Summary: We fall off the wagon somehow, become defiant and disobedient to God, turn to completely ungodly or humanistic resources for help or satisfaction and then wonder why God isn’t blessing us?
Gideon - The Mighty Man of Valor
Part 2 of a Series
TEXT: Judges 6:11-40 New King James Version, “Now the Angel of the Lord came and sat under the terebinth tree which was in Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, while his son Gideon threshed wheat in the winepress, in order 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, you mighty man of valor!"
Intro: Last week we began a series of sermons based on the life and times of Gideon. As a way of refreshing what we covered last week, let’s do a quick review.
RECAP OF LAST WEEK
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.
There were particular enemies that God had turned them over to.
Midianites = Inhabitants of strife and contention.
Over the years I have observed several things about those who have backslidden, fallen away from God or grown cold in their faith. One of those things is the Midianite Curse. That means when someone is not in a right state with God they will often become connected with strife or contention in one way or another. That means they will either become toxic and extremely unpleasant or they will become the victim of it.
Amalekites = A people that lick up or exhaust.
There is a level of poverty that is identified as the Amalekite Curse. This is the draining away of everything good and positive in a person’s life. You work and labor and exhaust yourself trying to get ahead but it is just like Dust in the Wind.
Then there was the Terebinth Tree. Think about it, why mention the particular type of tree species? And what is a terebinth anyway?
It is actually a really huge oak tree that is deeply rooted and really tall and spread out. In researching this tree and its significance, I found it was often mentioned in the Bible when something is referred to as long lasting, strong, or significant. Other times it served as a survey marker, marking a boundary or property line.
Here is what one young lady blogged about the tree…….. she said, “A year ago, my mom shared with me that God impressed upon her heart that I have found my ‘terebinth tree’ – a place where I belong, a place where God is, a place where I have met with God, a place where I would not have found if I had remained in Malaysia, and it’s my hiding place in Him.”
The name Ophrah translates to mean “A Fawn” which to me denotes the birth of something new and beautiful.”
Any time an angel and especially the Angel of the Lord appears in the Bible, it means that something is about to change, to shift, to go in a new direction. And from that time on, nothing is ever the same. And, that’s usually a really good thing.
The terebinth tree in Ophrah actually belonged to Gideon’s father. His name was Joash the Abiezrite.
Joash means “Jehovah is strong, Jehovah has built, Jehovah supports; the substance of the Lord.”
Abiezrite means “My father will help; Father of Helps.” But is this really who he was? Was he really a helpful father full of Jehovah’s strength and substance?
To further understand the backslidden state of the nation, you can see what Gideon’s father’s identity was supposed to be. But, Joash had turn away from God and was a Baal worshiper. He had totally turned his back on God, betrayed his faith and worshiped demons instead. And, much of Israel had also followed in Joash’s footsteps.
It is into this mess of famine, rebellion to God, the wrath of God, the consequences of being in a backslidden condition that Gideon enters the story.
Gideon’s name means a “Feller or Axe man, One who cuts down, a great warrior.”
So of all people, why Gideon? After all, he is threshing wheat in a wine press in an attempt to hide it from the Midianites so they won’t confiscate it.
Why choose Gideon when he said that he is the least person in the smallest tribe and belongs to the weakest clan in the tribe? And, he wasn’t the most confident and faith filled person as we’ll find; even after an Angel of the Lord visited him and called him a Mighty Man of Valor.