By Rev Bill Woods
In Judges 6, God’s people are so ravaged by the Midianites they’re hiding in dens and caves.
Judges 6:7-11—So Israel was reduced to starvation by the Midianites. Then the Israelites cried out to the LORD for help.
7 When they cried out to the LORD because of Midian,
8 the LORD sent a prophet to the Israelites. He said, “This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: I brought you up out of slavery in Egypt.
9 I rescued you from the Egyptians and from all who oppressed you. I drove out your enemies and gave you their land.
10 I told you, ‘I am the LORD your God. You must not worship the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you now live.’ But you have not listened to me.”
11 Then the angel of the LORD came and sat beneath the great tree at Ophrah, which belonged to Joash of the clan of Abiezer. Gideon son of Joash was threshing wheat at the bottom of a winepress to hide the grain from the Midianites.
They prayed for mercy — God gave them Gideon.
4 principles from Gideon’s life that can help us today:
We’re also in a spiritual battle, it’s a fight, a war, and it’s a warzone.
God just needs a few good people.
1. THE PRINCIPLE OF ENCOUNTER.
Judges 6:11 — Then the angel of the LORD came and sat beneath the great tree at Ophrah, which belonged to Joash of the clan of Abiezer. Gideon son of Joash was threshing wheat at the bottom of a winepress to hide the grain from the Midianites.
We know Gideon was afraid because of where he was threshing wheat: at the winepress at the bottom of the hill. The winepress was at the bottom so you could carry the grapes downhill.
Wheat threshing happened at the top of the hill so the wind would drive the chaff away. Gideon was hiding at the bottom doing the work that should be at the top.
I think it’s hilarious what the angel called him while he was cowering down hiding.
Judges 6:12 — The angel of the LORD appeared to him and said, “Mighty hero, the LORD is with you!”
God saw potential Gideon didn’t know existed.
Gideon acted cynical, even rude to the Angel of the Lord, showing his ignorance.
He complained and questioned God — Judges 6:13–“Sir,” Gideon replied, “if the LORD is with us, why has all this happened to us? And where are all the miracles our ancestors told us about? Didn’t they say, ‘The LORD brought us up out of Egypt’? But now the LORD has abandoned us and handed us over to the Midianites.”
Israel had fallen back into idolatry so God let their enemies attack them.
What did they expect? God had warned them about what would happen!
When we run after the same goals as non-believers, we shouldn’t be surprised when trials come and God doesn’t intervene or answer our prayers.
Isaiah 59:1-2 —“Listen! The LORD’s arm is not too weak to save you, nor is his ear too deaf to hear you call. 2 It’s your sins that have cut you off from God. Because of your sins, he has turned away and will not listen anymore.
Charles Spurgeon said, “God does not permit His children to sin successfully”.
God’s not a “permissive parent” with a tremendous lack of insight.
Gideon blamed God for the consequences of Israel’s sin.
God responded by announcing (in spite of what He had to work with) His intention were to make Gideon a “mighty warrior”.
Judges 6:14 — Then the LORD turned to him and said, “Go with the strength you have, and rescue Israel from the Midianites. I am sending you!”
Gideon was an ordinary man, not a prophet, preacher, priest, or king.
Its evident God didn’t select a born leader. Gideon appeared far from heroic, and he readily admitted his lack of qualifications.
He was the last-born, from an insignificant family and tribe.
He wasn’t acting very courageous, but God would prepare him to gradually grow into his valiant role.
“GOD DOESN’T CALL THE EQUIPPED — HE EQUIPS THE CALLED!”
Rather than rest in God’s reassurance, Gideon resisted God’s call by asking for a sign, some tangible evidence,
Judges 6:17-21 — Gideon replied, “If you are truly going to help me, show me a sign to prove that it is really the LORD speaking to me.
18 Don’t go away until I come back and bring my offering to you.” He answered, “I will stay here until you return.”
19 Gideon hurried home. He cooked a young goat, and with a basket of flour he baked some bread without yeast. Then, carrying the meat in a basket and the broth in a pot, he brought them out and presented them to the angel, who was under the great tree.
20 The angel of God said to him, “Place the meat and the unleavened bread on this rock, and pour the broth over it.” And Gideon did as he was told.
21 Then the angel of the LORD touched the meat and bread with the tip of the staff in his hand, and fire flamed up from the rock and consumed all he had brought. And the angel of the LORD disappeared.
When fire consumed the offering, Gideon finally got the message he was talking to a Heavenly being — now he thought he was going to die!
Judges 6:22-23 — When Gideon realized that it was the angel of the LORD, he cried out, “Oh, Sovereign LORD, I’m doomed! I have seen the angel of the LORD face to face!” “It is all right,” the LORD replied. “Do not be afraid. You will not die.”
They thought if someone saw an angel it meant they’d die — Gideon thought he’d seen the “angel of death”.
– The angel said he wouldn’t die — Gideon built an altar, which he called “The Lord is Peace.”
