Monday, September 26, 2011

I can ask...

Week 39:
Judges 6:36-40 36Gideon said to God, “If you will save Israel by my hand as you have promised—look, 37I 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.”   38And that is what happened.  Gideon rose early the next day; he squeezed the fleece and wrung out the dew—a bowlful of water.  39Then Gideon said to God, “Do not be angry with me.  Let me just make one more request.  Allow me one more test with the fleece.  This time, make the fleece dry and the ground covered with dew.”  40That night God did so.  Only the fleece was dry; all the ground was covered with dew. (NIV)
For much of my Christian walk, I was uncomfortable with people asking for signs from God.  I felt it was a sign of a lack of faith in Him to ask deeper than just a prayerful request.  I’m not sure if I was acting out of fear that God would strike me down if I were to ask for signs as if faithless, or if I felt that fate was just part of God’s plan.

Now, as I read over the familiar stories of the Old Testament, I see them with a more mature set of eyes.  When I was younger, I was more black and white.  I lived my Christian values as a bunch of do’s and don’ts.  I was unconsciously earning points for heaven and would not dare question God or ask for anything material.
The story of Gideon is only one example of a Biblical hero asking God for a sign or a request.  Abraham pleaded with God over Sodom and Gomorrah, Moses intervened when God was going to destroy the Israelites and when he was going to withdraw his presence, and Hezekiah pleaded for more years of life from God.  The list can go on.  As I read these stories and study these men’s relationship with God, I see a couple of things.
First, these men had a relationship with God.  They were in a position to ask because they knew God as more than just someone or something up in heaven pulling puppet strings.  They had a relationship that was two-way.  I do not think that they approached God afraid, only with a fear-like respect.  These men knew that God would shoot straight with them.  They knew he would not destroy them for approaching him.  That is where I need to be…in such a relationship with God that is can ask what I normally would deem inappropriate.
Second, I do not believe that these men doubted God.  That has always been my judgment, that when men of the Bible would ask for a sign, they doubted him.  Now, looking at the stories, I believe that they doubted themselves.  Gideon for example felt unworthy of taking on this task for God.  It was more of an attitude of, “Are you sure you can use me God?”  Judges 6:15  “But Lord,” Gideon asked, “how can I save Israel?  My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least of my family.”  Gideon follows this up with asking God to show him a sign even before the fleece miracle.  How many times have I thought I was in doubt of God, when really I was in doubt of myself and the abilities that God has given to me?  When pondering on this thought of doubting myself, another passage comes to mind:  Ephesians 2:10  “For we are God’s workmanship/handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.“ Wow!  Who am I to do God’s good works?  I do not doubt God, I doubt myself.  But God has made this promise that He will do good works through me.  Yet, many times I am like Gideon and ask God to show me that I can. 
So, the challenge is to have the type of relationship with God that I can ask for signs and question what God is doing.  Furthermore, I need to realize that my doubt is in myself and not God and His abilities.
1.       When you have doubted God how did you handle it?
2.      Have you ever asked God for a sign?  What was it?...or, Why not?
3.      Describe your level of discomfort when you hear others doubting God’s goodness or faithfulness?
4.      How have you been moved or changed by seeing this interpretation of these passages?


Don't forget to visit my Amazon links.  General purchases:  Click on the Banner at the top of the blog.  For a list of my favorites go to:

No comments:

Post a Comment