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January 16, 2019

Doubt

Fear and doubt work against us. Doubt: uncertainty, unsettled, lack of trust, lacking confidence. When someone starts to doubt, they’re looking at the obstacles. Doubt questions but faith gives answers.

Peter walked on the water while he kept his eyes on Jesus. He started to sink when he looked at the waves around him. We’ll all be tried and tempted in hard situations and that’s when we face doubt, but Jesus helps us when we seek him without doubting. The Israelites did evil before God so he delivered them to the Midianites and Amalekites. They destroyed the Israelites crops so they were very poor. When it got very bad, they cried out to God for help.

Judges 6:1-10…Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord: and the Lord delivered them into the hand of Midian seven years. And…Israel made them the dens which are in the mountains, and caves…when Israel had sown, that the Midianites… and the Amalekites…destroyed the increase…left no sustenance for Israel, neither sheep, nor ox, nor ass. For…they came as grasshoppers for multitude…Israel was greatly impoverished…Israel cried unto the Lord because of the Midianites, That the Lord sent a prophet…said …I brought you up from Egypt…out of the hand of the Egyptians…all that oppressed…gave you their land…I am the Lord your God; fear not the gods of the Amorites…but ye have not obeyed my voice.

God doesn’t want us to wait until it gets very bad to call on him. God sent a prophet to tell them why they were in their situation and that they hadn’t obeyed God. An angel met Gideon as he threshed wheat while hiding and said God was with him and would send him to deliver Israel. Gideon doubted because of what was happening and asked why they were delivered into the Midianites hands. Gideon asked for a sign to know it was really an angel talking to him.

Judges 6:11-23 And there came an angel…Gideon threshed wheat by the winepress, to hide it from the Midianites…said unto him, The Lord is with thee, thou mighty man of valour. And Gideon said…Oh my Lord, if the Lord be with us, why then is all this befallen us? and where be all his miracles which our fathers told…but now the Lord hath forsaken us, and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites. And the Lord…said, Go in this thy might, and thou shalt save Israel from… the Midianites: have not I sent thee? And he said…Oh my Lord, wherewith shall I save Israel? behold, my family is poor in Manasseh, and I am the least…And the Lord said…Surely I will be with thee, and thou shalt smite the Midianites as one man. And he said…If now I have found grace in thy sight, then shew me a sign that thou talkest with me. Depart not hence, I pray thee, until I…bring forth my present, and set it before thee. And he said, I will tarry… And Gideon…made ready a kid, and unleavened cakes…the flesh he put in a basket, and he put the broth in a pot, and brought it…And the angel of God said…Take the flesh and the unleavened cakes, and lay them upon this rock, and pour out the broth. And he did so. Then the angel…put forth the end of the staff…there rose up fire out of the rock, and consumed the flesh and the unleavened cakes. Then the angel…departed out of his sight…Gideon perceived that he was an angel…said, Alas, O Lord God! for because I have seen an angel of the Lord face to face. And the Lord said unto him, Peace be unto thee; fear not: thou shalt not die.

Just like God encouraged Gideon that he’d be with him, God will encourage us when we face trials where we doubt. Fire came out of the rock to consume Gideon’s sacrifice. He still doubted and asked for a sign that the fleece would be wet when the ground was dry in the morning. Gideon still wasn’t convinced when it happened. He asked God to not be angry and give him another sign, that the ground be wet and the fleece be dry. God didn’t chastise him for his doubts.

Judges 6:36-40 And Gideon said unto God, If thou wilt save Israel by mine hand…I will put a fleece of wool in the floor; and if the dew be on the fleece only, and…dry upon all the earth beside, then shall I know…And it was so: for he rose up early…and thrust the fleece together, and wringed the dew out of the fleece, a bowl full of water. And Gideon said…Let not thine anger be hot against me, and I will speak but this once…let it now be dry only upon the fleece, and upon all the ground let there be dew. And God did so…for it was dry upon the fleece only, and there was dew on all the ground.

