Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Signs, Signs

"Sign, Sign, Everywhere a sign, blocking out the scenery breaking my mind, do this, don't do that, can't you read the sign?" This is the chorus from the 1971 hit single Signs, by Five Man Electrical Band.

As a Christian, I tend to look for signs (from God) every where. Having a real and relevant heavenly Father means that I believe nothing happens by coincidence. Yet do I sometimes put too much credence into "signs?" For instance, I have lost the bible study book I was thinking of doing for my Fall study group. Is this a sign from God to select another book? Or simply a sign of my lack of organization?

In the book of Judges, there is a man named Gideon. The Lord sent Gideon out to save Israel. When the Lord begins talking to Gideon, Gideon says "If now I have found favor in your eyes, give me a sign that it is really you talking to me." (Judges 6:17) Not only does he ask for this sign, but he then asks for confirmation that he will indeed save Israel. He asks that he place a wool fleece on the floor and if there is dew only on the fleece but the ground is dry, then he will know that God will save Israel through his hand.

There was indeed only dew on the fleece. But Gideon said to God (v39) "Do not be angry with me. Let me make just one more request. Allow me one more test with the fleece. This time make the fleece dry and the ground covered with dew." And God did so. He provided Gideon will all the signs he needed.

However, in the New Testament Jesus says ""A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a miraculous sign!" when the Pharisees were trying to test in Matthew 12. Is it wrong to look for a sign?

I believe the difference is Gideon looked for a sign in faith. He wanted to make sure his step in faith was the correct step in following God. (And yes, I think he was a bit scared too). The Pharisees on the other hand, we not asking for signs because of their faith, but their lack of faith. The were hoping to prove that Jesus was not the Son of God.

We also have to be careful to test our signs. Jesus goes on in Matthew 24 saying, "For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect—if that were possible." After all, the devil is the father of lies and comes to deceive and devour.

There are signs, signs, every where signs. We just need to make sure we're reading them the right way.

"And the sign said, 'Everybody welcome. Come in, kneel down and pray' But when they passed around the plate at the end of it all, I didn't have a penny to pay. So I got me a pen and a paper and I made up my own little sign. I said, 'Thank you, Lord, for thinkin' 'bout me. I'm alive and doin' fine.'" (Final verse, Signs song).


Jessica said...

Oh my, I've never thought about signs that way before, didn't realize the difference between Gideon and the pharisees in that respect. I think you're right!
Thanks for stopping by my blog. No, I'm not published
sigh. . .
Maybe someday! :-)
I see you all the time on Rachelle Gardner's site.

Truth4thejourney said...

It is difficult to discern whether something is a sign or just a result of your action, like your bible study book. That's where the Holy Spirit can come in. He will impress on our hearts or whisper in our ear what we need then, when the sign comes it's often a confirmation of what we've already been told.

Love ya!

Runner Mom said...

Hey, Kelly! This is great! I too am looking for a sign of wisdom and discernment right now! And, I am lost! I need that sign pointing me in the right direction. Yours is the 2nd blog that I've read this morning that is really speaking to my heart about my direction!!! Thanks so much!!
Love ya,

Sue J said...

"...'It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you....'" Acts 1:7

Jesus said this after His resurrection to disciples who thought he was "restoring the kingdom to Israel." Not exactly the moment of the end times, He explained.

What you remind us about false teachers and prophets is so true. We cannot invest our full attention into outward signs. Could you imagine the things we would do if, say, we stared at the waffle iron and suddenly decided that it was a sign that God wanted us to work and witness at the neighborhood Waffle House?! Possible, but....?

Tuning in to how the Holy Spirit brings about discernment in you is one of the aspects of a PERSONAL relationship with God. Unique!

My ADHD Me said...

More than a few times I think I have seen signs and chosen to ignore them. Thanks for the reminder.

As for the waffle iron, "I took off my hat and imagine, working for you"---my apologies to the Five Man Electrical Band, I'm trying to quote a line from the song and may not have gotten it perfect. But I do LOVE that song!

Bonita said...

Great insights, Kelly!

Rick said...

Just passing thru and happened to read your post. I always remind people when they talk about "putting out a fleece" that Gideon had been told what the Lord wanted, but he asked for a sign because he lacked faith. But the Lord accommodated him anyway. The Pharisees had already seen many wonders and had gotten answers from Jesus a number of different times. It was AFTER they accused Him of being in partnership with Satan that Jesus said He wouldn't answer any more questions or provide anymore wonders, or signs.

Generally I think asking God for a sign can be tricky. I think we are better off following the open doors He provides.

Julie Gillies said...

Oh Kelly, girl - it's been a while since I hummed that song! I think I still know every word. LOL

I agree with you about the difference between asking to clarify that you're stepping in the right direction and just demanding a sign because of unbelief.

Years ago an opportunity landed in my lap for me to write for our local newspaper. However, I was uncertain, so I asked the Lord for more money and then I'd KNOW I should take the job (and me with ZERO experience!) To my great surprise, the amount I asked for was granted and I wrote regularly for nearly 3 years...all because I had the audacity to set out a fleece before the Lord.

Great post, Kelly, as always!

Jen - Balancing beauty and bedlam said...

Some great things to ponder...thank you!
It's always a struggle, especially when this is an area that Satan would so gladly cloud our thought life to his gain. We must be so grounded in the Word, and then the Holy Spirit can reveal things to us. It's that balance when I hear people saying that "they had a sign from the H.S. or HE revealed it to me", but when you truly align it within the context of scripture, it's contradictory to His Word.
Thanks again for sharing your heart.

Rebecca Ingram Powell said...

Hi CK,

I recently saw this on a church's sign:

Maybe God is looking for a sign from YOU.

Kay Martin said...

In relationships I love it when we are close enough that we trust one another and that's that. I would imagine our Heavenly FAther is most pleased when we operate in faith that says, "He said it; it's so." With the Word, The Holy Bible, we know what He says about all things; the only question is our true faith in Him as God of His Word.

I'm not there yet; but I sure know where I'm headed. "He Says It; That is So!!!"

Good usual.

Edie said...

Great thoughts Kelly! I have been sooo like Gideon many times in looking for sure confirmation that the step I'm about to take is REALLY what God said and not something I made up myself.

There have been times when God has honored my request for a sign of confirmation like with Gideon, and a time or two when He decided to give me a sign of confirmation as He has done in the Bible also. But as I grow in my walk with Him I have come to realize that He wants me to trust that He is ALWAYS leading me and if I trust that, and stay focused on Him, then I have less need of the fleece.

Sometimes the confirmation comes after we step into the direction He is orchestrating, even in our uncertainty.

Asking for a sign without any intention of being obedient to it's purpose is what I believe Jesus was condeming. God delights in reassuring His children.

I thoroughly enjoyed this! Thanks!

The Patterson 5 said...

Now I am going to be singing this song and pondering all day about signs. I like to look at signs- or possible signs not as coincedences but God-incedences (I am not sure of the spellings). I know at times I have to slow down as I might miss a sign God has for me in my busy-ness. Thanks for your insight. I never thought of the signs that Gideon was searching for in regards to the faithless search the Pharasees were on. Very interesting.....

Edie said...

Please join us for a certificate of achievement presentation for ADHD at my blog. Feel free to bring a guest. :D See you there!

ThreeGirlyGirls said...

I'm always looking for the "sign"! Thanks for this! Loved it!!

Edie said...

(off topic) If I were Paris's sister I might "prefer" a low profile. Ha! You and ADHD on the other hand, both have sisters you can be proud of. :)