In the book of Judges Chapter 6, of the Old Testament, it talks about how the Midianites were ravaging the land of Israel by taking all the crops that the Israelites had harvested. It appears that they did not care in what shape they left the land after stealing the Israelites grain. Most of the Israelites had to harvest in secret and hide their grain in places that Midianites would not find.
Israel during this time period had forgotten about God. They worshiped a false god, Baal. One day while threshing the grain, an angel appeared to a man named Gideon. God told Gideon (through an angel) that he would lead his people against the Midianites.” Gideon’s response was unexpected, or at least to me the reader. “If the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our fathers told us about when they said, ‘did not the Lord bring us up out of Egypt? But now the Lord has abandoned us and put us into the hand of Midian.” At this point the reader can see that God was being very patient with Gideon. Gideon failed to understand that because his people choose to leave God, it forced God to let them go their own way. Gideon also failed to see his own responsibility in following the Lord as well. When a person, or a nation chooses to close its doors on God, they do so at their own peril. One person once told me, “God is a perfect gentleman, he never goes where he is not invited.” When we keep God out of our lives, he chooses to stay on the other side of the door of our hearts.
God was very patient with Gideon and his lack of faith; that is in his absence of trust that God was indeed calling him to lead Israel. Gideon further put God to the test by asking Him to put dew on the fleece one day, and then on the ground the next as a sign that God was indeed calling him to lead Israel’s army. Gideon could still not figure out why God chose him since he was the least in his family, and his family was the least in all his tribe. Gideon in the beginning was more fearful of what men would do to him, rather than believing that God would or could protect him. This was evident when the angel of Lord told Gideon to tear down the alter of Baal and to erect an alter to God. Gideon obeyed, but did so at night so that no one knew who had done it. Once again, God was patient with him.
In Revelation 3:13 God’s Spirit is speaking to the church of Laodicea. He is admonishing them for not listening to him. God is telling them that they are relying on their own wealth rather than on Him. They had forgotten about God and had become lukewarm in their service to him. In spite of their straying from God, he told them that he still loved them and because of that, he felt free to rebuke and discipline them. One of the things that many people don’t realize is that in verse 20, God is speaking to the Christians of Laodicea, and not to the non-Christians. “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.” God was calling them to listen to his voice, and by telling them that he waits patiently by the door to their hearts. He knocks quietly, waiting for his children to ask him into their lives.
In our walk of faith, God is asking us to listen to his voice and to open up our hearts to him so that he can work within our lives. It may mean to take action, but in doing so, we must act out of faith. Faith requires us to pray, listen to his voice, and read his word, but it also requires us to move out in trusting God to lead us in the direction he would have us to go. Brother Andrew who smuggled Bibles behind the Iron Curtain found that his faith was challenged in many ways by God. He thought that he was a man of great faith; that is until he met Christians from behind the Iron Curtain. They were Christ’s followers who listened to the Holy Spirit, they read God’s word faithfully, and acted upon God’s leading, trusting God to guide them in all their decisions. Brother Andrew realized that he himself was like what the Apostle Paul described as, “a Christian still on milk, rather than on meat!”
Like the Christians behind the Iron Curtain, our paths too should be prepared by faith in action. In many cases, faith might be that God desires you to ask him for guidance, and then move out in faith, faith that he will lead you in the right direction as you venture out. The direction to God’s leading may not be mapped out all at once; it may require you to look for his signposts along the way. Faith says, “Lord close the doors that you do not want me to go into, and please open the doors that you have set before me.”This then is the walk of faith, trusting God to guide your decisions as you go.