Summary: To catch a thief you have to think like a thief. What has the thief taken stolen from you? How can you stop him?
It Takes A Thief
?The stars were Matt Johnston (who actually lived in Weatherford, OK for a period) and Jon Rainey. Both burglarized homes and businesses, including a police station and stealing Corvettes from a Miss America Pageant, as young men. In 2005, Discovery Channel employed these two men and the show focused on their ability to break into homes and business as a way to teach the owners how to better secure their property. So, one of the guys would be filmed as he broke in and the other guy would help the home owner fortify so that another break in wasn't possible. The idea was that it takes a thief to know how to think and stop a thief. To protect from being the victim of a thief the people were taught to think like a thief.
I want to point you to a couple of accounts this morning and encourage you to think like a thief for a few minutes.
TEXT: Judges 6:1-6
(NCV) Again the Israelites did what the Lord said was wrong. So for seven years the Lord handed them over to Midian. Because the Midianites were very powerful and were cruel to Israel, the Israelites made hiding places in the mountains, in caves, and in safe places. Whenever the Israelites planted crops, the Midianites, Amalekites, and other peoples from the east would come and attack them. They camped in the land and destroyed the crops that the Israelites had planted as far away as Gaza. They left nothing for Israel to eat, and no sheep, cattle, or donkeys. The Midianites came with their tents and their animals like swarms of locusts to ruin the land. There were so many people and camels they could not be counted. Israel became very poor because of the Midianites, so they cried out to the Lord.
Then for our sakes as a reminder let me read John 10:10 to you to remind you about our enemy.
A thief comes to steal and kill and destroy, but I came to give life—life in all its fullness.
Judges 6 is by no means an obscure passage. Most of us, whether in church for decades or newly introduced have heard the story of Gideon. However, we so love underdogs that we tend to focus on the small rag tag army taking on the thousands and we speed read or totally bypass the first 6 verses of this account. We miss the importance and revelation of the scene that gives birth to the Gideon account. I want us to examine that scene carefully because in it there are some tidbits of information that when combined with what we know about our enemy, as revealed in John 10:10, will help us!
I want you to notice who Gideon is dealing with . . . he is dealing with thieves! The text doesn't say that the Midianites came in and slaughtered everyone. No, it says that these people would come in at the time of harvest every year and just about the time the Israelites were going to taste the fruit of their labor the Midianites would show up and steal the bumper crop. This continued until Scripture makes an important and even profound statement about the condition of the Israelites . . . they had become very poor. It doesn't say they had become slaves. It didn't say they were bound. It didn't say they were bound. It says they were poor.
Think about how the Midianites operated. They didn't exterminate Israelites they impoverished them. The Israelites were sowing, working, sweating but at harvest they stole from them. Their defeat was tied to the Midianites strategy to steal from them.
When the enemy is working in the lives around us the "kill and destroy" is obvious. We can easily see that in each other but what I came to expose is that too many of us walk around impoverished and no one really knows it until it is a time when we need to make a withdrawal there is nothing there. Emotional, spiritual, relational, or even financial withdraws are met with bankruptcy because we have allow the enemy to impoverish us. And the really bad part of this is that too many of us never connect the dots that if he can steal from us he will eventually destroy us.
Listen . . . there is no doubt that some attacks are to destroy. But I want you to go back to our enemy and notice the progression - steal, kill and destroy. His ability to kill and destroy often begins and is set into motion by thievery. If you are walking around bankrupt in any of these areas then you are soon to be walking around bound too! Then after bound comes buried!