Judges 06: Assurance in fear

Judges 6:1-40

Judges 6:11-16 – 11 Now the angel of the Lord came and sat under the terebinth at Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, while his son Gideon was beating out wheat in the winepress to hide it from the Midianites. 12 And the angel of the Lord appeared to him and said to him, “The Lord is with you, O mighty man of valor.” 13 And Gideon said to him, “Please, my lord, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all his wonderful deeds that our fathers recounted to us, saying, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt?’ But now the Lord has forsaken us and given us into the hand of Midian.” 14 And the Lord turned to him and said, “Go in this might of yours and save Israel from the hand of Midian; do not I send you?” 15 And he said to him, “Please, Lord, how can I save Israel? Behold, my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.” 16 And the Lord said to him, “But I will be with you, and you shall strike the Midianites as one man.”

If you grew up in church, I am sure you are very familiar with Gideon’s story. His story is one of the most popular stories in Sunday school. If you are not familiar with Gideon’s story, you are about to be. I divided Gideon’s story into four sermons. The first two sermons are great. They are very uplifting and encouraging. But the other two sermons are nightmares. Gideon’s story begins so well and ends so miserably. There is so much that we can learn from his story. Today we are going to look at the beginning of Gideon’s story. We will see how God called a fearful person and turned him into a courageous person. And courage is one of the most important Christian virtues. We can’t live a Christian life without it. Do you know what’s the most repeated command in the Bible? It is “fear not.” It’s about having courage. But if I can be honest, courage is something that I struggled with a lot. It might surprise you because I seem very courageous on Sunday. But on Monday to Saturday, I often struggle with having courage. Sometimes I struggle with sharing the gospel with non-believers. Sometimes I struggle with speaking the truth to my friends out of fear of rejection. Sometimes I struggle to trust God with my future and I make decisions out of fear instead of faith.

And I am sure many of you are struggling with courage as well. I do not know all the details that are going on in your life, but I do know that many of you are facing uncertainty. Some of you are in a place where you just don’t know what to do. You don’t know how you are supposed to make your relationship work. You don’t know what do to with your child. You don’t know what to do with work. Or maybe you know but you are afraid. You are afraid of the challenges in front of you. You do not know if you have what it takes. You doubt yourself. Or maybe you are in a place of despair. You made a big mess and you can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. You don’t see any way out. And tonight, you need courage. If that’s you, I have good news for you tonight. No matter what situation you are in, you can have courage. Get this. Courage is not found in what we can do; courage is found in having the assurance of who is with us. The story of Gideon is not about Gideon. The story of Gideon is about God who secures victory for His people against overwhelming odds. And that’s where we find courage.

So, let’s look at what happened. I have four points for this sermon: Deep trouble; Undeserved grace; Unnegotiable demand; Divine assurance.

Deep trouble

Judges 6:1-6 – The people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, and the Lord gave them into the hand of Midian seven years. And the hand of Midian overpowered Israel, and because of Midian the people of Israel made for themselves the dens that are in the mountains and the caves and the strongholds. For whenever the Israelites planted crops, the Midianites and the Amalekites and the people of the East would come up against them. They would encamp against them and devour the produce of the land, as far as Gaza, and leave no sustenance in Israel and no sheep or ox or donkey. For they would come up with their livestock and their tents; they would come like locusts in number—both they and their camels could not be counted—so that they laid waste the land as they came in. And Israel was brought very low because of Midian. And the people of Israel cried out for help to the Lord.

Chapter 5 ends with the author telling us that there is rest in the land of Israel for 40 years. But chapter 6 begins with the start of another “Judges cycle” where Israel forgets the Lord and what the Lord has done. They turn to idols and do what is evil in the sight of God. And because of it, God gives them into the hand of Midian for seven years. And those seven years is a very troubling time for Israel. Remember that the people of Israel are Agrarian people. They make a living through crops. So whenever the Israelites planted their crops, the Midianites would invade with a huge army and take everything for themselves. The Israelites are overpowered, and they hide in caves and mountains whenever the Midianites attack. It’s like having your unbelieving neighbours take your car anytime they want, and there is nothing you can do to stop them. For seven years, Israel had no means of sustenance. For seven years, they are hungry, poor, and tired. Every year, as sure as income tax, the Midianites would come and plunder all the goods. Israel is brought very low and they finally cry out to God for help. Note, there is no sign of repentance. They are simply crying out to God for help because of their misery. And look at what happens next.

