Summary: From Gideon we learn four steps to being flexible enough for God to use us in His Kingdom.

Flexibility - A Crazy Idea

Judges 6-7

We are in the second half of a series called “Heroes of Hope.” It is a 5 week series that looks at some Heroes from scripture that had a huge faith in God. We started by looking at the story of Moses and the Israelites departure from Egypt. We discovered that we can have confidence in God even in the face of impossible odds. We heard about Joshua and the battle at Jericho that is found in Joshua 6. We learn that to move into the Promise Land with God, we must enact the willingness to do things God’s way. Last week we heard the story of Deborah and learned that peace comes, through our complete service to God.

This week we are going to hear the story of Gideon. His story is found in Judges 6-7 and the details are once again movie worthy in my book. Gideon becomes a Judge of Israel when they are in another one of those cycles of rebellion and oppression. As always, God truly wants to rescue and deliver his people from oppression to freedom, from poverty to plenty. But to do this He needed a people and a leader with flexibility.

Flexibility - being ready to try something different or new for the kingdom. It’s when I’m willing to change my plans if that’s what God needs me to do.

As we work our way through this story, continually ask yourself: Am I flexible enough for God to use me in His Kingdom?

Let’s start by setting the stage for what God is about to do:

Judges 6:1-6 (NIV)

6 The Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord, and for seven years he gave them into the hands of the Midianites. 2 Because the power of Midian was so oppressive, the Israelites prepared shelters for themselves in mountain clefts, caves and strongholds. 3 Whenever the Israelites planted their crops, the Midianites, Amalekites and other eastern peoples invaded the country. 4 They camped on the land and ruined the crops all the way to Gaza and did not spare a living thing for Israel, neither sheep nor cattle nor donkeys. 5 They came up with their livestock and their tents like swarms of locusts. It was impossible to count them or their camels; they invaded the land to ravage it. 6 Midian so impoverished the Israelites that they cried out to the Lord for help.

God hears the cry of his people and He is ready to respond with redemption, but will there be anyone with enough flexibility to allow God to use them in His Kingdom. God called upon the right man and Gideon set for us the following steps for our flexibility in serving God. The first step in flexibility to:

Surrender who you are

God had a plan to chase away Israel’s enemies who were stealing and destroying their food. God wanted to use Gideon to lead the army and he called him a mighty warrior, but first Gideon had to surrender his own opinions about who he was. He thought, “I’m just a farmer” while God said, “You are a mighty warrior!” Although there was doubt and a lack of confidence in himself, Gideon was ready to be obedient to God.

Judges 6:11-18 (NIV)

11 The angel of the Lord came and sat down under the oak in Ophrah that belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, where his son Gideon was threshing wheat in a winepress to keep it from the Midianites. 12 When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.”

13 “Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our ancestors told us about when they said, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up out of Egypt?’ But now the Lord has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian.”

14 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?”

15 “Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.”

16 The Lord answered, “I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites, leaving none alive.”

17 Gideon replied, “If now I have found favor in your eyes, give me a sign that it is really you talking to me. 18 Please do not go away until I come back and bring my offering and set it before you.”

And the Lord said, “I will wait until you return.”

Gideon professes himself to be not just a simple farmer but the weakest person in the weakest family that is a descendant of the former king Manasseh. Let’s not forget that Manasseh lead Israel away from God and brought destruction upon them. Gideon is saying that he has nothing to offer but failure and a heritage of poor leadership. This is not the guy that Israel is going to want leading them into battle. This is not they guy that Gideon wants leading Israel into battle, but it is the guy God want’s leading them.

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