Summary: This sermon analyzes how we can handle our doubts.
Jack was out jogging one day and as he passed a cliff, he got too close and fell. Grabbing hold of a branch, he was stranded. No way up and certainly no way down. He began to scream, “Hello up there can anyone hear me.” He yelled for hours and was about to give up when he heard a voice.
“Jack, Can you hear me?”
“Yes, Yes, I can hear you I’m down here.”
“I can see you, Jack, are you alright?”
“Yes, but...who are you and where are you?”
“I am the Lord Jack, I am everywhere.”
“The Lord? You mean God?”
“God, help me, I promise that if you get me down from here, I’ll stop sinning. I’ll be a really good person and serve you for the rest of my life.”
“Easy on the promises, Jack. First let’s get you down, then we can discuss those.”
“I’ll do anything, Lord, just tell me what to do, okay?”
“Okay, let go of the branch.”
“I said, let go of the branch.”
“Let get of the branch? But I will fall.”
“Just trust me, let go.”
Jack paused as he pondered this and then yelled “Hello, Hello, is there anybody else up there?”
Doubts! They make us wonder if God is there. They make us wonder if He hears us. They make us wonder if we can trust him.
Last week I taught on doubts. We discovered from examining the life of John the Baptist that he had a crisis of faith that led to doubt. We found that doubt flourishes in isolation, which should lead us to confront Jesus with our doubts. In doing so, we give the Holy Spirit the opportunity to restore and strengthen our faith.
We came to the conclusion that doubt is not the opposite of faith but rather the opportunity of faith. Unbelief is the opposite of faith and leads to isolation and rejection of God.
Our final statement on the matter was “Let doubt be an exercise to strengthen your faith and not an excuse to lose it.”
Today I will discuss how we can get a handle our doubts. We will look at an Old Testament story that takes place in Israel. The Israelites did evil in the sight of the Lord so He handed them over to be conquered by the Midianites. They were raiding their crops and taking all their livestock. The land was stripped bare and the Israelites were starving at the hands of the Midianites.
Therefore, the nation of Israel did what we all do when we find ourselves in a crisis that we created. They began to cry out to God. God sent a prophet to remind the of all the good things He had done for them and how they had rejected him. However, He was going to rescue them because of his promises to them. So our story begins.
Judges 6:11-12 “Then the angel of the Lord came and sat beneath the great tree at Ophrah, which belonged to Joash of the clan of Abiezer. Gideon son of Joash was threshing wheat at the bottom of a winepress to hide the grain from the Midianites. The angel of the Lord appeared to him and said, “Mighty hero, the Lord is with you!”
Our hero is Gideon. When the Lord finds him, he is in the bottom of a winepress, trying to thresh wheat while hiding. Two things we need to know here. The winepress was empty of grapes. Remember the land had been ravaged. So the winepress has become nothing more than a pit.
Secondly, you can’t successfully thresh wheat in a pit. Ordinarily wheat is threshed at the top of a hill. The worker takes his pitchfork and tosses the wheat up in the air allowing the wind to blow the chaff away. However, in a dark, damp underground winepress, there is no breeze to blow the chaff away. Gideon didn’t want to be seen on the top of the hill, so he was in a musty old winepress with sticky floors.
So this special messenger from God is sitting under a tree looking down upon Gideon who is hiding and thrashing about. And he says “Hello, mighty hero.”
Now at this point Gideon is acting like anything but a hero. But God looks beyond his cowardice and foolishness but instead sees his heart. God knows what Gideon is capable of although Gideon does not know. God knows what we are capable of although we do not know. The reason is He looks at our heart and not our actions.
So let’s take note of Gideon’s reaction.
Judges 6:13 “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.”