Judges 6:7-10 – When the people of Israel cried out to the Lord on account of the Midianites, the Lord sent a prophet to the people of Israel. And he said to them, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: I led you up from Egypt and brought you out of the house of slavery. And I delivered you from the hand of the Egyptians and from the hand of all who oppressed you, and drove them out before you and gave you their land. 10 And I said to you, ‘I am the Lord your God; you shall not fear the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell.’ But you have not obeyed my voice.”

When the people of Israel cry out to God, we expect God to raise a judge to save them. But God does not do that. Instead, He sends them a prophet. That’s a strange answer. Imagine your car breaks down on a highway and you call road assistance for help. And the road assistance sends me, your pastor, instead of a mechanic. What can I do to fix your car? The best I can do is to lay hand on the engine and pray for your car. You would say, “Thanks, pastor. I appreciate you coming all the way here and praying for my car. But I don’t need a pastor. I need a mechanic. You are not much of help.” This is what’s happening in this text. What Israel needs is a hero, not a prophet. What they want is a rescue, not a sermon. But God’s first response to their cry is, “I am going to send someone to preach to you.” Why? Because the Israelites have not learned their lesson. They think what they need is a hero to rescue them from their enemies. They do not understand their real problem. They think the Midianites are the problem. And God says through the prophet, “You got it all wrong. The Midianites are not the problem. The Midianites are the means I used to discipline you because of your problem. Your problem is you have forgotten Me, the Lord your God. You have forgotten how I delivered you from the hand of Egypt and gave you the land of Canaan. You have forgotten that you are mine and you shall have no other gods. You did not obey me, and you worship other gods. That’s your problem.” In other words, God sends a prophet to convict them of their sin. Because the people of Israel are regretful, but not repentant. And if they are to appreciate the rescue that will come, they need to understand why they need rescuing. The reason behind their misery is not the overwhelming strength of the Midianites but their sins, their idolatry.

So, let’s apply it to our lives. Whenever we experience misery, we immediately seek escape from our misery. We pray, we cry out to God for help, and that’s good. But oftentimes, God will answer our prayer with a strange answer. Maybe today we come to church seeking something from God. We want God to help us in our troubles. But instead of delivering us from our troubles, God turns the spotlight onto our hearts. Why? Listen. Sometimes before God rescues us from our troubles, He needs to teach us why we are in those troubles in the first place. Maybe we are crying out to God. Maybe we are regretful. But the Bible makes a clear distinction between Godly sorrow that leads to repentance and worldly sorrow that leads to death. Both are filled with sorrow but they are completely different. The question we must ask ourselves is not whether we regretted our sins or not, but whether we have repented of our sins or not. Because sorrow that does not produce any real change is useless.

This is the way Timothy Keller puts it. “Regret is all about us: how I am being hurt, how my life is ruined, how my heart is breaking; but repentance is all about God: how He has been grieved, how His nature as Creator and Redeemer is being trampled on, how His repeated saving actions are being trivialized and used manipulatively.” The reason God sends the people of Israel a prophet is to move them beyond regret to repentance. So, here is a question for all of us. Are we sorry for the consequences of our sins? Or are we sorry that our sins have damaged our relationship with God? There is a big difference between falling into sin and living in sin. If we fall into sin, we grieve, we repent, and we change. If we live in sin, we might feel sorry for the consequences, but we have no desire to change. And sometimes, just like the Israelites, we might be blind to the fact that we are living in sin. And God in His kindness brings us very low that we have no other choice but to cry out to Him. Because God wants to be our only option. And He uses troubles to get our attention and tells us our real problem.

And here is what’s amazing about God. There is no hint of Israel’s repentance in this passage. And yet God does not wait for His people to repent before He comes to their rescue. God does not give them what they deserved. Instead, God raises up a judge to deliver His people even though His people have not repented. And isn’t that what God does with us as well? He does not give us what we deserved. If God give us what we deserved we would not be here today. But while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. God does not save us because we repent. We repent because God loves us and decided to save us. It is the kindness of God that leads to repentance.

Undeserved grace

Judges 6:11-15 – 11 Now the angel of the Lord came and sat under the terebinth at Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, while his son Gideon was beating out wheat in the winepress to hide it from the Midianites. 12 And the angel of the Lord appeared to him and said to him, “The Lord is with you, O mighty man of valor.” 13 And Gideon said to him, “Please, my lord, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all his wonderful deeds that our fathers recounted to us, saying, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt?’ But now the Lord has forsaken us and given us into the hand of Midian.” 14 And the Lord turned to him and said, “Go in this might of yours and save Israel from the hand of Midian; do not I send you?” 15 And he said to him, “Please, Lord, how can I save Israel? Behold, my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.”

