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Gideon - Chosen By God
November 1, 2020
Gideon-Chosen by God
25 Now it came to pass the same night that the Lord said to him, "Take your father's young bull, the second bull of seven years old, and tear down the altar of Baal that your father has, and cut down the wooden image that is beside it; 26 and build an altar to the Lord your God on top of this rock in the proper arrangement, and take the second bull and offer a burnt sacrifice with the wood of the image which you shall cut down."
Intro: Preparation is the subject matter here. While God called Gideon and identified him as a “Mighty Man of Valor,” still work was needed in the life of Gideon before he would become what God saw he would be. God asks no man whether he will accept life. That is not a choice. You must accept it. The only choice is how you will live out the life God has given to you. The call of God was on Gideon, the issue was not whether the Midianites would be defeated; the question was this; “Is Gideon the one who will do it?” Gideon was in the position of choosing to believe God or believe his own thoughts of weakness. Was he going to step out by faith and do what God called him to do? Many are given the opportunity by God to do great things; but they back away because of their fear of failure. Too often people see the obstacles before them instead of God behind them. God will never call us to do anything that He will not prepare the way and give us the ability to do what He wants done. However, faith is always the challenge and without it no one can ever serve the Lord effectively. God gives us the privilege of being His instrument, but we must exercise faith before we can move forward. When an individual fails to respond by faith God simply calls another to do the job. God will do what He wants done. So, Gideon must decide if he is going to have faith and confidence in God’s call and promise. Isn’t it amazing how difficult it is to believe God? We are constantly challenged in our faith by circumstances, people, and life in general. When we put our faith in the Lord, God moves in our life and the results strengthen our faith and our faith grows even stronger. This is what Gideon is about to learn. One step of faith leads to another and with each step Gideon is rewarded by God with evidence of His presence and power. Gideon will grow into a mighty man of valor one challenge at a time.
I. The First Challenge (Father) vs 25--32
25 Now it came to pass the same night that the Lord said to him, "Take your father's young bull, the second bull of seven years old, and tear down the altar of Baal that your father has, and cut down the wooden image that is beside it; 26 and build an altar to the Lord your God on top of this rock in the proper arrangement, and take the second bull and offer a burnt sacrifice with the wood of the image which you shall cut down." 28 And when the men of the city arose early in the morning, there was the altar of Baal, torn down; and the wooden image that was beside it was cut down, and the second bull was being offered on the altar which had been built. 29 So they said to one another, "Who has done this thing?" And when they had inquired and asked, they said, "Gideon the son of Joash has done this thing." 30 Then the men of the city said to Joash, "Bring out your son, that he may die, because he has torn down the altar of Baal, and because he has cut down the wooden image that was beside it."
31 But Joash said to all who stood against him, "Would you plead for Baal? Would you save him? Let the one who would plead for him be put to death by morning! If he is a god, let him plead for himself, because his altar has been torn down!" 32 Therefore on that day he called him Jerubbaal, saying, "Let Baal plead against him, because he has torn down his altar."
1. The challenge has been identified; Gideon will deliver Israel from the Midianites.
2. Now the preparation begins, and the first step is a major step in developing trust and confidence.
3. Notice that God is concerned about His own people first; they had gone away from the Lord and needed to return.
4. Gideon’s own family was guilty of idol worship; the text points out that Gideon was true to the Lord and not Baal.
5. What stands out here is the obedience of Gideon; even though he did it at night. Notice the quick change in attitude of his father.
6. God can and does change hearts of men and Joash had a quick return to serving the Lord God of Israel.
7. Notice his comments when the men wanted to kill Gideon: If Baal is a god, let him plead for himself, because his altar has been torn down!"
In “The Last Days Newsletter”, Leonard Ravenhill tells about a group of tourists visiting a picturesque village who walked by an old man sitting beside a fence. In a rather patronizing way, one tourist asked, "Were any great men born in this village?" The old man replied, "Nope, only babies." A common question brought a profound answer. There are no instant heroes whether in this world or in the kingdom of God. Growth takes time, and as I Timothy 3:6 and 5:22 point out, even spiritual leadership must be earned. William C. Shereos
We all start out the same, helpless babies; but we all do not end up the same. Sometimes when we read the words of those who have been more than conquerors, we feel almost despondent. It is easy to think that I shall never be like that. But they won through step by step by little bits of wills little denials of self, little inward victories by faithfulness in extraordinarily little things. They became what they were by gradual steps of faith and obedience. No one sees these little hidden steps. They only see the accomplishment, but even so, those small steps were taken. There is no sudden triumph no instant spiritual maturity. Spiritual maturity is only possible when there is daily faith and obedience.
