Faith Insanity by Pastor Don Moore

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Faith Insanity by Pastor Don

We started our Bible study reading  Hebrews 11:1-3 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good testimony. By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.

Pastor Don said the difficult aspect of faith is that the objects of faith are invisible at the time you do the hoping and believing for them. They are not in the realm of our circumstances so they must be made out of things invisible.

Pastor Don then said, “Every great person of faith has had a moment of Faith Insanity.” While they were believing in faith for something, those around them thought they looked, acted, sounded crazy or all of the above. They are aspiring to something that does not seem reasonable or logical.

Faith Insanity is believing the promise and testimony of the heart of God shall come to pass in the face of contrary circumstances. It will look insane to people around you and at times even in your self estimation.

We need to tell ourselves, “This is my moment, I am holding by faith.”

To see an example of this in the Bible we looked to Gideon’s life in Judges 6.

At the time of Gideon, Israel did not have a king. God led the people through prophets and judges, and made them leaders over the nation of Israel each time Israel needed help.  At this time, the Midianites were attacking Israel, and they stole the produce of the land, the crops and the animals. The people of Israel were suffering greatly.

Judges 6:6 So Israel was greatly impoverished because of the Midianites, and the children of Israel cried out to the Lord. Once the people of Israel realized they needed God, God was able to send a prophet to the land and deliver them.

Judges 6:11 Now the Angel of the LORD came and sat under the terebinth tree which was in Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, while his son Gideon threshed wheat in the winepress, in order to hide it from the Midianites.

The Angel of the LORD is a theophany (pre-incarnate appearance of Jesus), the Word of God came in a fleshly body, to Gideon, as Messenger of God. Gideon at this time was trying to thresh wheat in a winepress, in a not-so-brave attempt to hide from the Midianites.

Judges 6:12 And the Angel of the LORD appeared to him, and said to him, “The LORD is with you, you mighty man of valor!”

This is an example of God calling into existence what isn’t. Gideon was not a mighty man of valor at this time, in fact he was hiding in a winepress to thresh wheat.

Judges 6:13  Gideon said to Him, “O my lord, if the LORD is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all His miracles which our fathers told us about, saying, ‘Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt?” But now the LORD has forsaken us and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites.

How often have we asked the same question. How come when good happens God does not get the credit, but when bad happens, we blame God? It was not God who did the harming, it was the fact that the people were not obeying God that permitted the Midianites to come in and conquer them. The people of Israel were doing their own thing, in their own power. It wasn’t until things got bad that they cried out to God.

Judges 6:14 Then the LORD turned to him and said, “Go in this might of yours, and you shall save Israel from the hand of the Midianites. Have I not sent you?”

Might???? Still Gideon is hiding, not exactly mighty, but God is calling it forth – and reminds Gideon that God is the one sending Him. God is building up Gideon, telling him YOU SHALL SAVE Israel. Gideon did not say he is a mighty man of valor and capable.

Judges 6:15 So he said to Him, “Oh my Lord, how can I save Israel? Indeed my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.” 

What Gideon doesn’t realize is being the weakest and least makes him the perfect candidate to be used by God. God likes using the foolish and weak for His tasks because then they cannot convince themselves that it is by their own might. Credit must go to God.

Judges 6:16-17 And the LORD said to him, “Surely I will be with you, and you shall defeat the Midianites as one man. Then he said to Him, “If now I have found favor in Your sight, then show me a sign that it is You who talk with me.”

Show me a sign, the people always want a sign.

Judges 6:18 Do not depart from here, I pray, until I come to You and bring out my offering and set it before You.” And He said, “I will wait until you come back.”

God is good, He waited for Gideon’s offering and accepted the offering. Gideon then fears because he had seen the Angel of the Lord face to face – but the LORD assures him he will not die. Gideon builds an altar to the LORD, and calls it “The LORD IS PEACE.”

God tells Gideon to tear down the pagan idol of baal that his father has put up and to offer to God a burnt offering using the wood of the idol.

