by Shannon Heiden
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By Shannon Heiden
Gideon replied, "If now I have found favor in your eyes, give me a sign that it is really you talking to me. 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."
What is God doing? Why does God seem silent? If God knows the answer and Iím his child, than why doesnít He share it with me?
Do any of the above questions seem all too familiar to you? Everyone, I mean everyone from the least to the greatest have encountered these questions at some point in their walk with the Lord. I believe that these questions are not a sign of weakness as some would say or a lack of faith; it is not that we donít trust God like we should if we have pondered these questions. In fact, I think it is quite healthy and a sign of true growth in ones life to have moments or even prolonged seasons where we are faced with certain difficulty or hardships and we stop and say what in the heck is going on? God where are you in this? I know you said you would be with me but I donít see you, I donít hear you and I donít feel you.
If you have ever found yourself in this kind of dilemma, take heart, because there was a man who felt and asked these same questions and he like us finally got his answer. Gideon not only got his answer but the Lord did amazing and mighty things in and through this one man and guess what, He did it when Gideon least expected it and when no one was looking!
Have you ever stopped to consider that during those times in your life when you find yourself waiting on God for an answer to your prayers or just an answer to something that maybe, just maybe, God is the one who is waiting on you?
In the book of Judges the bible says that Israel was unfaithful to the ways of the Lord and as with all of us to this present day our loving Father disciplines us just enough to get our attention.
The Lord delivered Israel into the hands of oppressors (Midianites) for a time BUT, when Israel turned to the Lord for help, He was standing by, ready, willing and most able to help them, and He did so.
During the time of oppression on Israel the Lord visited a man named Gideon. Gideon was actually hiding when this visitation came, the bible says Gideon was threshing wheat and the Angel of the LORD appeared to him and this is what He said, ď The LORD is with you, you mighty man of valor!Ē
What a wonderful statement, here we have God who initiates the conversation to an oppressed man who is in hiding and here is Gideonís answer, ď O my lord, if the LORD is with us, why then has all this happened to us?Ē Hmmm sounds familiar, have you ever said that to the Lord? Ok maybe youíve never said it but have you ever thought it? Gideon goes on to say, God you brought us out of Egypt, GOD, you delivered us, you were faithful LORD but where are you now because I donít see anything but my oppression from the hands of the Midianites, all I see LORD is this trouble. In fact God, you have forsaken me and it was you who delivered me to this pain I'm in.
Gideon was in a hard place, he obviously believed in God but his perception of the Lord was skewed because of the hardship he was faced with.
And it is in this hard place that God showed up.
The LORD then turned to him and said ďGO in this might of yours, and you shall save Israel from the hand of the Midianites. Have I not sent you?Ē
Isnít the Lord just incredible? If you pay close attention you find that God does not even respond to Gideonís reasoningís, they sound good but God doesnít even wince at what he says. Why is that I wonder?
Here God calls this man who is in a hard confusing place, oppressed and fearful. Gideon was speaking out doubt and unbelief that God was not with him and God then responds ďYOU mighty man, Go I am with you.Ē Itís as if the Lord doesnít even hear what Gideon is saying, itís as if God has something to say and something He wants Gideon to do and God wins!
The conversation goes on, Gideon then starts to believe it is the LORD and he requests a most profound statement, one that struck me so hard when I encountered it. Gideon, still not quite sure that the LORD is for him or really speaking these wonderful things to him, Gideon still full of self doubt and God doubt because of the magnitude of the hardship he had been dealt, Gideon then says to the LORDĒ If I have found favor in your eyes, than show me a sign that it is YOU who talks to me, do not depart from here, I pray, until I come and bring my offering and set it before YOUĒ
And the LORD saidĒ I will wait until you return.
I donít know about you but to hear the LORD say I will wait until you return leaves me breathless. In this one sentence we see a most loving God who is patient with our struggles, God knows who Gideon is, and at this moment in the story God is the only one. Gideon doesnít recognize who he is or who the LORD truly is.
Because of Gideonís circumstances he has been knocked around one to many times, because of the fear he has lost faith, because of the pain Gideon took his eyes off the Lord and onto himself. ďI am the weakest, I am not mighty, God has left meĒ that is how Gideon saw himself but through all of the lies we see a loving God who sees His son, His chosen child and even though Gideon didnít believe GOD did!
I am wondering if you have found yourself to be a Gideon? Have you been hit so hard that the faith you once proclaimed so boldly has been turned into a whisper? Have you ever been hiding out, fearful that you just canít take anymore? Well chin up my friend, because as you can see for yourself in this story, you may have lost heart but your God has enough for the both of you!
Gideon went on to prepare an offering, and God waited until he came with it, not only did He wait but He showed him through the signs that Gideon needed to see to build him up in His most holy faith.
God saw Gideon when no one else did and God sees you even if you donít see yourself. I believe the LORD is saying very specifically to you and to me, no man can thwart what I have decreed over your life, get out of that hole in the ground and go in this might of yours, believe that in your weakness HE is strong and know that it is not the strongest, the smartest, the richest or the best looking that gets the part, it is the broken, the lowly and the contrite spirit that the Lord will get the most glory from.
Remember Gideon, remember that even if you are facing confusion, pain, hardship or fear that God does his best work at the most least likely times and with the weakest, despised ones. God is faithful, He will not give you more than you can bear, He will not allow your foot to slip for He is able to keep you from falling.
He is waiting for you to return and He will keep waiting, the question is, will you go in this might of yours and bring your offering and set your life before Him in order for Him to do exceedingly, abundantly more than you can think, ask or imagine?
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Shannon - This is a wonderful article. You have really done your Bible study and God has given you a great message to share with us. Thank you - it blessed me. In Christ's Love, Julia