INTRODUCTION: God’s purpose and desire has always been to bless His people. The devil’s desire and purpose is to steal God’s blessings from His children. We only need to remember the covenant promises He made to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joshua, etc. to know this. If this is true (and it is) why were God’s people greatly impoverished? Please think of that question. I believe that the fulfillment of each promise was based upon a response of unwavering faith on the part of the child of God. THE GREATEST NEED OF GOD’S PEOPLE TODAY AND ALWAYS HAS BEEN FAITH! Jesus expressed His concern that He would find faith on the earth when He returns.
I. LIFE WITHOUT FAITH
1. Israel no longer served God, but lived under the heavy hand of Midian for seven years because they “did evil in the sight of the Lord” (v.1).
2. All we do is in the sight of God—when we walk in evil ways of self or godly ways of faith. God sees our faith!
ILLUSTRATE: Mark 2:1-5 And again he entered into Capernaum, after some days; and it was noised that he was in the house. And straightway many were gathered together, insomuch that there was no room to receive them, no, not so much as about the door: and he preached the word unto them. And they come unto him, bringing one sick of the palsy, which was borne of four. And when they could not come nigh unto him for the press, they uncovered the roof where he was: and when they had broken it up, they let down the bed wherein the sick of the palsy lay. When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee.
a. Midian has its root in a Hebrew word conveying the idea of “strife” or “contention”
b. The hand of Midian—strife was upon them for seven years (v.2).
c. When God’s people would sow their crops, the enemy would come and destroy the harvest (vv.3,4).
d. God’s people were IMPOVERISHED!!!!!
e. How many of God’s children are impoverished today? We may not have Midian as our enemy, but how many times has the devil stolen from you—your health, finances, children, peace?
f. It’s time to say, “enough, I won’t be impoverished any more because of what the devil is stealing from me”. I’m going to stand upon and have faith in the promises God has made to me.
II. THEIR CRY UNTO GOD (vv. 6-8)
1. God heard and SENT a prophet to speak to them, reminding them of His deliverance, care, and provision for them.
a. Israel had reached a place where they called on God only in times of crisis.
b. If one is living and walking in faith we are keenly aware of the words of Acts 17:28 For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.
c. Under the new covenant we need to examine our type of faith. Do we exercise our faith and call on Him only during time of crisis or do we have a living faith that is fed daily by the Word of God.
d. His Word is mighty and will feed our faith. Jesus said in John 6, “my words are life”. Just as our bodies suffer sickness and we become weak without a good diet, our faith becomes anemic and impotent without a daily diet of God’s Word. His Word created all that is, sustains all that is, declares us forgiven and saved. O, the POWER of His Word!
ILLUSTRATE: Acts 3:1-10 Now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour. And a certain man lame from his mother’s womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms of them that entered into the temple; Who seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple asked an alms. And Peter, fastening his eyes upon him with John, said, Look on us. And he gave heed unto them, expecting to receive something of them. Then Peter SAID, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk. And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ancle bones received strength. And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God. And all the people saw him walking and praising God: And they knew that it was he which sat for alms at the Beautiful gate of the temple: and they were filled with wonder and amazement at that which had happened unto him.
CONCLUSION: Through Gideon (Hebrew—warrior) God not only delivered them, but smote Midian. God’s people ceased to be DEN DWELLERS. We don’t have Gideon, but even greater, we have the Captain of the Lord’s host, JESUS, who breaks every fetter of sickness, sin, and fear. Don’t be a den dweller, but rather be seated “in heavenly places in Christ (Ephesians 1:3).