Judges 6:27 So Gideon took ten men from among his servants and did as the LORD had said to him. But because he feared his father’s household and the men of the city too much to do it by day, he did it by night.

Gideon is not a mighty man of faith yet, but he did what God asked him to do, even if he did it at night out of fear. Yet, the idol was torn down. He obeyed God. He kept God’s word even with shaky faith. God will honor shaky faith.

Judges 6:28-31 And when the men of the city arose early in the morning, there was the altar of baal, torn down, and the wooden image that was beside it was cut down, and the second bull was being offered on the altar which had been built. So they said to one another, “Who has done this thing?” And when they had inquired and asked, they said, “Gideon the son of Joash has done this thing.” Then the men of the city said to Joash, “Bring out your son, that he may die, because he has torn down the altar of baal, and because he has cut down the wooden image that was beside it. But Joash said to all who stood against him, “Would you plead for baal? Would you save him? Let the one who would plead for him be put to death by morning! If he is a god, let him plead for himself, because his altar has been torn down.”

Joash showed good reasoning here.

Judges 6:32-33 Therefore on that day he called him Jerubbaal, saying, “Let baal plead against him because he has torn down his altar. Then all the Midianites and Amalekites, the people of the East, gathered together; and they crossed over and camped in the valley of Jezreel. (Megiddo)

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Standing on the edge of the mound (perhaps 1,500 feet up) looking down at the Jezreel valley.

Judges 6:34-35 But the Spirit of the LORD came upon Gideon; then he blew the trumpet, and the Abizerites gathered behind him. And he sent messengers throughout all Manasseh, who also gathered behind him. He also sent messengers to Asher, Zebulun, and Naphtali; and they came up to meet them.

Someone in our Bible study pointed out this was very rare, that the tribes all came when summoned. They gathered in one accord.

Then Pastor Don told us that Gideon is going to lay out a fleece, twice, and God will answer Gideon. But Pastor Don pointed out that, as believers, we are not to lay out fleeces. Satan, the liar, will often come and answer our “fleece” the way we state we want it answered, but that does not mean it is God who is giving the okay for our question. We have been given the Holy Spirit within us to guide us on our path, as believers we have no need for fleece.

Judges 6:36-40 So Gideon said to God, “If You will save Israel by my hand as You have said, look, I shall put a fleece of wool on the threshing floor; if there is dew on the fleece only and it is dry on all the ground, then I shall know that You will save Israel by my hand, as you have said.” And it was so. When he rose early the next morning and squeezed the fleece together, he wrung the dew out of the fleece, a bowlful of water. Then Gideon said to God, “Do not be angry with me, but let me speak just once more: Let me test, I pray, just once more with the fleece; let it now be dry only on the fleece, but on all the ground let there be dew.” And God did so that night. It was dry on the fleece only, but there was dew on all the ground.

Now we do not need signs. When the Priests and Levites asked Jesus for a sign he said in Matthew 12:39-40 But He answered and said to them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign and no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

The people in the Old Testament were trained to look for signs, for they did not have the Holy Spirit in them the way we do. God controls the environment and circumstances. But once we became born again fleece time is over.

Gideon had doubt and unbelief. As born again believers, we trust God for everything, trust God and your only need is to learn how to listen. A Spirit filled believer will ask how we know this, and say we heard it from God. If we don’t trust what we are hearing from our spirit, then we are in doubt and unbelief. We can seek others who are stronger in faith to help us discern if what we think we heard from God is really from God.

God never leaves or forsakes us, so we do not need an external sign. The devil speaks through external signs as good as God can speak through external signs. God may honor the fleece of a baby Christian, and God will engineer it to keep the baby Christian safe, but God wants us to get our information from His Spirit. He wants us to grow beyond the need for a fleece. Circumstances on the outside are subject to witchcraft.

We need to seek the help of the Holy Spirit, if we are in doubt, ask another strong believer to pray with you to find out if you are hearing correctly. So often we feel that God hasn’t spoken about our situation, but He has spoken, we either do not hear it, or we do not like what He said and choose to pretend we haven’t heard it. God may be telling you to sell your house, but you don’t want to. The truth is, you can debate what God is telling you and keep digging yourself into a pit, or you can choose to obey and trust God. Resign yourself to a moment of Faith Insanity.