II. The Second Challenge (Doubt) vs 33-
33 Then all the Midianites and Amalekites, the people of the East, gathered together; and they crossed over and encamped in the Valley of Jezreel. 34 But the Spirit of the Lord came upon Gideon; then he blew the trumpet, and the Abiezrites gathered behind him. 35 And he sent messengers throughout all Manasseh, who also gathered behind him. He also sent messengers to Asher, Zebulun, and Naphtali; and they came up to meet them. 36 So Gideon said to God, "If You will save Israel by my hand as You have said — 37 look, I shall put a fleece of wool on the threshing floor; if there is dew on the fleece only, and it is dry on all the ground, then I shall know that You will save Israel by my hand, as You have said." 38 And it was so. When he rose early the next morning and squeezed the fleece together, he wrung the dew out of the fleece, a bowlful of water. 39 Then Gideon said to God, "Do not be angry with me, but let me speak just once more: Let me test, I pray, just once more with the fleece; let it now be dry only on the fleece, but on all the ground let there be dew." 40 And God did so that night. It was dry on the fleece only, but there was dew on all the ground.
1. The internal battle has been won; now Gideon takes the second step of his growth.
2. Having seen the Lord protect him from his own people; he now must turn his thoughts to the enemy without. Notice the Spirit of the Lord came upon Him and he blew the trumpets (took a leadership role).
3. While his life was in danger from his own people, that threat was not as great as the one from the Midianites. This next situation is going to take a deeper faith.
4. It took faith and courage to respond to the first challenge and it will take even more faith to follow the second command of God; but God was working in Gideon and in those around him.
5. While his faith is growing it is still weak; God delivered him from his village, but will He do it again? No matter how powerful God is in our lives we tend to still question God’s faithfulness.
6. Gideon summons help from the different tribes and they responded because God was moving in their hearts to respond. Here we see God preparing others to help support the one God had chosen to lead the nation. One cannot lead if others will not follow. The turnout was impressive, but Gideon was still afraid.
7. He questions God’s intention; If You will save Israel by my hand as You have said —
8. The desert is seemingly void of all life, but given a little rainfall, life springs into existence and beauty. Life is there, but it is dormant. Unbelief is like that. It is the desert of one’s being. But the potential for life is there and needs only to be watered by faith to spring into existence and beauty.
9. God our Father has made all things depend on faith so that whoever has faith will have everything, and whoever does not have faith will have nothing. Martin Luther
10. As Gideon’s faith grew so did his action. He moved forward in direct proportion to his belief in God’s promise that he would be victorious.
11. While we may criticize Gideon for the fleece, God responded to his request and in the process Gideon’s faith grew.
12, There comes a point at which we can do nothing but admit God did it and is doing it and will accomplish everything He promised.
