Read Judges 6 and 7. Judges 6:11-24 is the main text for the message.
Israel had 40 years of peace and again did evil in the sight of God. The Midianites became their oppressors. Crops were destroyed. Herds and flocks were destroyed. Israel cried unto the Lord. A prophet was sent to remind them of their deliverance from Egypt because they had fallen into the “what-have-you-done-for-me-lately?” syndrome in their attitude toward God. God’s been good to all of us. What has he done lately? Well, just today I got out of bed, put shoes on my feet and clothes on my back. He always does great things for us.
An angel visited Gideon. He was hiding to thresh wheat so that he wouldn’t be seen. He was commissioned to go against the Midianites. He gathered a 32,000 man army. The Lord said it was too many and to weed them out. Those who were afraid were told to go back home and 22,000 left. There were still too many. They went to the river to drink water. Those who lapped like a dog were sent home, all 9,700 of them. That left Gideon with 300 men. The battle plan was to split them into three groups, each person would have a trumpet, a light, and a pitcher. Verse 18 says When I blow with a trumpet, I and all that are with me, then blow ye the trumpets also on every side of all the camp, and say, The sword of the Lord, and of Gideon. What a battle plan! They did as instructed and verse 22 says And the three hundred blew the trumpets, and the Lord set every man’s sword against his fellow, even throughout all the host: and the host fled. The victory was completed as read in the rest of the chapter. From this story I want to discuss some truths.
God sees our potential. In 6:12 the angel said to Gideon: The Lord is with thee, thou mighty man of valour. Gideon should have known by this statement how God saw him. But he was like “who?” “me?” “are you sure?” He suffered from low self-esteem, but God could use him. Even when we feel that way, God can still work through us. Others in the Bible suffered from this as well. Moses had excuses. Peter said he was an ignorant, unlearned fisherman. God used them both. Jesus uses us, not based on what we were, but on what we can become.
Every Christian has a place and it’s important to be in that place. Gideon’s men had to be in their place for this battle plan to work. We need to be in our place in the church. First Corinthians 12 describes how we depend on each other to function effectively. Be in the house of God. Facebook was an excellent tool for us when we could not meet in person, but it does not replace the assembling in the house of God. Things are settling down with the virus; let’s get back in church.
God can’t use the fearful. In 7:3 we read Whosoever is fearful and afraid, let him return and depart early from mount Gilead. And there returned of the people twenty and two thousand; and there remained ten thousand. The first faze was the dismissal of the fearful, 22,000 of them. Fear shows a lack of faith in God. Isaiah 12:2 says Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid. Fear is crippling and can keep us from witnessing. Society crams stuff down our throat constantly. Be bold. Speak out for the Lord. Have a public testimony. People are afraid of many things like poverty, criticism, ill health, loss of love, old age and death. Paul told Timothy For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. Fear is not of God. Fear and faith cannot coexist. Because of fear, 22,000 of Gideon’s men were useless.
Brokenness was essential to Gideon’s success. They were to put a light in the pitchers and then break the pitchers. The lights shone in the night and scared the enemy. Give your all to the Lord. The Christian who saves himself from service will lose out. Like these pitchers were broken, giving all they had, let us give our all.
Testing proceeded victory. One percent made it through by passing all the tests. We enjoy the fruits of victory today because of others in the past. We need to pass that on. Victory will come through the Lord. Why did God want Gideon to have only 300 soldiers. Verse 2 tells us if they had taken 32,000 soldiers and won, they would have thought they did it on their own might. The victory was God’s.
The victory is by grace alone. There is no way 300 can defeat 100,000, but they did. Jesus was the victor. That’s why nothing but grace gets us to heaven. You won’t get there doing things your own way. It is by grace through faith. Ephesians 2:8-9 says For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. Jesus paid it all. We owe it all to him. If you’re not saved, today is the day. If you need to submit yourself to God so he can use you, today is the day for that as well.