If God speaks to you and you listen to pressure from people outside of yourself to do it your way, God gets silent, and you will be permitted to be fooled. God will let you learn a lesson from your bad choices.

Look at your situation and ask the Spirit of the Lord to tell you what to do. Know that the answer is coming, and it is just waiting for you to be listening.

Romans 8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. 

God permitted Gideon to lay out fleeces to build Gideon’s faith because Gideon was going to be required to have a moment of Faith Insanity. But with us, God wants us to trust Him and listen to the Spirit of God.

Judges 7:1-2 Then Jerubbaal (that is, Gideon) and all the people who were with him rose early and encamped beside the well of Harod, so that the camp of the Midianites was on the north side of them by the hill of Moreh in the valley. And the LORD said to Gideon, “The people who are with you are too many for Me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel claim glory for itself against Me, saying, ‘My own hand has saved me.” 

God then tells Gideon to reduce the number of men who will go against the Midianites, which to common sense seems sheer insanity. God first tells Gideon to let anyone who is fearful go home – and out of 22,000, only 10,000 remained. Still too many people. God brings the people down to the water, and Judges 7:5-6 So he brought the people down to the water. And the LORD said to Gideon, “Everyone who laps from the water with his tongue, as a dog laps, you shall set apart by himself; and likewise everyone who gets down on his knees to drink.” And the number of those who lapped, putting their hand to their mouth, was three hundred men; but all the rest of the people got down on their knees to drink water. 

God selects the 300 to go against the armies of the Midianites.

After the two fleece that Gideon laid out, to his credit he did not lay out another fleece, he just did what God told him to do with the men. Had Gideon laid out another fleece, God might very well have moved to use another person. At some point God will not use us if we are not willing to yield to His Will. He wants us to grow up in our faith, to move beyond the fleece.

This is the first moment of Gideon’s Faith Insanity. What general going against a large force of the enemy reduces the number of men to 300? Most generals would put all men in battle hoping that sheer numbers will impact the enemy, and those who are fearful will either gain courage and valor or die, but they would be used. Instead God told Gideon to send all but 300 away.

Once Gideon passed this first moment of Faith Insanity, God then moved him to the next one. Judges 7:7Then the LORD said to Gideon, “By the three hundred men who lapped I will save you, and deliver the Midianites into your hand. Let all the other people go, every man to his place. I will clue you in that God did cause Gideon to win – but you have to read it for yourself to see how (she says smiling) it is rather unusual.

But every step that we step out into Faith Insanity solidifies our faith. After the initial big step, the next step seems easier. Others will look at what Gideon did and say, “He’s totally nuts!!!” But when things get tough you sometimes have to do things differently. A moment of insanity comes as a test from God. It is God saying that He has given us enough information to stand in faith. And then God will show up.

We have to look at where God has brought us in the past, and then we can use that to give us the courage to take the next step forward into faith. David remembered the bear and the lion that God delivered him from – so the next Faith Insanity step was slaying a giant. It was another step in the faith progression for David. During the 17 years when David was running for his life from Saul, he remembered his past victories, and knew that he would be all right because God’s got it.

God gave us all a gift of faith on two levels. 1. He gives us the ability to have faith and 2. He gives us the first step ability to wield our faith.

Man is without excuse, for within us is the ability to have faith and believe in God. Man is hardwired to believe in God. Part of Him goes in search of God. An atheist, because of a problem with his faith, never works up faith and never believes.

Atheists have a problem with their logic – they fight so hard against the existence of God, but the mere fact that they have to fight against God gives God reality in their minds. Why fight against something that isn’t there? You have to believe in the existence of anything you deny. If you are denying something you are establishing the fact that its existence is possible.

Some try to dismiss God by pointing out that, if He was God, it would be a perfect world. That argument points out their narcissism, for they are basically saying that the world isn’t perfect for THEM.

