Summary: Message 3 of 4 on the Judges. How did timid careful Gideon become a great hero of God? There was a Call, a plan, and a Gift - all from God.
The Verdict on Judges
One Ordinary Guy
February 19 – Gideon
120,000 Midianites came like a plague of locusts against the Israelites. Gideon raised an army of 32,000 to take them down. He cut down the number to 10,000 and then to 300. He armed them with trumpets, torches and pitchers. They split into three groups and attacked the enemy with the sounds of 300 trumpets and then smashing the pitchers so that the light from 300 torches lit up the hills surrounding the midianite camp. In the chaos of night and the shifting shadows of the torches the Midianites rose up and began to fight with one another. The battle was quickly won.
Gideon was a hero! How did this happen? Let’s start at the very beginning and see. Let’s begin in Judges 6. If you have your Bibles read with me how it all started.
1Again the Israelites did what the LORD said was wrong. So for seven years the LORD handed them over to Midian…
2 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. 3 Whenever the Israelites planted crops, the Midianites, Amalekites, and other peoples from the east would come and attack them. 4 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. 5 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. 6 Israel became very poor because of the Midianites, so they cried out to the LORD.
7 When the Israelites cried out to the LORD against the Midianites, 8 the LORD sent a prophet to them. He said, “This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: I brought you out of Egypt, the land of slavery. 9 I saved you from the Egyptians and from all those who were against you. I forced the Canaanites out of their land and gave it to you. 10 Then I said to you, ‘I am the LORD your God. Live in the land of the Amorites, but do not worship their gods.’ But you did not obey me.”
11 The angel of the LORD came and sat down under the oak tree at Ophrah that belonged to Joash, one of the Abiezrite people. Gideon, Joash’s son, was separating some wheat from the chaff in a winepress to keep the wheat from the Midianites. 12 The angel of the LORD appeared to Gideon and said, “The LORD is with you, mighty warrior!”
When I say the word "Hero," who is it that comes to your mind? George Washington? Lewis and Clark? Audie Murphy? Pat Tillman? John Wayne? Wayne Gretzky?
When we think of Heroes we think of people who have grit, determination, courage, and character.
We think of one who doesn’t necessarily run from a fight. There no question that Gideon was not such a man. We find him threshing his wheat hidden from view in a wine press. He was obviously a careful, cautious, and pragmatic man looking to keep his family’s crops from being stolen by the Midianites. He was no coward but he was certainly not “hero” material.
But the Angel of the Lord came to Gideon and called him, “A Mighty Warrior.” How can this be? Gideon is threshing wheat in a wine press. Now then, if this skittish, nervous, timid guy was looked upon by the Lord as a Hero, (Mighty Warrior), that should be encouragement to us all.
If God could see the Hero in Gideon then just maybe he can see a Hero in us! So let’s look now to see how this happened. First there was the calling from God.
A CALLING FROM GOD
14 The LORD turned to Gideon and said, “Go with your
strength and save Israel from the Midianites. I am the one who is sending you.”
15 But Gideon answered, “Lord, how can I save Israel? My family group is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least important member of my family.”
We know what went through Gideon’s mind when he heard the angel speak.
“Hey, you got the wrong guy! - You are looking for a Great Soldier. You are looking for a Super Hero, but not me!”
Do you ever feel like you are too weak to do what God is asking you to do? Let me confess something important to you here today.
This past several months I’ve felt a lot like Gideon hiding in the wine press.
We live in a land populated with people who like the Midianites have swarmed the land with their tents, their animals, and their ways – which are not God’s ways.