Summary: Fourth in a series unlocking keys to experiencing prevailing prayer. This message explores the acceptance and movement on a divine call from God.
(Extensive inspiration for this sermon, and the series "Prevailing Prayer" taken from Francis Frangipane’s booklet of the same name.)
Everyone grab a Bible. When you get one, hold it up in the air. We have a bit different type of message this morning in that we are simply going to take a look at the life of one prominent individual in God’s Word. So you’ll want to follow along verse by verse as we explore the lessons to be learned from this life.
A common pattern in the life of Israel has resumed. Israel has again been sinning and subsequently fallen under foreign oppression and now is once again crying out to God for deliverance.
We see the elements we have already explored in our 40 day prayer journey in this passage. You have a desperate situation. The people are living in caves which back in this particular time of the Old Testament were not used for permanent dwellings. They have had to abandon their homes and live in caves which is a pretty good indicator that they are in desperate straits.
So they have joined in community crying out to God. Desperation, community, and you have a clear need for confession and repentance. The chapter begins by telling us they are doing evil, and God Himself declares through His prophet, “You have not obeyed My voice.”
If you have gotten to a Bible, try something really tricky. While balancing your Bible on your knees, take out your worship folder, and a pen to jot down a few notes as we go through this passage.
Right out of the gate, picture in your mind and understand throughout our passage today that there are battles that the children of Israel are fighting. Write them down. There is the battle with these oppressors who are physically challenging them. They are eating their food. Starving them out. Oppressing them in a very physical sense. Their very existence and survival is in danger.
But there is a second battle going on. These people are living in constant fear, and not just against the physical forces that they are facing. Notice the prophet’s words in verse 10, “Do not fear the gods of the Amorites.”
Their disobedience has given way to an oppression and darkness that is not only physical, but spiritual. The “Gods of the Amorites.” In other words, demonic principalities and powers have actually begun to rule the spiritual environment which the children of Israel are dwelling in.
With this backdrop, we have the entrance of a deliverer. As you follow the word of God. As you read story after story. Recognize that time and time again God will begin the process of delivering the many with the deliverance of one. Moses. Noah. David in his flight from Saul. Another Saul who became Paul. Time and time again we see that the deliverance of the many begins with the deliverance of the one.
So God sought out someone who was desperate, oppressed, in need of a deliverer, and He found Gideon. Verse 11 (READ). Gideon’s situation doesn’t look any different than any one else’s. He is threshing wheat in a winepress. What does that mean?
A winepress was a pit carved into rock in which grapes were crushed. On the other hand, wheat was usually separated on open threshing floors so the wind could carry away the chaff in the winnowing process.
The fact that Gideon was forced to thresh wheat hidden inside a winepress, despite the fact that he clearly had access to a threshing floor, again highlights the desperate state the Israelites were in. It means that he is having to hide his work to survive. To continue doing such a basic task as farming, he is having to do it undercover.
Gideon is struggling with the same physical oppression as the others are. And before long, we will see he is struggling with the same spiritual oppression as well.
Verse 12 (READ THROUGH VERSE 13). Now, you may not think you can relate to the Gideon you have heard about who leads just 300 men into successful battle. The great warrior and hero of Bible lore, and VBS flannel graphs. But how about this Gideon? I can relate to this one. Because notice the connections that Gideon makes, and I know I am guilty of often making.
He connects God’s presence with His protection. If God isn’t providing for our needs, if we are under physical and spiritual attack from the enemy. Than God must not be with us. He must have forsaken us. Right? Ever been there?