by Sheri Schofield
I was driving home the other day when a flashing road sign caught my attention: “GOAT INSPECTION AHEAD”, then a new flashing message, “GOATS WILL BE INSPECTED SEPARATELY.”
Whaaaaat? Yes, we do live in cowboy country. But most people have cattle and horses. Very few people have goats. I have certainly never heard of a goat inspection! And weren’t they getting a little picky by inspecting each goat separately? It sounded strange to me! Who came up with this idea anyway? Were the goats carrying some awful disease? And should I be concerned about it??
Then I saw a sign further down the road. It said, “BOAT INSPECTION HERE.” Ooooh! The first sign was missing some light bulbs. Now I got it!
There’s a sign-dependent man in the Bible. In fact, this man was really big on signs: Gideon. Yes, I know: Men aren’t usually interested in asking for directions! But Gideon was. He asked God for a sign – then two, then three – because he just couldn’t believe what God had asked him to do. (“Are you sure all the candles are working on that sign?” he probably wondered!)
Many in the land of Israel had turned away from God and were worshipping idols, including Gideon’s dad. So God sent their neighboring enemies to invade the land. Every harvest time, they would come in and strip the land of everything they could find. They brought their own livestock with them, since that was their mode of transportation. Their livestock would eat all the plants in the fields. Then the enemies would return home.
This left the people of Israel starving, and they finally cried out to God for help. In time, God moved to rescue them. He sent his angel to see Gideon, a nobody from a very small tribe. The angel found Gideon threshing wheat at the bottom of a winepress which was well hidden from the invading armies of Midian. The angel said, “Hey, mighty hero! God is with you!”
Gideon was indignant. “Whaaaaat? Then why is God allowing all this hardship? Where are God’s miracles that we’ve heard so much about? It feels like God has abandoned us and turned us over to the Midianites!”
The next line gets a little more specific about who that angel was. “Then the LORD turned to him and said, ‘Go with the strength you have and rescue Israel from the Midianites. I am sending you!” (Judges 6:14, NLT)
Don’t you just love those words! God himself was telling Gideon to rescue his people!
But Gideon couldn’t believe it. He protested that he was the least in his family, and his family was the weakest in Israel! Finally, he asked for a sign to reassure him he was getting it right. . . and God did as he asked.
Gideon asked for two more signs, and God patiently honored those additional requests. Then he used Gideon, least in his family which was from the least of the tribes, to deliver Israel.
God most often chooses the weak to carry out His business. It’s counter-intuitive to how the world thinks, of course. So it’s hard for us to imagine He would choose to use little old us. But as the Lord explained to Paul: “My grace is sufficient for you, for [My] power is perfected in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9 NASB). God chooses “the weak things of the world to shame the things that are strong…so that no man may boast before God” (1 Corinthians 1:27-29 NASB).
Do you have a great desire to see God reach someone for eternity and rescue them from Satan’s power, but you feel insignificant and not skilled enough for God to use you to do it? Hear this: The LORD . . . the same LORD who spoke to Gideon . . . put that burden on your heart. He wants you to step out in faith and trust Him to provide the right words. The Holy Spirit poured out at Pentecost is now living in you and stands ready to help you share the gospel. Go in the strength that you have, for the Lord is with you!
“… I will pour out my Spirit upon all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy. Your old men will dream dreams. Your young men will see visions. In those days, I will pour out my Spirit even on servants, men and women alike . . . And anyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Joel 2:28, 29, 32, NLT
About the author: Sheri Schofield is an award-winning children’s author-illustrator and children’s ministry veteran of 40 years. Sheri was named Writer of the Year in 2018 at the Colorado Christian Writers’ Conference for her work in effectively sharing the gospel of Jesus. Her ministry, Faithwind 4 Kids, can be followed on her blog at her website, http://www.sherischofield.com. Questions welcomed!
Sheri’s new book, The Prince And The Plan, is a beautifully illustrated, interactive picture book, written for children ages 4-8, that helps parents lead their children into a lasting, saving relationship with Jesus. It explains abstract concepts through words and interactive, multi-sensory activities. Useful for children’s ministry as well.
Join the Conversation: Has God ever given you a sign?