Summary: God verifies his presence to Gideon repeatedly, but is this how we should respond to God’s calling?
Possessing the Promises #4 – Gideon
Guess what? After Deborah, Barak, and Jael the Israelites do evil on the sight of the Lord.
• Midianites oppress them for seven years.
• Israelites forced to live in caves
• Midianites steal all their crops
• They cry out to the Lord for help
• God sends an unnamed prophet to reveal the problem
8"This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: I brought you up out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. 9 I snatched you from the power of Egypt and from the hand of all your oppressors. I drove them from before you and gave you their land. 10 I said to you, `I am the LORD your God; do not worship the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you live.’ But you have not listened to me."
• Another visitor arrives – this time an angel of the Lord. Nowhere in Judges do we see such personal attention given to the Jews from God.
• Goes to Gideon
• the angel of the LORD appeared to Gideon, he said, "The LORD is with you, mighty warrior."
• Gideon’s response
JDG 6:13 "But sir," Gideon replied, "if the LORD is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our fathers told us about when they said, `Did not the LORD bring us up out of Egypt?’ But now the LORD has abandoned us and put us into the hand of Midian."
JDG 6:14 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 "But Lord, " Gideon asked, "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 together."
Then Gideon begins asking for signs of verification
• But first Gideon goes and prepares a sacrifice, which is a sign of respect, and significant seeing that food is rare with the Midianites around. He offers a goat and some bread.
• The angel then provides the sign that Gideon wanted
JDG 6:20 The angel of God said to him, "Take the meat and the unleavened bread, place them on this rock, and pour out the broth." And Gideon did so. 21 With the tip of the staff that was in his hand, the angel of the LORD touched the meat and the unleavened bread. Fire flared from the rock, consuming the meat and the bread. And the angel of the LORD disappeared. 22 When Gideon realized that it was the angel of the LORD, he exclaimed, "Ah, Sovereign LORD! I have seen the angel of the LORD face to face!"
• Gideon builds an altar
• Later that night the angel comes back.
o First you have to take care of some personal business. Tear down the altar to Baal and the Ahserah pole and make an altar to the Lord and offer another bull.
o Gideon gets 10 servants and under the cover of night bravely does what the angel has requested
o In the morning there’s quite a commotion – Whoever did this must die? A sure sign of how idolistic Israel has become.
o Gideon’s father Joash, stands up for his son and says that if Baal is really a god and is upset let him deal with it himself
o This gives Gideon a nickname – Jerub-Baal which means let Baal contend with him.
• The Midianites advance and the Spirit of the Lord comes over Gideon and he calls fellow Israelites to arms. But before he goes into battle he asks for another sign. This time the famous fleece.
JDG 6:36 Gideon said to God, "If you will save Israel by my hand as you have promised-- 37 look, I will place a wool fleece on the threshing floor. If there is dew only on the fleece and all the ground is dry, then I will know that you will save Israel by my hand, as you said." 38 And that is what happened. Gideon rose early the next day; he squeezed the fleece and wrung out the dew--a bowlful of water.
• Then again he asks for a sign:
JDG 6:39 Then Gideon said to God, "Do not be angry with me. Let me make just one more request. Allow me one more test with the fleece. This time make the fleece dry and the ground covered with dew." 40 That night God did so. Only the fleece was dry; all the ground was covered with dew.
• Convinced Gideon takes his men into battle, but before the battle begins God now has a request for Gideon.