Summary: Gideon is "the cutter down", who shows us where God is in the midst of your disappointment and pain.
A. Where Is God When It Hurts?
1. A complex question with no simple answers, and the whole world is asking.
B. Last week, we talked about how, though simplistic sounding, it’s truth nonetheless that in the midst of your pain, God is with you.
1. Want to a biblical story today that not only gives us more proof that God is with us through our lack of full understanding and our pain, but that also shows more of where He is and what He is doing through it.
2. READ Judges 6-8.
II. IN THE MIDST OF YOUR PAIN, GOD IS:
A. HANDLING YOUR QUESTIONS AND FEARS.
“‘...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?’” Judges 6:13
“‘...give me a sign that it is really you talking to me.’” Judges 6:17
“...he was afraid of the men of his family and the men of the town.” Judges 6:27
“‘If you are afraid to attack, go down to the camp with your servant Purah and listen to what they are saying. Afterward, you will be encouraged to attack the camp.’”
1. Even in the “fleeces” before the Lord, God is handling Gideon’s questions and fears to confirm that God is really in control.
a. Truth is that He’s a BIG God — He can handle your questions and fears in the midst of your pain.
b. He can handle your accusations and statements of distrust – He’s pretty secure!
B. PUTTING TOGETHER THE PIECES OF THE PICTURE.
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28
1. God’s intention is that not one thing we endure, whether by His hand or by human free will, will find emptiness in its outcome.
a. The void you may feel from whatever life experience (big or small) has knocked the wind out of you will not remain eternally.
b. Somewhere, somehow, what you and I face now will be turned around for the good, possibly in this life, definitely in eternity.
c. That is how we can know that anything we are pained by now will in some way turn into something we cannot imagine another day!
2. Chocolate cake – anyone want a piece?
a. Toss “pieces” to crowd – eggs, flour, etc.
b. Have fun with that, and then ask those folks to come up and put ingredient in bowl.
c. Each ingredient itself isn’t that inviting, and if not mixed correctly, not even the batter is all that good.
d. But when we trust God to put together the pieces of our lives, even when they aren’t all that good to us in each piece, what He comes out with is beautiful!
3. This is the God who works miracles out of messes!
a. What looks like a mess now is only a part of a greater miracle God has in store!
C. GIVING YOU GLIMPSES, PIECE BY PIECE.
“When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said, ‘The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.’” Judges 6:12
1. Gideon was a farmer, and the youngest in his family.
a. Who was he to lead God’s people from pain to victory?
b. God sent an angel to let Gideon know what He truly saw in the young farmer – a warrior, and a MIGHTY one at that!
c. While the moniker sounds like a military term, it actually means that he is an upright man in good standing in the community – God has prepared Gideon for the task at hand and wants him to know it.
2. The fleeces – another way God was giving Gideon glimpses of another piece to say He would do this work through Gideon, even though he wondered.
a. Whittling down of the army – another piece that Gideon saw (and certainly had a tough time understanding).
b. Another piece Gideon gets to see is in the eavesdropping of the Midianite army the night before the attack.
3. All along the way, God is giving Gideon the opportunity to catch a glimpse of what He’s doing – but each time it’s only that - a glimpse of a piece!
“Now we see things imperfectly as in a poor mirror, but then we will see everything in perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God knows me now.” 1 Corinthians 13:12 (NLT)
4. God does the same for you and I, and wouldn’t you know it?
a. We only see them most clearly when all the pieces have been put together, and we’re able to look back and say, “WOW! Look at what God was doing there! Who woulda thought?”