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Gideon replied, “If now I have found favor in your eyes, give me a sign that it is really you talking to me.” Judges 6:17 NIV

When the Lord came to Gideon, Gideon was astute enough to honor God’s name by ensuring that it was indeed Him speaking. Who else could it have been? Who knows? Perhaps Gideon thought it was his own mind. Maybe he believed he had gone crazy, was being deceived by a demon, or it was one of the other gods. We are not told. However, we are informed that Gideon did not accept it at face value and asked for a sign. The Lord did not respond in anger, because Gideon did not believe it was Him. I believe the Lord was pleased that Gideon asked for a sign, maybe even a second time.

Similarly, when Moses encountered God through the burning bush, he was given not just one, but three signs to demonstrate that the Lord had indeed sent him. Moses expressed doubt, asking, “What if they do not believe me or listen to me and say, ‘The Lord did not appear to you’?” In response, God provided Moses with three powerful signs: turning his staff into a serpent, making his hand leprous as snow and then healing it, and turning water from the Nile into blood. These signs were tangible proofs of divine commissioning, meant to assure both Moses and the Israelites of God’s presence and power.

Whenever someone tells you they have a word from the Lord, I don’t say, “Do not believe them because God does not speak today.” I don’t know when God speaks or how much He speaks today. I wrestle with this all the time. However, I have never heard the Lord speak, and I’ve always wanted to. That does not mean I haven’t had dozens of times where people have come up to me, saying they had a word from the Lord for me. I never believe them at face value. I didn’t just disbelieve them; I needed more of a sign from the Lord. I never got one, which assured me it was not Him. It was not a matter of being uncertain or thinking there was a fifty-fifty chance; I knew it was not Him.

As with Gideon and Moses, and so many others who have heard the word of the Lord and asked for further signs, so should we. I know it’s not popular in many churches today to question whether something is from the Lord. They may even say you don’t trust the Lord enough. They may say, “Oh, ye of little faith.” Just be kind to them and set the example. That’s all you can do.

The Lord says you shall not take His name in vain. This is the very essence of not taking His name in vain. His reputation is not worthless to you, so you say, “I will not trust anybody who claims to speak on behalf of the Lord, not even if it comes from the sky.” Ask for a sign, and the Lord’s countenance will look down upon you with pleasure.

C Michael Patton
C Michael Patton

C. Michael Patton is the primary contributor to the Parchment and Pen/Credo Blog. He has been in ministry for nearly twenty years as a pastor, author, speaker, and blogger. Find him on Patreon Th.M. Dallas Theological Seminary (2001), president of Credo House Ministries and Credo Courses, author of Now that I'm a Christian (Crossway, 2014) Increase My Faith (Credo House, 2011), and The Theology Program (Reclaiming the Mind Ministries, 2001-2006), host of Theology Unplugged, and primary blogger here at Parchment and Pen. But, most importantly, husband to a beautiful wife and father to four awesome children. Michael is available for speaking engagements. Join his Patreon and support his ministry

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