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Judges 6:1-32

 

“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. 2 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. 3 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; 4 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. 5 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. 6 And Israel was greatly impoverished because of the Midianites; and the children of Israel cried unto the LORD because of the Midianites. 7 And it came to pass, when the children of Israel cried unto the LORD because of the Midianites, 8 that the LORD sent a prophet unto the children of Israel, which said unto them, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, I brought you up from Egypt, and brought you forth out of the house of bondage; 9 and I delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians, and out of the hand of all that oppressed you, and drave them out from before you, and gave you their land; 10 and I said unto you, I am the LORD your God; fear not the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell:  but ye have not obeyed my voice. 11 And there came the 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. 12 And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him, and said unto him, The LORD is with thee, thou mighty man of valour. 13 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. 14 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? 15 And he said unto him, Oh my Lord, wherewith shall I save Israel? behold, my family is poor in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house. 16 And the LORD said unto him, Surely I will be with thee, and thou shalt smite the Midianites as one man. 17 And he said unto him, If now I have found grace in thy sight, then shew me a sign that thou talkest with me. 18 Depart not hence, I pray thee, until I come unto thee, and bring forth my present, and set it before thee.  And he said, I will tarry until thou come again. 19 And Gideon went in, and made ready a kid, and unleavened cakes of an ephah of flour:  the flesh he put in a basket, and he put the broth in a pot, and brought it out unto him under the oak, and presented it. 20 And the angel of God said unto him, Take the flesh and the unleavened cakes, and lay them upon this rock, and pour out the broth.  And he did so. 21 Then the angel of the LORD put forth the end of the staff that was in his hand, and touched the flesh and the unleavened cakes; and there rose up fire out of the rock, and consumed the flesh and the unleavened cakes.  Then the angel of the LORD departed out of his sight. 22 And when Gideon perceived that he was an angel of the LORD, Gideon said, Alas, O Lord God!  for because I have seen an angel of the LORD face to face. 23 And the LORD said unto him, Peace be unto thee; fear not:  thou shalt not die. 24 Then Gideon built an altar there unto the LORD, and called it Jehovah-shalom:  unto this day it is yet in Ophrah of the Abiezrites. 25 And it came to pass the same night, that the LORD said unto him, Take thy father’s young bullock, even the second bullock of seven years old, and throw down the altar of Baal that thy father hath, and cut down the grove that is by it: 26 and build an altar unto the LORD thy God upon the top of this rock, in the ordered place, and take the second bullock, and offer a burnt sacrifice with the wood of the grove which thou shalt cut down. 27 Then Gideon took ten men of his servants, and did as the LORD had said unto him:  and so it was, because he feared his father’s household, and the men of the city, that he could not do it by day, that he did it by night. 28 And when the men of the city arose early in the morning, behold, the altar of Baal was cast down, and the grove was cut down that was by it, and the second bullock was offered upon the altar that was built. 29 And they said one to another, Who hath done this thing?  And when they enquired and asked, they said, Gideon the son of Joash hath done this thing. 30 Then the men of the city said unto Joash, Bring out thy son, that he may die:  because he hath cast down the altar of Baal, and because he hath cut down the grove that was beside it. 31 And Joash said unto all that stood against him, Will ye plead for Baal? will ye save him? he that will plead for him, let him be put to death whilst it is yet morning:  if he be a god, let him plead for himself, because one hath cast down his altar. 32 Therefore on that day he called him Jerubbaal, saying, Let Baal plead against him, because he hath thrown down his altar.” 