This is God’s undeserved grace for His people. Instead of sending judgement for their sins, God raises up Gideon to save Israel. So, the angel of the Lord comes to Gideon while he is beating out wheat in the winepress. This is strange. Because beating out wheat is something you do in the open. You need wind to blow away the chaff from the wheat. But a winepress is underground. A terrible place to beat wheat. So, why is Gideon beating up wheat in the winepress? Because Gideon is no Jack Bauer, John Wick, or Tony Stark. He is just an ordinary person trying his best to make it another day. And he does not want to risk being attacked by the Midianites and having his crops taken away. He is afraid. That is why he is doing it underground.

But when the angel of the Lord appears to him, the angel says, “The Lord is with you, O mighty man of valor.” And Gideon is probably like, “Err? Who are you talking to? You are not talking to me, right? But I don’t see anyone else in the room.” Why? Because Gideon knows he is a coward. He is a man of fear. But God calls him a mighty man of valour. How come? Some say that God is being sarcastic. So, God is saying, “Hey mighty man of valour” while He winks at him. But I don’t think so. I am convinced that Gideon is a coward. We will see lots of evidence of it throughout the story. But I believe what God does here is He is speaking prophetically. God does not speak to Gideon based on what he is at the time, but based on what God is going to turn him into. We must understand this. When God comes to us, He never starts with what we are; He calls us what He intends to make us. In other words, God does not call the mighty; He gives might to those He calls. Gideon is not called because he is courageous; he’s made courageous as a result of God’s call. And that’s the way God always works. God looks at nothingness and He speaks what He wants into existence.

Gideon then makes two mistakes that we often make. First, we see our troubles as evidence that God is not with us, instead of asking how God is working in and through them for our good. Gideon replies with the same question we often ask God. “If God is with us, then why…? Why did God allow all this to happen to me? Why did God allow my child to die? Why did God allow my spouse to leave me? Why did God allow my parent to get sick? Why did God allow my business to go bankrupt? Why? Tell me why, ain’t nothing but a heartache.” And Gideon also asks, “If God is with us, where are all the miracles? I have heard of the wonders that God has done in the past. But what about now? I thought God is all-powerful. Why is He not doing anything about my situation? Why, why, why?” Gideon sees troubles as evidence that God has left them. We often see troubles as evidence that God is not with us. But if we think that way, we are very wrong. We are ignorant of the fact that our troubles are the very means God used to get us back to Him. That’s the first mistake.

Second, we are waiting for God to do something for us, instead of making ourselves available to be used by God. God says to Gideon, “I am going to use you to save my people.” And Gideon replies, “Me? Noooo. That can’t be right. Don’t you know who I am? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh. And I am the least in my father’s house. I don’t have the credential to save Israel. I am sorry but I think you’ve got the wrong address. I think you mean Josh next door. He is a lot better candidate. Why not him?” Don’t we often make the same mistake? We see a problem. We see a need. And rather than asking God to use us to meet the need, we say, “Well, surely this is too much for me. I can’t do it. I don’t go to Bible college. I don’t have the skill. I am sure there are other people better equipped than me to deal with this problem. Oh, I know. God, why don’t you use Josh? I think he will do a good job.” Instead of saying, “Here I am, send me”, we say, “Here I am, send Josh.”

And here is where I want to draw your attention. Some people say Gideon is simply being pessimistic. What he needs is to realize how much potential he has in him. So God is looking into the potential within Gideon that Gideon himself does not realize. That’s cute. But I don’t think so. Gideon is stating facts. Gideon is correct to say that he does not have what it takes to save Israel. He is not wrong when he says, “I am not fit for the job. I am totally inadequate.” Because he is. But that’s exactly the point. And this is something that we see repeated throughout the Bible. God is not interested in using strong people; God is specialized in using weak people. Because until we know how inadequate we are, we will never know the adequacy of God. Do you know what is the greatest hindrance to being used by God? It is not our weakness. Listen. The greatest hindrance to being used by God is not our weaknesses but our delusional perceptions of our strengths. We convince ourselves that we are strong, we are able, we are wise. And when we do, we are useless to God. It is only when we know we are useless that we are useful to God. Look at how God deals with Gideon’s objection. It is beautiful.


