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The call

Jun 8, 2011, 2:50 PM | Article By: Galandou Gorre-Ndiaye

The story is told of a man who from a distance of five kilometres from where he lived could see a cloud of smoke belching out from a chimney. His reaction was to immediately drive and see what was going on there. As he got closer, the smoke thickened and blackened. He got off his car and rushed towards the house. Somehow, it did not seem there was anybody around at that particular time or that anybody in the neighbourhood had taken notice.

There was no sign of life, and yet the house was on fire. He dashed into the house and found no one downstairs. From the first floor he could hear the sound of a television set blasting at high volume. He called from the top of his voice but nobody budged. Frantically, he escalated the stairs, pushed open the door to find three young children literally glued to the television. They hadn’t the faintest clue such was taking place around them – the fact that they would have been engulfed by fire in a matter of minutes. Quickly, he then led them out of the house to safety. By this time of course a crowd had gathered.

You may want to ask who invited him? What prompted him to leave his house and head in that direction? How could he just burst into somebody’s house like that? Where were the parents of those children? Well, the answer is that God had sent this man on a rescue mission. He had put in his heart the thought that somebody’s life was in danger and that he was to go and deliver him/her from harm. The smoke was a telltale sign that something was amiss. Others would say it was intuition. Oh no! God is at work, destroying the works of the evil one. Imagine what would have been the fate of these children if the man had not answered that call?

Our God is a caring Father. We are reminded of the Great Commission when Jesus said: “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.” (Mark 16:15) Go without asking what you are likely to encounter! Go! Because he says; “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5b) I will be with you to the very end! It is this assurance that we have that would propel us to go anywhere, at any time – without questioning. This appeal is to all and sundry – irrespective of creed, race or social status.

The kind of reaction displayed by this man is not a common feature. When God commissioned Gideon, he had his doubts about the what God wanted him to do, and for very good reasons. To the greeting: “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.” (Judges 6:12) Gideon retorted; “…if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us?” (Judges 6:13)  What was it that had happened to the children of Israel? They had become easy prey for the Midianites. “Whenever the Israelites planted their crops, the Midianites, Amalekites and other eastern peoples invaded the country. They camped on the land and ruined the crops all the way to Gaza and did not spare a living thing for Israel, neither sheep, nor cattle, nor donkeys.” (Judges 6:3-4,)  They laid the land to waste and in so doing impoverished the Israelites.

That was the reason for young Gideon’s objection to the angel’s greeting. What he meant was How can we be going through such molestation and you dare say God is with us? How can God tolerate such state of affairs and claim to be with us? Gideon was accusing God of abandoning His chosen people and for handing them over to the Midianites who had no mercy or pity on them.

There is no smoke without fire. For God to have turned His back on them, they certainly must have faltered. “Again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord, and for seven years He gave them into the hands of the Midianites.” (Judges 6:1) “I said to you, ‘I am the Lord your God; do not worship the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you live.’ But you have not listened to me.” (Judges 6:10) The harassment from the Midianites was such that the Israelites had to cry to God for help. For this reason, He sent an angel to reassure them that He was going to bring relief; the sentence for their disobedience was over.

Then the angel pursued: “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?” (Judges 6:14) Gideon was not too willing to carry out this assignment so he had another excuse. “But Lord, how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.” (Judges 6:15) Deliberately, we witness Gideon dragging his feet and dilly-dallying. He complains about the way God is treating the Israelites but given the opportunity to do something about it he caves in.

How many times has God called us and we have not heeded the call? Have we never pushed His appeal aside awaiting more favourable winds before we set sail? How often have we turned God’s assignment down because we are not sure of ourselves? We are too busy because we have other irons in the fire, priority issues. Sometimes we are afraid we may not be up to the task. We are not any different from Gideon who kept pushing the goal post with a multitude of excuses.

The time is appropriate only when God gives us the signal. Postponement of the assignment could entail serious consequences. When God decides to choose such and such a servant to work for Him, remember we are not going in our own strength; if we did that would be recipe for disaster. We are up to the task because God’s Spirit would lead us. We are just a mere instrument in His hands.

Gideon did not seize the opportunity to serve God right away. He did not think much of himself as he was young and inexperienced. He decided to test God even though God had said to him “I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites together.” (Judges 6:16)  Gideon had his doubts. Listen to him speak; “If now I have found favour in your eyes, give me a sign that it is really you talking to me.” (Judges 6:17) 

My friend there is an emergency somewhere and God is calling you to go and put out that fire. What is your answer? I am too busy with my family, my job, my studies. I just don’t have the time from my busy schedule. If that is your reaction you are saying to God, please wait. Think again!