 

Introduction

[Audio version: https://resources.ccphilly.org/detail.asp?TopicID=&Teaching=WED632]

 

“Chapter 6 brings us to the life of Gideon, we come to the 4th apostasy and the 4th servitude of the nation.  Gideon gets more press than anyone in the Book of Judges, he gets a hundred verses, Samson gets 96, so he runs a close second.  But Gideon, much more akin, probably to many of us, hopefully, in many ways.  Interesting, he’s placed of course, mentioned in Hebrews chapter 11 in the Hall of Faith, faith, the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.  Impossible to please God without faith, Hebrews 11 the author says  ‘And  what shall I more say, for time would fail me to tell of Gideon and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthah, and David, also Samuel and the prophets, who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong,’ Gideon certainly waxed valiant in the fight, ‘and turned to flight the armies of the aliens,’ certainly a picture of Gideon, these things the author to Hebrews tells us are listed for us to look into and to realize how faith may apply to our own lives.  Here we are these thousands of years later, are we foolish for looking into these things, Gideon and so forth?  In the days of Isaiah (8th Century BC), Isaiah looking back to the days of Gideon said ‘For thou hast broken the yoke of his burden,’ speaking about the things that they were going through in their own day, ‘the staff of his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, as in the day of Midian,’ speaking of what happened in the life of Gideon.  Again in Isaiah, ‘And the LORD of hosts shall stir up a scourge for him according to the slaughter of Midian at the Rock of Oreb,’ we’re going to read about that.  So all the way into the days of Isaiah, Isaiah is pulling up the incident in the life of Gideon, and challenging the people in his day, hundreds of years later, that there were things that took place in the days in the life of Gideon for them to take note of.  So certainly there is then in our lives also as we look at this. 

 

Midian Oppresses Israel Seven Years, The LORD Raises Up Gideon As A Deliverer

 

