Summary: For way too long we have bought in on the misconception that bigger is the only way to win the battles as a Church.
Scripture: Judges 7:1 –
Title: “Candles & Pitchers”
· God’s people were under persecution of an enemy as a result of “Idol Worship! (Again!)
· Israel couldn’t be satisfied with ONLY One God, they wanted to worship other gods ALSO! / “Idol Worship” was a CONSTANT problem! / Why?
· Besides breeding fear, the raiders left Israel faint for lack of food.
- Famine struck as the result of a political and military choke hold.
· They had been giving into this treatment for 7 Years!
· The Midianites had warred against God’s people as a result of being terribly beaten by the Israelites.
· These Midianites were a constant threat to God’s people. In the time of the judges the Midianites along with the Amalekites began to raid Israel using camels to strike swiftly over great distances. Gideon drove them out and killed their leaders (Judges. 6-8).
· The Midianites were motivated by the plunder they took, but also by a desire for vengeance against the Israelites.
· Gideon had torn down the altars of Baal. The Midianites and Amlekites were very angry with him. They wanted to kill him.
GIDEON! (The “Unlikely” Leader!)
· Gideon was not a willing volunteer.
· An angel found him, of all places, on the basement floor of a winepress threshing wheat.
· He was hiding from the Midianites who marauded Israel monthly for food and fear mongering.
THE CALL AND THE COMMISSIONING!
· The Angel of the Lord began with, “The LORD is with thee, thou mighty man of valor.”
· God saw something in Gideon that he didn’t see in himself!
· Even in the face of this tremendous statement Gideon’s reply was one of Doubt, “Oh my Lord, if the LORD be with us, why then is all this befallen us? and where be all his miracles which our fathers told us of, saying, Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt? but now the LORD hath forsaken us, and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites.”
· God’s reply to this normal response was, “Go in this thy might, and thou shall save Israel from the hand of the Midianites: I am sending you!?”
“PREPARATION FOR VICTORY”
CLEARING THE BATTLEFIELD! (It’s time for walls to come down!)
· The Lord promised Gideon that He would give him such a victory that it would be like defeating ONE man, “You shall smite the Midianites as one man.” (Judges 6:16)
· The command, “Tear down your Father’s altar of Baal and cut down the Asherah pole standing beside it and build an altar to the Lord” (Judges 6:26)
· This weakened the worship of Baal. (Verses 28 – 32)
· We wonder why there aren’t signs & wonders accompanying the ministry of the church today. / Why there is no display of POWER among the redeemed.
· It is because the too many Christians are committing spiritual adultery with the gods of this world.
· We are the Church. / We must repent of our evil ways and respond to the call of Holiness! (2 Cor. 6:17)
OBEDIENCE BROUGHT RESULTS!
· The Spirit of God came upon Gideon and he blew a trumpet summoning the Abiezrites to follow him. / He sent messengers throughout Manasseh, calling them to arms, and also into Asher, Zebulun and Naphtali, so that they too went up to meet them.
· When Gideon put God to the test with the “Fleece Challenge” God went along with it. (Judges 6:36 – 40)
TOO MANY PEOPLE! (The “Trimming Down!”)
· 32,000 soldiers! WOW! / Now, we’re ready to get it done! / God’s talking to me and the Power of the Spirit of God is all over me!
· Too many? They are so many they look like grasshoppers strewn along the valley!
· God told Gideon, “They might think they were the cause of the victory!”
· Reluctantly, Gideon settles back into obedience. O.K. What do you want me to do? / Announce, “Everyone that is fearful & afraid let him depart early from the mount.” / 69% were fearful and afraid! 22,000! LEFT!
· Still too many! WHAT? / I’m down to 10,000! / Another test!
· It’s HARD to trust God, especially when your life and everything else is on the line!
· We’ve bought in on the false idea that we can’t be victorious unless we have huge numbers!
· The BIGGEST part of the people were FEARFUL & AFRAID! 2/3!
· Now, “The Water Drinking Test” / 97% of the 10,000 drank with their heads down to the water! Careless and Unconcerned!
THE 300! (Willing & Able!)
· Point – These 300 Soldiers were mixed in with 30,000 others.
· Their effectiveness would have been very limited by the failing characteristics of the 31,700! / 22,000 were fearful & afraid! 9,700 were CARELESS & UNCONCERNED!