God told Gideon there were too many people to go lest in pride they would think they saved themselves. He said to send home those that were fearful and it was 2/3 of the people. There were 10,000 left and it was still too many. He said those who were watchful as they drank water would go with Gideon. We need to always watch out for the enemy.

Judges 7:2-11…Lord said unto Gideon, The people…are too many…lest Israel vaunt themselves against me, saying, Mine own hand hath saved me…Whosoever is fearful and afraid, let him return…returned of the people twenty and two thousand; and there remained ten thousand…Lord said…The people are yet too many; bring them down unto the water …Every one that lappeth of the water with his tongue, as a dog…set by himself; likewise every one that boweth down upon his knees to drink. And…them that lapped, putting their hand to their mouth, were three hundred…By the three hundred men that lapped will I save you, and deliver the Midianites…let all the other people go…So the people took victuals in their hand, and their trumpets…Lord said…get thee down unto the host; for I have delivered it into thine hand. But if thou fear… go thou with Phurah thy servant down to the host…hear what they say…be strengthened…Then went he…with Phurah…

God wanted to strengthen Gideon’s faith and confidence. He didn’t condemn Gideon for doubting. When Gideon was still afraid, God said to take his servant and go hear what the host said. He heard a Midianite tell another his dream and said God would deliver them into Gideon’s hand. Now Gideon had faith and confidence to believe God would help them.

Judges 7:12-15 And the Midianites and the Amalekites…lay along in the valley like grasshoppers for multitude…when Gideon was come…man that told a dream unto his fellow, and said…cake of barley bread tumbled into the host of Midian …unto a tent…that it fell…fellow answered and said, This is nothing else save the sword of Gideon…into his hand hath God delivered Midian…Gideon heard…returned into…Israel, and said…Lord hath delivered into your hand the host of Midian.

Gideon and the 300 Israelites only had lighted lamps and trumpets, but God delivered the Midianites into their hands.

Judges 7:16-21 And he divided the…men into three companies, and he put a trumpet in every man’s hand, with empty pitchers, and lamps within the pitchers. And he said…when I come to the outside of the camp…as I do, so shall ye do. When I blow with a trumpet…blow ye…say, The sword of the Lord, and of Gideon. So…they blew the trumpets, and brake the pitchers…cried, The sword of the Lord, and of Gideon…and all the host ran, and cried, and fled.

When we lack wisdom, there will be doubts. We need to go to God, not our friends, and ask without doubt or wavering. God won’t upbraid or scold us. Gideon didn’t ask anyone else when he had doubts; he went to God. Gideon was unstable and doubted until he overheard what the Midianite said about his dream. God wants us to seek him and not doubt.

James 1:5-8 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind …For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.

Zacharias and Elisabeth were righteous and blameless but Zacharias doubted when the angel said they’d have a son in their old age. He asked the angel how he would know it. The angel said he’d not be able to speak until John was born. Zacharias voice was restored 9 months later when he wrote “John” after someone asked the name of the baby.

Luke 1:5-20…priest named Zacharias…and his wife…Elisabeth…were both righteous…blameless. And they had no child, because that Elisabeth was barren, and they both…stricken in years…And there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord …said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard…Elisabeth shall bear thee a son…call his name John…he shall go…make ready a people prepared for the Lord. And Zacharias said…Whereby shall I know this? for I am an old man, and my wife well stricken in years…angel answering said…I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God…thou shalt be dumb, and not able to speak, until the day…because thou believest not my words, which shall be fulfilled in their season.

John was in prison a while and sent disciples 90 miles to ask if Jesus was the Messiah. When Jesus was baptized he heard God say Jesus was his beloved Son. He was probably wondering why Jesus didn’t get him out of prison. Jesus quoted God’s word in Isaiah for John. Doubts come but we need to trust God and his word to have the faith he wants us to have.

Matthew 11:2-6 Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples, And said unto him, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another? Jesus answered…Go and shew John…things which ye do hear and see: The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.

 

(Notes from the Mature Class Bible Study, teacher Edith Tolbert)