Put it down.
Pour it out.
Gideon, Week 4, Day 2
We focused last week on Week’s 5’s audio session and didn’t hone in the powerful homework from week 4. Since I can’t write a 2,000 word post, I’m going to spend most of our time on Day 2 of the homework for those of you following Priscilla Shirer’s Gideon study.
I wanted to write about Gideon asking the Angel of the Lord to wait and that’s the focus in Day 2. Judges 6 says this:
Then he said to Him, “If now I have found favor in Your sight, then show me a sign that it is You who talk with me. Do not depart from here, I pray, until I come to You and bring out my offering and set it before You.” And He said, “I will wait until you come back.” So Gideon went in and prepared a young goat, and unleavened bread from an ephah of flour. The meat he put in a basket, and he put the broth in a pot; and he brought them out to Him under the terebinth tree and presented them. The Angel of God said to him, “Take the meat and the unleavened bread and lay them on this rock, and pour out the broth.” And he did so. Then the Angel of the Lord put out the end of the staff that was in His hand, and touched the meat and the unleavened bread; and fire rose out of the rock and consumed the meat and the unleavened bread.
This is the first thing that struck me: God agreed to wait on Gideon. What? I can’t imagine. But Priscilla says, “God wanted to receive the gifts that Gideon would prepare. He cared about Gideon’s gifts – just like He cares about yours.” Gideon asked if he could bring the angel an offering. For that, the angel was willing to wait.
Then he went and prepared the offering. This is in a time where fast food does not exist. This is also a time of great need and deprivation. But Gideon goes and finds a goat, prepares the goat, and cooks the goat. Then he goes the to the trouble to bake bread. And simmer broth. The angel was waiting a very long time. After all that, Gideon comes back to present this painstakingly crafted offering.
This is the second thing that struck me: Gideon was asked to dump it all out on a rock. Oh no. After finding such plenty in a time of scare resources and after slaving away on a beautiful meal, the Angel of the Lord said what? Put it down! Pour it out! I have no idea how I would have reacted in that circumstance, but I am going to learn from Gideon here. “He did so.” He just did what was asked of him. This is what Priscilla says, “Releasing our gifts back to the Lord for Him to do with as He pleases is difficult and humbling – especially since we often harbor desires of what we hope He’ll do with them once we finally present them….without even knowing it, we’ve placed a demand on God to use our gift in a certain way. ” Week Four, Day Two
Once Gideon follows the instructions, a rock is turned into an altar – “Had Gideon’s gift gone as he hoped, it might have been tasty, but it wouldn’t have been a sacrifice to God.” Oh. Yes. So those four steps I led with, I don’t know where you are in the journey, but know that the first step is to prepare an offering to give to the Lord. But be forewarned, you may be called upon to pour it out.
I can’t leave today without at least mentioning this crazy test Gideon puts God through after this encounter. FYI, peace found Gideon after this offering, yet he still tested God. He asked for God to make a fleece wet with dew and the ground around it dry on the first morning. God did exactly that, responded to Gideon’s test, but then Gideon asks the next morning for God to make the ground wet and the fleece dry. There are some incredibly history lessons found in the study which you should not miss as to why this was the test chosen, but I only have time to mention the actual testing.
Have you tested God? Thrown down the gauntlet before Him? He is not scared of your test, but be careful. Priscilla contrasts Gideon’s testing of God with Moses “testing” or questioning of God in Exodus 4. In the latter, God got mad. In the former, God responded. Gideon had faith in God but was being careful before moving forward. Moses was doubting God and didn’t believe that he had the strength to accomplish the task God was calling him to. Guess what, he didn’t have the strength!!! He only needed to trust God was stronger.
I heard Christine Caine speak this week and she asked, when did we start believing that our limitations were stronger than God’s power to overcome them? That brings us back to the tag line to this study: Our weakness, God’s strength. Never test God out of a place of self-doubt. God can accomplish whatever He wants to accomplish through you if you will only let Him work.