What we all want to know is whether it’s okay to question God. If heroes can do it, then so can I, right? But maybe I should dig a hole and bury my questions, because if I ask them, somehow that will make me a doubter. Can a person of faith ask questions – or does that mean I lack faith?
God put Gideon on my heart this past week. (No, not the guys who give away free Bibles and put them in hotel rooms. They got their name from him.) The story where the Lord raises up a hero to free the Israelites from the rule of the Midianites and from their own idolatry. As I studied the biblical account of his life again, I was intrigued by how he questioned God.
First Gideon isn’t really sure that God is on his side. He asks a classic apologetic about the question of evil: if God is for me, why has all this happened? It sure seems like the Lord has abandoned my people. After God answers, he still has more questions – Are You sure You can use me, God? If it’s really You, God, will You prove it to me?
Alright, I’m still okay with that – good questions, seems fair. But after Gideon becomes convinced that he is hearing the voice of God, he still has doubts that the Lord will be with him. Gideon asks God to prove that He’s really going to do what He promised. There’s no question that he knows he’s talking to God, that he’s trying to be respectful, and that he really wants to obey. But he lays a fleece before the Lord (literally – this is where the expression comes from) not once, but twice. By the way, this is after Gideon has summoned thousands of warriors from Israel’s tribes, so you’d think he’d want to clear things up first, but…
What is shown throughout the passage is that God does love Gideon, He loves His people, and He wants to use Gideon for His own glory. So much so that He has him dismiss over 32,000 of the troops that Gideon has summoned just to prove that this is about God, not Gideon. 300 will do just fine, Gideon. And the Lord faithfully uses Gideon’s obedience, defeats the enemy, and brings forty years of peace to Israel.
I’m being a bit simplistic and cutting to the chase for this simple message: God considers Gideon a man of faith. He’s listed in the “Hall of Faith” in Hebrews 11:32. There are heroes with questions for God, and having doubts doesn’t disqualify them from His service. Ask your questions, and choose to obey Him. That’s the true measure of faith: not your doubts, but your obedience.