III. The Third Challenge (Midianites) Judg 7:1-14
Then Jerubbaal (that is, Gideon) and all the people who were with him rose early and encamped beside the well of Harod, so that the camp of the Midianites was on the north side of them by the hill of Moreh in the valley. 2 And the Lord said to Gideon, "The people who are with you are too many for Me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel claim glory for itself against Me, saying, 'My own hand has saved me.' 3 Now therefore, proclaim in the hearing of the people, saying, 'Whoever is fearful and afraid, let him turn and depart at once from Mount Gilead.'" And twenty-two thousand of the people returned, and ten thousand remained. 4 But the Lord said to Gideon, "The people are still too many; bring them down to the water, and I will test them for you there. Then it will be, that of whom I say to you, 'This one shall go with you,' the same shall go with you; and of whomever I say to you, 'This one shall not go with you,' the same shall not go." 5 So he brought the people down to the water. And the Lord said to Gideon, "Everyone who laps from the water with his tongue, as a dog laps, you shall set apart by himself; likewise everyone who gets down on his knees to drink." 6 And the number of those who lapped, putting their hand to their mouth, was three hundred men; but all the rest of the people got down on their knees to drink water. 7 Then the Lord said to Gideon, "By the three hundred men who lapped I will save you, and deliver the Midianites into your hand. Let all the other people go, every man to his place." 8 So the people took provisions and their trumpets in their hands. And he sent away all the rest of Israel, every man to his tent, and retained those three hundred men. Now the camp of Midian was below him in the valley. 9 It happened on the same night that the Lord said to him, "Arise, go down against the camp, for I have delivered it into your hand. 10 But if you are afraid to go down, go down to the camp with Purah your servant, 11 and you shall hear what they say; and afterward your hands shall be strengthened to go down against the camp." Then he went down with Purah his servant to the outpost of the armed men who were in the camp. 12 Now the Midianites and Amalekites, all the people of the East, were lying in the valley as numerous as locusts; and their camels were without number, as the sand by the seashore in multitude. 13 And when Gideon had come, there was a man telling a dream to his companion. He said, "I have had a dream: To my surprise, a loaf of barley bread tumbled into the camp of Midian; it came to a tent and struck it so that it fell and overturned, and the tent collapsed." 14 Then his companion answered and said, "This is nothing else but the sword of Gideon the son of Joash, a man of Israel! Into his hand God has delivered Midian and the whole camp."
A. He conquered his fears (6:33-7:14).
1. An army of thirty-two thousand men rallied to his side, but he was still doubtful of victory.
2. Gideon "put out the fleece" twice, and both times God answered. It is too bad, though, when God's people trust circumstances to lead them instead of relying on God's clear Word.
3. Gideon was not the only one afraid; 22,000 soldiers were also fearful and went home.
4. However, God did not need all the remaining 10,000 men, so He tested them and sent most of them home. The 300 who drank from the hand (v. 6) would have been in better position to face and fight the enemy in a surprise attack.
5. On the night of the battle, God saw that there was still fear in Gideon's heart (vv. 9-14), so He graciously gave him a special sign assuring him that he would win the battle.
6. The barley cake represented Gideon; barley was the poorest kind of food. But God was going to use this ordinary farmer to win a great victory!
B. He conquered his foes (7:15-25).
1. Note how Gideon quotes God's promise of victory to the people (v. 15, note v. 9). He was relying wholly on the Word of God.
2. This victory was won by the power of God, for their weapons were useless in the battle. The Spirit of God was now working in Gideon (6:34).
3. The pitchers would hide the light of the torches and would also make a great deal of noise when broken; and these effects, added to the shouting and the blowing of the trumpets, would certainly get the enemies attention.
4. The vessel, torch, and trumpet also have spiritual significance. We must be clean, yielded vessels for God to use (2 Tim 2:21); we must let our lights shine (Matt 5:16); and we must "trumpet out" a clear witness for Christ (1 Thess 1:8).
5. The steps in Gideon's victory are easy to trace: he has a promise to believe (6:12,14,16; 7:7-9), an altar to build (6:25-26), a vessel to break, a lamp to burn, and a trumpet to blow. And God gave the victory!
While we probably will not have a similar experience with God as Gideon, we still have the challenge of believing God. Gideon’s struggle was all about believing what God has said and then acting on it. We too struggle believing what God has said in the Scriptures and then acting on it. We so often put off reading the word, or even seeking to know what God wants from us. We go through life doing our own thing and ignoring the call of God to obey and serve. Gen. William Nelson, a Union general in the Civil War, was consumed with the battles in Kentucky when a fight ended up in him being shot, mortally, in the chest. He had faced many battles, but the fatal blow came while he was relaxing with his men. Not expecting to be in danger, he was caught fully unprepared. As men ran up the stairs to help him, the general had just one phrase, "Send for a clergyman; I wish to be baptized." He never had time as an adolescent or young man. He never had time as a private or after he became a general. And his wound did not stop or slow down the war. Everything around him was left virtually unchanged except for the general's priorities. With only minutes left before he entered eternity, the one thing he cared about was preparing for eternity. He wanted to be baptized. Thirty minutes later he was dead. Christian Times, October 3, 1994, p. 26
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