Hebrews 11 shows us the testimonies of many people who believed God in faith. Pastor Don asked us to start listing people from the Bible who believed God and what was their first moment of Insane Faith. Here is a partial list:

Abraham – started on a journey not knowing where he was going.
Samson – after he lost his sight he trusted God to use him in a big way.
Peter – stepped out of the boat
Noah – began to build an ark on dry ground with no sign of rain in sight, took 100 years to do
Samson – using a jaw of a donkey to defeat the Philistines
Jehosephat – surrounded on all sides by the “ites”, sends out singers to win battle
Rahab – hid spies
Elijah – when he covered altar with water and asked fire of God to come down
Job – Did not cease believing God in the face of so many disasters
Children of Israel in Egypt – applying blood to their doors
Moses – stand between doom and the Red Sea – the sea parts
Stephen – stands in faith, even though stoned to death
Ruth – Ruth left her paganism and embraced the faith of her mother-in-law
Esther – If I live, I live, If I die, I die
Saul/Paul – stayed the course
Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego – refuse to worship idol even when outcome was burning furnace.
The Centurion with the sick servant – Jesus commented on his faith
4 men lowering paralyzed man down for healing –
Woman with issue of blood – if I can just touch the hem of his garment.
Thief on the cross – throwing himself at Jesus’ mercy
Then there are historical people like Joan of Arc, Martin Luther King, Martin Luther.
Joseph not casting Mary aside when he found out she was pregnant.

The test of our faith is what do we do when we seem to be attacked by the circumstances of this world? Do we trust God, or do we alter our course. Do we have faith in the face of death?

Pastor Don encouraged us to remember our difficult situations that God helped us through in the past. To hold onto the truth of the Bible, The Word and our testimony. Most of us miss our great blessing because we let go of our faith too soon. God still can lift us up, but it may delay our blessing.

Let’s all step out in insane faith, trusting that God will see us through what He has promised He would do.

Have a blessed day.

Heather

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About Heather Marsten

Welcome to Heather's Blog. I'm looking forward to meeting you and checking out your sites. I just moved about nine years of material over from another blog site, Xanga, who may close down mid-July. At first I was disappointed to make the move because I had a lifetime membership at Xanga and had to spend weeks transferring posts. But now I'm thrilled. Already I've met new bloggers and read many new websites. Blogging is a wonderful way to expand my horizons and garner new ideas. I'm a happily married mom of three young adults. My husband and I are proud to watch our children grow and venture out into the world. My daughter is still in college but my two sons have graduated. One has a job and the other just graduated and is in the process of finding a job in his field, physics. Anyone know of any jobs out there? I'm proud of our children and love watching them grow and mature. They've become fine, compassionate, and loving people. Empty nest? Nah, I'm too busy to let an empty nest bother me. Not enough hours in the day. My husband and I enjoy quiet time together and I have many interests to pursue - one of which is blogging :D I am a born-again believer and love God. As you read this blog, you will discover that Bible studies thrill me. There is so much wisdom contained between the covers of the Bible and I am fortunate to sit under the teachings of a remarkable pastor, Pastor Don Moore. Members of our church (Living Word Chapel in West Hurley, New York) are encouraged to teach and there are visiting pastors who stop by our church, I also study the Bible on my own and love sharing what I learn. One other passion is writing. My current work in process is a memoir. A scene from my memoir was published in a book called: Heavenly Company: Entertaining Angels Unaware - an anthology of angelic encounters compiled by Cecil Murphy. I'm hoping my memoir will encourage other survivors of abuse. I grew up in a home filled with abuse, including incest. For most of my life I was searching for something that would fill the void of not being loved by my parents. I tried many ways to find that love -- therapy, relationships, occult studies, and keeping my life so filled I had no way to think about my past. It was only when I discovered God that I was able to put the pieces of my life back together and walk forward in a joyous life. My nickname - wondering has changed from wondering where the heck God was in my life, to wondering what incredible adventure is going to happen next. I hope you enjoy my site. Please say hi, share some thoughts, and ask questions. I look forward to meeting you and checking out your sites. Have a blessed day. Heather
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