Gideon

September 11, 1016Judges 6Gideon

 

  Today is 9/11 or September 11.  It is grandparent day and patriot day.  I was really surprised when I looked to see when I preached on Gideon last.  The last time I preached a full sermon on Gideon was in 2002 or 14 years ago.    We are long overdue on a message from this passage even though I have mentioned him in sermons.  This is a great story and a great passage that I love and by God’s grace the Lord will speak to us today.  I trust you are excited about God’s word.   This passage speaks to what God can do through a weak and fearful perhaps unwilling person.   Some of the points that I am going to share with you today come from Steven Furtick book Unqualified .  It is a great book that I recommend you read. 

    We see in the beginning of this passage that God’s people sinned against God and God raised up or allowed the Midianites to oppress them.  It was so bad that that the Israelites fled to the mountains and ravines and caves to hide.  The Midianites would raid and take all their live stock and every living thing.  People who do not have morals do not have a problem taking from others especially if they can get away with it.  They came like swarms of locusts.   There were so many of them you could not even count them.  Because of their sin God hit them right where it hurts.  The Children of Israel get hungry.  Hunger is a powerful motivator and God’s people turn to the true God and pray.  When all else fails pray.  God is still speaking to them and God sends them a prophet.   The prophet told them that they were worshipping other gods which was forbidden for them.  Don’t worship false idols or false gods.  Moses told them at one point be sure your sin will find you out.  As God’s people prayed and turned to the living true and only God, God responded to them. 

    The angel of the Lord comes down and appears to Gideon.  The angle says to Gideon the lord is with you mighty warrior.  Gideon almost answers with sarcasm.    And Gideon is like you have got to be kidding me.  Lord are you sure that you have got this right?  How would you feel if you had an experience like that?  I would look around and see if someone else was standing near me.  Are you sure that you are not sent to someone else?    Maybe you were supposed to go to someone else.   We do not see ourselves as mighty worriers but the reality is that within every Christian is the mighty warrior Jesus.  We have mighty power within us.  This deliverance and every work of God are started by prayer.  We pray fervently and God moves.  We pray fervently and God blesses.  Kristi is a mighty warrior but she does nto feel that.   Gideon did not feel like a mighty warrior either. 

   Gideon is real honest here with the angel.  It is like he says that is real nice that you call me a mighty warrior but at this point does not know who Gideon is talking to.   Gideon says if the Lord is with us why are we in this mess?  That is a valid question.  Gideon said the Lord has abandoned us and we are under then control or hand of Midian.  Now the passage says the Lord and not an angel.  The Lord turned to him and told Gideon to go in the strength that you have.  Gideon you have enough strength to do what I ask you to do.  Go in your strength.  Focus on the strength you have.  Well we often do not feel very strong.  I think many of us are often reminded how weak we are.  We also need to remember how strong Jesus is in us.  The Lord tells him I am going to be with you Gideon and you will strike the Midianites down. 

    After the Lord tells him to go in his strength Gideon said.  “Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but how can I save Israel?  My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.”   Gideon does not hide his weakness.   Gideon immediately thinks about himself.   Often we can see a lot of reasons not to do something.   We can come up with excuses.  Every single human being has some weaknesses.  We tend to look at our weaknesses and not the Lord our strength.  When we look at weaknesses we want to back off.   We say I can’t do that.  That looks impossible we say.  Gideon’s weakness is no problem for God.  Gideon’s excuses did not change God’s mind.   The problem is often when we think we can do it and do not need help. 

   Steven Furtick wrote that he wanted to take some lessons to learn how to play tennis.   He writes that he was pretty nervous when he first went for a lesson because he did not know anything about tennis and the first thing the instructor said to him did not help.  The instructor said to him lets go to work.  How much do you know?   Steven said I do not know anything.  The instructor said that was just the way he liked it.  Steven was confused.  The instructor said people know just enough tennis to make it impossible to teach them.   They want to impress upon him what they know and not learn from the instructor.  I suppose in some cases the student has to unlearn some things that they learned that are wrong.  .  The instructor said that is just the kind of person I want.   I think that is the kind of person that God wants also.  People can be very unteachable.  God is looking for those who will depend upon Him.  God you show me the way.  I also think sometimes we do not step out and obey because we just do not want to sacrifice.  We desire to hang on to our life our money and our time and we tell God you cannot have any of my stuff.

   We can get off the track sometimes when we look too much inwardly.  I talked with Jill Kristi roommate and she told me Thursday that God was punishing her for her sin.  I told her that she could pray and ask the Lord if any sin was in her life and then confess it.   We can take up; the attitude that I must be a bad person because of all this stuff in my life.  Satan can throw a lot of garbage at us.  God does correct because of sin yes but that does not mean that every time I have trouble that I sinned.  Satan likes to make God look bad.  Satan would like to say well God is that big guy up there who is beating you up.  Satan would like us to believe that because things are tough here that God is a terrible.    We can pray God is this thing in my life the result of something that I am doing wrong?   We have to walk by faith.    It is exciting to walk in faith but we have to say yes Lord and Gideon had to be obedient.   Are you ready to step out in faith and obey God? 

