Saturday, April 28, 2012

Whose voice is that?

Sometimes I hear about people wanting to do outlandish things in the name of God.  Not just going across the street and talking to their neighbor (many of them wouldn't even consider THAT!!) No, I'm talking about leaving home and family, going to a very dangerous place and risking orphan-hood for one's children, seemingly just to prove a point and get outside one's comfort zone in a big way.  

God's in the habit of getting people outside their comfort zone, that's for sure.  Lots of people in history have stepped into some pretty uncomfortable places to do things that they were sure God had told them to do. The thing with that though, is that when God took the initiative and contacted them, they wanted to be SURE that it was God.  Gideon is a prime example. 

Now Gideon gets a bad rep for putting out that fleece. You know what? I think he was really smart.  I think that he had to be SURE that it was God talking because this was a big step he was going to take, delivering Israel from the occupying Midianites (who were some really nasty-and-not-nice folks, burning people's crops and killing their children, stealing their livestock, things like that.) God hadn't actually spoken to anyone through an angel since Joshua - several generations past - so Gideon was pretty insistent that he be sure it was God talking or he wasn't going to budge. That's a wise move, because he knew that things were going to get tough!! No way was he going to risk his life for someone other than God. And God NEVER condemned him for his fleeces, for they were set out with a burning desire to know the truth! 

Once convinced, though - nothing, no setback, no obstacle was enough to make Gideon doubt his calling.  He lived up to what the angel called him on the first day (ironically, while he was threshing wheat in a pit, at night, for fear of being discovered by the Midianites): "Mighty man of valor."  God came through for him, that time and every time.

But sometimes - these days when we are so steeped in tradition and complacency, when there seems to be no direction (or we just don't wait on God long enough to hear it) - some people just get fed up with the status quo and decide to take matters into their own hands.  They get this idea in their heads of doing great exploits, of making their mark, of challenging their limits, and nothing or no one can dissuade them that it is not God's will.  So they plow ahead and ask Him to bless their well-laid plans.     

This is insanity, pure and simple.  I wonder sometimes if these people are really only carrying out their grandiose schemes for shock value, to make a splash, rather than to really seek to do God's will.  The Scriptures make it clear: if God wants something done, He will provide the way; we won't have to chase after people and beg them to help us, fund us, or whatever.  We won't have to design a website, take out a full-page ad, go on the campaign trail, and/or do a telethon and play on people's sense of guilt and shame. God will open doors and HE will be better at it than we could ever be.  

If I hear a voice or get an impression telling me to do something completely radical that will affect not only my life but my husband's and/or my kids', I'd like to think that I would be more inclined to ask God for confirmation, like Gideon did, and more than just once!  It's not wrong to ask, "Is this really You? Show me in a way that I will know for sure!"  And, "If this is not You - show me that too, because unless You lead the way, I don't want to go any further."  

If the voice I hear isn't God's but my own imagination of what I think He wants (or someone else's idea, could be another believer's and it could even be the enemy's!) - and I go ahead like gangbusters - I am guaranteed that I will fall flat on my face.  It's a sure thing.  That's why I would want to be absolutely sure of His leading.  And if it is Him... I would want Him to lead the rest of the way too, instead of me going off half-cocked and lousing up what He started.  And I have.  Way too often. 

It's so much better to be able to know and recognize His voice when He speaks.  The more we recognize it, the faster we can get to the letting-Him-lead part.  

And that's the exciting stuff. 

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