed the fleece and wrung out the dew - a bowlful of water.
"Then Gideon said to God, "Do not be angry with me. Let me make just one more request. Allow me one more test with the fleece. This time make the fleece dry and the ground covered with dew." That night God did so. Only the fleece was dry; all the ground was covered with dew. " (Judges 6:3, 5, 11-16, 34-40 NIV-footnote)
Dear friends in Christ, fellow saints washed clean in the blood of our risen Savior:
"Jump! I'll catch you." How trusting a little child can be as you hold out your arms. But life soon teaches us to be more cynical. That first grader tells his best friend that he still needs his blankie to go to bed at night. The next day his whole class teases him about it. Who can you trust?
And it's not only betrayal that feeds our cynicism, but also the reality of life itself, the hard-knocks, the disappoints, our own limitations and failures. We learn you can't really count on anything -- except maybe death and taxes, as the old saying goes.
Then our God steps in and asks us to trust him for some rather unbelievable things. Are you going to put yourself, your family, your future, on the line trusting him no matter what? How easy to hold something back, just in case!
Yet in our journey on this earth, our God seeks to train us to trust him more and more. For you see, dear friends, to follow Jesus, to believe in him, does not mean to simply know him like those in Luke 13 who will say, "We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets" (Luke 13:26 NIV) to whom Jesus will reply, "Away from me" (Luke 13:27 NIV). No dear friends, to follow Jesus, to believe in him, means to trust him, to trust him with a very selves and all we have.
Let's see how the Lord trained Gideon to trust him, so that we can see his hand training us as well.
A. He chooses the timid
1. Why was Gideon threshing at the winepress?
We meet Gideon in Judges 6. In our first impressions of him he doesn't strike us as much of military general, really not much of a warrior at all. We meet him at the winepress, threshing grain. Doesn't that strike you as odd? If you've been to a threshing bee you know how much dust and grit threshing can throw up. You want a broad, open, airy space preferably with some breeze, not at a winepress. More so in those days before machine threshers, oxen would drag along a weighted sledge to separate the grain from the chaff. But there's no room for that in a winepress either. Picture Gideon with a stick beating to the grain trying to thresh out the kernels, creating a haze of dust and chaff around himself