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Gideon Sermon

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GIDEON SERMON

THE WHOLE STORY:  JUDGES 6:1 TO 7:25 TO 8:35

THE STORY OF GIDEON HAS ALWAYS TOUCHED A CORD IN MY HEART.

I GUESS THE REASON IS BECAUSE GIDEON WAS JUST AN ORDINARY GUY THAT WAS TRYING TO MAKE THE BEST OF A BAD SITUATION.

FOR SEVEN YEARS, THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL HAD ABANDONED THE GOD OF THEIR FATHERS IN FAVOR OF WORSHIPING THE FALSE  god’s OF BAAL AND ASHERAH.

AND FOR THE SAME SEVEN YEARS, GOD HAD BEEN TRYING TO GET THEIR ATTENTION BY ALLOWING THE MIDIANITES TO COME AND DEVASTATE THE  ISRAELITE COUNTRYSIDE.

WHY OH WHY DO PEOPLE TURN AWAY FROM GOD SO EASILY?

I REMEMBER WHEN PRAYER WAS BANNED FROM THE SCHOOLS BACK IN THE EARLY 1960s.

THAT WAS ALMOST 50 YEARS AGO, AND OUR "CHRISTIAN" NATION HAS BEEN SLIDING DOWN THAT SINFUL SLOPE EVER SINCE.

PRE-MARITAL SEX SKY ROCKETED ALMOST IMMEDIATELY ALONG WITH TEENAGE PREGNANCIES. 

ALL THIS LEAD TO SINGLE PARENTS AND MILLIONS OF BABIES BEING ABORTED.

HOMOSEXUALITY IS RAMPANT AND MILITANT. 

THEY'RE DEMANDING THE SAME STATUS AS MARRIED COUPLES.

MY FRIENDS, HOMOSEXUALITY IS THE REASON GOD DESTROYED SODOM AND GOMORRAH.  AND IT'S GOING TO CAUSE OUR DOWNFALL TOO.

WE DON'T WORSHIP "IDOLS" IN AMERICA, BUT WE BOW AT THE ALTAR OF SEX AND WE BOW AT THE ALTAR OF OUR OWN SELFISH DESIRES.

WE WANT WHAT WE WANT AND WE WANT IT NOW.

IT TOOK SEVEN YEARS OF MIDIANITE DEVASTATION BEFORE THE ISRAELITES WERE IMPOVERISHED ENOUGH TO BEGIN TO CALL OUT TO GOD FOR HELP.

HOW IMPOVERISHED MUST WE BECOME BEFORE WE TURN BACK TO GOD?

HMMM, SEVEN YEARS OF MIDIANITE DEVASTATION,

SEVEN YEARS OF THE GREAT TRIBULATION. 

I WONDER IF THERE IS SOME CONNECTION?

ONCE THE ISRAELITES HAD REACHED ROCK BOTTOM, THEY BEGAN TO CALL ON GOD TO HELP THEM.

THE FIRST THING GOD DID WAS SEND A PROPHET TO PREACH TO THEM.

HERE'S WHAT THE PROPHET SAID: “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: I brought you up out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. 9 I snatched you from the power of Egypt and from the hand of all your oppressors. I drove them from before you and gave you their land. 10 I said to you, ‘I am the Lord your God; do not worship the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you live.’ But you have not listened to me.”

HOW CAN WE EXPECT GOD TO LISTEN TO OUR PRAYERS

IF WE PROVE BY OUR ACTIONS

THAT WE AREN’T LISTENING TO HIM?

AFTER GOD SENT THEM THIS PROPHET,

HE SENT HIS ANGEL, TO A YOUNG MAN NAMED GIDEON.

I IDENTIFY WITH GIDEON.

HE DIDN’T THINK HE WAS MUCH.

TRUTH IS, HE WASN’T MUCH.

HE HAD NEVER LED AN ARMY. 

WE DON’T KNOW IF HE HAD EVER LED ANYTHING.

AND YET, GOD MUST HAVE SEEN SOMETHING IN HIM.

THIS PART OF THE STORY MAKES ME THINK OF THE TIME WHEN GOD SENT HIS PROPHET SAMUEL TO ANOINT ONE OF JESSEE’S SONS AS THE NEXT KING OF ISRAEL.

GOD CHOSE DAVID BECAUSE DAVID WAS SOMEONE WHO WOULD DO GODS WILL.

UNLIKE SAUL WHO WAS THE KING AT THAT TIME.

GOD KNOWS WHO WILL BE OBEDIENT.

AND OBEDIENCE IS WHAT GOD WANTS FROM HIS PEOPLE.

RADICAL OBEDIENCE. 

AN OBEDIENCE THAT PUTS GOD FIRST AND YOUR SELF LAST.