Judges 6:16 – 16 And the Lord said to him, “But I will be with you, and you shall strike the Midianites as one man.” Do you see what God does? God does not say, Well Gideon, you need to think more highly of yourself. You need to build your self-esteem. You are better than you think. You have what it takes. I believe in you. You can do it Gido. So repeat after me ten times. I am good. I am capable. I am awesome…” No, a thousand no. God knows exactly that Gideon cannot do it. In fact, it is because Gideon knows he does not have what it takes that God chooses Gideon. So, how does God reply to Gideon’s objection? Don’t miss it. I want these words to be embedded in your heart, brain, and body. God says, But I will be with you.” In His reply to Gideon, God gives Gideon the best thing God has to offer. And it is not a good strategy, it is not a sword that can cut through anything or a shield that makes him invincible. God is giving Gideon God. God is saying to Gideon, I know you are a nobody. I know you cannot do it. I know you are underqualified. But that’s okay. Because you cannot but I can. I don’t need you to be strong. All you need to know is that I will be with you. And you will strike the Midianites as one man.”

In other words, God is saying to Gideon, It does not matter who you are. What matters is who I am and that I will be with you. So, stop looking at yourself and start looking at me.” So, God does not answer Gideon’s “why me” question. God does not give him the what, how, or where. Instead, God gives him the who. God Himself will be with Gideon and that is enough. Here is some food for thought. What would life be like if we know that God is with us in any situation? When we go into the surgery, “God is with me.” When we get a new job, “God is with me.” When we move to another country, “God is with me.” When we join a ministry, “God is with me.” When we share the gospel with others, “God is with me.” When we deal with the problem at home and work, “God is with me.” Let me tell you what it would look like. We will face it with courage. Not because we can. But because we know the God of heaven and earth is with us. Courage comes from having the assurance that God is with us.

Judges 6:17-24 – 17 And he said to him, “If now I have found favor in your eyes, then show me a sign that it is you who speak with me. 18 Please do not depart from here until I come to you and bring out my present and set it before you.” And he said, “I will stay till you return.” 19 So Gideon went into his house and prepared a young goat and unleavened cakes from an ephah of flour. The meat he put in a basket, and the broth he put in a pot, and brought them to him under the terebinth and presented them. 20 And the angel of God said to him, “Take the meat and the unleavened cakes, and put them on this rock, and pour the broth over them.” And he did so. 21 Then the angel of the Lord reached out the tip of the staff that was in his hand and touched the meat and the unleavened cakes. And fire sprang up from the rock and consumed the meat and the unleavened cakes. And the angel of the Lord vanished from his sight. 22 Then Gideon perceived that he was the angel of the Lord. And Gideon said, “Alas, O Lord God! For now I have seen the angel of the Lord face to face.” 23 But the Lord said to him, “Peace be to you. Do not fear; you shall not die.” 24 Then Gideon built an altar there to the Lord and called it, The Lord Is Peace. To this day it still stands at Ophrah, which belongs to the Abiezrites.

So, God gives Gideon a big mission. And Gideon wants to be sure that this really is God. He wants to be sure that this is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob that he is talking to. So, he asks God for a sign. And God says yes. Gideon prepares an offering and brings the offering before the angel. The angel touches the offering and the offering is burned up, and the angel disappears. Then Gideon knows for sure that he has been talking with God face-to-face. And he knows he should have died because no sinful person can look at the face of God and live. But God shows mercy to Gideon and reassures him that he won’t die. So, Gideon built an altar to God. He knows now that God has not abandoned them, and it is the Lord whom he must worship.

Unnegotiable demand

Judges 6:25-27 – 25 That night the Lord said to him, “Take your father’s bull, and the second bull seven years old, and pull down the altar of Baal that your father has, and cut down the Asherah that is beside it 26 and build an altar to the Lord your God on the top of the stronghold here, with stones laid in due order. Then take the second bull and offer it as a burnt offering with the wood of the Asherah that you shall cut down.” 27 So Gideon took ten men of his servants and did as the Lord had told him. But because he was too afraid of his family and the men of the town to do it by day, he did it by night.