2. THE PRINCIPLE OF COURAGE.
Judges 6:12 “Mighty hero…….” God sees potential in you that you don’t know is there!
To prepare Gideon to lead Israel, God told him to destroy a nearby pagan altar
Judges 6:25-32 — That night the LORD said to Gideon, “Take the second bull from your father’s herd, the one that is seven years old. Pull down your father’s altar to Baal, and cut down the Asherah pole standing beside it.
26 Then build an altar to the LORD your God here on this hilltop sanctuary, laying the stones carefully. Sacrifice the bull as a burnt offering on the altar, using as fuel the wood of the Asherah pole you cut down.”
27 So Gideon took ten of his servants and did as the LORD had commanded. But he did it at night because he was afraid of the other members of his father’s household and the people of the town.
28 Early the next morning, as the people of the town began to stir, someone discovered that the altar of Baal had been broken down and that the Asherah pole beside it had been cut down. In their place a new altar had been built, and on it were the remains of the bull that had been sacrificed.
29 The people said to each other, “Who did this?” And after asking around and making a careful search, they learned that it was Gideon, the son of Joash.
30 “Bring out your son,” the men of the town demanded of Joash. “He must die for destroying the altar of Baal and for cutting down the Asherah pole.”
31 But Joash shouted to the mob that confronted him, “Why are you defending Baal? Will you argue his case? Whoever pleads his case will be put to death by morning! If Baal truly is a god, let him defend himself and destroy the one who broke down his altar!”
32 From then on Gideon was called Jerub-baal, which means “Let Baal defend himself,” because he broke down Baal’s altar.
If God was to save Israel Baal must go!
Gideon’s own family worshiped the false gods of Canaan.
Before God could use him, Gideon needed to destroy the idolatry in his own household……..
Gideon and his servants worked through the dark night, tearing down the altar to Baal and Ashura.
Gideon’s name means “hewer” or “hacker”, one who cuts down — an appropriate name for him.
The idol worshippers came for their morning devotions and found the damage.
It didn’t take long to find the culprit, and Gideon hid behind his father Joash’s protection.
Joash was custodian of the altar, he told his angry neighbors if Baal’s so powerful he should’ve been able to defend himself!
The town gave Gideon the nickname Jerubbaal, meaning, “let Baal plead his case”, reminding us of God’s power and Baal’s weakness. Gideon, who tested God, cleaned up his neighborhood and passed God’s test.
Now Gideon had to raise an army.
Imagine going to the Post Office and seeing posters: GIDEON WANTS YOU!
Gideon didn’t put up posters; he blew a ram’s horn instead.
The army was assembling and now Gideon decided to ask for a couple more tests.
Judges 6:36-40 — Then Gideon said to God, “If you are truly going to use me to rescue Israel as you promised,
37 prove it to me in this way. I will put a wool fleece on the threshing floor tonight. If the fleece is wet with dew in the morning but the ground is dry, then I will know that you are going to help me rescue Israel as you promised.”
38 And that is just what happened. When Gideon got up early the next morning, he squeezed the fleece and wrung out a whole bowlful of water.
39 Then Gideon said to God, “Please don’t be angry with me, but let me make one more request. Let me use the fleece for one more test. This time let the fleece remain dry while the ground around it is wet with dew.” 40 So that night God did as Gideon asked. The fleece was dry in the morning, but the ground was covered with dew.
Gideon used a fleece: wet fleece/dry ground: dry fleece/wet ground.
This seems a little strange that he’s still testing God after he got the army there!
32,000 men answered Gideon’s call and God said, it’s too many! The Midianites were innumerable!
But God said “No, I just need a few good men. I’ll get the glory when I do more with less!”
God will share anything with us except His glory.
God told Gideon tell any who were afraid to go home. 22,000 packed up and left!
WOW! There’s only 10,000 remaining. God doesn’t use the fearful.
He hasn’t given us the spirit of fear.
3. THE PRINCIPAL OF WISDOM.
Courage needs to be balanced with wisdom.
Judges 7:4-7 — God said there’s still too many!
Gideon’s sweating by now! Doesn’t God know how big the problem is?
The first purging was “all you chickens go home” — 22,000 did!
God said go to the creek and drink — those who lap like a dog — send them home!
Those who drink from their hand — let them stay
It was just a little test — 9700 failed!
Now his army only numbers 300!
Gideon must’ve felt like telling the angel, “Why don’t you and I just go down and whip those guys and leave these men here!”
4. THE PRINCIPAL OF STRENGTH.
Judges 7:9-14 — That night the LORD said, “Get up! Go down into the Midianite camp, for I have given you victory over them!
10 But if you are afraid to attack, go down to the camp with your servant Purah.
11 Listen to what the Midianites are saying, and you will be greatly encouraged. Then you will be eager to attack.” So, Gideon took Purah and went down to the edge of the enemy camp.