Chapter 6 begins by saying “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.” (verse 1) that’s after 40 years of rest.  So they’ve been at this point seven years in oppression.  “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.” (verse 2) when you go to Israel today you’ll still see in certain areas, there are people who live in some of the caves in the sides of the hills.  The children of Israel pulled up from the plain, this we’re going to find is largely taking place in the Valley of Jezreel, Esralden, the nickname of Jezreel, where the Valley of Megiddo, Armageddon is, a vast fertile plain between Gilboa and Megiddo and Tabor, the mountains there.  And the children of Israel, blessed in inheriting this land that flowed with milk and honey, and now because they have turned, they’re serving other gods, they’re not following the LORD God, they’ve had to withdraw from the flatland where the crops and everything are, up into the hills, to the point where some of them are living, it says, in dens and in caves and in 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;” they sowed their fields, when the Midianites knew the harvest was coming, they filled the Valley of Jezreel we’re going to find out, “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.” (verses 3-4) “until thou come to Gaza” which is a remarkable statement, “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.” (verse 5)  This had been going on for 7 years, it’s almost 50 years now from Deborah and Barak and Jael, in this same valley where that miraculous victory had taken place, now Israel is completely defeated.  And look, we’re 250, going on to 300 years in the history of the nation, we look at our nation, as we’re watching this in the days of Judges, there are periods where God moves, and he moves through individuals, he moves through people, and the nation is stirred, there’s periods when there’s rest because people’s hearts are towards God.  Then there’s periods where people’s hearts, they turn away from God, they start to serve other gods, God lets difficulty come.  And then the people begin to cry out to God, and then God sends a deliverer, he sends a judge, and he turns their hearts back again, and you see this process in the history of the nation for these several hundred years that we’re looking at here.  And the Midianites are coming in the valley where they had had a great victory with Deborah and Barak and so forth.  Now they’re experiencing complete defeat, right in the same area.  And it says that they came up and filled the valley, look, if, those of you who have been there, you know, you have the Valley of Jezreel, you have it going up the plain towards the sea by Mount Carmel, and then it says they filled the Plain of Sharon all the way down along the coast to Gaza, so many came, that’s extraordinary, it’s incredible.  And it says they were like locusts, they covered the land to destroy it.  “And Israel was greatly impoverished because of the Midianites:  and the children of Israel cried unto the LORD.” (verse 6) the unemployment rate was way above 10 percent at that point in time.  Isn’t it interesting, they wait 7 years to cry out?  In each apostasy and each subjugation to an enemy, it’s so remarkable to see how long they wait.  You know, they’ve done everything else, they’ve moved to the mountains, they’re living in caves, they do everything, and then ‘Oh ya, yes, there’s one last resource, prayer.’  Does it remind you of anybody?  The person you see in the mirror every morning?  You know, isn’t it interesting that prayer is not the first recourse for us?  People say ‘Oh, all I’ve got left to do is pray,’ that should be the first thing, not the last thing.  But it’s always God’s people.  At the end it says they realize, yes, there’s this one resource we haven’t exercised, and they begin to cry out to the LORD, who they’ve been turned away from.  ‘Israel was greatly impoverished, that’s physically and spiritually, ‘because of the Midianites, and the children of Israel cried out unto the LORD,’ “And it came to pass, when the children of Israel cried unto the LORD, because of the Midianites, that the LORD sent a prophet unto the children of Israel, which said unto them, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, I brought you up from Egypt, and brought you forth out of the house of bondage; and I delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians, and out of the hand of all that oppressed you, and drave them out from before you, and gave you their land; and I said unto you, I am the LORD your God; fear not the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell:  but ye have not obeyed my voice.” (verses 7-10)  Now look, they’re crying unto the LORD because of the Midianites, God hears, there’s grace.  Over 200 years before this, in the Book of Numbers, it said ‘And Moses spake unto the people saying, arm some of yourselves unto war, and let them go against the Midianites and avenge the LORD of Midian, and every tribe a thousand throughout all the tribes of Israel shall you send to war.’  So they would send 12,000.  ‘So they were delivered of the thousands of Israel, a thousand of every tribe, twelve thousand armed for war, and Moses sent them to war, a thousand of every tribe of them, and Phinehas the son of Eleazar the priest to war with the holy instruments and the trumpets to blow in his hand, and they warred against the Midianites as the LORD commanded Moses, and they slew all the males, the slew the kings of Midian beside the rest of them that were slain, namely’ and it goes through all their names and so forth.  So Israel had experienced great victory over Midian in the past 200 years before this.  Israel had experienced a great victory in the same valley before this, with Deborah and so forth.  And now they’re crying unto the LORD one more time.  And you know, the LORD doesn’t say ‘Not you again,’ he never does that.  He’s waiting for us to cry out, he’s waiting to show himself strong on our behalf, he’s waiting to meet us, and I believe that.  Look in verse 8, it says the LORD sent a prophet unto the children of Israel (which we just quoted above). “which said unto them,” the prophet speaking, “Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, I brought you up from Egypt, and brought you forth out of the house of bondage; and I delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians, and out of the hand of all that oppressed you, and drave them out from before you, and gave you their land; and I said unto you, I am  the LORD your God; fear not the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell:  but ye have not obeyed my voice.” (verses 8-10)  This is a very odd picture in the Book of Judges, this is a book of judges, not prophets, we don’t know who this prophet is, we’re not given any name, he shows up in a few verses and he disappears.  He’s not part of the line of the Prophets, which probably begins with Samuel and goes to John the Baptist.  It just says ‘as the children of Israel began to cry, he sent them a prophet.’  Now he sends a prophet to them to rebuke them, to speak on God’s behalf, because what he wants from them is repentance, he doesn’t want them to just cry out and say ‘O Lord, O Lord, Lord, O Lord, O Lord, help me everything’s falling apart,’ he wants to get their hearts to the place where they realize why everything’s falling apart, so the light goes on and they say ‘Well Lord, we need your forgiveness, we have turned away, we have turned to other gods, we have not hearkened to your voice.’  So, what God wants from them, it’s a cinch for him to get rid of the Midianites and the Amalekites, that’s no big deal, he’s done that before.  The thing that’s hard for him, he’s always dealing with the hearts of his own people, that’s where he finds greater difficulty, turning the hearts of his own people towards himself.  Getting rid of the problem, the enemy, has never been a problem for God.  So as they cry for help, instead of just helping, which would have not rooted out the problem, which would have not spoken to them, he sends this prophet.  Unnamed, we don’t know who he is.  We’ll meet him in heaven [at the Wedding Feast of the Lamb, cf. Revelation 19:7-9].  We’ll be able to say ‘Oh you, you’re the one,’ ‘Ya, my name is Moishe, you didn’t know?’  Ah, he sends this prophet, and the prophet tells them about the great works of God and then rebukes them.  It doesn’t tell us that he gathered all of Israel.  Did he gather one tribe?  Did he gather one family, how many he gathered, where it took place?  It just says that he reproved them, and says God has done all of these things for you, “but ye have not obeyed my voice.”  Midian was just a symptom, it wasn’t the cause of the problem, it was the symptom.  The cause is that they had turned away, they had not obeyed his voice. 

