“I Saw the Sign”

Photo credit here

S (Scripture): Judges 6:36 But then Gideon said to God, “To see if you really intend to rescue Israel through me as you have declared, 37 I’m now putting a wool fleece on the threshing floor. If there is dew only on the fleece but all the ground is dry, then I’ll know that you are going to rescue Israel through me, as you have declared.” 38 And that is what happened. When he got up early the next morning and squeezed the fleece, he wrung out enough dew from the fleece to fill a bowl with water.

39 Then Gideon said to God, “Don’t be angry with me, but let me speak just one more time. Please let me make just one more test with the fleece: now let only the fleece be dry and let dew be on all the ground.” 40 And God did so that night. Only the fleece was dry, but there was dew on all the ground.

O (Observation): God’s people are in God’s favor once again. (Not because they decided to become good, but because God – in God’s infinite grace – reached out to the people through a good leader.) And remember…God equips those who are called.

But how would Gideon know he’s called? Well, a couple of ways.

Just before this bit about the fleece, a messenger / angel comes and chats with Gideon about helping God’s people against foreign armies. And then God’s messenger zaps a small offering for the Lord just to make sure Gideon’s questions are satisfied. (Mmm, smells good.)

And then this whole bit about the fleece comes up.

Satisfied yet, Gideon???

A (Application): Who’s kidding? If a messenger of God came up to me…I’d be quite hesitant to believe. I’d want proof.

So, I’ve been known to ask God to wet the fleece or keep it dry. I try things in ministry to see if the fleece ends up wet / dry. I listen to those around me to see if fruitfulness comes from their words. I read the Scriptures, listening for words of comfort and challenge. I do, then reflect.

Where was God in that moment? How was I a witness to God’s presence in what we just did? How can I invite others to those moments?

Looking for the fleece. It’s not doubt. It’s reassurance from God. God’s putting signs out there for us. The question is: are we tuning into those signs?

P (Prayer): Lord, please show us the signs of your presence all around us. Amen.

And now, for your ear-worm: “I Saw the Sign,” by Ace of Base.


Decisions, Decisions

S (Scripture): Judges 6:36 Gideon said to God, “If you really intend to use me to deliver Israel, as you promised, then give me a sign as proof. 37 Look, I am putting a wool fleece on the threshing floor. If there is dew only on the fleece, and the ground around it is dry, then I will be sure that you will use me to deliver Israel, as you promised.” 38 The Lord did as he asked. When he got up the next morning, he squeezed the fleece, and enough dew dripped from it to fill a bowl. 39 Gideon said to God, “Please do not get angry at me, when I ask for just one more sign. Please allow me one more test with the fleece. This time make only the fleece dry, while the ground around it is covered with dew.” 40 That night God did as he asked. Only the fleece was dry and the ground around it was covered with dew.

O (Observation): God’s people – after the death of Joshua – go through a cycle of doing what is pleasing in the sight of the Lord, and doing what is NOT pleasing in the sight of the Lord.  One thing NOT pleasing is the worship of Ba’al.   God’s people experience a pull to worship Ba’al, and as a result, God allows the neighboring countries to take control of the land in which God’s people are living.  

Gideon is now being called upon to gather God’s people to resist the foreigner peoples and to follow God’s call to lead this resistance.  

Gideon would like a sign, though.   Interestingly, God doesn’t reprimand Gideon for wanting a sign.  Instead, God humors Gideon not once, but twice.  God show Gideon two signs.  Fleece is wet, ground is dry.  Then, fleece is dry, ground is wet.  Pretty solid declaration from The Lord. 

A (Application):  Ever had to make a tough decision?  A major decision?  

Do we get married?  Do I move away from family for a job? Which college do I attend?  Do I go on that mission trip?  Where will I become a part of a faith community?  What am I gonna do with my life?

Decisions are tough.  Understanding your calling in life is tough.  But you’re not alone!

When I started to discern my calling into pastoral ministry I doubted myself and I was cautioned by many (though very few said that I should NOT follow that path).   Yet, over time, as I mentioned it to more and more of my mentors and colleagues and church family, I was encouraged more and more.  God seemed to be dampening the fleece or keeping it dry as signs that I should pursue this course of life.  

You see…God has ways of coming to us and helping us to know what we are called to do.   God has a way of dampening the fleece or leaving it dry.   God has a way of helping us to determine how to move forward.  We need but pay attention.  

What major decisions do you have coming up? How will you seek God’s will in this decision?  

P (Prayer): Lord, you provide for us….help us to answer the call to action.  Amen. 

Re-Cap of Global Pilgrimage (Day 1 of 2)

Friday, 9/26/14, provided lots of “kairos” (God-moments), at 3DM’s Global Pilgrimage. I think my favorite quote of the day was when Jo Saxton (part of the 3DM team) was discussing Deborah in Judges 4, and the flaming chariots of the enemy were a foreboding and fearful image. Saxton explained the difference between what we see and what God might be seeing in this situation:

“We see chariots. God sees breakthrough.”
This quote sums up the whole day for me. A lot of times, we see church as an organization, or a gathering of like-minded individuals. I think church is so much more, and I think we hunger for more. I think we hunger for breakthrough.

Mike Breen, founder of 3DM, reminded us that God had Gideon (Judges 6) defeat an army of 10’s of 1,000’s with trumpets and torches.
Breen also pointed out that Gideon’s story starts out with the Israelites in the scarcity mentality. They are hiding in the hills, forgetting about their God of Abundance.

But once again, I come back to Saxton’s quote: “We see chariots. God sees breakthrough.”

Now, fill in the blank with the obstacle or threat that is blocking your view of God’s Kingdom breaking through:

“We see ________. God sees breakthrough.”

I’ll reflect on today’s event later.

Peace out! Pr. Michael Jannett