This sermon was inspired (and partly stolen -- smile) from the Rev. Dr. George Champion, the director of Evangelism for the A.M.E. Church. He was in Chicago and preached a revival at Bethel A.M.E. Church, and I was blessed to hear it. I also know that it was an important message to share with my own congregation, since we all need to trust in the Lord more, especially when trying to build a church. I should state that this is one of my favorite sermons that I have preached.
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This morning's sermon comes from Judges 6:36-40
Gideon said to God, "If you will save Israel by my hand as you have promised-- look, I will place a wool fleece on the threshing floor. If there is dew only on the fleece and all the ground is dry, then I will know that you will save Israel by my hand, as you said." And that is what happened. Gideon rose early the next day; he squeezed the fleece and wrung out the dew-- a bowlful of water. Then Gideon said to God, "Do not be angry with me. Let me make just one more request. Allow me one more test with the fleece. This time make the fleece dry and the ground covered with dew." That night God did so. Only the fleece was dry; all the ground was covered with dew.
Let us meditate on the subject --
Where is Your Trust?
Gideon was hand picked by God to deliver the Israelites from the hand of the Midianites. Now Gideon was a man from a small tribe, the tribe of Manasseh. When the angel of the Lord came to Gideon and told him what he was to do, Gideon reminded God that he was a man from a small tribe and inexperienced at the art of warfare. But the Lord told Gideon that he would be
with him, and even called him a mighty warrior. All of this would be simple, and all Gideon had to do was trust God.
Gideon had felt that the Lord had abandoned them by allowing the Midianites to enslave his tribe. He had heard the stories of how the Lord delivered his people from the Egyptians, and he could not help but to wonder why if God delivered Gideon's people once, why they couldn't do it again.
But the Lord was insistent. He wanted Gideon to be the leader of this rebellion. He wanted Gideon to take an army and gain his people's freedom. But Gideon was not so sure. He was filled with doubts and questions. As you read the whole story of Gideon, it seems that he was not sure that God would do what he said. Sure, previously he has seen the signs of God when the
meat and unleavened bread was consumed by fire on the rock, but there was something in Gideon that just wouldn't let him give himself totally over to the will of God. God told him again that he would be with Gideon. Gideon just needed to trust God.
But somehow Gideon went along with God's plan. God told him to go into the village and destroy the idol and a pole nest to it, both of which were used to worship Baal. The next morning the people of the town were outraged at what had been done, and after doing some investigating and talking to people, they found out that Gideon had torn down the idol and the pole, and for
that, they decided, Gideon must be killed. But the Lord had already told him that he would not die.
So when the townspeople came to get Gideon for destroying the idol, Gideon's father challenged them. He told them that if Baal was so powerful and so mighty, let Baal deal with Gideon. The townspeople reluctantly agreed, and walked away. Gideon, not believing what has just happened should have heard the whisper of the voice of God saying, "Trust me."
Then we come to the meat of our text. Gideon is preparing to go into battle, but he is still having some unsure feelings. He's not sure what is going to happen, and despite the several other incidents, he is still not sure if God is on his side. So he goes to God and tells him that he is going to put down a fleece of wool on the floor, and if God is going to be with Gideon, then the fleece
will be wet but the floor and everything around and under the fleece will be dry. And when Gideon woke up the next morning, he found that God had done just that -- and in fact there was such much water in the fleece that it filled a bowl.
But that wasn't enough for Gideon. He need more. So he goes to God one more time, pleading with him not to be angry with him. He knows he is still unsure but he wants God to indulge him just once more. Just one more time and he would bother God no more. So Gideon reversed it. This time he put fleece on the floor and asked God to make the floor wet but the fleece dry. Once again, God performed, and Gideon should have heard the words of God in his ear, "Trust me."
One of my favorite movies of all time is a movie called Risky Business. At the end of the movie when the plot line has been wrapped up, Joel the character played by Tom Cruise, says in a narration during the movie -- "If there was any logic to our language, trust would be a four letter word." And indeed if we think about it, trust often times is used as if it were a four letter word.
Everyone wants to be trusted. Everyone wants to be a trust worthy individual. People build their lives around issues of trust. But trust is a tricky animal, one that should not be used or taken lightly.
When it comes to trust, it must be earned. Like respect, you can't just run around giving it away. The people in your lives have to earn your trust for them to play any significant part in your life.
But as hard it is it for us to trust people, it seems that it is very easy for us to trust things. We trust our cars, we trust our houses, we trust building, we trust light switches and a myriad of other things. We give our trust easier to material possessions than we do to people that we know. And sometimes this even includes members of our own family.
But often times the person who we have the hardest time trusting is God. God gives us so much and does so much for us, but yet in still, we seem to have a problem with giving Him the trust that he deserves.
