Testing God

Jesus is the example we have to follow with regard to stepping out in faith.  He did everything in faith, knowing the Father would handle things.

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You know in the years that I have been a believer one of the saddest things I have ever seen is the lack of faith among Christians themselves.  They profess to believe and claim faith, but when God says to do something, they need proof that He is going to do what He says He will do before they step out in faith.

Judges 6:36-40

36 So Gideon said to God, “If You will save Israel by my hand as You have said— 37 look, I shall 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 shall know that You will save Israel by my hand, as You have said.” 38 And it was so. When he rose early the next morning and squeezed the fleece together, he wrung the dew out of the fleece, a bowlful of water. 39 Then Gideon said to God, “Do not be angry with me, but let me speak just once more: Let me test, I pray, just once more with the fleece; let it now be dry only on the fleece, but on all the ground let there be dew.” 40 And God did so that night. It was dry on the fleece only, but there was dew on all the ground.

We return to Gideon, the runt of the litter from the runt tribe of Israel.  The one whom God chose to use to get Israel out of oppression.  And yet here he is, testing God, wanting proof this is what God wanted him to do.

Faith in God means faith in what He wants us to do.  It’s not faith based upon anyone’s interpretation or based upon anyone else’s life.  Yes, God will show His faithfulness through the work He has done in the lives of others, but this should be a testimony as to what He’s done.  Each Christian has a different walk and we are all in a different place with God.  He’s not going to ask me to do the same thing He asks you to do, or step out in faith the same way.  But what He is going to do is tell you to have faith in Him.

I personally am an analytical person, sometimes over-analytical.  It takes a great deal of strength for me to do anything just based on faith.  But when God is telling me to have faith in Him, He’s working, He’s fighting or to go do something, I simply do, without question and without needing proof that He is going to be faithful.  Jesus is the example we have to follow with regard to stepping out in faith.  He did everything in faith, knowing the Father would handle things.  That is the type of person that I wish to be, faithful in Him, faithful He will handle things and faithful He knows what He’s doing.

Small But Mighty

Sometimes in life we are faced with what may seem like overwhelming challenges from people.  Sometimes those challenges can be a giant like Goliath or they can seem like an entire army such as Elijah faced in 1 Kings 18.  In either case, neither challenge is insurmountable when God has your back.

Whenever I go to Catherine’s grandmother’s house to have dinner with the both of them,  both Catherine and Gran, as I call her, will regale me with stories of two of Catherine’s aunts.  Two women who were small in stature, but were fierce in their mannerisms and behavior.  It reminds me of how God can use people who seem to be small in stature to do amazing things.

Judges 6:13-16

13 Gideon said to Him, “O my lord, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all His miracles which our fathers told us about, saying, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt?’ But now the Lord has forsaken us and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites.”  14 Then the Lord turned to him and said, “Go in this might of yours, and you shall save Israel from the hand of the Midianites. Have I not sent you?”  15 So he said to Him, “O my Lord, how can I save Israel? Indeed my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.”  16 And the Lord said to him, “Surely I will be with you, and you shall defeat the Midianites as one man.”
In my life, I have found several adopted mothers over the years.  Two of them have stuck around for quite a while now, Judy and Barbara.  Judy is 5’3″ and I think, if I remember correctly, Barbara is 5’1″.  Don’t let their size fool you.  I am a big dude, but even at 39, if I get seriously out of line, they know how to handle me with nothing but a stare.  They also know how to show love and encouragement through their actions.  I look at today’s reading and it reminds me of them.
If you follow along, first Gideon questions God on why He has allowed these things to happen to Israel and reminds God of what He has done before.  But God doesn’t play the blame game and bring up what Israel has done wrong, He simply says, “You go out and take on your enemies, I got your back.”  That’s a really loose paraphrase, but you get the drift.  Gideon responds with a very practical, “I’m the smallest in my tribe, which is the smallest in Israel, how can we do this?”  Again, the Lord says, “I got your back.”  For those who don’t know the rest of Gideon’s story, well let’s just say…got ya.  That’s something for your personal study time.  Trust me, it will be worth the extra effort.
Sometimes in life we are faced with what may seem like overwhelming challenges from people.  Sometimes those challenges can be a giant like Goliath or they can seem like an entire army such as Elijah faced in 1 Kings 18.  In either case, neither challenge is insurmountable when God has your back.  No matter how small you are or how weak you may feel, if God is with you, then it can be defeated, you just have to trust Him.

A Little Goes a Long Way

Of all the needs we, as Christians do have, the most important is faith in the Lord. With that little faith, He can use us to do great things.

You know there is a difference between wants and needs?  Wants are things that if you don’t have them, it’s not a big deal.  You’ll survive without them.  Needs are something very different.  We need food and shelter to survive.  We need to have some sort of monetary income to maintain them.  In some areas of the country/world, you need a vehicle of some sort to get around.  People get these two things confused a lot, but Christians need to remember, all we need is the Lord.

Psalm 37:16-17

16 A little that a righteous man has Is better than the riches of many wicked.  17 For the arms of the wicked shall be broken, But the Lord upholds the righteous.
Reading this Scripture, let’s pose a question.  Do you have more than what you need?  In other words, do you have things that are completely pointless for you to even own and you got them just for the sake of having them?
One of the things Christians should remember is to always assess what they truly need.  I’ll use myself as an example.  As anyone who has been reading this blog consistently knows, I have found an apartment that I actually like.  Okay, let me correct that, the Lord found me an apartment that meets the needs that I have, the biggest being a decent enough kitchen so I could cook really nice meals.  And right there is your difference between wants and needs in a nutshell.  I wanted to be able to cook nice meals and be able to host people in my home, but I what I needed was a good kitchen to be able to do that.  The Lord provided both.
The kitchen I will be moving to has more counter space and is laid out in such a way that I can move from one project to the next easily.  And it’s not a large kitchen.  It’s just the right size for my needs.
With the Lord, a little goes a long way.  There are so many examples in Scripture of the Lord using a little to do big things.  Gideon having 300 men and the Lord winning a battle for Him (Judges 7), David using a single small stone to defeat Goliath (1 Samuel 17), and probably most important of all, Jesus challenging the disciples to have the smallest amount of faith in Him and they’d be able to do great things (Matthew 17 and Luke 17).  There are other examples, but these most prominently display the fact that all you need is little and the Lord can do great things with that little.  Of all the needs we, as Christians do have, the most important is faith in the Lord.  With that little faith, He can use us to do great things.