Summary: A reminder to look out for the Devil’s attacks in the church when the Lord is blessing.
WHEN YOU’RE WINNING, WATCH YOUR BACK
- Read Judges 7:19-25
Can you imagine the victory Gideon and the Israelites enjoyed that day? God sent Gideon and 300 men of Israel to fight against the Midianites, an army of 135,000. The odds against Israel were outstanding. It was 450 to 1. The Israelite soldiers probably could not have carried enough arrows to stick one in each of their enemies, and yet God sent them out with each soldier carrying a torch to shine, a pot to break, a horn to blow, and a voice to yell with. With those weapons, God gave them the victory. Their victory that day would be comparable to a “bunch of Jr. High girls beating a pro football team in the super bowl, 49 to nothing”. (Gary Inrig, Hearts of Iron, Feet of Clay). My friend, when God is working, He often uses the weak to whip the strong, the uneducated to confound the wise, the humble to humble the proud. God gave His people a great victory. But my friends, it is often when you are winning and things are going well that you must be the most on guard. It’s when you’re winning that you have to watch your back. Look there with me at chapter 8 and verse 1 as we see the Devil’s next attack.
I. BROTHERS WILL UPSET YOU, DON’T BE DISTRACTED
- Read 8:1
Did you hear that? I don’t know about you, but when I first read that, I started to get hot. I started to get upset. Here Gideon and 300 men had faithfully followed the Lord, God had given them a great victory, the battle was still in progress and here come these fellow Israelites, here come these johnny-come-latelies, wanting to give Gideon grief because they were supposedly left out.
Let me tell you, I am sure that when Gideon began gathering his army, when he first began calling the Israelites together to fight their enemies, I am sure the men of Ephraim heard what Gideon was doing. I am sure they heard a battle was about to take place. There is no way the Midianites could have gathered an army of 135,000 in their midst without them knowing about it. When, Gideon was calling together an army, Ephraim was nowhere to be found. There were no men of Ephraim stepping up, volunteering to fight in the army, until Gideon had the enemy running scared, then they stepped up and complained about the way Gideon was fighting, without them, instead of having fought themselves.
Isn’t that the way it often is? When God starts working and He begins to bless in one church or in one ministry, other Christians, out of jealousy, begin complaining and putting the ones God is using down?
Do you remember how the Devil did that in the book of Acts? As God continued to bless the church, the Devil sent an attack from the outside, so Christians were scattered all over the place. But, the church continued to grow. So, the Devil sent an attack from the inside. He tried to get the church to split between the Greeks and the Jews, over the way the widows were being treated.
My friends, if the Devil can’t whip us from the outside, then he’ll try to cause us to lose focus and begin fighting among ourselves. Man, the Midianites were still running, there was still fighting to do, and the men from Ephraim wanted to argue over who was going to get the credit.
You ever notice how, in the midst of a building program, when a church is growing so much it needs to build additional buildings, when God is blessing and people are being saved; have you ever noticed how distracted that congregation can get over carpet color? I don’t think it’s any coincidence that such distractions occur at such inopportune times. The Devil will use any tool he can to get us distracted. He will use pettiness, hurt feelings, misunderstandings, unforgiveness, anything. That’s why Paul said in 2 Corinthians 2:10-11 … "what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, I did it for your sakes in the presence of Christ, in order that no advantage be taken of us by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his schemes".
Gideon refused to lose sight of what was important. Look there at verse 2.
- Read vv 2-3
Listen, what Gideon had accomplished was much greater than the little Ephraim was doing, but Gideon said, “Listen, we are in this together. I couldn’t have come this far without you. Now let’s go get them,” and they continued the pursuit.
My friends, in this church we will not always see things eye-to-eye. I am sure we will disagree about things sometimes. I am sure we will get our feelings hurt from time to time. I do occasionally and I’m sure you do from time-to-time as well. That happens in the best of families, but let’s never forget that we are family. Let’s never forget where the true battle is. Let’s never forget who the true enemy is. BROTHERS WILL UPSET YOU, DON’T BE DISTRACTED.