(An excerpt from the sermon)
Sermon Series: UnPossible
I will affirm that God will often require me, at least in my human wisdom, to do something that seems unreasonable.
In Judges 7:1-2 it says,
Early in the morning, Jerub-Baal (that is, Gideon) and all his men camped at the spring of Harod. The camp of Midian was north of them in the valley near the hill of Moreh. The Lord said to Gideon, ‘You have too many men. I cannot deliver Midian into their hands, or Israel would boast against me. ‘My own strength has saved me.’
What's happening here?
God has built Gideon's faith in the supernatural by supernatural demonstrations, Gideon is now ready to advance to the next phase of his spiritual bootcamp. That's what life basically is for us, a spiritual bootcamp. Here's the situation from Gideon's vantage point. There's 135,000 well-trained Midianite warriors. They've set up camp near the hill of Moreh. The Bible tells us the Israelites set up their tents adjacent to the spring of Harod. If I were to take you to Israel today, I could show you how the hill of Moreh resides just above this spring of Harod so that whatever's happening at the spring would be in full view of the Midianite camp. Now as Gideon does the math, he's got 32,000 farmers. So he approaches the spring with 32,000 farmers as the 135,000 Midianites look on.
Now, Gideon's coming to this first board meeting in Judges chapter seven, thinking that God is going to give him some special military strategy. He knows he's outnumbered significantly at this point. He's four to one and, again, they're warriors versus farmers with picks and shovels. Gideon goes to the meeting and just imagine his consternation in verse two when God speaks to Gideon and says, “You have too many men for me to deliver Midian into their hands.” Now if you're Gideon you're thinking, what is this? Is this some kind of new math? What do you mean we have too many men? We're significantly outnumbered. The odds, as they presently stand, are four to one. If that's not bad enough, the Midianites are well experienced and we're just a bunch of farmers.
Now what's interesting is that God does not feel the need to explain. God sees exactly what He's going to do and how He's going to do it, but why He doesn't share that plan immediately with Gideon, we don't know. What we do know is that God's knowledge and understanding of this battle far exceeds our own.
We're not omniscient. He is.
We're unable to see what's coming and even if we did, we really couldn't do much about it. Second, our knowledge is limited not merely by what's coming but also about what is happening all around us at the same time. We don't know what the enemy's thinking. We don't know their strategy. God does. We don't know what they plan to do. We don't know what move on the chess board comes next. We don't know what move on the chess board will bring us ultimate victory. Simply put, there are too many moving parts, too many dots to be connected. God on the other hand would know every intricate detail about this situation. He controls all the moving parts. He knows exactly what we need to do to win the war and the battle. Given all the variables, He knows what we have to do to succeed in every endeavor. Therefore, what may seem irrational and illogical to you because of your limited knowledge actually becomes the key to victory.
So because God sees everything and knows how He intends to bring about this victory, He simply says to Gideon, “Gideon, I know this isn't going to make much sense to you, but you have too many men. I'm going to have to sift the army if you're going to be victorious.” And He says, “Gideon, I'm going to give you two tests.” I'm amazed there's no pushback from Gideon here. He knows the odds are four to one. Gideon is already growing in his faith because of his relationship with God. There's no pushback. He admits his own limitations and he says, okay, God, what do you want me to do?
There's a thing called walking in the Spirit where it may not make sense, but you've heard the voice of God. If you wait until everything makes sense, when you hear from God, you're never going to move into an extraordinary life and you're going to miss out on some of life's greatest adventures.
It's not only the test that comes into your life of how you'll respond to the big things, it's also how you will respond to the little things. When someone gossips or slanders you, when someone wounds you, when someone hurts you, when someone betrays you, when you don't get what you think you're entitled to. All those little tests, when somebody cuts in front of you, the little tests. God sees every single one of them. If you wonder sometimes why those tests keep happening to you, it's because you haven't passed it yet and, until you pass that test, you can't move from glory to glory.
Remember the old philosophical question: If a tree falls in the forest and there's no one around to hear it, does it still make a sound? In response to that query, someone quipped, “There once was a man who said, ‘God must think it exceedingly odd if He finds that this tree continues to be when there's no one about in the quad.Dear Sir, your astonishment’s odd: I am always about in the quad. And that's why the tree will continue to be, since observed by Yours faithfully, God.’”
The point is nothing is hidden from God.
Of course it makes a sound because God hears it. God is an active participant in every single event of your life, and I'm trying to get you to see not only the big ones but down to the minute ones, the small ones, from the way you respond to the guy who cut you off in traffic or cuts in line at the coffee shop, to the way you respond when unfortunate news turns your world upside down.
God is always watching.
Emmanuel means God with us. It means exactly that. That would be terrifying if it weren't for the grace and mercy of God because, remember, even when we fail those tests, salvation and forgiveness comes through the cross, but greatness comes through obedience.
If you think you can live in direct disobedience to God in any area of your life and experience an extraordinary life, you'll get by for a while on your own talents and abilities but sooner or later, your sins will find you out. God loves you, but you're stuck. You're not going anywhere and you're definitely not going to achieve your greatest potential. If you want to get the most out of your life, if you want to be used by God for extraordinary things, if you want to escape this life of mediocrity into the land of extraordinary adventure, you must develop the crucial habit of obeying God even when it seems unreasonable to you. Your willingness to follow His instruction determines His willingness to pour out His divine energy into your life.
Following Jesus unconditionally leads to adventures and victories beyond what you could hope or imagine.
If you're stuck and you feel as though you're not being used for anything great, in fact, you may even feel that right now you're holding on for dear life. This is the perfect time to ask God to give you a Jesus revelation and to reveal to you that area in your life where you're in direct disobedience, fallaciously believing that your disobedience will not impact the quality of your life. This is a great time then, when God opens your eyes to that reality or truth. That you repent and move on because, until you do, yeah, God's grace is there, God loves you, God saves you, but you're stuck. You're stuck in a mediocre life when God has so much more for you.
Commit to chase hard after resolution two: I will affirm that God will often require me to do something that seems unreasonable, knowing that my obedience leads to the greatest adventures and victories of my life.
So the ultimate question comes for all of us: Given the fact that God sees every event in your life, that He sees what's coming before you do, He sees all the moving parts around you, He sees all the decisions that everyone's going to make around you, your boss, your spouse, your children, everyone and everything, are you willing to be used by God for something extraordinary, for an extraordinary victory? But are you stuck? Are you stuck because you won't trust and obey the hard word?
Jesus did the hard thing, and now He sits at the right hand of the Father because He said, “Not My will, but Yours be done.” He trusted the Father and now reigns with Him forevermore. What I'm saying to you is that until you live your life by the resolution that God will often ask you to do what seems to be unreasonable, and you acknowledge that He knows far more than you do about everything that's happening around you, and because you've learned to trust and obey Him, if you will obey this hard word, you, my friend, are about to live an adventurous, extraordinary life.
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