A bit later Gideon summons a bunch of other guys to knock heads of the Midians that were at the time ruling over the Israelites (IIRC, feel free to call me out if I muddle things up a bit) and agains he wants a sign from God to make sure he's gonna survive his future head-knocking adventure. 2 nights he asks God to moisten either his mat or the floor, leaving the one not moistened dry.
Fast forward to 1 Samuel to just after Saul is appointed King and his son Jonathan for some reason gets an idea to go attack the Philistine camp with just his shield-bearer. It's actually pretty amazing. Jonathan's faith was such that he says, "Nothing can stop the LORD from saving, whether by many or by few." (1Sam 14:6). So here he goes and before he goes up he lays out a plan to see what God has in store. If the Philistines that he is approaching up the cliffside call Jonathan and his shield-bearer up to them Jonathan is sure this means that God has given the entire Philistine army into their hands. The two of them. @_@
Then fast forward to Jonathan and David coming up with a plan to find out wether or not Saul wanted to kill David. Jonathan would find out and then fire off a few arrows and depending on what he tells his servant (crazy that he has a servant to go fetch his arrows...) David will discover what Saul's plans are. [[aside - The way it's delivered it seems like David immediately approaches Jonathan after he tells his servant that the arrows are too far to fetch which makes me wonder why in the world they came up with that plan in the first place. Ideas?]]
So I've been curious how I might apply that to my life. But not because of David, Jonathan, or Gideon. Partly, but the real catalyst for this desire is Saul. Yup. The guy that goes psychotically jealous, flip-flops back and fourth between loving and hating David, acting foolishly and repenting; the guy seems like a real basket-case.....sounds a lot like me.
So what's the deal with Saul? God picked him and told Samuel to anoint him King because the Israelites wanted a King and to be like everybody else. In the beginning The Bible says that the spirit of God was with Saul and he seemed to be doing things right. But then he saved some cattle, some sheep and fat calves - "everything that was good" and God was sore displeased because He said to wipe out EVERYTHING. [[[I've talked before on the sovereignty of God and His knowledge/Justice on here (I think anyway...) but fire away if you, like me, struggle when you read these kinds of God given directives. ]]] Saul says in his defense whenever Samuel calls him out for keeping the livestock by saying, "The soldiers took sheep and cattle from the plunder, the best of what was devoted to God, in order to sacrifice them to the Lord your God at Gilgal.” (1Sam 15:21)
Which sounds like Saul was doing what he thought would be what God wanted, but Samuel expounds a bit more on what God delights in from us:
I guess this sticks out to me more so because of a recent sermon I was listening to by Mac Brunsen. He brought up the connection of, and it's a bit hazy now so forgive me for the broad strokes here, our design and our tendencies. That because God made us to be in relationship with Him and to worship Him, but we are still in this squishy body partly separated from Him and intensely looking for ways to pleasure ourselves, we can often make the mistake of creating idols but with the intent to please God with them. I believe the quote was, "make our idols look an awful lot like Jesus" which immediately sends my mind to that quote in Matthew 7:
Those are things I've been thinking about anyway. Of course it's balanced by Matthew 16: 1-4: