Gideon, in the book of Judges had his own unique conversation with God. Threshing wheat in the wine press he meets with “The Angel of the Lord.” This appearance was a theophany – a manifestation of the preincarnate Christ. Note part of his encounter below.
Judges 6:14-18 (ESV) And the LORD turned to him and said, “Go in this might of yours and save Israel from the hand of Midian; do not I send you?” 15 And he said to him, “Please, Lord, how can I save Israel? Behold, my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.” 16 And the LORD said to him, “But I will be with you, and you shall strike the Midianites as one man.” 17 And he said to him, “If now I have found favor in your eyes, then show me a sign that it is you who speak with me. 18 Please do not depart from here until I come to you and bring out my present and set it before you.” And he said, “I will stay till you return.”
First, in verse twelve the Lord calls Gideon a “mighty man of valor.” Let’s remember Gideon was threshing wheat in the winepress which was normally carried out on a high open area. So why thresh wheat in a winepress? He feared the marauding Midianites; these were a people who terrorized the Nation of Israel for seven years.
Second, Gideon’s response in verse fifteen may have simply been a statement of humility, but most likely he was from a very poor family. We might also say that Gideon was the “runt” of his family. The facts surrounding Gideon’s family status makes the Lord’s choice of him to rescue the people Israel even more intriguing. As is often the case with God, He chooses the least likely from among us to do the greatest things in His name.
And third, why after such an encounter with God would Gideon request more conformation through not just one sign but two? One might think a conversation regarding God’s will with the preincarnate Christ would be more than enough to move ahead, but to me this seems contrary to our nature. Within us naturally abides a sense of fear, doubt, and lack of trust because of the misfortunes experienced in life.
So how can we know God’s will or directing today if we’ve never had a Moses, Daniel or Gideon experience?
As stated earlier I believe God continues to speak to us, but unlike Gideon and the others mentioned we must settle for a different form of communication. God speaks to us presently through His Word and prayer as He ministers to our spirit. The key to understanding His will involves at least three things.
- Learning to listen spiritually as we read, study, and meditate upon the Scriptures. As we do these things we become more adept at identifying what falls within the purview of God. Ask yourself this question: “Is there anything about this decision that is in opposition to God’s Word?”
- We need to maintain a submissive and contrite spirit. Those who humble themselves before God tend to be the most malleable and useful servants. Ask yourself this question: “Is there anything about this decision that glorifies me rather than God?”
- Trust and respond by faith. There comes a time when we must simply act because we are called to do so. Ask yourself this question: “Is there anything about this decision that would be unpleasing and dishonoring to God?”
The uncertainties we have will no doubt intensify our feelings of fear and angst causing levels of distress that can be debilitating at times. And like Gideon we’d love to have a miraculous sign to confirm God’s will but most likely that’s not about to happen. We overcome and advance by consistently practicing our faith.
I don’t mean to sound cynical in any way. I certainly believe in miracles, especially after witnessing the healing of my wife two years ago from a brain mass. I’m simply saying that knowing God’s will is not as complicated as we sometimes make it out to be. Just trust Him and hold true to His Word and you can’t go wrong.