But then, during those tranquil times, Israel forgets God! The Cycle repeats.
In this episode, God sends an unnamed prophet to remind Israel of how they have failed to obey him. Then an angel of the Lord appears to Gideon and says, “The Lord is with you, O valiant warrior” (6:12, NASB). Reading this passage closely, Gideon treats the angel as the actual presence of God, even fearing death for having seen his face. But the angel assures him, “Peace to you, do not fear, you shall not die” (6:23). Gideon builds an altar and calls it “The Lord is Peace.”
In these days of scary world events, we need to affirm this: God is peace – to those who love him!
Gideon does something here he is often criticized for – “testing” God several different ways before he accepts the angel’s challenge to deliver Israel from oppression. Read verses 24-40 to recapture this fascinating exchange. I don’t think Gideon is testing God at all – I think Gideon is testing himself!
And so should all of us who believe we are hearing from God. Many mistakes are made today by those who would speak for God without authority.
This raises a fascinating question for us, because many say that God stopped sending prophets at the close of the Old Testament. The question is: Does God speak anymore?
Yes, he does! The follow-up questions are: do we listen; do we obey; do we have authority?
Here is how God speaks to you and me today:
“I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you. “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you” (John 14:16-18, NASB).
So does that make everyone a prophet today?
No, not at all. Jesus concludes the above passage with this:
“He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him” (14:21).
My book, Streamside – Finding Peace through Perfect Unity (get a copy directly from me at a deep discount nearby this blog), shows that while the Holy Spirit is given to all who believe in Jesus as Lord and Savior, all of us block the flow of the Spirit by our own Cycle of temptation, disobedience, disunity, warnings, and judgment. Like Israel of old, we do not obey his commandments.
But when we cry out to him in repentance, his never-ending love restores us.
And more importantly, his never-ending love unblocks the flow of his Spirit inside of us. Our authority to speak comes from obedience to his commands.
It is then He speaks, a still small voice of wisdom and peace!