THE ANGEL OF GOD CAME AND SAT DOWN UNDER THE

OAK TREE THAT BELONGED TO GIDEON’S FATHER, JOASH.

I.                  GIDEON THE SCARED RABBIT.

THERE WAS A WINEPRESS THERE THAT GIDEON WAS USING IT TO HIDE FROM THE MIDIANITES IN, WHILE HE THRESHED THE LITTLE BIT OF WHEAT THAT HE COULD SNEAK INTO IT.

WHEN THE ANGEL OF GOD CALLED HIM A MIGHTY WARRIOR, HE MUST HAVE THOUGHT “YEAH, RIGHT”  A MIGHTY WARRIOR HIDING IN A WINEPRESS, TRYING TO SNEAK ENOUGH GRAINS OF WHEAT TO STAY ALIVE.

ACTUALLY WHAT THE ANGEL OF THE LORD SAID TO HIM WAS, “THE LORD IS WITH YOU, MIGHT WARRIOR.”

GIDEON REPLIED WITH:

“IF THE LORD IS WITH US THEN WHY HAS ALL THIS HAPPENED TO US? 

WHERE ARE ALL HIS WONDERS THAT OUR FATHERS HAVE TOLD US ABOUT? 

IT LOOKS MORE LIKE THE LORD HAS ABANDONED US TO BE DESTROYED BY THESE MIDIANITES.”

AND ACTUALLY FOR THE LAST SEVEN YEARS,

THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT GOD HAD DONE.

BUT SOME OF THE ISRAELITES HAD CRIED OUT TO GOD

AND NOW GOD HAD COME TO SAVE THEM.

I.                  GIDEON THE CALLED.

IN VERSE 14 WE READ THAT;

THE LORD TURNED TO HIM AND SAID

“GO IN THE STRENGTH YOU HAVE AND SAVE ISRAEL OUT OF MIDIAN’S HAND.  AM I NOT SENDING YOU?”

WHAT STRENGTH DID GIDEON HAVE?

HIS OWN STRENGTH WAS MINIMAL AT BEST.

BUT GOD WAS SENDING HIM TO DO GOD'S WORK

USING GOD'S STRENGTH,

NOT GIDEON'S STRENGTH.

GIDEON WASN’T USED TO SAVING ISRAEL OR ANY OTHER NATION FOR THAT MATTER. 

ALL HE COULD SEE IN HIMSELF WAS THAT HIS CLAN WAS THE WEAKEST CLAN IN MANASSEH AND THAT HE WAS THE WEAKEST ONE IN HIS FAMILY.

HE PRETTY MUCH SAID;

ARE YOU SURE YOU KNOW WHAT YOU’RE DOING GOD?

I’M CONVINCED THAT GOD REALLY LIKES TO TAKE THE WEAKEST MOST UNLIKELY PERSON AND JUST DO ALL KINDS OF MIRACULUS THINGS THROUGH THEM.

I THINK HE DOES THIS SO THAT WE CAN SEE THAT IT IS GOD HIMSELF DOING IT

AND NOT A PERSON'S  OWN NATURAL ABILITIES DOING IT.

I AM SO PRAYING THAT GOD WILL TAKE THIS LITTLE CHURCH,

LED BY SOME UNLIKELY FACTORY RAT

AND DO HUGE AMAZING MIRACULOUS ACTS OF REVIVAL AND SALVATION

BEYOND ANYTHING WE CAN THINK OR EVEN IMAGINE.

GOD SAID TO GIDEON “AM I NOT SENDING YOU?”

GOD ALSO SAID “I WILL BE WITH YOU, AND YOU WILL STRIKE DOWN ALL THE MIDIANITES TOGETHER.”

GOD HAD PICKED HIM OUT OF ALL THE PEOPLE LIVING IN ISRAEL.

GIDEON WAS CALLED BY GOD

TO DO A JOB THAT NEEDED TO BE DONE.

GOD HAS A JOB FOR EACH ONE OF US TO DO TOO.

THERE IS WORK TO BE DONE AND I'M PRAYING THAT GOD WILL SEND WORKERS INTO THIS HARVEST FIELD.

GIDEON WAS A CAUTIOUS KIND OF GUY, HE WANTED TO MAKE SURE HE WAS HEARING FROM GOD AND SO HE ASKED GOD FOR SEVERAL CONFIRMATIONS.

THE FIRST THING HE ASKED FOR WAS A SIGN.  SO HE ASKED THE ANGEL OF THE LORD TO WAIT THERE

AND THEN HE RAN TO PREPARE AN OFFERING OF BREAD AND MEAT AND BROTH, TO SET BEFORE THE LORD.