 

The LORD Calls Gideon To Be The Deliverer of Israel

 

Now verse 11, “And there came” King James says an angel of the LORD it’s a definite article throughout, it’s really the angel of the LORD,” and I like this, “and sat under an oak which was in Ophrah,” I like to do that.  The angel of the LORD is not stressed out, he’s not talking to his therapist, doesn’t have his mood ring, everything is under control, ‘Why do the heathen rage, the people imagine a vain thing, the LORD sits on his throne in heaven and he laughs.’  The angel of the LORD comes, the whole country is freaked out, and he sits down under an oak, “which was in Ophrah,” that’s not Oprah, don’t get them confused, “that pertained unto Joash the Abiezrite:  and his son Gideon threshed wheat by the winepress, to hide it  from the Midianites.” (verse 11)  So Joash is the father of Gideon.  So here’s the children of Israel, they’ve moved into dens and caves, they’re living like animals, they’ve been subjected.  You know, the difference between mankind and the beasts of the earth is that we have this capacity to be in fellowship with the Living God, we were created in his image and likeness, and the animal kingdom was not.  [Comment:  God, Elohim is the Creator God, and in Genesis chapters 1 and 2 God says he made man, mankind in his image.  Now a lot of people just think that means God looks like man, and vice versa.  But it goes far beyond that.  God is a Creator, he created the universe and all the elements that are in it.  He create stars and planets.  Mankind, as no other creature on earth, is also a creator, he uses the elements of the earth to create buildings, modes of transportation, cars, trains, aircraft, ships.  He creates music, literature, discovers science and uses mathematics and the study of science to create.  Mere animals, even the very smartest is not a creator in that sense.  Man’s intelligence, allowing mankind to create like this, goes exponentially higher than that of the most intelligent animal found on earth.  God begins to explain what enables this creative ability in only mankind and no other animals, in 1st Corinthians 2:9-13, where God says through the apostle Paul in verse 11, “For what man knoweth the things of man, save [but by way of] the spirit of man which is in him?  even so the things of God knoweth no man, but [by way of] the Spirit of God.”  God’s Holy Spirit, placed within a man or woman gives that person a direct relationship with God and gives them spiritual understanding of God’s Word.  Also, in the same way, this “spirit of man” gives mankind the human intelligence no animal possesses, the power of logic and understanding which allows mankind alone to be a race of creators, in the direct image of God.  God’s Holy Spirit, as John explains in his Gospel in chapters 14 and 16, gives man the ability to fellowship with God on a direct spiritual level.]  Man, a much greater treasure to the Eternal God than a beast of the field.  And here are the children of Israel, held up in caves and so forth, and here’s this son of Joash, of the tribe of Manasseh, the family of the Abiezrites, and it says he’s threshing, the Hebrew literally says “he’s beating in a winepress.”  So he’s not on top of the hill where threshing would normally be, where the wind would move away the chaff and leave the grain, because they’re afraid of the Midianites taking everything away from them.  So he’s in a winepress, which is down lower on the side of the hill somewhere, it’s hidden away, and he’s in there beating probably enough grain for the day, trying to separate off the chaff, looking over his shoulder, worrying about whether he’s going to make it out of there, listening to see if there’s any of the enemy around, and he’s there beating on this grain.  Now, Gideon, his name means “to cut down, or to hew down,” that’s often applied to a warrior.  But that’s this man, Gideon here.  And he is beating this wheat, trying to get the chaff off, and he’s hiding, to hide it from the Midianites, he doesn’t want to get caught.  “And the angel of the LORD” who had been sitting under the oak “appeared unto him, and said unto him, The LORD is with thee, thou mighty man of valour.” (verse 12) hiding on the side of the hill, whipping out your little batch of grain with a stick.  He says “the LORD is with thee, thou mighty man of valour.”  Now Gideon’s going to come up with a lot of excuses here, you know.  We’re dealing with a God, it tells us in Romans chapter 4, that calls things that are not as though they were.  Little does Gideon know that his name is going to be written in the Book of Hebrews as one of the great man of faith and victory in the Old Testament, little does he know the prophet Isaiah will be quoting his undertakings, hundreds and hundreds of years after this, to the nation when it is troubled under other conditions.  He has no idea of those things, and he hears the LORD now calling him, the angel of the LORD, a mighty man of valour.  Is it almost insulting, is it almost mockery, what does he do with this?

