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Tuesday, July 03, 2007

words to listen to

God does speak. God spoke to Gideon after what seemed like a long period of the people being far from God. The pressing question is, "Are we listening?"

Word of Truth: The Lord is with you, O valiant warrior. (Judges 6:12)

God is here with you and He has named YOU as His own children. What is your response? What was Gideon's response?

Gideon: O my lord, if the Lord is with us, then why has all this happened to us? And where are all His miracles which our fathers told us about, saying, "Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt?" But now the Lord has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian." (6:13)

Me: "God, why did you let this happen to me? You've done amazing things before, where are you now?"

Word of Mission: The Lord looked at him and said, "Go in this your strength and deliver Israel from the hand of Midian. Have I not sent you?" (6:14)

The Lord looked at him… silencing him? rebuking him? We talk sometimes about wanting direction from God. This was a "stop talking and get up and get about my work" Word. Maybe if we would get up and going, we'd see what God is doing. God calls us out to be a part of what He is doing. Has He not sent us? This is the Word of Mission.

Gideon: O Lord, how shall I deliver Israel? Behold, my family is the least in Manasseh, and I am the youngest in my father's house. (6:15)

Me: "I can't do it, God. I'm too young, too untrained, too unimportant."

Is that humility or excuses? And have you ever noticed how often God calls on the youngest, weakest, or most unlikely one to serve Him?

Word of Promise: Surely I will be with you, and you shall defeat Midian as one man. (6:16)

God has answered and said even more. It doesn't matter that you are small, young, weak, or seemingly unqualified. God doesn't call the equipped; He equips the called. God chose Gideon and that was sufficient. God is with Him; that is far more important than his birth order, physical strength, or family name. And God indicates what He will accomplish through Gideon – the defeat of Midian. Has God not promised us the same thing – that He is with us always and that he has conquered the ultimate enemy – sin, death, and Satan? That was Christ's same word of promise at the end of the Great Commission… "Surely I am with you to the end of the age" (Matthew 28:20) and at the cross… "It is finished" (John 19:30).

Three "can-you-give-me-a-sign" requests later I get the feeling that God tired of talking with Gideon and decided to start doing - not unlike the course of salvation history. God gave us instructions in the Garden. God gave us the Law and the Commandments. God spoke through prophets. And we just didn't get it. So God acted. Likewise, God begins to act with Gideon. It's time to bring the army against the Midianites. From some 32,000 God instructed Gideon in weeding out the fearful, then the unprepared, until only 300 were left. What was important? What was not?

We don't have to be a 10,000 member mega-church to change the world for God. God can and will use 300 who will listen to Him, follow, and obey! God can use 12 who listen, follow, and obey. God can use one. God can use YOU.

There's no confusing who is God and who is not. There's no confusing our strength for God's strength. And there's no ground for our excuses. I am not strong enough to save the world. I'm not even strong enough to save myself! But God is! God was, in the defeat of the Midianites, answering all the questions and doubts, demonstrating His strength, and providing the signs and passing the tests. God did all of that and more through the death and resurrection of Jesus!

God still speaks. Will we listen, follow, and obey?

Read the full sermon text HERE

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