The Book of JUDGES
James J. Barker
GIDEON Part 2
- Last week I preached about Gideon. Tonight I will preach again about Gideon. Hebrews 11:32 says, “And what shall I more say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae…”
- We left off last Wednesday night at Judges 6:32, and so tonight we will pick up at verse 33. We see here that the Midianites and the Amalekites and the children of the east were encamped in the valley of Jezreel (6:33; cf. 6:1-6).
- We are told in verse 34 that “the Spirit of the LORD came upon Gideon. This literally means the Holy Spirit “clothed Himself with Gideon.” Now Gideon was ready to defeat the Amalekites.
- Gideon was easily afraid (6:11, 27). Gideon felt unsure about his call from God (6:14-16). He felt unqualified (6:15). But God encouraged Gideon by giving him a sign (6:17-21). And then we see that God accommodated Gideon once again (6:36-40).
- Gideon was frightened. He felt inadequate and unsure of himself. So God encouraged him. And God equipped him. And God gave him an assignment – tear down your father’s altar to Baal (6:25).
- Gideon did what the Lord told him to do. And then the spirit of the LORD came upon Gideon (6:34). Gideon was now ready for battle.
- Gideon blew a trumpet to muster an army (6:34; cf. 3:27), and practically all northern Israel responded to his call (6:34, 35).
- There are many wonderful lessons here in the story of Gideon versus the Midianites, but tonight I would like for us to consider how Gideon often needed encouragement and assurance from the Lord.
GIDEON WANTED A CONFIRMATION FROM THE LORD (6:36-40).
- I have already referred to Judges 6:17-21. It is human nature to want a sign from heaven. As Christians we know God’s will in the most important matters (e.g., salvation), but oftentimes we struggle with other issues (e.g., career, marriage, moving, etc.).
- If we sincerely want to know God’s will, it is important that we have a teachable spirit. Some people are simply not teachable and that is why they never discover God’s will. A believer (we are discussing believers – for an unbeliever to know God’s will, he must first get saved) must be willing to be taught before he can hope to learn anything (cf. John 7:17).
- Submitting to God and yielding to Him results in discovering the “good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Rom. 12:2).
- There must be an unreserved commitment to God’s will before one can expect any specific details of that will. Willingness to do God’s will is a prerequisite to knowing that will. “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths” (Pro. 3:5, 6). We see this in the life of Gideon.
- Consider Gideon. Gideon had already expressed a willingness to obey God’s call upon his life. And that is why God graciously accommodated his requests for signs (6:17-21, 36-40).
- In addition to a teachable spirit, there must be a hunger for God’s Word. Many Christians are out of God’s will because they do not read the Bible. “Thy word is a light unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Ps. 119:105).
- Unfortunately, some people know the Bible but deliberately disobey it. “But be ye doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves” (1:22).
- By the way, don’t be like the fellow who had the bad habit of flipping open the Bible to determine God’s will. One day he asked God what He had in store for him and he opened the Bible to Isa. 14:9!
WAS GIDEON WRONG TO PUT OUT A FLEECE?
- Some people say he was, but I do not think Gideon was wrong to “put out a fleece.” Some times it is a good idea to “put out a fleece.”
- It is important to know you are following God’s leading. If you have prayed, studied the Bible, asked counsel from other Christians (preferably your pastor or other mature believers), and are still unsure, there is nothing wrong with putting out a fleece.
- Incidentally, God knew that Gideon was afraid and hesitant so he also used a dream to encourage him (7:8-15).
- I remember when Carmela and I had to decide whether or not to move from here in NY (Queens) to Norfolk, Virginia. We prayed but were still not sure. We talked to our pastor and other Christians but we were still not sure. Finally, we put out a fleece. If God would send us a good Christian family to rent our house then we would take that as a confirmation from the Lord.
- The Lord sent a nice family right away. The Lord gave us peace about it and we knew we were in His will.
- We must be sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit. Here is where many Christians “miss the boat.” Oftentimes we are insensitive to the Holy Spirit’s prompting and convicting. Without being led by the Holy Spirit, we can never know God’s will (cf. Judges 6:34).
- God uses various situations (we refer to this as “providence”) to direct us. As we carefully and prayerfully seek His will, God directs our steps through providential circumstances.
THE LORD WANTED GIDEON’S ARMY REDUCED IN SIZE (7:1, 2).
- That God might have the glory, and so the Israelites might not “vaunt themselves against” the Lord, those who were “fearful and afraid” were urged to “return and depart early from Mount Gilead” (7:2, 3).
- Gideon did not ask for this sign, but this was unmistakably a sign from the Lord: God was demonstrating that no flesh should glory in His presence. Only the Lord could do this.
- Twenty-two thousand men turned around and went back home. Only 10,000 remained (7:3b). But that still was too many for the Lord (7:4-6).
- Now the LORD was ready to deliver Israel with Gideon’s 300 (6:7). Perhaps these 300 men were more vigilant. Probably they were able to bend over to drink while still keeping their heads erect to see any possible movement of the enemy.
- Note that the Lord said, “Arise, get thee down unto the host; for I have delivered it into thine hand” (7:9). The Lord did not say, “For I will deliver it,” but “I have delivered it into thine hand.”
- Nevertheless, Gideon was apprehensive. He was up on Mount Gilead with just 300 men. Down in the valley there were Midianites, Amalekites, and the children of the east spread out over the valley “like grasshoppers for multitude; and their camels were without number” (7:12). Humanly speaking, it was impossible.
- So the Lord graciously encouraged Gideon by telling him he could go down with Phurah, his servant (7:10). Gideon overheard two Midianite soldiers talking about a dream. In the Midianite soldier’s dream, the cake of barley bread represented Gideon and his 300 men (7:11-13).
- The interpretation greatly encouraged Gideon and gave him the assurance he needed (7:14, 15). Gideon’s victory over the Midianites is one of the most wonderful stories in the Bible.
- Lord willing we will look at this great victory next Wednesday night (7:16-25).
- Over and over, the Lord kept encouraging Gideon (6:12-16).
- Over and over, Gideon kept asking the Lord for a sign (6:17).
- Over and over, the Lord kept accommodating Gideon (6:21, 36-40; 7:9-11).
- Maybe there is some one like Gideon here tonight. Have faith in God. God can use you if you let Him.