God, give me a landmark.
If you have ever lived in Atlanta you have used this big red guy as a navigational tool for directions around the northern suburbs of the city.
How many times have I said: “If you see the big chicken you’ve gone too far, turn around” OR “If you passed the Big Chicken then you are on the right road” OR “You see the big chicken? Then you aren’t lost I promise.”
This big red bird with the roll around eyes is a way of showing travelers that they are doing okay on their path. That big red bird serves as a landmark and gives a sigh of relief when you think you are lost and going in the wrong direction. That one big red chicken has given many travelers a sense of peace and of reassurance that they are doing okay on their path.
Reading in the book of Judges, chapter 6 tells the story of Gideon. There are SO many lessons that I have learned from this story and here is one.
During this time the Midianites were giving Israel a hard time with constant warring and impoverishing the land so that they had to hide out in the mountain caves in order to escape. It became so bad that the Israelites again cried out to God for help as they had so many times in the past.
At the time Gideon, an Israelite, was working in his father's winepress when he was visited by an angel of the Lord. The angel of the Lord (most likely God Himself) spoke these words to him: The Lord is with you mighty warrior. Gideon became a bit defensive and was bold enough to respond by asking the angel - if the Lord is with us then why is all of this happening?
The angel responded by giving Gideon a task to do, he told him to go and save Israel. Gideon wasn't quite sure that he had heard that correctly and reminded God of all of the reasons why he couldn't do it. Gideon was so unsure of what he had heard that he asked God for a sign. God gave him the sign and Gideon then believed. What he believed was that he had encountered God - but his faith wavered in believing that God would use him to save Israel. So again Gideon asked the Lord for a sign. He said if you will save Israel by my hand as you have promised then have the dew fall only on the fleece that I have placed on the ground. God performed, but again his faith wavered. Gideon then requested a third sign. God was patient, yet again, and gave him the sign.
God did as He promised. Gideon and the Israelite army defeated the Midianites, using a very hesitant insecure warrior. I believe that Gideon was willing and that he knew God could save them but his insecurities were in his own ability to hear God correctly and that he had what it took for God to use him.
He needed reassurance.
Verse 17 says “If I have found favor in your eyes give me a sign that it is REALLY you talking to me….” God please let me know if it’s really you - Please reassure me – am I hearing you right – tell me again!
I don’t think he doubted God – I think he doubted himself.
Now for me....I have absolute faith in God. I know He has the power to do what He has promised, I know that He will never fail me, and I know that my ‘navigational tools’ are God’s word and prayer. But sometimes what I struggle with is faith in myself and my own ability to make decisions based on those tools.
Sometimes I look out at the path I’m on and wonder:
Am I doing okay?
Is my life really pleasing to God or am I fooling myself?
Am I doing enough?
Am I giving enough?
Am I spending enough time with God?
Do I need to go in a different direction or continue to follow the path that I’m on?
Have I made a mistake?
Is my heart really right and my motives really pure?
Sometimes I just need reassurance.
Sometimes I just need a landmark that I’m doing okay.
My prayer today:
Father God, I want to please you with my entire life. I want to be filled with you – to walk in your ways and for my every breath to be pleasing to you. Give me a landmark. A sign or a word that we are on the right path and have not drifted off or sat down in our comfortable life. Speak in a way that we know it’s you. Show us a sign that we are doing okay or a sign that we need to move in a different direction. Like Gideon, I need a little extra help to know – is it REALLY you? Did I hear you right? We want desperately to please you – reassure us that we are doing okay.
I adore you. Amen.