Summary: Sermon on the life of Gideon to show how God makes people of faith able to do what they could never do on their own
One day in junior church, Davy Troxel, New Albany, IN taught about Gideon. The following Sunday, for the sake of review, he asked who remembered last week's Bible hero. No hands went up. "Okay," he said. "I'll give you a clue: he fought a battle using only lamps, pitchers, and trumpets." Still no response. "Maybe you remember how he used a fleece to learn God's will," he said. Ten little blank faces stared at him. "One final clue," he pleaded. "There are people today with the same name as our hero, who go around hotels putting Bibles in the rooms." Finally an eager 8 year old boy shot up his hand and said, "Oh! Oh! It was Hilton!"
If you’ve been in a hotel, you’ve seen Bibles placed by the Gideons – a group entirely devoted to placing God’s word into peoples’ hands. Why would a society dedicated to the spreading of the Scriptures be named after Gideon? It’s because of what he accomplished by faith. We’re still looking at OT people of faith in the hopes that our faith will grow. This morning, looking at Gideon, we hope to see 3 important principles that can be accomplished when faith is applied.
-We’re in the book of Judges. There's no king in Israel. Everyone just does what seems right in his own eyes. Sounds real American. As a result, the nation goes through cycles - they serve God, then turn away from Him, then God allows their enemies to overrun them, then they repent and turn back to God and He sends someone to help deliver them. It's during one of those times, when then Midianites were having their way with Israel and they repent, that God calls Gideon to be their deliverer
-His first assignment is to destroy his dad's altar to Baal. He does it at night, but he does do it, and the neighborhood takes notice. Joash, his father, changes his son's name to "Jerub-Baal" If Baal's such a great god, let him take care of himself!
Right around that time, the people of the East cross the Jordan River into Israel's back yard. It's time for their annual "what's yours is mine" festival. There's a lot of them. (*7:12). Gideon sounds the trumpet and begins to muster the troops of Northern Israel for war. He double checks with God, just to make sure that he's supposed to be doing this, and heads off with 32,000 men to take on 130,000.
Gideon is a man of faith. They’re outnumbered 4:1. He's afraid, but he's going anyway.
What does God do? "There's too many. Let everyone who's scared go home." Apparently there's a lot of scared men, and most of them leave. Great. Now we're outnumbered 13:1. God says, "There's still too many!" Can you imagine Gideon's thoughts at this point? So God thins them down to 300! That's 433:1. The odds are getting a little more difficult here. (My Dad always said the odds of him winning the lottery were better than the odds of him buying a ticket.)
To make it even, they're going into battle with machine guns, artillery, and air support. Not! But they are going into battle with the Lord fighting for them. In the middle of the night, they surround the camp, and suddenly they're blowing trumpets, holding torches and shouting. The Midianites wake up, and begin killing each other. Most of them are killed and the rest run for their lives, which were soon lost as the 300 men of Israel chase them down.
There's something to be learned about faith in the life of a judge we call Gideon.
God makes people of faith able to do what they could never do on their own.
So let’s look into this story of Gideon at 3 principles we're able to apply by faith:
I. Move On When You're Afraid
-Gideon was scared *6:15
-courage isn't the same as being unafraid. It's pressing ahead even though you are afraid. And the way we can do that is by faith in the One Who makes us able.
-Have you ever noticed? God likes us to be in positions where we can't go on by ourselves. When He chose who would lead the people against the Midianites, he goes to Gideon - the one whose "clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and who is the least in his family." After the troops are gathered - 32,000 men, God sends away the ones who are scared - 13:1. That would take faith! God says, "Too many." God doesn't want Israel to think her own strength has saved her. So down they go for a drink, and God weeds out another 9,700 men. 300 men. And then there was the battle plan. "Here's your weapon - trumpet, torch, clay pitcher."