(The stone that learned)
Once upon a time there was a stone named Flash. Now Flash was a low flat sort of rock that lived next to a big Oak tree in a land called Oprah. This land was inhabited by the tribe of Israelites called the tribe of Manasseh which was a land than was full of fields for these people were farmers and herdsmen. Flash’s home was also near a mountain that had a lot of caves in it where the people of Manasseh used to hide their food . They did that you see because they lived near another people called the Midianites and these people had a really interesting way they did their grocery shopping. You see whenever it came time for the harvest of the fields, the Midanites would wait until just after the Islrealites had their crop all harvested and prepared for storage and then they would attack them in huge swarms just like locust and steal all the food and animals. They would not harm the fields while they were growing or kill too many Isrealites when they attacked. Instead they would just come in huge numbers with many camels and overwelm the Isrealites, steal their food and leave them there to grow more. So the Isrealites had taken to hiding their food in these caves. Flash loved to tell stories to his cousins in the Midianites land about where the food was hidden. He pretended that his secrets were passed on the Midianites but of couse they werent since stone can’t talk to people but it was a fun hobby anyhow. Now of course that only happended during the 2 harvest seasons each year so in between Flash had on other hobby, sunbathing ..
Tell about stones
Now one day Flash was doing his normal thing and getting ready to take a sun bath when he heard steps at a distance. It seems a young man and his father were coming and they stopped nearby in the shade of the oak tree. There was a winepress there and the man put some wheat in it to hide it. Ooooo thought Flash, I have a new hiding place to tell my cousins about but he kind of forgotr about that when the younger man started to talk. The young man asked the older one who apparently was his father why God was letting the Midianites steal all the food all the time. The father explained to the son that it was because Isreal was once again worshiping idols and not God, so God was trying to get their attention and they were not listening so he was holding back his protection.
On hearing this Flash thought Wow ! what a story, did this man really believe that or was he just telling his son that to give him hope. You see Flash did not beleive in God but that was about to change for just as Flash had this thought, an Angel walked up, sat down under the oak tree with the man and his son and said to the son, O Valiant warrior . God is with you.” The son then said the the Angel, and asked the same thing Flash wanted to say, which was “ Ok then why has God letting the Midanites take all our food year after year ? The Angel did not answer the question for he knew the father had already answered correctly but instead said,. “ its time and God has decided to send you to destroy the Midianties”. Flash could not help but laugh to himself but the son did not, instead he replied “ so how am I supposed to do that. I am the youngest son in my familty and my family is not important at all”. Flash thought he’s right , no one would follow him into battle. He’s kind of whimpy looking. The Angel said, doesn’t matter, God is going to be with you and help you do it. It will be like fighting only one man.” Again Flash laughed, he had seen the Midianites swarm over the land and there were millions of them.
Now the son did not laugh but must have had the same thought because he asked the Angel for a miraculous sign that the Angel was really from God. He then told the Angel to wait and he would go get an offering for him to honor him. Flash guessed he just doing that in case it was a real angel but Flash still didn’t think so. A little while later the young man came back with a basket of bread and meat and a pot of soup. The Angel said , put the meat and bread of this rock .. Flash suddenly took notice, he was about to ber used as table and that was just rude but the next words out of the Angels mouth stuned him even more for the Angel said .. them pour out the soup on the rock too. As the young man did so, Flash got really mad for now he was not only a table but he had hot soup running all over his head and down into his eyes and worse into his ears. Oooooo he said now that’s the last straw .. but as it turned out it wasn’t .. (pause) for the Angel reached out a stick he was holding and touched Flash. In an instant flash Flash was on fire for as the stick touched him , Flash erupted into flames in spontaneous combustion and the Angel vanished into thin air.
For the next few moments Flash and the young man were in shock. Flash was not thinking about the Angel becuuse he was on fire and since he never considered that he could catch fire since he was a rock he had no idea how to solve this problem. However in less than a minute the fire burned up the meat and the bread and even the soup was gone and the fire went out by itself . As Flash sat there with his head still smoking , he knew it was time to consider that God was real and he too now knew that this was a real Angel.
The young man however was not particularly interested in Flash nor how odd it was for a rock to burn but rather was wailing and sure that he was about to die. You see his father had taught him that if you actually see God, you have to die. That was one of the Isrealites belifs. But as he cried “oh woe is me” the Angel spoke to him although now invisible. He said Don’t be afraid, you will not die. This calmed the young man down and he decided to honor God for sparing his life so he collected a bunch of other stones and guess what he did with them. Well you are right, he piled them all up in front of Flash and then lifted up flash and put him on the top. He had become the top of an alter , a type of monument to God. Flash of course was not to thrilled about this either as he had heard from his cousins what people did with these alters. I guess he was going to have to get used to being doused in food and meat and being set on fire. .. arghhh.. As the sun went down that day all Flash could say was … What a day … what a day .. He did not even realize he had lived up to his name.