Gideon has built an altar to the Lord, the true God of Israel. But God will not allow two altars to co-exist side by side. And now God demands Gideon to destroy the other altar, the altar of Baal and Asherah. Remember that Israel has not abandoned the worship of God for idols. What they do is they combine the worship of God with idols. They still worship the Lord formally, but their lives revolve around idols that give them what they truly want. And God will have none of it. Before God uses Gideon to defeat the enemy around them, Gideon must first destroy the enemy among them. Before God solves the problem of the Midianites, God has to first deal with the problem of idolatry. If God is to be their God, Baal must go. Baal may be tolerant, but the Lord is a jealous God. This is God’s unnegotiable demand for Gideon and Israel.

And this speaks so much into our lives. A lot of times, we want God to help us out of our troubles. We want financial breakthroughs, restoration of relationships, healing, etc. But God will not help us with our visible troubles until we see the idols that we are worshipping beside Him. And our main problem is oftentimes we are not willing to deal with those idols. We pray the same prayer as St Augustine in his younger days, “Lord, make me pure. But not tonight.” What we do is we worship God on Sunday, but we worship idols on Friday night. So, there is a Sunday altar and there is a Friday night altar. We say, “God, I want to be pure, but not now. I am still busy hooking up with people on Tinder. God, I want to serve you, but not now. I am still busy with my family. God, I want to obey you, but not now. I want to be rich first.” And God says, “Destroy that other altar. I will not co-exist with other gods in your life.” We either have the Lord as God in every area of life, or we don’t have Him at all. We cannot have an altar to God and an altar to idols. They are mutually exclusive. God will not allow us to use Him to get what we really want; He must be the One we really want. And this comes at a personal cost to Gideon. Because the altar Gideon has to break belongs to his own father. But Gideon obeys God and he destroys the altars at night.

Judges 6:28-32 – 28 When the men of the town rose early in the morning, behold, the altar of Baal was broken down, and the Asherah beside it was cut down, and the second bull was offered on the altar that had been built. 29 And they said to one another, “Who has done this thing?” And after they had searched and inquired, they said, “Gideon the son of Joash has done this thing.” 30 Then the men of the town said to Joash, “Bring out your son, that he may die, for he has broken down the altar of Baal and cut down the Asherah beside it.” 31 But Joash said to all who stood against him, “Will you contend for Baal? Or will you save him? Whoever contends for him shall be put to death by morning. If he is a god, let him contend for himself, because his altar has been broken down.” 32 Therefore on that day Gideon was called Jerubbaal, that is to say, “Let Baal contend against him,” because he broke down his altar.

The townspeople are upset with Gideon and want to kill Gideon. But surprisingly, Gideon’s father comes to the rescue. He says, “If Baal is a god, let Baal deals with Gideon himself. If he is a god, he is more than able to zap my son on his own for destroying his altar. He doesn’t need help. Why do we need to do his work for him?” And the townspeople listen to him. And on that day, Gideon is given the nickname Jerubbaal, which means, “Let Baal contend against him.” And this is the central struggle in the book of Judges, the choice between following God’s chosen judge, and the false gods of the surrounding nations. Which one will Israel serve? The Lord or Baals? Which one will we serve? God or our idols?

Divine assurance

Judges 6:33-35 – 33 Now all the Midianites and the Amalekites and the people of the East came together, and they crossed the Jordan and encamped in the Valley of Jezreel. 34 But the Spirit of the Lord clothed Gideon, and he sounded the trumpet, and the Abiezrites were called out to follow him. 35 And he sent messengers throughout all Manasseh, and they too were called out to follow him. And he sent messengers to Asher, Zebulun, and Naphtali, and they went up to meet them.

After Gideon deals with the enemy among them, now he has to deal with the enemy around them. It is that time of the year when the Midianites will raid Israel. And Gideon’s next assignment is to deal with them. It is action time. And Gideon is filled with the Spirit of God and he calls people from different tribes to follow him. So far so good. But what happens next is bewildering.


Judges 6:36-40 – 36 Then Gideon said to God, “If you will save Israel by my hand, as you have said, 37 behold, I am laying a fleece of wool on the threshing floor. If there is dew on the fleece alone, and it is dry on all the ground, then I shall know that you will save Israel by my hand, as you have said.” 38 And it was so. When he rose early next morning and squeezed the fleece, he wrung enough dew from the fleece to fill a bowl with water. 39 Then Gideon said to God, “Let not your anger burn against me; let me speak just once more. Please let me test just once more with the fleece. Please let it be dry on the fleece only, and on all the ground let there be dew.” 40 And God did so that night; and it was dry on the fleece only, and on all the ground there was dew.

