Posts Tagged ‘Gideon’

And the angel of the LORD appeared to him and said to him, “The LORD is with you, O mighty man of valor.” And Gideon said to him, “Please, sir, if the LORD is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all his wonderful deeds that our fathers recounted to us, saying, ‘Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt?’ But now the LORD has forsaken us and given us into the hand of Midian.” And the LORD turned to him and said, “Go in this might of yours and save Israel from the hand of Midian; do not I send you?” And he said to him, “Please, Lord, how can I save Israel? Behold, my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.” And the LORD said to him, “But I will be with you, and you shall strike the Midianites as one man.” (Judges 6:12-16 ESV)

It is the time of the judges. The key description used about this time is that Israel had no king and every man did what was right in his own eyes. These were not good times. The people rejected God and worshipped idols like Baal and Chemosh. They gave themselves over to debauchery and lewdness. Nobody felt safe. There was no peace. Judges 17-21 depicts this at its worst. Now read the passage above again. Gideon straight up asks why all this has happened – why things are in chaos and so bad and why they are in servitude to the Midianites. Gideon knows about God’s mighty deeds in Israel but seems to make absolutely no connection to how they have turned their backs on God. You’d expect a reproof here. I certainly do. Why does God not tell him the truth and call him to repent? God does none of that. He simply tells Gideon: I’m here now and I’m going to use you to rescue Israel. What! No call to repentance? God makes no defense of his character that has been defamed? No “10 Commandments 101” class first for Gideon? Nope. He just gets called and unleashed.

Obedience Matters More Than Theology

Obedience matters more than theology. I hope this makes some of you angry: right theology is not everything. Gideon has a flawed theology. His view of sin is flawed and broken. He makes no connection between worship of Baal and why God has deserted them, why it’s even wrong. God uses him and he doesn’t even lead the people to repent of their false worship. We know this because as soon as he dies, the people rebuild the statues to Baal again.

Gideon tests God multiple times and God never gets impatient with him. God burns up the first offering. He listens to Gideon and reveals himself in the fleece on 2 separate nights. Is this testing of God ok? Are we to emulate this example?

What separates Gideon from the other men? God speaks to him and he obeys every step of the way. God does not seem concerned with his false view of him or his wrong understanding of sin. God calls him and Gideon listens. Gideon obeys. God uses him to tear down idols. God uses him to eventually lead a small band of 300 men to defeat an army that had been in control of Israel for awhile. He uses Gideon to bring freedom to Israel. Gideon’s obedience matters significantly more than his theology.

My Theology will Never be Right & I’ll Never be Mature Enough

But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder! Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? (James 2:18-20 ESV)

Am I saying that my theology doesn’t matter at all? Of course not. Right doctrine and right theology lead to a deeper love for God and towards obedience. What I have seen though is that it is incredibly easy for us to worry about what we don’t know or whether I can adequately explain every question about the Bible or whether I feel encouraged in my walk as opposed to trusting God and obeying Him. I know this because I struggle with doing it. I love to read and study and learn. I love to think about who God is and what He says about himself in the Bible. But I can boil things down too often to what I need to believe instead of how I need to act. Too often I’m quick to rush past application. Yes, we need a right understanding of the gospel but we need to act on it and trust and obey. I need to act on what I know. I know that God will use my understanding and belief in the gospel, as well as a right view of who he is, to grow me in Christ-like character and love. However, I see nowhere where my maturity dictates what I need to obey. We’re called to walk as His children in obedience and He’ll take care of our growth and give us what we need.

This is Not a Call to Duty

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:8-10 ESV)

Don’t read this as a call out for obedience for the sake of obedience. I’m calling myself out to walk in faith and obey what I know I need to obey out of a growing love for him. He is my loving father who knows what is best and has good works for my family and I to walk in. God is very patient with Gideon. He is not harsh with Gideon but very gentle. Gideon takes a step of faith and God walks with him right through it. This is not a harsh task master calling us to serve him but a tender father who is right here with us. Let’s walk in those works like Gideon did and stop worrying about our own adequacy or maturity or knowledge. God is on our side and not worried about our failure. Let’s trust our Father to guide us, Jesus to be with us always, and the Spirit to do a work in us as we move forward in action and mission.

By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. (1 John 3:16-18 ESV)

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