WHEN HE BROUGHT THE OFFERING TO THE ANGEL OF THE LORD, HE WAS TOLD TO PUT THE MEAT AND BREAD ON THE ROCK, AND THEN POUR THE BROTH OUT OVER THEM.

THEN THE ANGEL OF THE LORD TOUCHED THE OFFERING WITH THE TIP OF HIS STAFF AND THE OFFERING WAS CONSUMED IN FIRE FROM THE ROCK.

THEN THE ANGEL OF THE LORD DISAPPEARED

GIDEON WAS SO SHOOK THAT HE WAS SURE HE WAS GOING TO DIE,

BECAUSE HE HAD SEEN THE LORD FACE TO FACE.

BUT THE LORD SPOKE TO HIM AND TOLD HIM NOT TO BE AFRAID, HE WASN’T GOING TO DIE.

SO GIDEON BUILT AN ALTAR RIGHT THERE ON THE SPOT.

I.                  GIDEON THE RESTORER

THE NEXT THING THAT GOD TOLD GIDEON TO DO WAS TO DESTROY HIS FATHERS BAAL AND ASHERAH IDOLS.

GIDEON WAS FAMILIAR ENOUGH WITH THE TOWNS PEOPLE THAT HE DECIDED TO DO THIS DEMOLITION THING AT NIGHT WHEN THE TOWNS PEOPLE WERE'NT AROUND.

THEN THE NEXT DAY WHEN THE TOWNS PEOPLE REALIZED WHAT HAD HAPPENED.

THAT THE IDOLS TO THESE FALSE GODS HAD BEEN DESTROYED, THEY WERE READY TO KILL GIDEON.

VERSE 30

30 The men of the town demanded of Joash, “Bring out your son. He must die, because he has broken down Baal’s altar and cut down the Asherah pole beside it.”

IT’S EASY TO SEE WHERE THEIR HEARTS WERE.

IF GIDEON’S FATHER JOASH HADN’T STEPPED IN AND THREATENED TO KILL ANYONE WHO LAID A HAND ON HIS SON,

THEY WOULD HAVE KILLED GIDEON RIGHT THEN AND THERE.

SO FAR GIDEON HAS BEEN 100% OBEDIENT TO DO EVERYTHING GOD HAS TOLD HIM TO DO.

AND NOW HERE COME THE MIDIANITES.

AND NOT ONLY THE MIDIANITES BUT ALSO THE AMALEKITES AND OTHER EASTERN PEOPLES TOO.

HAVE YOU EVER NOTICED THAT WHEN YOU GET INVOLVED IN DOING SOMETHING CONSTRUCTIVE, THEN IT SEEMS LIKE THE WHOLE WORLD COMES OUT AGAINST YOU?

THERE’S MORE GOING ON HERE THAN WHAT WE CAN SEE IN THE PHYSICAL REALM.

WHENEVER WE TAKE A STAND AND FIND THE WORLD RISING UP AGAINST US, WE NEED TO REALIZE WHAT IS HAPPENING.

THIS IS JUST GOD AMASSING OUR ENEMIES SO THAT HE CAN ELIMINATE THEM.

I.                  GIDEON THE WARRIOR.

THEN THE SPIRIT OF GOD CAME ON GIDEON

AND HE BLEW A TRUMPET,

HE SENT OUT A CALL FOR THE PEOPLE TO COME AND

STAND UP AGAINST THEIR ENEMIES.

AND THEY CAME.  THEY CAME FROM MAMASSEH, AND ASHER, THEY CAME FROM ZEBULUN AND NAPHTALI.

32,000 OF THEM GATHERED AT THE SPRING OF HAROD.

NOW GIDEON DIDN’T WANT TO MAKE ANY MISTAKES, SO HE ASKED GOD FOR ANOTHER SIGN.

HE ASKED FOR GOD TO MAKE A FLEECE WET WITH DEW DURING THE NIGHT WHILE THE GROUND ALL AROUND IT WAS DRY.

AND SO GOD DID IT.

THEN GIDEON ASKED GOD TO CONFIRM THE SIGN BY MAKING THE FLEECE DRY WHILE THE GROUND ALL AROUND IT WAS WET.

AND GOD DID THAT TOO.

WELL NOW HERE WE HAVE GIDEON AND HIS 32,000 MEN CAMPED BY THE SPRING OF HAROD

AND THE LORD TELLS HIM THAT HE HAS TOO MANY MEN.

IF THEY WERE TO GO TO BATTLE WITH ALL THESE MEN

AND WON THE BATTLE

THEN THEY WOULD THINK THEY DID IT IN THEIR OWN STRENGTH AND CLAIM THE VICTORY FOR THEMSELVES.

