Sermons

Summary: Gideon obeyed God immediately. Even though he was afraid, even though he knew the consequences of his actions were likely to be death, Gideon obeyed.

Taking A Stand: Stories Of The People Of God

Judges 6: 25-32 April 30, 2006

Intro:

There comes a time when we need to take a stand for what it right. That is rarely easy – it often carries with it a price – but the cost is worth it.

In the last book of CS Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia, called The Last Battle, the inhabitants of Narnia are being deceived into believing things about Aslan, the Christ figure, that are categorically false. In the bit I am going to read to you, the crowd is outside a stable which supposedly houses this “real” god, which is supposedly an all-powerful and terrifying god they are calling “Tashlan”. The deceivers are attempting to rule the people through fear, daring anyone to enter the stable. Among the crowd is Tirian, King of Narnia, who has been in hiding.

“Emeth came walking forward into the open strip of grass between the bonfire and the stable. His eyes were shining, his face very solemn, his hand was on his sword-hilt, and he carried his head high. Jill felt like crying when she looked at his face. And Jewel whispered in the King’s ear, “By the Lion’s mane, I almost love this young warrior, Calormene though he be. He is worthy of a better god than Tash.”

“I do wish we knew what is really inside there,” said Eustace.

Emeth opened the door and went in, into the black mouth of the stable. He closed the door behind him. Only a few moments passed – but it seemed longer – before the door opened again. A figure in Calormene armor reeled out, fell on its back, and lay still: the door closed behind it. The Captain leaped toward it and bent down to stare at its face. He gave a start of surprise. Then he recovered himself and turned to the crowd, crying out:

“The rash boy has had his will. He has looked on Tash and is dead. Take warning, all of you.”

“We will, we will,” said the poor Beasts. But Tirian and his friends stared first at the dead Calormene and then at one another. For they, being so close, could see what the crowd, being further off and beyond the fire, could not see: this dead man was not Emeth. He was quite different: an older man, thicker and not so tall, with a big beard.

“Ho-ho-ho,” chuckled the Ape. “Any more? Anyone else want to go in? Well, as you’re all shy, I’ll choose the next. You, you Boar! On you come. Drive him up, Calormenes. He shall see Tashlan face to face.”

“O-o-mph,” grunted the Boar, rising heavily to his feet. “Come on, then. Try my tusks.”

When Tirian saw that brave Beast getting ready to fight for its life – and Calormene soldiers beginning to close in on him with their drawn scimitars – and no one going to its help – something seemed to burst inside him. He no longer cared if this was the best moment to interfere or not.

“Swords out,” he whispered to the others. “Arrow on string. Follow.”

“Next moment the astonished Narnians saw seven figures leap forth in front of the stable, four of them in shining mail. The King’s sword flashed in the firelight as he waved it above his head and cried in a great voice:

“Here stand I, Tirian of Narnia, in Alsan’s name, to prove with my body that Tash is a foul fiend, the Ape a manifold traitor, and these Calormenes worthy of death. To my side, all true Narnians. Would you wait till your new masters have killed you all one by one?” (CS Lewis, The Last Battle, from chapter 10).

Time To Take A Stand:

It was time to take a stand, and King Tirian did. Last Sunday I shared the first part of the story of Gideon, where God called him and promised to be with him as he fought against the people who were oppressing the Israelites. I want to continue that story, picking up from where we left off last week in Judges 6:

23"It is all right," the LORD replied. "Do not be afraid. You will not die." 24And Gideon built an altar to the LORD there and named it "The LORD Is Peace." The altar remains in Ophrah in the land of the clan of Abiezer to this day.

25That night the LORD said to Gideon, "Take the second best bull from your father’s herd, the one that is seven years old. Pull down your father’s altar to Baal, and cut down the Asherah pole standing beside it. 26Then build an altar to the LORD your God here on this hill, laying the stones carefully. Sacrifice the bull as a burnt offering on the altar, using as fuel the wood of the Asherah pole you cut down." 27So Gideon took ten of his servants and did as the LORD had commanded. But he did it at night because he was afraid of the other members of his father’s household and the people of the town. He knew what would happen if they found out who had done it.

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