Baptism at Singles Retreat - 147 Baptized!!!

*******************Baptism at Singles Retreat 147 Baptized!!! ***********************

* Sharing times in the Word and looking for growth. Let's Commune Together!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

You can mess with the wrapping paper, but leave the gift alone.

Scripture Read: Judges 6:11-12 Then the angel of the Lord came and sat under the oak that was in Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite as his son Gideon was beating out wheat in the wine press in order to save it from the Midianites. The angel of the Lord appeared to him and said to him, “The Lord is with you, O valiant warrior.”

Application: Sometimes in an effort to appear fresh, teachers of the Scriptures try too hard to come up with new ideas that they hope will make their message unique. This passage is one that has really been abused. We should take the time to consider how this happens so we can: 1. Identify when someone is doing it, so we do not fall prey to perversion of scripture: and 2. Make sure that we ourselves never overstep this boundary. We must let the Scripture say what it says, and not try and adapt it’s message, or expand it’s message to fit some desire we have. Notice, I said “message”. There is no problem with adapting the method of presentation of the message. Jesus did that. To fishermen He shared His message using the sea, boats and fishing. To shepherds He shared His message using sheep and handling a flock. It would be wrong to preach a message to a group of elementary kids the same way you would preach it to an adult audience. The message would remain the same but the presentation would adapt.

Many times I have heard messages on the life of Gideon, and quite a few of them take a direction that is clearly not in the passage, and if you're honest, does not make sense. What some speakers do is first share how a person would thresh wheat normally. That would be in the open, perhaps on a hill where a breeze would be blowing. You would throw the grain into the air, the grain, being heavier would drop to the ground while the chaff would be blown away by the breeze. Based on what the “norm” is many speakers try to make Gideon appear to be a coward because he is threshing wheat in a wine press. 

They like to point out that the Angel calls Gideon a “valiant warrior” and state that this is because God can see what Gideon will become. This may be true because as the story goes on Gideon does grow in his faith. However, we have no right to make Gideon a coward based solely on where he was choosing to harvest his grain. What Gideon was doing makes perfect sense in the context that he was living in. The Midianites would wait for harvest to come and then would attack those that were harvesting and steal the fruit of their labor. The context actually makes Gideon a wise man. He was hiding his time of harvest so that all of his work would not be done in vain. Whether he was a coward or not is unknown, it's clear from Scripture that God did deal with his faith one step at a time. In God's patience He helped Gideon to grow to a point where he showed great faith and bravery. The Scripture simply shows a man who is using his wisdom to protect the work of his harvest against the enemy. We do not need to fabricate a characteristic about Gideon to enable us to make our message appear deeper or our message to speak to an issue that we decided needs to be dealt with. There are plenty of other Scriptures that deal with cowardice and God's willingness to help a person overcome their fears. As honest stewards of God's Word we need to let the Word speak for itself and get out of the Holy Spirit's way. That is our responsibility. If we are called to be teachers and preachers, then we are to learn how to present in ways that appeal to whatever audience we are speaking to. However, that does not change the content of our message, just the appearance. Father grant us the courage and the integrity to let the Word of God speak for itself.

Meditation Questions: What do you do when you approach studying the Scripture? Do you read it trying to find something new? What does that say? What does it mean to search the Scriptures? What happens if you go to Scripture looking for something you want to find? Is that good or bad? Why do you think that way? What makes a Scripture lesson great to you? If a teacher brings a solid Scripture message, but it has nothing new in it, how do you react to it? What does that show you?