Let us pray. May the words of my mouth and the thoughts of our hearts, be acceptable in your sight O Lord, our strength and our redeemer. Amen
So last week there was the contrast between Gideon and God. Gideon hiding from everyone, thrashing wheat in a winepress. Gideon in panic mode and anxious that somebody has to do something. He comes across with very low self esteem. Then there is God and God is portrayed as laying back under an oak tree in Gideon’s back yard kind of chilled observing Gideon’s panic.
I suggested that the word of God to us when we are panicking is: Be still – know that I, not your fears, am God. Don’t surrender to your fears. Don’t let your fears become the dominant thought because we invariably move towards our dominant thoughts. For Gideon suddenly this word breaks into Gideon’s mind as he senses this unknown God speaking to him in an almost sarcastic way: "The LORD is with you, brave and mighty man!"
Wait a minute. Brave and mighty man? Get the gentle sarcasm? Gideon is trembling in his boots trying to do the impossible, thresh wheat in a wine press. Scared that the Midianites will get to him. The last thing he would say about himself is that he is quote: a brave and mighty man. That’s not how he sees himself obviously. When the thought comes to mind as God speaks into Gideon's longings that: he is to go: "Go with all your great strength and rescue Israel from the Midianites. I myself am sending you." Every reason possible arises from within him, every excuse that affirms for him that he is the wrong person.
God, you’ve got it wrong. My family don’t get invited out to the best homes, nobody asks us what we think, we’re at the bottom of the pecking order, when there picking a team for goat wrestling I get left out. My parents are trying to rent out my room while I’m still at home. I flunked NCA let alone Cambridge exams, I’m lousy at thrashing wheat. If I was to drop dead tomorrow it would take weeks for them to find out I was missing! That’s a loose interpretation of the text.
God is calling for recruits and Gideon doesn’t want to even be interviewed because his self esteem is down at rock bottom. There is nothing he can do, he believes, that will make any difference what-so-ever, to anyone let along lead Israel out of the Midianite pandemic.
Brothers and sisters, brothers from other mothers and sisters from others misters, there are millions of people around the world who wake up each morning and pour cold water on the dreams in their minds. They settle for video games locked away in their bedrooms or they spend their days criticising what others are doing hiding behind an internet screen and they die with their dreams lost in trivia. The God given music within them, unsung and because it is unsung it is never heard. Their music and their dreams go with them to the grave because they can’t see the possibilities within them. They believe that their lives are meant to be lived out majoring in the minors.
For years in my ministry, I focused on the importance of self-esteem and for some reason numbers of church people criticised self-esteem. They said self esteem was anti the gospel. They are wrong. The gospel of Jesus the good news of Jesus gives us a healthy self-esteem. God esteems us as worthy of His grace and love. God esteems us enough to call us lights for the world and salt for the earth. He esteems us enough to lay down His life that we might live. He esteems us enough to call us His beloved. And so if God esteems you worthy of His love should not we esteem ourselves as worthy? Or do we go about inwardly crying what a wretched miserable creature I am. I am so sinful and nothing and nobody loves me. How can I go and do something to overcome the Midianite Pandemic. Self esteem, like the psalmist, allows us to say: LORD what are humans that you are mindful of them yet you made them inferior only to your self and crowned them with glory and honour. Look at the person next to you. Take a selfie of your self look and say: Wow so this is what someone only a little inferior to God looks like! He has crowned me with Glory and honour and the person next to you. If that doesn’t give you self-esteem you probably need a check-up from the neck up.
I took a wedding last week and met a younger man with lots of friends and he seemed popular. As we were talking he said you know my problem is, I lack self-esteem. He then said jokingly maybe you have an answer and I could stop going to my psychologist. Then the conversation changed but I have the answer. Gideon has no self esteem and he is angry and bitter and he wants someone to do something.
As a congregation we are on the verge of doing something amazingly and wonderfully healing for the community. In this room there are men and women who have the potential to do amazing things for God in the lives of others. You have the dream, you believe, but you doubt. How can I do this. I know what that’s like.
I’m 23 and I’m sensing a call to the ministry that I had walked away from years before. The pressure’s coming on but how could I. I wasn’t deemed smart enough to do 5 years of studies. It was impossible until I had this God given realization. If God is calling me, then God knows what is before me and God will be with me.
You have a dream for this congregation. It may be to you seemingly impossible but if it’s of God you will hear the one thing, the only thing you need to know. I will be with you. So says the God who loves you.
Now unto God the Father, God the Son and God, the Holy Spirit, be all the honour and glory, world without end. Amen
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