"Gideon said, "If you're serious about this, do me a favor: Give me a sign to back up what you're telling me. Don't leave until I come back and bring you my gift." He said, "I'll wait till you get back." Gideon went and prepared a young goat and a huge amount of unraised bread (he used over half a bushel of flour!). He put the meat in a basket and the broth in a pot and took them back under the shade of the oak tree for a sacred meal.The angel of God said to him, "Take the meat and unraised bread, place them on that rock, and pour the broth on them." Gideon did it.The angel of God stretched out the tip of the stick he was holding and touched the meat and the bread. Fire broke out of the rock and burned up the meat and bread while the angel of God slipped away out of sight. And Gideon knew it was the angel of God! Gideon said, "Oh no! Master, God! I have seen the angel of God face to face!" But God reassured him, "Easy now. Don't panic. You won't die." Then Gideon built an altar there to God and named it "God's Peace." It's still called that at Ophrah of Abiezer."
Do you know what just happened? Do you see the symbolism? The angel of God made an offering out of Gideon's meal. Without a sacred altar, or a priest, God himself instructed Gideon on how to lay it out and then he provided the fire.
Gideon was entering into something so holy, and he was so unaware.
You know what, friends? Its okay to question God. Its okay to ask him for a sign. He knows that you are shaking in your boots - wanting to believe him, but so, so scared. He can handle your questions and your fear. He can handle your uncertainty. He's big enough. He's God enough. There will come a time when God will stir the breeze of your life again; when you will find yourself unexpectedly on holy ground. He may have been so silent, so still, for a very long time - leaving you to question whether or not he's even still watching. But in this moment of stirring, of miraculous wonder, you'll know. He's been sitting amongst us, watching, listening, waiting for the rawest moment. He's been present all along. And the altar we'll build in that realization?
We will name it God's Peace.
Because our fear will start to wane. Courage only comes in the face of conviction. It rises over the weight of our fear and invokes something we thought was long dead: desire. We see evidence of God and we are shaken. That shaking makes us brave. We want more.
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