“Gideon replied, “If now I have found favor in your eyes,
give me a sign that it is really you talking to me.” vs. 17
What Would You Do?
I’d like to start off today by giving you a choice. Here is the situation: I have hear two tickets to Disneyland. So you are packed, ready to go and the next day you wake up ready to shoot off to Disneyland when you realize that during the night a snow storm kicked up and all the weather reports warn you that it is much to dangerous to drive there. Would you go? Okay, second scenario. Same situation the only difference is that you paid me $200 for the tickets. Now, would you go?
According to University of Chicago economist Richard Thaler, people are more likely to take a risk if they pay for something. He points out the fact that you spent money shouldn’t matter when you make your decision between going to your event and taking the risk of getting killed.
Two human tendencies come into play here.
Sunk-cost fallacy – the idea that having paid for something, you had better not waste it, no matter what the consequences
Loss Aversion – the fact that people place about twice as much significance on a loss as on a gain. In other words, they are twice as unhappy losing money as they are pleased about making money.
Gary Belsky, Money, July 1995
We have certain criteria for making decisions and for doing certain things and of course, each of us bring our own values and experience to those decisions. What about our decision to follow God’s call? Or even to decipher if God is calling? Today we are going to continue our study of Gideon and today we are going to look at his call from Judges 6:17-24. If you are able, please stand as we read God’s Word.
Read Passage – Judges 6:17-24
Gideon replied, “If now I have found favor in your eyes, give me a sign that it is really you talking to me. 18 Please do not go away until I come back and bring my offering and set it before you.” And the Lord said, “I will wait until you return.” 19 Gideon went inside, prepared a young goat, and from an ephah of flour he made bread without yeast. Putting the meat in a basket and its broth in a pot, he brought them out and offered them to him under the oak. 20 The angel of God said to him, “Take the meat and the unleavened bread, place them on this rock, and pour out the broth.” And Gideon did so. 21 Then the angel of the Lord touched the meat and the unleavened bread with the tip of the staff that was in his hand. Fire flared from the rock, consuming the meat and the bread. And the angel of the Lord disappeared. 22 When Gideon realized that it was the angel of the Lord, he exclaimed, “Alas, Sovereign Lord! I have seen the angel of the Lord face to face!” 23 But the Lord said to him, “Peace! Do not be afraid. You are not going to die.” 24 So Gideon built an altar to the Lord there and called it The Lord Is Peace. To this day it stands in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.
What Am I Called To Do?
A quick review is that Israel is living in fear and oppression by its neighbors the Midianites and Amorites. They are raiding and ravaging their land and crops and the when this happens the Israelites run to the hills and hide in caves and wait for them to leave and then they come back down the hill and rebuild everything only for the same thing to happen again. This had gone on for years. It’s in this time of turmoil and fear that God calls Gideon.
Often people come to me and ask:
What is God calling me to do? I am having a difficult time discerning God’s call.
Gideon and the Israelites were probably hoping something would happen to change their circumstances. They had fallen away from God but a previous prophet had come along and told them to turn back to God. They cry out to God but things had not gotten better. I’m not sure Gideon asked this question but it could have been likely that he said; “What am I suppose to do about it?” A lot of times we have circumstances and things in our life that don’t seem right but we are not sure what to do. Even more so, we have difficulty discerning God’s call on our life.
And that can lead to doing something I was taught from a young age not to do, question God. Weren’t you taught that? I remember people saying things like, “You should never question God” or implying that in some way. But hear me out on this, I think it’s okay to question God. That is really what Gideon does in verse 17:
“Gideon replied, ‘If now I have found favor in your eyes, give me a sign that it is really you talking to me.’” vs. 17
He’s saying he thinks he is hearing God’s voice but he wants to question whether or not this is really God. See I think we all question God at times, especially internally. I think it’s part of being human. So here is what I would like to propose to you today; we can question God when we question him in the right way.
Lets talk about how we shouldn’t question God. We should not:
-test his authority
-question his judgement
-do so to change his mind
How could we question God:
-with proper motives
Examples of Biblical characters who questioned God with the right motives:
Discerning God’s Call
We can learn a lot from Gideon when we look at his call and how God works in our lives in similar ways. We are all called by God to do his work. Some it is in full-time ministry but in most cases it is not. Many times the call is to minister right where you are; in your job, in your home, with your neighbors, friends, and those God has lead into your life. Some of you may be trying to discern what ministry to get involved with or what ministry you should support with time and finances. Let’s look closer at Gideon’s call and some of the same things God does for Gideon, because they still apply to us today too..
- God’s Call Will Be In Line With Who God Is
First, one way to discern God’s call is to remember that God’s call will be in line with who God is. Another way of saying that is that God is consistent and he will not call you to do something that is not in line with his Word or with who he is. Notice what happens in verse 20:
“The angel of God said to him, ‘Take the meat and the unleavened bread, place them on this rock, and pour out the broth.’” vs. 20
What is happening here? Gideon is following Israelite customers and what the OT writings tell people to do when it comes to offerings. He is making a Peace Offering. You can find that offering in Numbers 6 :14-16. It is also the same Peace offering that was made in Genesis 18 when God appears to Abraham. Gideon not only knows the Israelite customs, he knows what God’s ways. We have a better chance of discerning God’s call if we know him more and the only way to know him more is to spend time in His Word, that is why we have it, to know him and his ways.
