Bible Baptist Church

" Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." ...... John 3:3


Heroes from the Book of Judges


Hebrews 11:32


Introduction:

·         The book of Judges is part of what we commonly call the “Historical Books.”

·         It tells the history of the Israelites in the Promised Land. There we see the need for leadership after Joshua dies. The Israelites were caught in a spiral of disobedience, the chastening of the Lord, repentance and crying out to God, and a Judge raised up to deliver them and bring blessings once again.

·         The writer lets his mind's eye roam back over the history of his people; and out of it there springs to memory name after name of those who were heroic souls. He does not name them in any particular order.

 

I.                    Gideon

a.      Gideon’s story is found in Judges 6ff, as Israel was oppressed by the Midianites

b.      He was unusual, because he was an unlikely candidate to be a judge! Judges 6:11-16

c.       Gideon needed assurance that God was indeed calling him- He was God’s man for the job! “The LORD is with thee, thou mighty man of valour" (Judges 6:12).

d.      V. 14- Have not I sent thee?

e.      Gideon did not need more self-confidence, he needed more God-confidence.

f.        It is important to know that God has sent us but it is even greater to know that He is with us. This was the same assurance God gave to Moses (Exodus 3:12) and that Jesus gave all believers (Matthew 28:20).

g.      Gideon wanted confirmation of this calling and God’s deliverance famously by setting out a fleece

                                                              i.      Fire came out of the rock and consumed the meat and unleavened bread

                                                            ii.      Wet fleece, dry ground/dry fleece wet ground

                                                          iii.      We do not need to seek for signs for things that are clearly commanded in the Scriptures! 

                                                           iv.      Yet when it comes to guidance in things not specifically detailed in God’s Word, it is possible to look for and expect confirmation in various ways.

h.      God would then use Gideon to defeat the entire Midianite army with just 300 faithful men! This shows

i.        Gideon was a godly judge who was also known as Jerubbaal (A man against whom Baal is to strive and contend) because he destroyed the altars of Baal and removed idolatry in Israel

II.                  Barak

a.      This list is not in chronological order

b.      He led the people of Israel in a dramatic victory over the Canaanites (Judges 4). Yet he hesitated and went forward only when Deborah encouraged him.

c.       We read this account in Judges 4:8-10

d.      It is evident that he trusted more in Deborah’s relationship with God than with his own relationship with God.

e.      “Barak preferred the inspiration of Deborah’s presence to the invisible but certain help of Almighty God…He is mentioned in Hebrews 11 as one of the heroes of faith; but his faith lay rather in Deborah’s influence with God than in his own. Thus he missed the crown of that great day of victory.” (Meyer)

f.        “He is famous for his faith (Hebrews 11:32-33), and yet here he showeth some unbelief. Let us be faithful in weakness, though but weak in faith.” (Trapp)

g.      There will be no glory for you: Because of this, Barak would not be the one to personally defeat Sisera, the commander of Jabin’s army – but a woman would be the one. We would expect this to be fulfilled by Deborah, but this prophecy will be fulfilled unexpectedly by Jael.

h.      This is an unusual story, but the book of Judges is full of unusual stories.  It was a time of declension and apostasy, but the LORD did not give up on Israel.

i.        The next judge mentioned is Samson, the most unusual hero of them all (11:32).

III.                Samson

a.      Samson is an enigma.  He is mentioned as a man of faith here in Hebrews 11:32, yet he is one of the most carnal men in the Bible.

b.      Samson was empowered by the Spirit of God, but he constantly yielded his body to the lusts of the flesh.

c.       Back in 1939, Winston Churchill described the actions of the Russians as, "a riddle wrapped up in a mystery inside an enigma."  He could have been describing the life of Samson.

d.      Before men Samson was the strongest, but before women he was weak and could not resist them.

e.      Samson was betrayed by Delilah; he lost his great strength; and he was captured by the Philistines. Judges 16:20- one of the saddest verses in the Bible

f.          Despite his sins and frailties, Samson had genuine faith and the LORD used him to defeat the Philistines in a final act of desperation (cf. Judges 16:20-31).

g.      Samson shows us the danger of being brash and overconfident, instead of humbly trusting God

IV.                Jephthae

a.      Through faith Jephthae "subdued kingdoms" (Hebrews 11:33), i.e., the kingdoms of the Amorites, the Ammonites, and the Ephraimites.

b.      He was the son of a harlot. He is best remembered for his rash vow, made prior to his battle with the Ammonites (Judges 11:30-33).

c.       Whatever comes out of the doors of my house to meet me... I will offer it up as a burnt offering: Jephthah did not have a human sacrifice in mind. This is indicated by the ancient Hebrew grammar: “The masculine gender could be translated ‘whatever comes out’ or ‘whoever comes out’ and ‘I will sacrifice it.’ ” (Wolf)

d.      Commentator Adam Clarke agreed that according to the most accurate Hebrew scholars, the best translation is I will consecrate it to the Lord, or I will offer it for a burnt-offering. As he wrote, “If it be a thing fit for a burnt-offering, it shall be made one; if fit for the service of God, it shall be consecrated to him.”

e.      Human sacrifice was strictly forbidden by the Mosaic Law

f.        By sending his unmarried, only daughter to the service of the tabernacle for the rest of her life, it shows how seriously both Jephthah and his daughter took his promise to God.

Conclusion:

·         Tonight we have seen faith even amongst unusual circumstances!

·         The whole list is of men who faced incredible odds for God. (Gideon, Barak, Samson fought alone, Jephthae) It is of men who never believed that God was on the side of the big battalions and were willing to take tremendous and even terrifying risks for him. It is of men who cheerfully and courageously and confidently accepted God-given tasks which, on human terms, were impossible. They were all men who were never afraid to stand alone and to face immense odds for the sake of their loyalty to God. The honour roll of history is of men who chose to be in God's minority rather than with earth's majority.