The Spirit of God and Faith

Then all the Midianites and the Amalekites and the sons of the east assembled themselves; and they crossed over and camped in the valley of Jezreel.  So the Spirit of the LORD came upon Gideon; and he blew a trumpet, and the Abiezrites were called together to follow him.  He sent messengers throughout Manasseh, and they also were called together to follow him; and he sent messengers to Asher, Zebulun, and Naphtali, and they came up to meet them.  Then Gideon said to God, “If You will deliver Israel through me, as You have spoken, (Judges 6:33-36 NASB)

If you have the Holy Spirit, you have all you need, right?  Well, yes, except, having the Holy Spirit, is not like having a cool new power tool.  The Holy Spirit is His own Person.  So, when He comes upon you, it’s still sometimes a struggle for control.

The common understanding of the Hebrew Scriptures is that the Spirit of Yahweh would come upon a person rather than upon a people.  In the Christian Scriptures we see groups being affected by Him at once, and the effects are durable.

So, when the Spirit of Yahweh comes upon Gideon, then Gideon should be all set to accomplish all Yahweh has for him, right?  Well, yes.  But, while even faith is a gift of Yahweh, having His Spirit present upon us doesn’t guarantee we receive the faith He has for us.

Clearly Gideon needed more than the Spirit of Yahweh to fall on Him in order to have the necessary faith.  Gideon needed some proof, actually, more proof.  And Yahweh acquiesced to his need.  It’s possible we have higher expectations of ourselves and others.

Paul says, in Ephesians 2:8 and 9, that we are saved by grace through faith, and that this is a gift of God.  The antecedents of the pronoun “this” is the “this” that says, “…and this is not from yourselves…”  So, the “this” refers to the whole, “…saved by grace through faith…” phrase.  It’s the entirety of salvation, not just any one part.  But it has to include the parts.  So, faith is a gift as part of salvation.

The point is that the Holy Spirit on Gideon provides the faith, but as a gift, Gideon must accept the gift.  Fear, fear of a vast army of nomads, impeded his reception of the gift.  Those nomads weren’t a figment of his imagination, they were real, and a real danger.

So, reality, a firm grasp of our circumstances can impede our reception of faith.  When our Master asks us to do the scary thing, to face the scary circumstance, the terrifying person, place, or action, faith can be difficult to receive.

But on the other hand, rather than the Holy Spirit “coming upon us”, He’s within us already, if we have a relationship with our Master.  So, the faith is available, immediately.  It’s the game of “what-if” that impedes our reception of it, our fear (Future Events As Real).

God understands our fear.  He already knows we can’t see as He sees.  But as He accommodates our weaknesses, let’s take steps ahead in His plan.  Obey as we have faith to continue to receive more faith.  Let’s work the work He has for us as He provides for us.

It’s time to stop operating in fear, which keeps us from acting (therefore halts operations).  Instead, lets receive the faith offered, take the next steps, and seek the faith for the next steps of obedience.

Well, it’s time for me to carry out the trash, metaphorically as well as concretely.  I’m putting what fears I can into a separate bag, and kicking them to the curb.  How will you deal with yours today?  Obedience awaits!

What’s your view of our Master through the fence?

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