September 23 - Message Update

SanLo Community, an update for the week of September 23, 2018…

Thank you, Pastor Eric, for the message from Judges 6:11-27, “Will You Answer the Call?” God has been calling people to answer and follow Him throughout the pages of Scripture. He did so for this man named Gideon. God calls Gideon for a significant and specific mission and purpose as a judge of justice for Israel. In the same way, God calls each of us to a significant and specific purpose in life. Gideon is someone we can really relate to, because he is a fearful, uncertain, and reluctant man.  Yet, through God’s mercy and grace, God answers all of his objections. God continues to pursue Gideon and calls him out after all his resistance to serve the Lord. God gifts us with this real-life story for us to examine our own lives. When God calls, will you answer the call?   

1) When God calls, He calls those who don’t have it all together. (vv.11-15) Here we find the angel of the Lord, God’s messenger coming to Gideon who is beating out the wheat in the winepress to hide it from the Midianites. This was normally done on a mountain top for the wind to carry away the chaff while leaving the heavy kernels of grain on the floor. Gideon is seen as a coward and a chicken as he was hiding from the enemy. Yet God values him, and ironically calls him a mighty warrior, a man of valor. Gideon’s initial response is, “Excuse me, my Lord!” His answer is almost sarcastic in nature. Gideon is bitter toward God for putting him in this situation rather than taking ownership and responsibility for Israel’s plight. He is actually blaming God. God still pursues him and calls him out, yet Gideon continues to be cynical and self-loathing. In verse 15, He says, “I am of the weakest tribe and least in my father’s house.” Yet, God chooses him. God certainly can use anyone if you allow Him. Think about Moses, Esther, Jonah, and the twelve disciples. God used them to change the world. The span of Scripture is filled with people who never had it all together. The Bible is a story of person after person, who God transformed and used for His glory! That same God lives today and is calling you. So, don’t sit on the sidelines or wallow in self-doubt. Don’t worry about your inabilities but put your trust in a God who is fully of supernatural ability. God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called. God will be the one to empower, equip and qualify you. Just like God took Gideon, a coward and cynic, and He turned Him into a warrior and a champion for God. God is calling, will you answer the call?

2) When God calls, He promises to be there no matter what.  God promises to be with you through the good times of serving and the bad times of serving, through ups and downs, and through the seasons of abundance and the seasons of little. God guarantees His presence and His Spirit every step of the way. (vv.12, 14-16) In verse 12, He sends His messenger or angel to speak to Gideon, telling him, “The Lord is with you, O mighty man of valor.” Even though, you are being a chicken and hiding out, I’m there with you. I’m right there in your uncertainty and insecurity. I’m going to build you up to be a might man of God. Then, in verse 13, Gideon’s skepticism sets in again…Lord, where have you been? But in verse 14 the Lord returns. Now, what I find interesting is that verse 14 doesn’t say angel of the Lord. I want to assume it’s possibly God Himself who steps in here. Because then said again in verse 16 “But I (God makes it personally) will be with you.” I am going to be there. I am right here by your side every step of the way to carry and to champion Israel out of oppression. Gideon, you are in the hand of God, not the hand of man. Together, we’re going to crush the Midianites.” God is the one who has always been there through thick and thin. God is the one who has carried you through the mud and the downpours of life. God is the one who has led you out of suffering and pain. God will be the one who continues to carry you through it all just like Gideon. God is calling, will you answer the call?

3) When God calls, He gives us peace beyond our greatest fears. He gifts to us an everlasting and eternal peace. God’s peace isn’t the absence of trial or tribulation but it is the assurance and confidence that God has everything under control. He is a sovereign and mighty God. (vv.17-24) God met him in hiding, sent an angel and God showed up Himself. Gideon is still not convinced. Now he has the audacity to ask God to show him a sign. Out of God’s grace, He gives him a sign. God consumes the food.  Then, in verse 23, God shows up again with these striking words. Peace be to you. Do not fear, you shall not die. I love that God says that you shall not die. You are going to live. It’s not the end of the world. So many times we freak out and get scared about serving God or answering His call like it will be the end of the world for us. But it’s not. People always ask, how do I know if God is calling me? Go to God in prayer. Have you sought the Lord in His Word? This is where God speaks to us. Have you sought after wise counsel? Then there comes a sense of peace.  When God is calling you to make a decision, move forward. God gives us peace about our decision as He gives His assurance and confidence to step out in faith. However, a lot of times, we might mess it up, because we try to handle it all on our own. We neglect to seek the Lord or His counsel.  God is calling, will you answer the call?

4) When God calls, He desires our exclusive attention. (vv.25-27) God wants our worship. He calls each of us out of darkness and into His light, because He desires a relationship with us. The reason why God calls us and wants us to serve Him isn’t because God is trying to twist our arm or He needs us to make Himself happy. God doesn't need our worship, but He desires it. The Scripture says “Take your father’s bull and the second bull seven years old and pull down the altar of Baal that your father has.” This altar was probably a pagan cult altar that actually stood in Gideon’s father’s backyard. Baal meant lord and was known to be a god of thunder, fertility, and war. Baal had become the substitute for the Lord of Lords, Yahweh. God took offense to it as He should. Israel had succumbed to the pressures and to the temptations of worshipping another god. The question becomes, what is your idol? What is preventing you from hearing God? There will always be something you so desperately want but it’s really nothing compared to God. When we answer God’s call, we experience God in such a deeper and more profound way than we would have ever realized before. It is in answering the call of God that we experience what we always wanted in the first place, GOD. We’re all called to be a priesthood of believers. We’re all called to be servants of the Most High. We’re all called to be ambassadors of Christ with our neighbors, coworkers, and friends. We’re all called to be a part of the body of Christ to be a hand, a foot, an arm, or a leg to serve one another like family and to be church to one another.

God can and will use anybody even someone like Gideon, someone like me and like you. As He calls us, God offers His most amazing peace and grace beyond our doubts and fears in order that He might get a hold of us today and for eternity. God is always calling, why wouldn’t you answer the call?  

 

Urbana Information and Invitation: Thank you to Cory Ng for sharing about his intention to attend Urbana 2018 and for inviting anyone else who may be interested to sign up. This conference is geared for those in college and young adults who would like to explore world missions and how they can get involved. Here is the Urbana website link:  https://urbana.org/

If you or someone you know might be interested, please contact Cory for more information. This clip of past Urbana speakers will also give you a look at the content of the conference: https://vimeo.com/231141375    On October 14, Cory will share once again and a love offering will be received to help send him and any others to St. Louis, MO. this December.