 

Gideon’s Response To The LORD’s Call On His Life

 

Look at his response here in verse 13, “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.”  Now look at him say “Lord” you’ll see, capital L, small “ord,” that’s “Adoni,” “Sir.”  “If the LORD,” that’s Jehovah [or Yahweh, YHVH], so he doesn’t perceive, evidently perceiving this angel of the LORD, this theophany, this Old Testament appearance of the LORD, we’re going to see that.  He just apprehends him as a man, perceives him as a man, evidently, initially.  “And Gideon said unto him,” “Sir,” “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.”  Now look, he’s got an incredible set of questions there.  Remember, this guy starts out the day as a farmer and ends up the day as the Deliverer of Israel, that’s a strange day.  You start as a farmer, you’re beating there, you know, some grain, and by the end of the day you’re supposed to go home and tell your dad and the rest of the family and the village you live in that God’s going to use you to deliver the nation.  That’s a strange day.  Wasn’t it strange enough, it was strange enough for me when I got saved, and went home and told my family that I was saved [been there done that, they thought I had two heads].  They didn’t know what to do with me for years, before that.  From, you know, LSD and Eastern meditation and everything else I went through, they thought flying saucers were next, not Jesus, so when I came home and started telling them about Jesus, they weren’t really surprised, the next phase they were waiting for was for me to get back to “normal,” whatever they thought that was.  But now, for all of us, to go and say ‘Hey, the Lord has a calling on my life,’ the Bible says ‘We’re all able ministers of the New Testament,’ that everyone in this room has a calling on their life.  And every one of us, if we heard the Lord say “Thou mighty woman of valour’ or ‘Thou mighty man of valour,’ would do the same thing, ah ‘If, why? where? but,’ look at all those, those are all our favourite words, when the Lord says ‘I want you to do this,’ and he’s prodding you, and you’re thinking ‘That’s not him, that’s the devil.’  Well the devil’s not telling you to go out and do something in the name of Jesus, and neither is your flesh, unless you’re really ambitious and there’s something else involved that’s gonna stroke your ego there.  But normally you’re not erring, yielding to that prompting of doing something on behalf of the Lord.  But we all have those excuses, ‘Well if,’ and ‘where, why, when,’ and ‘how?’ and ‘but.’  But here’s the interesting thing, to me, because you know the LORD’s gonna answer him, and then he’s going to say in verse 15, “wherewith shall I save Israel?  behold, my family is poor in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.”  Everything is focused on him.  But really believe this, if the Lord manifests himself to you, if the Lord’s presence is real, one of the first things that happens is your confidence is there to be honest with your fears and your doubts.  If a man tries to force you into something, you know, most of the time if you go to a new church, people look at you and think, ‘Here’s someone with a pulse, sign them up, their cardiovascular system’s working, make them do something.’  But you wait until the Lord prompts you, people come to our church and they say ‘How do I get involved?’ and we always say ‘You sit, scope things out, maybe we’re weirdos, bring your Bible every week, be Bereans, don’t believe anything we say, watch the bulletin, there’s lots of opportunities, and when Jesus tells you to get involved, that’s when you get involved.’   Don’t let any man put that pressure on you, because when the Lord begins to move on your heart to do something, I think because of who he is, because of his love and his grace, the strange thing is we actually have this complete confidence to say ‘But Lord, these are my doubts, but Lord these are my fears,’ because he’s not there condemning, he’s there as a father with his daughter or a father with a son whose his child.  And there’s some great confidence we have when it’s really his presence, to say ‘How, why, I can’t,’ for that to take place, it’s very disarming when it comes.  To me it’s very strange, how where you can be of your own centralness and affirmity and still be filled with wonder of his grace and his love at the same time.  And we see that here in this situation, ‘You mighty man of valour.’  He wasn’t that, that day, it’s what he was going to be, and God knew that.  