That night God spoke again to the young man and told him to go and tear down another alter, one that was used by the people to worship the false god Baal. Seems that this was a test of sorts to see if the man believed him because meant the townspeople would get really mad if you wrecked there alter and if they found out you did it they might kill you. Well the young man did believe God but he was also still afraid. He did tear down the alter but got 10 friends to help him and also did it at night. Flash was awakend to the yells of his cousins that made up the alter of Baal as they tumbled to the ground. Flash asked them if the one who tore them down got caught. They said no he didn’t but the next day was different for the young man .
You see flash did not know it but the next day someone told the townspeople who had done it and they came to the young mans house to kill him anyway . Here God intervened and showed him he did not need his friends nor the protection of the dark at night to protect him for as the men came all the father did was just tell the men hey – If Baal is a god, let him kill my son for tearing his alter down” ..Now despite being mad, the men talked among themselves, agreed and left the young man alone. Amazing thought the young man .. just amazing “ , God is with me, he has changed the minds of those who wanted to kill me and now I know he is going to use me to destroy the invaders from Midian and with that Gideon gazed out the door of his home. In the distance a huge cloud of dust was rising. It was a cloud he recognized well for the Midinaites were swarming again. …
.. stay tuned for Flash Part 2 !
Kids, God knows were are not used to seeing his power or his ways. He knows we live in a world that doesn’t believe in him and he knows that our faith in him is often very weak. Here in this story we see how God likes to use the weak, even those whose faith is weak and how he likes to turn their small faith into bigger faith. He is patient and will show you his will clearly when he want to use you. Don’t be afraid that because you are small God won’t use you or doesn’t want you. He loves you and has plan for increasing your faith and doing wonderful things through you and his plan is made perfect when you see your own weakness. This young man, knew he was small and weak, He was not arrogant thinking himself important. That is why he was chosen. Are you honest about yourself ? Or do you live in a fantasy world where you make pretend that you are importanc and powerful. ?
Flash Part 2
Flash awakend to the sound of a trumpet. From his perch on top of the alter Gideon has made he could hear it well. It echoed across the valley. A few minutes later two men ran by and from the brief conversation Flash could overhear they were messengers sent to gather the people of Isreal to fight along side Gideon against the advancing hord of Midianites. Soon men came running back towards the town carrying swords and spears all wondering who was this Gideon that had been calling them to battle.
That evening the first of the recruits came and meet with Gideon and asked why they should believe God had chosen him to lead them and why they should believe that they could win against such a large number of Midianites. Gideon had seen the miracle of the Angel but they had not. Flash wondered how Gideon would convince them. He did not have long to wait for Gideon called the men over and told them he was going to ask God to show them too. And here is what he did .. First he placed a small piece of wool on the ground. Then out load he prayed that if God was going to make them win through Gideons leadership, then in the morning when the dew covered the ground, God would do a miracle and let the dew collect only on the wool Flash did not laugh this time, he knew if God could make him burn , this was not a big deal. And he was right for int he morning the wool was soaked with dew but the ground around it dry. When the men saw it they began to believe but Gideon remembers that peoples faith is small like his own so he asked God for one more mirackle although first he apoliged to God for asking again. This time he asked for the wool to be kept dry and the dew to only be on the ground and the next day that’s exactly what happened. The ground , the rocks and Flash were all soaking wet but the little piece of wool was dry. By the next day everyone was talking of the miracle and 32,000 men had arrived to fight.
As the number of fighters grew, Flash wondered if with so many fighers coming they would not soon become sure they were a great army and if they won the coming battle they would become boastful and foget that God was the one doing the real fighting. Well turns out God was thinking the same thing and he told Gideon to send home any fighters that were fearful of the coming battle. That day 22,000 men went home leaving only 10,000 to fight the horde of Midianties. But that was still too many for God. Flash heard that God told Gideon to send the fighters to all get a drink from the nearby river and then send home anyone who kneeled down to get water . He only kept those that stayed standing , dipped their hand in the water and raised it to there mouth where they lapped it like a dog. At the end of that day only 300 fighters remained. It was a ridiculously small number considering the size of the approaching Midianite swarm Flash thought and he was not the only one for even Gideon was a little worried too .. 300 against that swarm ?