Gideon’s sacrifice here is an act of worship and of reverence. Gideon knows that if this is God speaking to him, which we know it is, God’s character is to be worshipped in the proper way. So Gideon is in a sense confirming that God is acting as God. He is not challenging him but affirming him. This may sound redundant but God will always act like God. God will not be inconsistent with his character. You can be sure when God calls you and you are discerning his call that what he calls you to do will be consistent with his character. Jesus talked about this with the disciples when he said to them in Mark 3:24:
“If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.” Mark 3:24
God would not tell you to do something that is not in line with who he is because that would be working against himself and Jesus tells us that a kingdom divided will not stand.
Ex. God wants me too…
-buy this car
-break up with you
-be happy so I am going to
2. There Is a Healthy Fear
A second thing that happens in Gideon’s call is that fear creeps in when he realizes that this is really God. Notice what happens to him in verse 22:
“When Gideon realized that it was the angel of the Lord, he exclaimed, ‘Alas, Sovereign Lord! I have seen the angel of the Lord face to face!’” vs. 22
It is a awesome thing to meet God and to recognize that he is calling you. Some people may get hung up on the word fear. In Gideon’s day it was fearful to see God because if you truly came face to face with God you would die. Remember when Moses wants to see God and God says he cannot se him or he will die. He puts Moses in the cleft of a rock and Abraham can look and see his back after he passes (Exodus 33). Fear sets in with Gideon when he realizes that he is in the presence of God Almighty. Let me bring another passage in to us us move forward with this thought, it comes from Psalm 33:8:
“Let all the earth fear the Lord; let all the people of the world revere him.” Psalm 33:8
Look at the word revere toward the end of the verse and circle it. Notice how the verse tells us to fear the Lord but then clarifies it for us. The proper fear is to revere and to revere is to honor, to hold in high respect, to show devotion. To fear God is to recognize him and honor and respect him. In our world the reverence for God is not there anymore. We live in a time where God is not honored and held high, in fact, we could even say that many times people put themselves above God or even on the same level.
Ex. The prevailing thought among some religions that we can attain or be gods ourselves. i.e Mormonism, New Age, etc. How do you look at God? Note one of these three ways.
Ill. God < me
God = me
God > me
It might be that if you don’t fear God, you might not be giving him the reverence that is due him. It might be as well that we need to ask God for more fear of him so that we do give him the proper respect and awe that are rightfully his.
3. Bring A Sacrifice
The final thing that Gideon does that we really need to taker note of is found in verse 18:
“Please do not go away until I come back and bring my offering and set it before you.” vs. 18
Gideon’s first response to God’s calling is to make a sacrifice. The criteria we use when it comes to God’s call is to base it on our feelings. If we feel good about it, we almost assume it must be God’s plan. If we don’t feel good about it we discount that it is a legitimate call. The problem with this is that feeling are temporary and that our feelings can be misleading. And, our feelings change too.
Ex. Love and friendship – how fickle we are in relationships
It is good to feel good about things, that’s not always bad. But let’s take a page from Gideon’s book here. Sacrifice. Sacrifice is something we are willing to give up and many times sacrifice hurts. Hurt doesn’t often feel good. But Gideon recognizes that when God calls, there is a sense of giving back to him. Sacrifice is also an act of gratitude.
Ex. Tithing. We often give to God based on how we feel. And, let’s face it, many times we don’t feel like giving because we have created situations in our life that require everything we bring in financially and we haven’t given God first place. I like to think of tithes as sacrifice not because it hurts but because it is placing God as first in our life and the one place I don’t want to be stingy is with God.
So what does it take to bring a sacrifice to God? Colossians 3:2 says:
“Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” Col. 3:2
First we have to think differently. Out minds must be set on the things of God but I will be honest, this is hard because we usually think about ourselves first. A second thing is to be in constant communication with God through prayer, worship, singing, and by being in His Word.
The End Result: Peace
I love the way the story of Gideon’s call is wrapped up here. When Gideon is sure this is God’s call it says this in verse 24:
“So Gideon built an altar to the Lord there and called it The Lord Is Peace.” vs. 24
God is giving Gideon a look into the future here. What comes with discerning God’s call is peace. Remember that Israel and Gideon are living in turmoil but God is a God of peace and he brings peace. We get afraid to step out to an unknown or to doing something beyond our comfort zone yet, when it is God leading, even in turmoil you have peace.
Ex. Christ when he is being beaten, it says that like a lamb before his shearers is silent, so Christ was silent. Why? I believe he had inner peace because he knew he was doing what God wanted him to do.
God gave Gideon peace, he gave Jesus peace, and he will give you peace as well. He did it for them and through his Holy Spirit he brings us peace too.