Summary: In the Book of Judges, God called and chose Gideon - a small and insignificant man - to be one of his champions. With God on our side, we can overcome weaknesses and discouragement.
JOURNEY THROUGH THE OLD TESTAMENT #4: WEAK AND DISCOURAGED
INTRO TO TOPIC:
Have you ever questioned or wondered: “IF the Lord is (good and He is) with us, WHY then has all this (bad stuff) happened to us? And WHERE are all His miracles which our fathers told us about? BUT now the Lord has forsaken us and delivered us into the hands of (our enemies).” (Judges 6:13). Are you discouraged? Do you feel forsaken? If so, this story will encourage you!
KEY VERSE: “In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” (Judges 17:6, NKJV).
THE CYCLES IN JUDGES:
1. Israel does evil in the eyes of God.
2. God allows them to be enslaved.
3. Israel cries out to the Lord.
4. God raises up a judge.
(not robe-wearing people in courtrooms; rather military leaders; champions).
5. Israel is delivered.
6. There is peace in the land and Israel serves the Lord.
QUOTE: “In Judges we see this cycle repeated seven times: Joshua’s journal recorded a 24 year period of Israel’s obedience and pursuit of the destiny which God had prepared for them… In Judges we come face to face with the flip side of history. Rather than wholly following the Lord as Joshua did, during the time of the Judges, every man did what was right in his own eyes.” (Pastor Barry Buzza, The Red Thread).
BACKGROUND TO THE STORY:
“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, 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.” (Judges 6:1-2, NKJV).
• The Midianites, Amalekites and people of the East would team up against them (v.3).
• They destroyed their crops and livestock, and left them impoverished (v.4-6).
• They were broke, discouraged, depressed and hopeless. They were hiding in caves!
QUOTE: Gideon is “The story of God’s empowerment of a weak man from a small town with a miniature army and a rumor spread among a mighty army.” (R. C. Sproul, What’s in the Bible).
1. GIDEON WAS CALLED AND CHOSEN:
“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. And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him, and said to him, "The Lord is with you, you mighty man of valor!"” (Judges 6:11-12, NKJV).
• What do we learn about Gideon here? He was fearful – hiding in the winepress.
• Who is the Angel of the Lord? Many people believe this was a Christophony – an appearance of Jesus to Gideon.
• He called him a “mighty man of valor.” I’m sure his response was: “Who me?”
• Why did God call him a mighty man of valor? He was speaking to his potential!
“Gideon said to Him, "O my lord, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all His miracles which our fathers told us about, saying, ’Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt?’ But now the Lord has forsaken us and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites.” (Judges 6:13, NKJV).
• Look at Gideon’s response when God called him: “If…”, “Why…”, “Where…”, and “The Lord has forsaken us.” He had questions, doubts and discouragements.
“Then the Lord turned to him and said, "Go in this might of yours, and you shall save Israel from the hand of the Midianites. Have I not sent you?" So he said to Him, "O my Lord, how can I save Israel? Indeed my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.” (Judges 6:14-15, NKJV).
• Gideon was a nobody – weak, fearful and discouraged. Could God use him? Yes!
“26 Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.” (1 Cor. 1:26-27, NIV).
• Someone said once, “God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called.”
• Look at everyone God has ever called: Moses: “I can’t speak!” Jeremiah: “I’m too young!” Gideon: “I’m too weak!” God can and will use you!
2. GIDEON HAD A GOD ENCOUNTER WITH JESUS:
“And the Lord said to him, "Surely I will be with you, and you shall defeat the Midianites as one man. Then he said to Him, "If now I have found favor in Your sight, then show me a sign that it is You who talk with me. Do not depart from here, I pray, until I come to You and bring out my offering and set it before You." And He said, "I will wait until you come back.” (Judges 6:16-18, NKJV).