So, Gideon is still not sure of God’s calling and promise. Once again, Gideon asks God for a sign. He says to God, “If you will save Israel by my hand, as you have said…” Now, if I was God, I would probably say, “Not this again. C’mon Gido. Haven’t I given you a sign already? I am not going to put up with this anymore. I’ve already told you that you are a mighty warrior. I’ve told you that I will be with you. What else do you need?” But praise God that He is far more gracious than me. So, Gideon requests a wet fleece on dry ground. And the next morning, a wet fleece on dry ground. Prayer answered. But that’s not enough for Gideon. So he says, “God, please don’t get mad at me. But can I pretty please have another sign? Just one more. This time it is a dry fleece on wet ground.” Now, parents, if this is your children, you would say, “I am not giving you any more signs. How many signs have I given you? That’s it. No more sign.” But God is far more patient than most parents. The next morning, a dry fleece on wet ground. Once again, God says yes to Gideon. What a gracious God. Instead of rebuking Gideon, God stoops down and reassures Gideon in his fear.

Now, let me tell you what this passage does not teach us. This is one of the most abused passages in the Old Testament. The famous fleece test. This passage is not teaching us to ask God for signs when we are not sure what decision to make. But that’s how people often use this passage. For example, if a girl is not sure whether she should date a guy, she asks God for signs. “God, if he is the one, give me a sign. Make him call me in the next 10 minutes.” And 9 minutes 55 seconds later, the phone rings and it is him. It is a sign from God. So, he must be the one. The problem is the guy is an unbeliever. Let me tell you, that is not a sign from God. And that is not how we should apply this passage. I am not saying that asking God for a sign is always wrong. But our decision-making should be informed by the word of God, not random signs we ask from God. I love the way Kevin Deyoung puts it. “Obsessing over the future is not how God wants us to live. Because showing us the future is not God’s way. His way is to speak to us in the Scriptures and transform us by the renewing of our minds. His way is not a crystal ball. His way is wisdom.”

The point of the fleece test is not about asking God for signs to make a decision. Gideon knows exactly what God wants him to do. But at the same time, he is afraid. He has experienced seven traumatic years facing the might of the Midianites. And he wants to be sure that God is with him. The point of the fleece test is assurance. So Gideon’s concern is, “God, how do I know that you are with me? How do I know that you are really on my side?” It is not about asking for signs to make a decision. It is about, “God, I believe. Help my unbelief.” Gideon asks for a supernatural sign from God to show him that God is with him. And God answers Gideon and gives him divine assurance.

So today, we might ask the same thing. “How can I be sure that God is really with me? How do I know that God is on my side?” And the good news is before we even ask the question, God has given us the answer. God has given us the ultimate fleece test. This is how we know that God is with us. Look to Jesus Christ. When we look to Jesus, we have something much better to assure us that God is with us than any supernatural sign: the cross. The cross tells us that God humbles himself to strengthen our weak faith. He left His glorious throne and became one of us. At the cross, the God of the universe was stripped naked. Jesus was hungry and thirsty. He was plundered of everything he had. Jesus was brought very low and he cried out to God, “Why?” At the cross, Jesus absorbed all of God’s wrath toward our sins. So that the moment we put our faith in Jesus, all of our past, present, and future sins are forgiven. We are covered in Jesus’ perfect righteousness. And not only that but we are also filled with the Spirit of God. God the Holy Spirit is living in us. The life, death and resurrection of Jesus have made it possible for God to be present with us wherever we go. So, whenever we find ourselves doubting God’s promises, whenever we find ourselves unsure of God’s presence with us, what we must do is look to the cross of Jesus Christ and pray, “Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief.” And God will answer it by opening our eyes to see the beauty of the cross of Jesus Christ once again. This is a prayer that God loves to answer. God is not ashamed to stoop down and reassure us in our fears. He is far more humble and merciful than we give Him credit for. And this is the source of our courage. We do not work up courage; courage comes from having the assurance that God is with us because of what Jesus has done for us on the cross. Let’s pray.

Discussion questions:

  1. What struck you the most from this sermon?
  2. Explain the difference between regret and repentance. How do we get from regret to repentance?
  3. Look at Gideon’s two wrong responses to God’s call. Which one resonates more with you and why?
  4. Is it wrong to ask for signs from God to make a decision? Discuss.
  5. How does the gospel give you the courage to live out the Christian life?
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