Well, I can’t keep listening to some amazing sermons and not let you all in on the scoop. This Sunday, my pastor brought us Part 2 of his series on courage and this time led us to the book of Judges. This book is rife with “minor” characters who God uses to do amazing things: Deborah, Barak, Jael, the list goes on, but today we’re going to focus in on Gideon.
I did a 3-parter on Gideon a way back, you can find it here, but do let me give a recap. Because of Israel’s disobedience, not completely destroying their enemies, God gave them into the hands of the Midianites (6:1). Their rule was so oppressive that the Israelites were hiding in mountain clefts and caves, Midian had come in like a swarm of locusts and it just wasn’t a good situation any way you look at it. Midian so impoverished the Israelites that they cried out to the Lord for help. They cry out, the Lord sends a prophet who explains that God has done this because they are serving the gods of the Amorites, gods they know are false.
But, God is his graciousness and compassion is merciful to Israel once more and sends his angel to see out Gideon on the threshing floor. The scenario might be slightly familiar, God calls, we gripe, we make excuses:
The angel greets Gideon in an amazing way: “The LORD is with you, mighty warrior.” You see, right off,
1) God calls those whom He has equipped for the task he has in mind (6:12) “”The LORD is with you, mighty warrior.” He sees the potential the potential that He has placed within us.
2) God understands that we need assurance of His call
3) God speaks to anyone who will listen to him, we just have to get still enough to do so
4) God oftentimes tests our obedience before he presents his greater task. Sometimes, before He calls us to a big task, he calls us to be faithful in smaller things (6:25-32 tells Gideon to tear down the altar to Baal, cut down the Asherah pole and sacrifice his father’s bull on the newly built altar)
5) Even the most courageous often desire added assurance of God’s presence (6: 36-40 God tests Gideon with a fleece: “If you will save Isrel by my hand as you have promised–look, I will place a wool fleece on the threshing floor.”
HE ONLY ASKS US TO DO WHAT HE IS GOING TO DO WITH US
6) Even the most courageous often feel the need for companionship
We must watch for the issue of pride (7:2 God dwindles down Gideon’s army from 32,000 to 300. “In order that Israel may not boast against me that her own strength has saved her, announce now to the people, ‘Anyone who trembles with fear may turn back and leave Mount Gilead.’) He dwindles down the numbers. God will sometimes test us with the impossible, He is working so that He is glorified.
When it came down to it, it was 135,000 vs. 300; Midia vs. Israel.