Summary: Showing that even when we are weak in our own strength, if we respond to the Lord’s call we can know His power in our lives, and victory as a result
GIDEON – THE DEVELOPING OF FAITH
1. GIDEON’S ORIGIN
Gideon had a low estimation of himself -
Judges 6:15 “My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family."
He says this in great humility and modesty, having no arrogant thoughts of himself and his family, or any dependence on his own ability. The enemy were constantly raiding the nation at strategic times, and making off with the harvest. Gideon is unable to confront them, but seeks to retain food for his family. While his family were certainly not the poorest in Israel, as they were able to afford servants, he is conscious of the lack of strength his family can give to defending the nation. We are not speaking of false modesty, but a genuine assessment of oneself.
Matthew 23:12 Whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.
James 4:10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.
2. GIDEON’S OBJECTIVE
Judges 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?" v16 "I will be with you”.
It is interesting to see what the Lord says to Gideon - the strength you have- When God calls us to do something for Him, He gives us all we need to complete the task. He doesn’t necessarily remove the weakness, but gives His strength to compensate for our limitations.
II Corinthians 12:9 He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.
Hebrews 11:32 ‘What more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, . . . . and the prophets’.
Hebrews 11:34 ‘. . . . whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies’.
Gideon was given a purpose - save Israel out of Midian’s hand- he knew what he was to do. Do we know what the Lord wants us to do? Have we a purpose to accomplish? If we feel we are too weak – remember Gideon!
3. GIDEON’S OBEDIENCE
Judges 6:34 & 35 Then the Spirit of the LORD came upon Gideon, and he blew a trumpet, summoning the Abiezrites to follow him. 35 He sent messengers throughout Manasseh, calling them to arms, and also into Asher, Zebulun and Naphtali, so that they too went up to meet them.
I Samuel 15:22 Obedience is far better than sacrifice. Listening to him is much better than offering the fat of rams.
Sometimes obedience will mean sacrifice!
If we read the account carefully, we will see that before the Spirit of the Lord came on him in power, Gideon had re-established the worship of the Lord; removing the altar to Baal. As I have searched the scriptures over the years, one thing has become clear to me – worship comes before work! We cannot serve the Lord effectively if we do not have an altar for the worship of the Lord in our lives.
Because Gideon had restored the altar to the Lord, God could now bless him, and the result of his call to arms was impressive. Thirty two thousand responded to the call. What an altar call! We learn a vital lesson here. Numbers are not what the Lord looks at – He looks at the heart.
4. GIDEON’S OPTION
Judges 7:2 & 3 The LORD said to Gideon, "You have too many men for me to deliver Midian into their hands. In order that Israel may not boast against me that her own strength has saved her, 3 announce now to the people, ‘Anyone who trembles with fear may turn back and leave Mount Gilead.’" So twenty-two thousand men left, while ten thousand remained.
Judges 7:4 & 7 But the LORD said to Gideon, "There are still too many men. Take them down to the water, and I will sift them out for you there . . . . 7 The LORD said to Gideon, "With the three hundred men that lapped I will save you and give the Midianites into your hands. Let all the other men go, each to his own place."
Can you imagine what Gideon must have felt? He had done as God asked, and the people had responded, now to be told they are too many!
Let me remind you that God looks on the heart. Here were a lot of men who were absolutely terrified! Send them home, says the Lord. 22,000 went home! That is enough to put anyone off!
Still too many says the Lord. God who sees the heart saw that some were careless. As they drank the water they ignored the safety rule! Send them home, says the Lord. Gideon is left with only three hundred men