2024 My year of Gideon

That night the Lord said to him, “Take your father’s bull, the second bull seven years old, and pull down the altar of Baal that belongs to your father, and cut down the sacred pole that is beside it; and build an altar to the Lord your God on the top of the stronghold here…  So Gideon took ten of his servants, and did as the Lord had told him; but because he was too afraid of his family and the townspeople to do it by day, he did it by night.

Portions of Judges 6:25-27

Gideon

His is the story of a young farmer…  he goes to work in the morning in his overalls.  In the Old Testament, before denim, that means he’s either girded his loins (tucked his robe for work) or is wearing a short work garment.  He hits the threshing floor early – because who wants to work in the noonday sun?  His job:  to beat the chaff off of the grain, to hit the grain hard, then to expose it to the wind, and let the heavy, valuable seeds fall, while the useless, light chaff blows off into nowhere.  It’s a messy, dusty job, the chaff (the garbage that’s in the way of good food) it gets everywhere before it blows away. 

This is the place where he meets God.  Where the Lord appears and calls him a warrior and Gideon says “what?” and doesn’t believe (not at first).  But… after this meeting, he comes home with fire in his eyes, and he destroys the garbage in the family’s back yard.  Demolishing altars, smashing idols, burning ‘sacred’ poles, offering up ‘sacred’ animals. 

Gideon… analyzed…

This is not a conversion story…  Gideon was already a follower of God, already one of the people of Israel before he went to work that day.

He inherited the promise of Deuteronomy 30 (God will be their God if they will be his people).  His people have already pledged to keep the 10 commandments in Exodus, and again in Joshua.    

Yet still, dangerous, parasitic, garbage-beliefs had made their way into his life.  His parents had built idols in their backyard.  Gideon, himself, has ridiculously low expectations of God at the beginning of the story. 

And so God bothered Gideon, disturbed him, scared him, called him… just like Gideon beat, threshed, and threw the grain…  God threshed Gideon…    

When that happens… the good stuff stays, and if you’ll allow it…  the winds of the Holy Spirit can blow the garbage away

What this means to me…

Threshing… 

This is what I’ve decided to spend my year on. 

I have most certainly been bothered, disturbed, and scared in the last six months.  I’ve left the denomination I worked in for over 23 years (my choice).  I’ve left the profession I worked in for over 23 years (again, my choice).  I’ve moved to a new town, and taken up a different type of job, and more… 

I want to own being bothered.  To and allow life, God, and maybe even my own critique to thresh my faith.  To hit it hard…  not with the purpose of losing it, but with the purpose of knocking off anything that isn’t true or doesn’t belong, any idols that have somehow made it into my back yard.   

I believe it’s time to throw every threshed idea up into the winds of the Holy Spirit and… let’s see what’s good, and sticks around…  and let’s see what was never worth my time or heart in the first place…

Caution

When I tell my friends and family about this they all get… worried.  I can understand that, but a good threshing, a good bothering isn’t worth anything unless it puts everything on the table.  It should be scary, it is risky, I’ll own that. 

But I’ll also own this:  If I have found or been led to anything true...  Then it should be able to handle whatever I, or life, throw at it.  It should be bigger than me because… I’m not that big of a deal.  I can’t change ultimate truth. 

So I’m blogging, as a form of accountability, and… I don’t know… maybe these thoughts might help someone. 

I believe that the things that stick around after a good bothering…  those are the things are the that are worth it…  those are the things, the ideas, the beliefs I want to spend my time on…  after I take out the trash (or perhaps invite God to do so).

So, with a fire in my eye… this year, I approach the threshing floor. 

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