12 The armies of Midian, Amalek, and the people of the east had settled in the valley like a swarm of locusts. Their camels were like grains of sand on the seashore—too many to count!
13 Gideon crept up just as a man was telling his companion about a dream. The man said, “I had this dream, and in my dream a loaf of barley bread came tumbling down into the Midianite camp. It hit a tent, turned it over, and knocked it flat!”
14 His companion answered, “Your dream can mean only one thing—God has given Gideon son of Joash, the Israelite, victory over Midian and all its allies!”
God told Gideon to hide in the shadows of the enemy camp and see what he’d learn.
This dream showed God doing something extraordinary thru someone who is very ordinary.
It was not Gideon’s strength, but God working through him.
Judges 7:15 — As soon as Gideon heard the telling of the dream and its interpretation, he worshiped. And he returned to the camp of Israel and said, “Arise, for the Lord has given the host of Midian into your hand.”
Encouraged, Gideon worshiped God, then roused his army. The army was ready!
Get the picture of how they got ready — these 300 soldiers had to go home and get a pitcher, a torch, and a trumpet!
I can hear their wives saying, “You can’t take that pitcher, it’s my best one and we got it as a wedding gift!”
“No! You leave that candle here! I don’t want to be left in the dark!”
“You can’t take that horn! You know Junior has band lessons!”
“Besides! My Daddy was in the army, and he used swords and spears, not kitchen utensils! Who ever heard of something so ridiculous?”
Each soldier begged, “Please, Mommy, let me take these! We’re going to fight tonight, and I’ll be the only one without a pitcher!”
Finally, she says, “O, all right, but you bring that pitcher right back — don’t break it and don’t get your good clothes all dirty!”
Judges 7:15-22 — He divided the 300 men into three groups and gave each man a ram’s horn and a clay jar with a torch in it.
17 Then he said to them, “Keep your eyes on me. When I come to the edge of the camp, do just as I do.
18 As soon as I and those with me blow the rams’ horns, blow your horns, too, all around the entire camp, and shout, ‘For the LORD and for Gideon!’”
19 It was just after midnight, after the changing of the guard, when Gideon and the 100 men with him reached the edge of the Midianite camp. Suddenly, they blew the rams’ horns and broke their clay jars.
20 Then all three groups blew their horns and broke their jars. They held the blazing torches in their left hands and the horns in their right hands, and they all shouted, “A sword for the LORD and for Gideon!”
21 Each man stood at his position around the camp and watched as all the Midianites rushed around in a panic, shouting as they ran to escape.
22 When the 300 Israelites blew their rams’ horns, the LORD caused the warriors in the camp to fight against each other with their swords. Those who were not killed fled to places as far away as Beth-shittah near Zererah and to the border of Abel-meholah near Tabbath.
What a powerful victory story! 300 unarmed men and God taking on a huge army!
See the proud soldier as he marches off with a trumpet in one hand, a torch covered with a pitcher in the other hand.
The trumpet stands for boldness – it announced we’re here and not backing down.
It’s time for Christians in America to stop rolling over and playing dead…let your voice be heard. Say to the elected officials in Washington, if you vote against morality and common sense, we’ll vote you out!
The clay pitcher stands for brokenness – God’s placed His treasure in earthen vessels, but we must be broken before Him.
The torch stands for brightness – “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works…”
It’s time Christians get bold, broken, and bright…and if we did, we could take America back for God!
It only takes a few dedicated people with God’s help to have victory as we lift high the sword of the Lord!
Gideon’s fear turned to faith after hearing the Philistine explain his friend’s dream.
Gideon’s eyes turned from his enemies and focused on God.
We must turn our eyes from our enemies and focus on almighty God!
We can spend our lives looking at the terrorists or the political imbeciles in Washington D.C.
And being afraid or we can turn our eyes to the hills from whence cometh our help!
“Looking unto Jesus!”
“The person that fears God can face any foe.”
DON’T YOU THINK IT’S TIME TO GET BOLD ENOUGH TO DO SOMETHING FOR JESUS? HE USED GIDEON AND HE CAN USE YOU WHEN HE HAS YOU!!
IMAGINE THE THRILL OF SERVING HIM HERE AND SEEING HIM WHEN WE ALL GET TO HEAVEN!
PODCAST GIDEON’S ARMY
There is Still Power in the Blood
Don't believe in the Devil? That's exactly where Satin wants you. He and his demonic hosts are working hard to deceive you because he knows his time is running out and he will soon be cast into the bottomless pit. One pastor told me to leave Satin alone because "If we leave him alone will leave us alone." That's dumb because he doesn't intend to leave you or your family alone. You must learn how to stand against him. In this book you will find how: -Demons enter in the first place. -How to be set free from demonic bondage. -How to stay free. -Pit falls Satin hopes you will fall into so he can destroy you and your family. -How to have a close walk with Jesus Christ and enjoy victory in your life. Remember: THERE IS STILL POWER IN THE BLOOD!