SO GOD TOLD GIDEON TO SEND EVERYONE HOME THAT WAS EVEN A LITTLE BIT AFRAID TO GO INTO BATTLE.

AND GIDEON DID.

GIDEON STARTED WITH 32,000 MEN, AND 22,000 LEFT.

GIDEON IS GEING OBEDIENT TO GOD AND HE'S LOSING MEN.

NEXT GOD TOLD GIDEON THAT THERE WERE STILL TOO MANY MEN AND SO GOD GAVE GIDEON A SIFTING PROCESS.

THAT SIFTING PROCESS WAS TO HAVE THEM DRINK FROM THE SPRING AND THEN SEPARATE THEM BY THE WAY THEY DRANK WATER.

I.                  GIDEON’S ARMY.

OUT OF 10,000 MEN, ONLY 300 WERE SELECTED.

THE REST WERE SENT BACK TO THEIR TENTS.

NOW HERE WE HAVE A LEADER WHO HAS LOST OVER 90% OF HIS FOLLOWERS.

BUT HE HAS BEEN OBEDIENT

AND GOD IS STILL HELPING HIM.

EVER WONDER WHAT GIDEON MUST HAVE BEEN THINKING AS HIS ARMY KEPT DWINDELING.

I DON'T KNOW WHAT HE THOUGHT

BUT GIDEON JUST KEPT ON BEING OBEDIENT

DOING WHAT GOD TOLD HIM TO DO.

I.                  GIDEON’S GOD.

I THINK THAT GOD MUST HAVE KNOWN HOW GIDEON WAS FEELING SO GOD SPOKE TO GIDEON AGAIN.

HE TOLD GIDEON TO GO DOWN TO THE EDGE OF THE MIDIANITE CAMP AND LISTEN IN TO WHAT THEY WERE SAYING.

THIS IS HOW IT READS IN THE NIV

JUDGES 7:9-16 (NIV)

9 During that night the Lord said to Gideon, “Get up, go down against the camp, because I am going to give it into your hands. 10 If you are afraid to attack, go down to the camp with your servant Purah 11 and listen to what they are saying. Afterward, you will be encouraged to attack the camp.” So he and Purah his servant went down to the outposts of the camp. 12 The Midianites, the Amalekites and all the other eastern peoples had settled in the valley, thick as locusts. Their camels could no more be counted than the sand on the seashore.

13 Gideon arrived just as a man was telling a friend his dream. “I had a dream,” he was saying. “A round loaf of barley bread came tumbling into the Midianite camp. It struck the tent with such force that the tent overturned and collapsed.”

14 His friend responded, “This can be nothing other than the sword of Gideon son of Joash, the Israelite. God has given the Midianites and the whole camp into his hands.”

15 When Gideon heard the dream and its interpretation, he worshiped God. He returned to the camp of Israel and called out, “Get up! The Lord has given the Midianite camp into your hands.” 16 Dividing the three hundred men into three companies, he placed trumpets and empty jars in the hands of all of them, with torches inside.

AND THEN HE LED HIS 300 MEN TO THE EDGE OF THE MIDIANITE CAMP

IT WAS MIDNIGHT AND THE MIDIANITES HAD JUST CHANGED GUARDS.

GIDEON HAD TOLD HIS MEN TO FOLLOW HIS LEAD AND WHEN HE BLEW HIS TRUMPET THEY WERE TO DO THE SAME.

THEN THEY WERE TO BREAK THEIR JARS

HOLD UP THEIR TORCHES

AND CRY OUT A SWORD FOR THE LORD AND FOR GIDEON.

CAN'T YOU JUST SEE IT.

IT'S ALMOST FUNNY.

THE WHOLE MIDIANITE CAMP IS SOUND ASLEEP AND SUDDENLY TRUMPETS ARE BLASTING IN THEIR EARS, THERE IS A CRASHING AND LIGHT IS EVERYWHERE.

IN A PANIC, THEY JUMP TO THEIR FEET AND BEGIN SWINGING THEIR SWORDS AT EVERYTHING THAT MOVES.

KILLING EVERYONE THEY MEET.

WHILE THE ISRAELITES ARE JUST STANDING AROUND THE EDGE OF THE CAMP WATCHING THEM.

IF WE WILL ONLY LISTEN TO WHAT GOD TELLS US TO DO,

BE FAITHFUL TO DO WHATEVER IT IS, HE TELLS US TO DO,

THEN WE TOO CAN HAVE VICTORY IN OUR LIVES.

NUMBER 1. LISTEN TO GOD'S VOICE.

NUMBER 2. BE OBEDIENT.

NUMBER 3. ENJOY THE VICTORY.

IT'S AS EASY AS 1, 2, 3.

LET'S PRAY

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