Summary: A seven part series on Gideon starting with the condition and crisis of Israel in it's backslidden state, the selection of Gideon, the process of his development and finally his overcoming victory and destruction of the enemy.
Gideon - The Mighty Man of Valor
Part 1 of a Series
Intro: I love to preach Series. You know, where you teach on a thought or topic for several weeks in a row. One of my favorite Old Testament guys is Gideon. With that being said, today we will begin a series of sermons about the life and times of Gideon the Mighty Man of Valor. I think there is a little bit of Gideon in all of us.
Gideon is listed in the Bible in Hebrews 11:32 among the great hero’s of the faith. And, he deserved to be listed there. After all, he became a champion by taking 300 men and liberating the entire nation from its oppression.
But, he didn’t begin as a great man of God. As a matter of fact, he would probably not be anyone’s first choice or even last choice for that matter. But God chose a most unlikely man and He raised him up as a great leader to save a nation.
With that being said, let’s not talk about Gideon the champion of military accomplishment and instead let’s look at the early part of the story of Gideon and see where God brought him out from and why God chose this guy rather than someone else. You can learn a lot about someone if you take the time to see who he really is and where he came from.
We have to start by understanding the spiritual climate of the day. Israel was in a terribly backslidden condition.
Judges 6:1-10 New King James Version, “Then the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord. So the Lord delivered them into the hand of Midian for seven years, 2 and the hand of Midian prevailed against Israel. Because of the Midianites, the children of Israel made for themselves the dens, the caves, and the strongholds which are in the mountains. 3 So it was, whenever Israel had sown, Midianites would come up; also Amalekites and the people of the East would come up against them. 4 Then they would encamp against them and destroy the produce of the earth as far as Gaza, and leave no sustenance for Israel, neither sheep nor ox nor donkey. 5 For they would come up with their livestock and their tents, coming in as numerous as locusts; both they and their camels were without number; and they would enter the land to destroy it. 6 So Israel was greatly impoverished because of the Midianites, and the children of Israel cried out to the Lord.
7 And it came to pass, when the children of Israel cried out to the Lord because of the Midianites, 8 that the Lord sent a prophet to the children of Israel, who said to them, "Thus says the Lord God of Israel: 'I brought you up from Egypt and brought you out of the house of bondage; 9 and I delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians and out of the hand of all who oppressed you, and drove them out before you and gave you their land. 10 Also I said to you, "I am the Lord your God; do not fear the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell." But you have not obeyed My voice.'"
Look at who the Israelites had to deal with while they had drifted away from God. There were a few reasons they fell away from God and we can view these things as warnings for us today:
1. They forgot who they were; God’s chosen and special people.
2. They forgot where they came from; Egypt, Wilderness, etc…
3. They forgot their present day purpose
Because of all this, God allowed their enemies to oppress them. Yes, it was more than just the devil; God allowed it.
It is during the oppressive times, the hard times, the stressful times that we have our hearts and attitudes revealed to us. This is when the refiner’s fire comes. Sometimes when we are going through hard times it’s because we are living according to our own terms rather than God’s plans for us.
When God allows us to become prey for our enemies it’s not designed to annihilate us. The hard times are not designed to destroy us but to get us back on track.
Jeremiah said in Jeremiah 1:10, “See, I have this day set thee over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build, and to plant.” And, sometimes in our own lives God must:
And Throw Down ….. before he can build and plant.
Now, let’s look at the actual enemies Gideon and Israel were facing.