Monday, January 30, 2006

Gideon

Remember the story of Gideon from the Bible (Judges 6)? God tells him to do something, but Gideon lacks confidence, or clarity and so he tests God. I was listening to this in the car the other day on the way to work and it struck me...no where does it record that God gets upset. Gideon asks the LORD not to get angry (v. 39), but it never tells us that God was in fact upset. (Funny how I've always gotten the impression that Gideon was in the wrong here. It seems to me, the people that have taught this passage to me have always emphasized that Gideon had little faith -- but the TEXT doesn't demand that we be scornful of Gideon.) Frankly, there have been times in my life where I've felt like Gideon -- I lack confidence, I'm not real clear on a course of action -- and I'd like to put out a test for God -- just to make sure that we're on the same page. But I've always thought that it was wrong. I'm changing my mind. What do you think? Can I test God? Who makes up the tests? Me? God? What if I'm like Gideon and after one test, I decide that I need another...at what point have I gone too far. (by my count, God had to prove himself to Gideon 3 times).

7 comments:

david rudd said...

i think you're right. i do think, though, that there is a difference between seeking clarity from God and "testing" God. Jesus said in the wilderness that it was wrong to tempt/test God, but there I think he's talking about doing things we know to be unwise just to see if God will bail us out. that doesn't seem to be the case with Gideon. i think sometimes people are too quick to assume something is from God, and would be wise to lay out some tests...
sorry for the rant.

ckd said...

No! not a rant! Good Stuff!

I think this is an important distinction:

HEALTHY -- "God if you want me to bless this person, make the funds available to me to do so."

UNHEALTHY -- "God, I'm going to crash my car into this tree, if I'm not hurt, I'll start serving you."

Chris said...

In John 8, Jesus begs people to question him. (46ish-48ish) He begs them to question him because he knows that if they do question him, then take the answer they get, they will see the truth.

mitchell said...

Nietzsche said once something along the lines that it only those of great faith can question god. Following god is an interaction. There is no letter at the beginning of the day telling me what god wants me to do. It is faith that god will answer that allows us to poke and prod - with an underlining of our place in this world in comparison with the lord of hosts.

mitchell said...

Then again, maybe I shouldn't be using Nietzsche to form theology....

Beth B. said...

i totally agree. how do you grow closer in other realtionships? you question and communicate. at times you even "test" before you trust a new friend. the same is true with God! he wants us to question and wrestle over things with him. that is all part of being a constant apprentice of Christ, and making Him part of our daily thoughts and actions. If he wanted us to follow without question he wouldn't have left a constant mode of communication open for us or given us free will for that matter. I have found that in those times i am questioning and stretching my faith, those are the times i am growing the most. so i think it is good.

ckd said...

Great thoughts Beth!

and I do concur, Nietzsche is an unusual place to start for constructing a Christian theology!