Christian Life: Fleecing God
We?re doing a series here on God?s will. And last week we talked about how hard it is to believe there us such a thing as God?s will for me. There are a lot of problems with that whole idea: that God lovesÿ.ÿ.ÿ. that he?s interested in little meÿ.ÿ.ÿ. that he could communicate a planÿ.ÿ.ÿ. All these issues are very concerning when it comes to the topic of God?s will. Last week we saw that they are also concerning to God. God is burdened to see us know his will, his good gifts, the great things he has in mind for us (see vv?) The problem is that sometimes we want to hear his will and sometimes we don?t. Last week we looked at someone who didn?t. And we found out some interesting things.
We look to all the other imposters
Ahab last week had collected hundreds of prophets, but not one of them spoke for Godÿ.ÿ.ÿ.
We assume negative
We found out that when you don?t want to hear God?s voice, it?s because we assume it?s going to be negative.
God provides an alternative
Amazingly, we found that when we don?t want to listen to God, he provides a credible alternative.
We try to skirt around
Finally, Ahab went sneaking off to try and skirt around God?s willÿ.ÿ.ÿ. Tonight we want to talk about what we see when someone wants to follow God. How does God deal with someone who does want to do his will?
The story of Gideon comes up in covering the will of God because he is the only one in the Bible to have “fleeced the Lord.” ÿYou?ll see what fleecing the Lord means by the time we?re finished with the story.
You can see from this story what fleecing is all about. And this is something all of us have wanted to do or have done before. Example: OK, God, if you want me to date this girl, then she?ll come up to me tonight. Has anyone ever done anything like this? Do you know what I?m talking about? What?s the difference between what Gideon is doing versus what we do? The issue is that he already knew God?s will. He wasn?t trying to find out what it was. He knew. His fleecing was about getting confidence to follow God?s will.
God wants to help you with confidence
So maybe the first lesson we can draw from this is that God wants to help us with our boldness and confidence to follow him. If we know God?s will, and yet we?re afraid to follow it, God does often give us assurance. Example: I remember trying to decide whether my family and I should go over seas to try and do some church planting, so many people came up and said, ?I heard you?re thinking about thisÿ.ÿ.ÿ.? But at the same time there have been other times when God hasn?t provided that kind of assurance because he wants me to act on what I know is true.
It is legitimate to test the messenger of the Lord
Along those same lines, it is legitimate to test the messenger of the Lord. This is unique to Christianityÿ.ÿ.ÿ. If you are investigating Christianity then you should be saying, “How do I know? Why do you say that? Where’s the evidence?” And if the answers are not satisfactory then you shouldn’t listen. Example: And when someone says, ?I think this is God?s will for your life? (which is a wieghty thing to say), then it is legitimate to say, ?How do you know?? And their advice is only as good as their reasons.
Gideon was going to follow
But there is a big reason why Gideon was able to ask these things from God. It was that he was going to follow God. He was going to take on the Midianites. How do we know that Gideon wanted the will of God? Because he pulled down the shrineÿ.ÿ.ÿ. This is a principle of following God?s will that we often see. God will give us an opportunity to obey him in increments. Example: People want the right mate. But the question I would ask is, ?How do you handle your relationships with the opposite sex now?? If our relating with the opposite sex now is completely selfishÿ.ÿ.ÿ. Here was a friend of mine who was really angry at God for not giving him the right woman. But the problem was, he wouldn?t talk to women. He avoided them. He was too afraid to have a relationship with the women around him that was servingÿ.ÿ.ÿ. Example: People wonder, ?What?s God?s will for me in my life?s work? What kind of impact will I make on people and for God in this life?? Well, God will reveal that to you and it will be big, if you take on the seamingly little things right in front of you. There?s a guy in Acts named Barnabasÿ.ÿ.ÿ. God is giving you opportunities to follow his will now that will have a bearing on your life later.
Be ready to act
This willingness to act has a bearing on whether God will even reveal his will to you. The fact is, we know how God deals with people who don’t want to hear his wordÿ.ÿ.ÿ. (last week) So many people, like Ahab, just want to hear what God says to confirm their suspicion, ?See, I knew he would disagree with me.?
Ch. 7: He shed light in pieces
God didn’t say, “I’m going to give you only 300 men to defeat this invading armyÿ.ÿ.ÿ.” God’s will was revealed bit by bit. That’s why in the NT it’s called being “led by the Spirit of God,” or “walking with the Spirit of God.” It’s the imagery of a step-by-step. There are a lot of reasons for that we’ll get into next week.