That night , God spoke to Gideon. He reminded him that he would defeat the Midanite hoard easily but told him that if he was afraid to go and sneak into the Midianite camp and listen to what they were saying and that would make him less worried. So Gideon took his servant and secretly made their way towards the valley where the Midianites where camping. As they appraoched they could see that the Midianties there were too many to count. They covered the valley, tent after tent, fire after fire, Gideon felt like it was like seeing as many people as grains of sand on a seashore.
As they approached the edge of the valley, they hid in some rocks near the first group of Midanties they found which turned out to be a group of armed men talking around their campfire. Gideon strained to listen from a distance but of course Flash could hear everthing much more clearly because we all know sound travels through the ground very well which is why rocks can hear so well ..
Tell about stones ….
We anyway back to the story, as it turns out one of the armed men was telling his friend that he had a dream the night before. He dreamed a loaf of bread came rolling down the hill into the valley where they camped and hit a tent. Hmm thought Flash, that’s a dumb dream (which was also what the mans friend thought) until the man added, then the loaf of bread smashed the tent and flipped it upside down. At hearing this, the mans friend said ut-oh .. you know I think this dream is a bad omen. It means that the leader of the Isrealites, Gideon is going to come and God is on his side so we Midianites are going to get messed up.
Flash was amazed that the Midianite friend would interpret the dream that way, cuase it was a pretty dumb dream, but Gideon was not amazed. He bowed his head and thanked God for the reminder and quitely left the valley and returned to where is 300 fighters were camped.
When he arrived he lost no time but split the men into 3 groups of 100. Then he did something really weird, he gave each man a torch, a pitcher and a trumpet. Now on seeing this Flash wondered if Gideon had lost his mind for if a man had to carry these, he would not be able to hold his weapon in his hand and that didn’t seem like a good plan for an army. What plan ? We here is what Gideon told his men.
He told them to keep their torch hidden under their pitcher and split up and go quitely and sourround the Midanite camp. Then when he sounded his trumpet , each person was to break their pitcher and hold their torches up hight in their left hands to let the Midanates see them . They werealso to start playing their own trumpets and start yelling “ A sword for the Lord and Gideon” as loud as they could.
Now Flash could have nmade fun of this plan to try and scare millions of people with some noise and lights made by 300 people spread out over a large valley. But then Flash he had seen some pretty weird stuff in the last few days so he didn’t make fun of Gideon nor his plan. Instead he just watched as the 300 headed off to battle.
For a few hours everything was silent. Flash could not hear anything except the distant drone of the Midinate camp. He guessed correctly that it took a while for the 300 to surround the valley. Then he heard a singel trumpet at a distance and immediatley the other 300 joined in. Then he heard the shouts of the Isrealites . screaming A sword for the Lord and Gideon” and then he heard a roar that was the loudest thing he ever heard and loader than anything he would even hear again for the entire Midinate camp came to life, Millions of men awakend from their sleep, drew their swords and began to fight. Only one problem. They assumed the Isrealites were already among them and in their haste they began fighting each other. The Istrealites however did not advance on the camp but stayed where they were with torches and trumpets in hand and watched as a huge swarm of Midianites fought they own people until they either killed each other or ran screaming for the mountains.
The noise of the battle lasted a long time. Flash was not sure how long but soon he noticed a couple of messengers running towards him. They apparantly were sent by Gideon to call back the many men he had sent home for now that God had done the miracle he promised Gideon, all the men of Isreal were to see it and help chase down the fleeing Midianites just to be sure they did not come back again. As the fighters of Isreal heard the news that day you would think they would have been amazed and praise God but they did not, at least not at first, for as they passed Flash going to join up with Gideon, most were complaining that they had been left out of the great battle. .. Wow ! thought Flash , will they never learn.
Over the next few days the remaining Midanite fighters and
leaders were chased down and killed. Gideon did have to give his troops a strong
lecture about how God had done the real work and when it was over the Isrealite
people asked Gideon to be their king.
Gideon said no but instead asked for a gold earing from each man who had
taken gold from a Midianite in the battle. He then melted it down and formed it
into an ephod which was a special golden vest worn by Isrealite priests as sign
that they were in direct communication with God. In so doing he tried to keep
the people of Isreal
focused on God as their king. It mostly worked although some
people did worship the ephod and it did cause Gideon some problems. But in general
Flash’s last question after the battle was the right one, will they even learn ? So I ask you – will you learn to stay focused on what God can do and not drop back into the pattern of doing everthing for yourself or the pattern of giving time to everthing except your relationship with Jesus?