And God knows what we’re going to be also.  He sees the end from the beginning, he knows the whole story.  He called John the Baptist from his mother’s womb, he said he knew Jeremiah before he was conceived.  He’s not fooled by us, or he’s not ticking you and challenging you to do something and saying ‘Ah, I got another lemon, this was a bad year,’ he doesn’t do any of that.  Along the way, we may be surprised at our weaknesses, he’s never surprised, he knows them, he puts us in circumstances where we discover our weaknesses, to become more dependent upon him, and in that process we’re always discovering to greater degree who we are, and who he is.  And Paul said ‘I would rather glory in mine infirmities, because in my weakness his strength is made perfect,’ and it’s the process for all of us.  And Gideon says, he doesn’t know who this person is, “And Gideon said unto him, Oh my Lord,” Sir, “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.” (verse 13)  Gideon had been listening to those miracles, and he’s telling the LORD what the LORD did, he just doesn’t know it’s the LORD, he never read the chapter, he would be a little embarrassed later, but here’s the LORD in front of him, and he’s saying ‘Where’s the LORD, who did all these miracles and brought us out of Egypt?’ and I wonder if the LORD’s going ‘I don’t know…’ He’s looking at Gideon because Gideon’s saying ‘Where is he? he’s a great deliverer, he’s a powerful God, our fathers have told us all about him.’  And for us we may be asking the same thing, ‘When I hear that there’s something inside of me that wakes up, something inside of me that want’s to respond, it seems foolish, it seems crazy, because I look at the world I live in, I look at the city I live in, I look at the school I go to, everything’s so logical, it’s computer oriented, all these things are going on, it doesn’t seem that an individual could make any difference in the culture I live in, with the economy falling apart, all of these things going on, what difference could I possibly make, it doesn’t seem like I as an individual could do anything in light of all of these things.  But when I hear of God, when I hear the stories of God, when I hear of the heroes of Scripture, the great men and women of God, my heart leaps, it resonates, ‘where is he???’  Where is he? I do want to know.’  Isn’t it interesting that the LORD has him right where he wants him.  He says ‘Why then is all of this befallen us, and where be all of his miracles, our fathers have told us? I listened with all of my heart,’ “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.” (verse 13b) and look what it says, “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 I not sent thee?” (verse 14) he’s not the angel anymore, as we’re getting the description, “the LORD looked upon him,” he just looked at him, imagine that, he just looked at him, and he said “Go.”  No long discussion here, he looks at him and he thinks ‘What a man you’re gonna be, you have little idea,’ you know I love the fact that all of that is resonating in his heart, as he speaks to him, you know.  Look, what about God’s calling?  How do I find my way there?  God’s calling is a progressive revelation.  If you will give yourself to him today in whatever he has involved you in, each day, if you’ll give that day to Jesus, his calling becomes a progressive revelation, it becomes unveiled, and you find yourself in the middle of what you’re supposed to be doing.  If you will be faithful, relative to serving, he will be faithful relative to opportunities, tomorrow.  If you’ll embroil yourself in the service of the day, he will take care of the opportunities of tomorrow.  And I’ll tell you this, he’s looking for workers.  We don’t have a lot of time left.  He called Moses when was watching over the flocks of Jethro for 40 years, he calls Gideon while he’s threshing grain, he calls David while he’s taking care of his father’s flocks, he calls Peter and John while they’re mending nets, he’s looking for workers.  And even as we do the most common of things before him, they’re sacred.  It says “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 I not sent thee?” (verse 14)  Now the angel’s saying ‘have not I sent thee.’  I wonder if the light is starting to go on?  He says ‘Go in this thy might,’ what is the might of Gideon?  It’s this “have not I sent thee?” there’s no other might in Gideon.  The wonder and potential is, is because he’s being sent by the LORD.

