Summary: A Father's Day sermon about Gideon.
Gideon - Faith and Faithless!
June 16, 2013
What if God came to speak to you? What would you do? Would you fall flat on your face knowing you’re not worthy of His presence? Would you jump up and down and celebrate His presence? Would you question Him, not trusting and believing it’s really God? Maybe a good friend arranged this hoax, and they’re secretly video-taping you.
What would you do? Now, let’s take it a step further. What if you really just didn’t believe very much in yourself and God was calling you to lead His people to victory against a vicious enemy?
Well, that’s the story were looking at today. It’s a great story about a man named Gideon. And his story is found in the Old Testament book of Judges. As we prepare to look at what Gideon was going through and how he reacted, let’s take a quick recap of what was going on in the nation of Israel. This is the time before the land had kings.
The period of the judges is known as one of the lowest times in Israel’s history. The last verse of the book says it all: 21:25 In those days Israel had no king. Each man did what he considered to be right.
The nation would go through the same cycle over and over. They would turn from God and be disobedient and sin. Then, God would send an opposing nation to come against them. The people would be oppressed and cry out to God. God would be merciful and raise up a Judge, usually a military leader to lead the people and they would defeat their enemy, they would repent of their sinfulness and that judge would lead them for many years. But after the judge would die, the people would return to their sinful and disobedient ways. And the cycle would start again.
In some ways, I don’t think we’ve learned too much from their mistakes and sinfulness. We often go through those cycles in our lives. Well, the people are in one of those cycles and they are being oppressed by the Midianites. We read ~
3 For whenever the Israelites planted crops, the Midianites and the Amalekites and the people of the East would come up against them.
4 They would encamp against them and devour the produce of the land, as far as Gaza, and leave no sustenance in Israel and no sheep or ox or donkey.
5 For they would come up with their livestock and their tents; they would come like locusts in number — both they and their camels could not be counted — so that they laid waste the land as they came in.
6 And Israel was brought very low because of Midian. And the people of Israel cried out for help to the Lord.
Well this went on for seven years (Judges 6:1) and it was starting to get a little old, and so the people cried out to God to deliver them, and He called someone to lead His people, firstly out of military oppression and secondly out of moral oppression. And that person was a man named Gideon. Now, let’s look at Gideon.
There is so much scripture, and I’m going to summarize some of it. But this is where it starts for Gideon.
11 Now the angel of the Lord came and sat under the terebinth at Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, while his son Gideon was beating out wheat in the winepress to hide it from the Midianites.
12 And the angel of the Lord appeared to him and said to him, “The Lord is with you, O mighty man of valor.”
14 And the Lord turned to him and said, “Go in this might of yours and save Israel from the hand of Midian; do not I send you?”
15 And Gideon said, “Please, Lord, how can I save Israel? Behold, my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father's house.”
16 And the Lord said to him, “But I will be with you, and you shall strike the Midianites as one man.”
17 And Gideon said to him, “If now I have found favor in your eyes, then show me a sign that it is you who speak with me.
The scripture gives us some clues into Gideon. There’s not much self confidence in him. He admits he’s from the weakest clan of the tribe of Manasseh, and he’s the least or maybe we could say he was the runt of the litter. He doesn’t think he can accomplish what this angel of the Lord is asking him to do. Even though the LORD says to him, I will be with you. So, what does Gideon do? He asked the LORD ~ show me a sign that you are who you say you are.