   The Lord answered, “I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites, leaving none alive.  God looks past Gideon weakness.  It does not seem that God ever got frustrated with Gideon.     God knows what he can do through Gideon.  God sees Gideon’s strength.  God works with him step by step.  God shows Gideon his plan and his will.  God works with Gideon obstacle by obstacle and battle by battle.    God wants us to do something and we come up with a number of reasons why we can’t do it.  We can find a hundred or a thousand reasons for not doing something that we want to do.

   Gideon is saying again you can’t mean me.  We understand that.  The enemy is like a swarm of locusts.  Scripture tells us that 120K swords men fell and about 15K more they were after.  Israel is not in good shape.  We see later that Gideon only raised up 32K men and the enemy had at least 135 K men.  I think Gideon understands that what God is asking him to do is impossible for him to do.  For one thing he is just one man.  God wants to get something done and God does not put up with his excuses.  I am glad that God at times is firm with us.  God be firm in my life.   God be firm in this church.  God works his plan.  God work your plan for Bethel Christian Fellowship. 

   But Gideon still does not know who he is talking to.  There are a lot of folks who are saying things that they cannot deliver on.  I was listening to one of our aspiring Politian’s this week who said no one would be left behind.  There is not enough money to take care of all the needs and desires of everybody.  They are nice words.  I hope that he understands that they are nice words and he will not be able to deliver.  The reality is that some people are going to lose their jobs and some folks are not going to be able to afford health insurance.  Jesus said the poor you will always have with you. 

    Gideon wants some assurances.   This is really a big deal.  He probably could estimate that the enemy was over 100 K men.  Jesus said if you go out with 10 K men against an army of 20 K men that you might want to make peace first.  You might want to consider your situation.    So Gideon replied, “If now I have found favor in your eyes, give me a sign that it is really you talking to me.   .In other words if you are just some guy off the streets I will have to think about this awhile.  I am going to reconsider.   So Gideon asks the Lord to stay and he gets an offering for the Lord.  And now scripture said it was the angel that answered Gideon and not the Lord.   The angel tells him to put the offering on a rock which was meat and unleavened bread and pour the broth on it.  The angel touches it and Fire comes out of the rock consuming the meat and the bread and the angle disappears.  That is a pretty powerful sign.  God will help you to obey him.  God will give you what you need to obey him. 

    God has spoken to Gideon.  Gideon has seen the angel or the Lord burn up the sacrifice by fire coming from the rock and then disappears.  Things are moving.  That night the Lord appears to him and tells him to take a bull from his father’s herd and tear down his father's altar and the Ashram pole.  Tear it down and set up an altar to the Lord.  Those idols belonged to Gideon’s father.  It is time to go to work and to step out in faith.  Gideon is afraid so he goes at night but he does what he is told to do.   His task is to tear down the idols.   Get rid of the sin.  Get rid of that stuff that does not glorify God.  Purge your life and purge the town.  Break Satan’s stuff.  When you do that you will raise up a storm.  Satan will not give up without a fight.  Paul sets a little demon possessed girl free in Ephesus and it creates a riot.

    In this passage the town rises up and wants to know who broke down the idols.  They found out that Gideon did it and the men of the town wanted him to die.   Gideon’s father was Joash and they demand of Joash that he bring out his son because he must die.  Gideon’s father goes to bat for his son. He basically said you guys are nuts.  Baal can fight for himself.   If Baal is really a god he can defend himself.   

    Then Gideon blows the trumpet and calls for eastern people to come join him to fight the Midianites.   Gideon wants more proof that God has called him to defeat the enemy and he proposes a test to God.  It is called a fleece.   Gideon sets out a piece of wool on the threshing floor and asks God to make the fleece wet and the ground dry.  The next morning the fleece is wet and the ground is dry and then Gideon asks God to make the fleece dry and the ground covered with dew. 

    In the next chapter we see that 32 K men show up.  God tells Gideon that is too many so those that are afraid are given the chance to go home and 22 K men leave leaving an army of 10 K men.  That is still too many men.  So God works with Gideon and gets it down to 300 men.  God chose 300 men over the 32K that came out to fight.  God defeats the army of over 130 K men with an army of 300.  If you were one of those 300 men would you be a little nervous?   It was not easy.  God wanted to get the glory.  It is so neat when you can look at something that is really great and know that God did it.  What was result of Gideon’s obedience?   God’s people were set free.  What is the result of stepping out in faith?  God glorifies himself and God’s people are blessed.  Do you want to step out in faith?