In those times we don't trust God, we expect him to prove Himself to us, like Gideon did. Despite the numerous times God had told Gideon and shown Gideon that He was with them, Gideon still need more proof. He just didn't get it. Gideon was too concerned in who Gideon was and not focusing on who God was. If that was the case, Gideon would not have had those problems.
Many of us do the same thing. How many times have we been in a situation, presented with two options, and we go with the second option, only to realize that the second option was a mistake. And how many times have we said to ourselves, "I should have gone with my first mind." Well, that first mind, that first thought is God. It is God giving us the first and best option, but not heeding the words of God, not heeding what we know is the best choice, we instead choose to follow ourselves. We have to trust God.
When we have a guilty conscience, we have to realize where that is coming from. That is a direct response of us going against the will of God. Not having enough trust in God to realize that everything we need will be given to us by the hand of God. We get upset and worry and fret and get ulcers, when if we listened to God and trusted in Him, we wouldn't have those guilty feelings, ulcers or anything else. We have to trust God.
You see, when we trust God, when we trust God fully and without question, things start falling into place. The things we once thought were impossible, become very probable. The things that we viewed with a suspicious eye become crystal clear. And even better, the things we once worried about no longer give us a second thought. We have to trust God.
Because if we understand the very nature of God, that when He says He's going to do something, then it's done, then we have no need to worry or to question Him. We have no need to wonder if God is going to take care of our problems. If when we are praying, and we are sincere in our prayers and we ask God to take care of the situation for us, then we no longer need to worry about any of it, because it is done. We have to trust God.
The curious thing to me about this scripture is that God allowed himself to be tested. Now granted, I do understand that there are times when we as humans need and desire proof, and God recognized this need in Gideon that he needed proof in order to go to the next level. And we do see the evidence in scripture and in our own lives where we try to bargain with God and make
a deal. "God, if you would just this one time help me out................" or something like that.
But we should know that God is always with us, always behind us, always ready to give us a hand, if we trust Him. That even when everything is hopeless, when everything looks bleak and dark, if we trust Him, it gets done.
But involved in that trust of God must come the realization that nothing can be done without God. Just because we ask God for something and we get it, does not mean that God is no longer in the picture. In fact, it is just the opposite. Because when God gives you something, you have to make sure you use it in the right light and in the right manner.
When we put our full and total trust in God, then we begin to get a glimpse of the very nature of God. I do not think we can truly comprehend the nature of God because He is what He is -- all knowing, all powerful. But when we give our total trust over to Him, put our troublesome situations directly into His hands, if we are able to have the faith necessary to give Him our all, then our trust and our faith in him will be rewarded.
When we have situations on our job, with our boss and our co-worker and we trust God and give it over to Him, the situation will be handled. If we have problems with our friends or family members and we give the situation totally over to God, trusting him, it will be taken care of. If we can manage to let go of ourselves and let our ego take a back seat and our trust in God take the drivers seat, God will take care of it. If when we come to the altar with a concern or a problem, and we trust God enough to leave it on the altar, to not continue to worry or fret about it, then it will be handled.
If we ask God to do something for us, then we need to give total control over to Him. To trust Him enough to handle the situation as He sees fit. Now sometimes, it may not go like how we want, but it will go how God wants. And after all, who knows more, us or God?
There is a saying, "Let Go, Let God." And what that is saying is that when problems arise that are so great and so mighty that you can't figure out where to turn or where to go, trust God. If a situation arises that challenges your very soul, trust God. If something happens to you and you don't know why or how, trust God. If you are trying to do something, to get something accomplished, and you feel you need a extra bit of help, trust God.
If you are confronted with people who are constantly telling you what you cannot do, people who always want to try to bring you down and you need a bit of faith, trust God. If you run into the type of people who only want to do you harm, cause you trouble or grief, trust God. If you want to learn how to forgive the person who has done wrong to you, trust God. If you want you children to grow up happy and healthy and full of like, trust God. If we as a body of Christ want to save souls, we have to trust God. If we want Miller Chapel to grow into something that no one thinks it can, we have to trust God.
We need to trust God. It's that simple. After all, look what has been done for us. God gave His son to be killed so that we might have a better life. God made a sacrifice for us and to us so that we might believe and have strength in us. We have been given the opportunity to exist in a world where all we have to do is trust in Him and call on His name, and we are told all things will be done for us.
We need to trust in God. If we can trust our cars to start in the morning, if we can trust in the light switch to turn lights on and off, if we can trust in the phone to work when we called a love one, if we can trust in the sun to shine, if we can trust in the bank to still have our money, then we can trust in God. We can trust in God even at those times when we do not trust ourselves. We can trust in God even in those times where all of our hope is gone. We can trust in God when we think no one else can help us or do anything for us. We can trust in God to know that by the sacrifice of His son, there is a place for us in Heaven. We can trust in God to know that we are His children. We can trust in God to know that He will take care of us and we can trust in God to know that he is here for us.
(Charles E. Smoot © 2000-2009, all rights reserved)