So Gideon said to Him, “If now I have found favor in Your sight, then show me a sign that it is You who speak with me. Please do not depart from here, until I come back to You, and bring out my offering and lay it before You.” And He said, “I will remain until you return.” (Judges 6:17-18 NASB)
Then Gideon said to God, “If You will deliver Israel through me, as You have spoken, behold, I will put a fleece of wool on the threshing floor. If there is dew on the fleece only, and it is dry on all the ground, then I will know that You will deliver Israel through me, as You have spoken.” (Judges 6:36-37 NASB)
Then Gideon said to God, “Do not let Your anger burn against me that I may speak once more; please let me make a test once more with the fleece, let it now be dry only on the fleece, and let there be dew on all the ground.” God did so that night; for it was dry only on the fleece, and dew was on all the ground. (Judges 6:39-40 NASB)
Why do we think God thinks like we do? Don’t we? Don’t we fall into the default of believing that God will do the expected? He will choose the strongest, smartest, tallest, best looking, anyone but me (or you). He will choose the others, the others our culture claims are the best of the best. Or even those of stronger faith, the righteous, He’ll choose those, but not us.
Or, maybe, as Scripture teaches, He’ll chose people like us instead. Remember us, the ones with the altars in the front yard about which we are in denial? Us, the ones who judge others but not ourselves. We are the ones failing our Jesus as we selfishly seek whatever we want in our days. It’s possible that this choice our Master makes is rigged in favor of the weak ones, like us.
Here’s an excellent specimen. Gideon, a coward threshing wheat in a wine press, is hailed as a mighty warrior. He has God’s favor. And God is with him, even though he lies about the status of his family, has an altar to a pagan god in his front yard, and seems completely disinterested in national covenant obedience. That’s right, let’s choose this guy, because at least he has faith, right? Well, no. He doesn’t seem to have that either.
Okay, if it is You calling, let me test you with an offering. Okay, if it is you let me put out a fleece…twice. Let me test You, let me test You, and once more, let me test You. And then I’ll create an idol after I’m done. Leave it to Yahweh to pick a real winner. But isn’t it cool that He does pick such people?
Think about it. Jesus picks Simon the Zealot (i.e. “terrorist”), and Matthew the tax collector (professional cheat). Wouldn’t you think there would be room for us among such persons? It seems I’m perfect for the job. I’m not a terrorist, but I’ve cheated. I’ve tested God, on several occasions. I’ve acted faithlessly, ignored Him and His calling, walked away from faith (as far as He let me go anyway). I’m perfect for Him!
The list of things that our enemy brings against us as accusations are actually the things that should drive us to Jesus. Bring them on! List them off! Guilty as charged, but redeemed! He chooses me, not because I don’t have such a list, but because of the list. He looks at me as an opportunity to display His grace and mercy. Because we forget that those are the qualities He wants His human creatures to know about Him.
Think about the accusations leveled at the church and “God” by detractors. Don’t they all seem to fall on character? How many attempt to undermine the qualities of grace and mercy? In fact, a good case can be made that the “wrath of God”, so often pointed out in the Hebrew Scriptures, is only there to highlight the grace and mercy also found there. Yeah, I’m a mess. And that’s perfect for Him. And so are you.
So, here’s a challenge, stop reading the Bible to be a good person. Just stop it. Stop praying to make God happy. Just don’t. He’s happy. You’ll never be good enough to impress God. It won’t happen, stop trying.
Instead, let’s read the Bible so we won’t miss a word He says to us. Let’s pray to spend time with Him. Let’s do that. Make that our priority. Because doing those things for those reasons brings us into relationship with our Creator, and makes Him the priority, not ourselves. Let’s do that. I mean, if He’ll spend so much time on Gideon, we have a pretty good chance He’ll choose us too.
That’s my view this morning. What do you see of our Master through the fence?