6-Week Series: Against All Odds


Summary: In Heb. 11:32 God honored 4 deeply flawed men as Heroes of Faith. If they can be esteemed by God in spite of their weaknesses, this gives us hope that we too are capable of great feats in the sight of God!


Hebrews 11:32



1. A visiting minister was very long-winded. Worse, every time he would make a good point during his sermon and a member of the congregation responded with "Amen" or "That's right, preacher" he would get wound up even more and launch into another lengthy discourse.

2. Finally, the host pastor started responding to every few sentences with "Amen, Pharaoh!" The guest minister wasn't sure what that meant, but after several more "Amen, Pharaohs" he finally concluded his very lengthy sermon.

3. After the service was over and the congregation had left, the visiting minister turned to his host and asked, "What exactly did you mean when you said "Amen, Pharaoh?"

4. His host replied, "I was telling you to let my people go!"


“And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah” Heb. 11:32.


1. Long-winded preachers, take note of this verse. Some long-winded preachers don’t know when to quit; the writer of Hebrews did!

2. Like all truly gifted speakers, the author of Hebrews could read the clock on the wall. Knowing that he had plenty more material, he decided that having already made his point, he didn’t need to belabor it.

3. Because he didn’t have time to write out the full story of ALL the great heroes of the faith, he decided to mention only a few names and then go for the finish in verses 33-40.

4. Out of nowhere he picks 4 men from the period of the judges, a wild era in Israel’s history when “everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (Judges 21:25 ESV).

Here’s what we know about the four men:

a. Gideon defeated the Midianites.

b. Barak defeated the Canaanites.

c. Samson defeated the Philistines.

d. Jephthah defeated the Ammonites.

5. A PECULIARITY: THESE 4 ARE MENTIONED ONLY HERE IN THE N.T.! That fact ought to make us pay attention.

6. We also need to know that EACH OF THESE 4 MEN HAD SIGNIFICANT CHARACTER FLAWS. No plaster saints here.

7. These are real men, flesh and blood heroes whom God considered honored in spite of their flaws. Their faith was like ours, mingled with fear, soiled with unbelief and doubt, spotted with compromise, troubled by human reasoning.

8. God knew all about their faults but he honored their faith anyway. We’re going to look at each of these men and see the marvel of God’s working.

9. The title of this message is “FOUR CRACKED POTS.”


“I do not have time to tell about . . . Gideon.”


1. Let’s travel back in time over 3000 years to meet a man named Gideon. The angel of the Lord came to him one day and said, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior” (Judges 6:12).

2. This surprising word came in the midst of the Midianite invasion of Israel. They came riding on camels each year during the harvest time just as the Israelites were harvesting their crops.

3. They would plunder the land, get on their camels, ride out of town, and then stay away until the next year’s harvest.


1. When you look at Gideon’s life, you don’t see a man of great faith, you see a man of weak faith whom God used greatly.

2. So each year the people of God were losing the harvest of their labors to the enemy. They were reduced to living in caves.

3. In response, God tapped Gideon on the shoulder and said, “I am going to use you to deliver my people.” God repeated it two or three times in Judges 6.

4. Gideon says, “Who, me?” “Yes, you.” “You’ve got the wrong man.” “No, I don’t. You’re the man, Gideon.”

5. Spring arrived. All is now set for the showdown. The men of Israel are gathering, the enemy is approaching, all is ready for the great battle -- except Gideon.

6. He’s still not sure if he’s the right man to lead Israel. At that point Gideon asked God to give him a sign -- the fleece wet and the ground dry, then reversed it. Judges 6:36-40. Finally Gideon believed.

7. It wasn’t a sin to ask God for a fleece; but it was a sign of his weak faith because he already knew what God wanted him to do. If you make that a habit in your life, it is a sign of weak faith.


1. Turns out that Gideon made a fine military leader once he got past his fear. Gideon and his 300 men sprung a nighttime assault on the unsuspecting Midianites.

2. God had him use a classic military ruse to make them think his army was much larger than it was. The Midianites fled in total confusion, leading to a total victory for Gideon’s men.

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