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Before There Were Kings 7 - Gideon: The Lord’s Sword

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Reading: Judges 7:1-25
But the LORD said to Gideon, “There are still too many men. Take them down to the water, and I will sift them for you there. If I say, ‘This one shall go with you,’ he shall go; but if I say, ‘This one shall not go with you,’ he shall not go.” Judges 7:4 (NIV)

I.    The Few, the Humble . . .

      A.  Gideon believed he was Insignificant (6:15)

            1.   The least of the least

                   a.   Gideon acknowledges he is not able to do what God asks. (That’s the point.)

            2.   Wanted to be really sure it was God’s will

                   a.   Gideon hesitates because of his humility, not his faithlessness.

            3.   Gideon makes a name for himself

                   a.   He tears down the alter to Baal.

                   b.   Let Baal defend himself — Jerub-Baal

      B.  Too Many soldiers (7:2)

            1.   Can you ever have too many soldiers?

                   a.   The U.S. won the Gulf war, in part because of “overwhelming superiority.”

                   b.   Except for specialized operations, it is rare to have too many soldiers in battle.

            2.   God sends home the timid.

                   a.   This is phase one: no room for cowardice in God’s army.

                   b.   This was a long standing regulation in Israel’s military code
Then the officers shall add, “Is any man afraid or fainthearted? Let him go home so that his brothers will not become disheartened too.” Deut.20:8

            3.   God chooses a few of the brave.

                   a.   One way of drinking better? Probably not (Though there’s some speculation)

                   b.   Probably just a way to make the army smaller.

      C.  Armed with Provision

            1.   Where are the weapons?

                   a.   The 300 took over the provisions of the others (v.8). No mention of weapons!

            2.   No swords, bows, spears, or sling-shots!

II.   God goes Ahead

      A.  It was God’s plan from the beginning

            1.   God went to Gideon (6:14)

                   a.   Gideon didn’t think up a plan and ask for God’s blessing.

                   b.   God announces his plan to Gideon

            2.   Through the Spirit Gideon calls the men to arms. (6:34)

                   a.   He doesn’t do this on his own either.

            3.   God’s plan calls for a small army

                   a.   There are too many men for my purposes (v.2)

      B.  A Dream in the enemy camp

            1.   God encourages Gideon again.

                   a.   Gideon obviously needed encouraging!

                   b.   God wants him to know He’s at work

            2.   God is already inciting fear in His enemies.

                   a.   Unlike people God can give dreams and help people understand them.

            3.   God always goes ahead to prepare the way for what he calls His people to do.

                   a.   He did in the desert, he did for Israel in battle, he does for us too.

      C.  Gideon Worships God

            1.   Gideon’s first response to their enemy’s recognition of God’s power to defeat them is Worship.

                   a.   Worship is a God-created human response to God’s presence in our lives.

            2.   Our God can and does defeat all the enemies of God’s people!

                   a.   That’s his promise.

                   b.   Though there are enemies who have not yet surrendered.

III.  God Defeats the enemy

      A.  Trumpets, Jars and Torches

            1.   Talk about unconventional warfare!

                   a.   This is counterintuitive.

                   b.   300 against thousands, armed with nothing but noise makers and lights.

            2.   Putting the fear of God into them

                   a.   God had already been working planting the seeds of fear in the Midianites

                   b.   The cracked foundations of their courage are shattered by their display

                   c.   They are utterly panicked.

            3.   Does this remind anyone of Jericho?

                   a.   Jericho was a city defeated by trumpets and shouts too.

                   b.   When God decides to defeat an enemy, he often uses the opportunity to display His unique power.

      B.  God’s army Stands their ground

            1.   They don’t even do anything.

                   a.   To make clear to all Who’s victory this is, God’s people just stand and watch.

            2.   They stand their ground.

                   a.   They do not run off and hide knowing they are frightfully outnumbered.

                   b.   There are times to say “Don’t just do something, stand there.”

                   c.   They do not rush in where God has not called them to go.

            3.   The one thing we are called to do in spiritual warfare in Ephesians 6.
Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Ephesians 6:13

                   a.   We stand with the armor on and with the Sword of the Spirit: the word of God

                   b.   That word, the speech of God, is enough to defeat any enemy.

      C.  The enemy is Routed

            1.   God has the enemy of his people turn on themselves.

                   a.   Remember that this is divine judgement on a people who were murdering and pillaging a helpless people.

                   b.   Gideon’s army doesn’t fire a shot.

                   c.   Evil confused turns on itself.

            2.   God is the protector of His people. Sometimes he uses people.

                   a.   God’s promise is to protect us from whatever might damage us.

                   b.   Sometimes He does that in such a way no one can doubt who our Protector is.

                   c.   When God uses us, remember who is still the one doing the work.
But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: “Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.” 1 Cor. 1:27-31

The Bottom Line:

In God’s hands even a Small and Fallible tool is more than enough to accomplish His Purpose.

Red #407 Lead On O King Eternal

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