Realizing and Revealing the Lord is With You, assuring You of His Presence!
Realizing and Revealing…
The Lord is With Us
Assuring us of His Presence!
† IHS †
May you be so blessed as God reveals His presence in the journey of your life, that you find your journey so full of mercy and peace, that His presence in revealed to others.
Gideon’s Fleece Overlooked
Have you ever watched a favorite movie, or read a favorite book, and come across a scene that you did not remember? A part of the plot that made the scene, that was critical for really comprehending the entire story.
Where we walk with Gideon tonight, as he realizes the presence of God is really, really with him, is a story familiar to many of us, even if we don’t remember who Gideon was, or where in the Bible this story is found. Because this is where we get the phrase about “putting a fleece before the Lord”.
It’s where we get the concept of asking God to make clear which way we are to go, which road we are to take, if this is really God’s plan for our lives.
And if that is the concept we have, we are going to see a missing piece to the story tonight. One that will correct our understanding a little, and in the end, bring us even more comfort, as we realize His presence in our lives, and how He saves people, rescuing them from what oppresses and binds them, revealing how He loves and provides for His people.
Gideon was Enveloped/Clothed/Came Upon
When we left Gideon last week, he had desecrated and destroyed an idol that had kept the people of God in bondage. He started, with God’s guidance, the rescue that the people of God had cried out for, even in their unbelief, even in the midst of their rebellion. This had a tremendous impact on God’s people, even to the point that Gideon’s father, who once was proud of hosting the idol’s altar, challenged the idolatry publicly, defending his son.
The battle to rescue God’s people tonight shifts, as now the battle goes from spiritual to physical. Side question to consider sometime – why do we find the physical battles in life more “serious” or more “threatening” than the spiritual battle?
In order to take on the physical – and I love how the New American Bible phrases this – the Holy Spirit envelops Gideon – other translations use clothe, or comes over, the picture is wrapping around for protection and warmth. Gideon’s walk with God takes on a new dimension, a new vocation; he is called to be one who speaks for God, who leads God’s people, while God rescues them.
It is the same kind of language that describes our Baptism, and the gift of the Holy Spirit given to us then. We are clothed with Christ, the Holy Spirit comes upon us as is talked about in Acts and we are sealed in the Holy Spirit in Ephesians.
Gideon wanted confirmation… of God’s presence
He got it… and went..
Even as Gideon begins to live within what we would call the life of the baptized, he, like us, still struggles with the idea that God would dwell with Him that the Holy Spirit would continue to be there. Perhaps like Paul he struggles with the things he wants to do, but does not and the things he knows He should not do, but does.
That is why Gideon needs to have confirmation, to know not only that God is with Him, but also that God is with Him in this particular journey, in this mission to save God’s people. He needs to know, even as he looks at the life of Israel, that God isn’t giving up on them, that this is really God’s intent.
It would be as if we were to send out a missionary to Cambodia – or wait an even more challenging place – Washington D.C. to save all the people there, wouldn’t the one chosen to go really want to know God’s desire – that God really desires to save them? Are you really serious God – do you really want to save these people of Cerritos and Artesia, La Palma and Whittier and Bellflower? That you want to use people like us?
Lord, do you still want to keep your promise?
Do you still love them? Do you still love us?
The lambskin was treated as it needed to be, to become proof of God’s love, of His presence of God’s will. Proof to assure Gideon of the promise. Just as another Lamb, the very Lamb of God became proof of God’s love, as God prepared to send those apostles out. even as He sends us out. As we go out, to neighborhoods, to offices, to workplaces, in response to people crying out to be rescued, to be loved, to see that which enslaves defeated…
That they would come to know that which we know… even as we celebrate the presence among us of the Agnus Dei, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world… and grants us peace.