Summary: We usually want deliverance, but God has an additional purpose beyond just rescuing us. In this famous battle passage, the purpose of God is clear.
Passage: Judges 7:1-22
Intro: As we have followed the faith adventure of Gideon, we have seen something.
2. God’s purpose was much more than the deliverance of Israel from the Midianites who visited annually like unwelcome in-laws
3. it was to deliver them with the goal of teaching a positive alternative to the way Israel had chosen.
4. it was to develop trust in God.
PP) Psalm 40:1-3
5. we have come now to the actual deliverance, the famous battle between Gideon and his band of 300 versus the 120,000 man Midianite force.
6. don’t miss the patient process of change in the excitement of deliverance.
7. the end of the process we have been observing throughout these two chapters.
8. here at the end, watch the patient work of God to assure the achievement of the primary goal of faith-building.
I. The Removal of Attractive Human Options
1. the trumpet that the Holy Spirit compelled Gideon to blow last week had worked.
2. here he is, with 32,000 men, holding the high ground and the main water source v.1
PP Map of area
3. outnumbered 4 to 1, but must have felt like they had a fighting chance.
4. v2 no surprise when we recognize goal not deliverance, but building of trust.
5. “too many men for me…”
6. the odds aren’t great enough to remove doubts that perhaps we did it on our own.
7. “boast against me”=focus on self and our own strength means we rob God of glory.
8. this wrongful focus defeats the purpose of faith construction, dooms us to reliance on the flesh instead of God.
9. “everyone who is afraid can go” v3
10. turns out that was more than 2/3rds
11. v4 still too many! Down to the spring to trim the group some more.
12. standing or kneeling to drink, one out of 30 of the 10,000, one out of 1000 of the original group! Odds now 400 to 1!
13. my personal feeling is that the ones who stood to drink were nervous, and that’s why they were picked.
14. God’s purpose clearly stated in vv2,4. Too easy to focus on your own strength to the diminishing of God’s
15. God lifts us from the pit to teach us to trust in Him.
PP Max Lucado, “God loves you just the way you are, but He refuses to leave you that way. He wants you to be just like Jesus.”
16. don’t be surprised when what God is calling you to do is beyond your ability. God is working His plan.
17. this is where far too many of us quit.
18. this is where much of what God is seeking to do runs into fear.
II. Continuing Grace to Calm Our Fears
1. We have seen all along that Gideon’s faith was a little weak.
2. He is consistently seeking signs, assurance.
3. v7, God repeats His promise to deliver them, updated with the new numbers.
3. and then that night, in the face of overwhelming odds, God calls him to “charge” v9 Imperatives: Get up, go down”
Il) sounds like a parent trying to get a kid out of bed. “Get up, get dressed,”
4. but notice who initiates the sign this time! V10
5. God does! “If you are still afraid…”
6. God has been working behind the scenes to assure victory, and graciously allows Gideon to peek behind the curtain.
7. even sends his servant along for company!
8. they creep up to the army, and listen to the guards talking.
9. God had given one a dream, barley an inferior, cheaper grain, good image for Israel in Midianite eyes.
10. and he gave the other the interpretation in v14
11. the verb tense used by this guard is very instructive.
12. “has given” is the “prophetic perfect”, which is a future event spoken as if it had already taken place.
13. this spoke volumes to Gideon and his witness.
14. in that sprawling camp, God brought Gideon to just the right guys whom God had put in just the right place.
15. Gideon is jazzed! V15 He uses the same phrase, same prophetic perfect to announce that the war is over, it just has to be fought.
Il) yesterdays football game between ASU and USC.
16. from the serious skepticism of 6:13 to the prophetic perfect in 7:15 by God’s grace. He has done the same thing for us.
17. the Bible is the record of the victory of God. The power of God, the power of Jesus, the Resurrection, the spread of Christianity in Satan’s own backyard, the book of Revelation.
18. victory is assured when God is calling
III. The Privilege of Participation
1. Sometimes God does things by Himself
PP) 2 Kings 19:32-35