Summary: Do you live in fear? Well it is time to stop. Fear stops us from reaching our true potential but faith is uplifting. Faith in God that is? Try it and see!!
¶And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD: and the LORD delivered them into the hand of Midian seven years. And the hand of Midian prevailed against Israel: and because of the Midianites the children of Israel made them the dens which are in the mountains, and caves, and strong holds. And so it was, when Israel had sown, that the Midianites came up, and the Amalekites, and the children of the east, even they came up against them; And they encamped against them, and destroyed the increase of the earth, till thou come unto Gaza, and left no sustenance for Israel, neither sheep, nor ox, nor ass. For they came up with their cattle and their tents, and they came as grasshoppers for multitude; for both they and their camels were without number: and they entered into the land to destroy it. And Israel was greatly impoverished because of the Midianites; and the children of Israel cried unto the LORD. Judges 6:1 - 6 (KJV)
For seven years the Israelites were terrorized by the Midianites. They, together with the Amelakites and children of the East, made the Israelites’ lives a living hell. When they came they were not chosey about where they camped or what their animals ate. They acted as if all was theirs to have and do as they pleased. They had no respect for man, woman or child. No wonder the Isrealites fled to the caves and dens in the mountains. They were not an organized party but a bunch of marauders moving through the land, destroying everything in their path. Thus it was that by mere multitude and cruelty the Medianites party imposed themselves on the Israelites.
The Israelites had forgotten the Fear of God and now another fear had taken its place.
A more devastating fear;
A fear that debilitates and cripples;
A fear that leaves you helpless, a victim in the hands of the predator.
The Israelites had forgotten God. They had lost the fear of God and in its place had arisen the fear of men: The fear of the Midianites.
They now feared men who they had crushed once before.
They feared men who were nothing more than plunderers,
Men who were totally disorganized and
Men who lacked any type of proper leadership;
It was such men who terrorized the people of God. Men who at one time would not even dare to come to their door step.
It was within such a community that God came searching for a man and found Gideon. A victim of socialization;
For seven years his people had been oppressed by the Midianites.
For seven years they fled to the caves and dens in the mountains.
For seven years they had lived in fear and trepidation.
For seven years they lived as cowards, as men came and took food from their children’s mouth and clothes from their back.
For seven years they watched as men destroyed all that their hands had done. For seven years Gideon had been taught that he can do nothing about his situation. He had been taught that he was inferior to the others. He had been made into a coward. He was destined for an unfulfilling life and an unmarked grave.
Then, one day angel met him under an oak tree and so began a transformation that would change the course of his life forever. Judges 6: 11-14
¶And there came an angel of the LORD, and sat under an oak which was in Ophrah, that pertained unto Joash the Abiezrite: and his son Gideon threshed wheat by the winepress, to hide it from the Midianites. And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him, and said unto him, The LORD is with thee, thou mighty man of valour. And Gideon said unto him, Oh my Lord, if the LORD be with us, why then is all this befallen us? and where be all his miracles which our fathers told us of, saying, Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt? but now the LORD hath forsaken us, and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites. And the LORD looked upon him, and said, Go in this thy might, and thou shalt save Israel from the hand of the Midianites: have not I sent thee? Judges 6:11 - 14 (KJV)
Here was Gideon hiding and threshing wheat, displaying all the attributes of a coward, and the angel of God addresses him as ‘thou mighty man of valour’. God is not so much interested in who you are but what you can be. God knows your true potential and the heights to which you can soar. Too often it is us who limit ourselves by our own warped self-concept.
For seven years he has lived a life of a coward. For seven years he has lived a life of fear, how could he be a man of valour. He knew that he had never done anything valiant in his entire life. But thanks be to God that we serve a God who calls thing yet to come as if they are. The future for him is just as secure as the present. God was beginning a work of transformation in his life that he would never have imagined. We serve a transforming God.