Summary: When God delivers us, He wants us to understand what is going on. His purpose is more than just to save our skin, but to teach us to trust Him.
Passage: Judges 6:11-24
Intro: The story of the Bible is the story of God calling men and women into a trust relationship with Him.
1. in this story, God is the constant pursuer and initiator of this relationship, mankind the consistent resister.
2. over the past two weeks, we have set the stage for another chapter in this story
3. Israel in rebellion, suffering the promised trouble for that rebellion
4. last week we saw they “cried out to the Lord”, who sent them a prophet who laid out for them the why of their trouble.
5. and in this passage today, the rescue process continues.
6. but this is more than a rescue. It is a rescue that seeks to restore relationship at the same time.
7. It is a rescue that teaches, so that the rescue won’t have to be repeated if positive changes take place in our relationship with God.
8. like so many of the stories in the Bible, this one shows us the powerful contrast between the fear that is our natural response, and Gods call for us to exercise faith.
I. What God Calls Us to See
1. put yourself in Gideon’s shoes on the day God visited him.
2. doing the work usually done by animals, threshing grain w/ teams of animals.
3. but animals were gone, and threshing had to be done in secret, much smaller winepress, because of Midianites
4. into this pathetic situation, full of weakness, comes the angel of the Lord with two surprising statements.
5. v12 first, “The Lord is with you”
6. here he was, covered with chaff, in hiding from the Midianites, impoverished, and he is supposed to believe this.
7. in addition, he is a “mighty warrior”
8. once again, the facts don’t square with the statement.
9. and that is what Gideon refers to in v13
10. he looks at the situation and concludes that God has deserted Israel.
11. but he forgets that God is a promise-keeper, and he overlooks the promised cause and effect relationship of idolatry and trouble and therefore blames God
Il) we are certainly seeing the tendency of people to blame someone, anyone, this week!
12. Gideon focuses on the negative result of their sin, while God is eager to keep His positive promises of deliverance, grace, mercy, kindness.
PP Isaiah 44:22 The heartbeat of God!
13. God is with Gideon, and with us, because He has promised to be.
14. it is because of God’s faithfulness that He is with Gideon, and His presence and call transforms chaff-caked Gideon into a mighty warrior.
15. principle is this: PP God’s promises are greater than our circumstances.
16. when our focus shifts from our weakness to God’s power, we are on the way to effective service.
17. the vision of God is found in the pages of Scripture and experienced in faithful obedience.
18. otherwise, we are doomed to our own pathetic self-evaluation, and the ineffectiveness that follows it.
II. What God Asks Us to Do.
1. it is very interesting that God does not respond to Gideons complaint in v13.
2. frankly, He already did that through the message of the prophet in vv8-10
3. so God issues a stunning command in v14. Looks Gideon in the eyes.
4. “Go in the strength you have” requires Gideon to look past his own resources.
5. “save Israel out of Midians hand.”
Il) might as well ask someone to go and clean up the damage from Katrina by themselves. (we are proud of Kim!)
6. we saw last week what a terrible enemy Midian was. Huge numbers, complete selfishness, unopposed by anyone, economic disaster.
7. but then God adds the statement that changes it all.
8. “Am I not sending you?”
9. the strength you have is now far more than the strength of Gideon or of Israel.
10. it is the strength found in the servants of God
11. it is the strength that freed the slaves from Egypt and opened the Red Sea and kept 2 ½ million people fed and watered for 40 years in the desert and opened the Jordan River and toppled the wall of Jericho and defeated the pagan peoples of Canaan in their walled cities
12. it is the strength that created the earth, the sun, the moon and the stars
13. and God was calling Gideon to do something impossible based on the promise that God was the sender.
14. the fearful response of Gideon was so typical of us.
PP. it focuses on the “how” instead of the “who” Same three letters, but the order is everything!
16. if our first response is “how” or “how much” instead of “who is calling us”, then we are doomed to ineffectiveness, because “how” usually becomes negative.