 

Gideon Asks The LORD For A Sign

 

And then Gideon says to him, “Oh my Lord, wherewith shall I save Israel? behold, my family is poor in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.” (verse 15) he’s still calling him Adonai here.  He’s judging the potential for this situation to take place by looking at himself, which is completely the wrong place to look if you’re expecting something great to happen in God’s Kingdom.  You know, the look needs to be vertical not horizontal.  “And the LORD said unto him, Surely I will be with thee, and thou shalt smite the Midianites as one man.” (verse 16) he’s calling him Sir, Adonai.  No details.  And Gideon answers, “And he said unto him, If now I have found grace in thy sight, then shew me a sign that thou talkest with me.” (verse 17) we get the sense he’s starting to realize who he’s speaking to.  ‘Pinch me, and make sure I’m not dreaming, give me a sign and let me know this is really happening.’  And we can’t blame him.  “Depart not hence, I pray thee, until I come unto thee, and bring forth my present, and set it before thee.  And he said, I will tarry until thou come again.  And Gideon went in, and made ready a kid, and unleavened cakes of an ephah of flour:  the flesh he put in a basket, and he put the broth in a pot, and brought it out unto him under the oak, and presented it.” (verses 18-19)  Now I think that probably Gideon may be thinking of Abraham, how he went in chapter 18 (of Genesis) and made the kid and brought forth the milk and so forth when they came to his tent, and Gideon’s probably thinking ‘I’m going to sit here and fellowship with him and partake with him and find out who this is, is he really the Angel of the LORD now.’  And it says, “And the angel of God said unto him, Take the flesh and the unleavened cakes, and lay them upon this rock, and pour out the broth.  And he did so.” (verse 20) it’s a libation, everything is going to be offered.  And I wonder how strange this is for Gideon, and if he’s ever done anything like this.  “And the angel of the LORD put forth the end of the staff that was in his hand, and touched the flesh and the unleavened cakes; and there rose up fire out of the rock, and consumed the flesh and the unleavened cakes.  Then the angel of the LORD departed out of his sight.” (verse 21) so this personage under the tree, relaxing, talking to him, also has a staff in his hand, and evidently he stands up, puts forth the end of the staff that was in his hand, and he touched the flesh and the unleavened cakes, and there rose up fire out of the rock and consumed the flesh and the unleavened cakes, “Then the angel of the LORD departed out of his sight.”  Literally the Hebrew says “the angel of the LORD, he went from his eyes.”  So this turns into a burnt offering, he’s talking to this person, he’s calling him “Sir,” then this person’s starting to say “I’m going to send you, I will be with you,” he’s getting a sense that someone’s greater there, that this is a divine person of some sort, as he brings back this meal that evidently he intends to partake of with his visitor.  Then he says ‘put it on the rock, put the bread there, put the flesh there and pour out the broth on top of it,’ reminding us of Elijah’s days, and then he touches it with the end of his staff, and fire burns forth from the rock, that’ll shake your day up a bit, and it consumes the offering, turning it into a burnt offering.  And then it says “the angel of the LORD, he went from his eyes.”  He disappears from him.  “And when Gideon perceived that he was an “the” not “an”  “angel of the LORD, Gideon said, Alas, O Lord God!  for because I have seen an (“the” not “an”) angel of the LORD face to face.” (verse 22) his vanishing was more troubling and fearful then his presence when he was there.  He says, King James, “Alas, O Lord God!” the Hebrew says “Alas, my Adonai Yahweh,” “Alas, my Lord Jehovah” is what he says, because he realizes then exactly who that had been, “Alas, my Adonai Yahweh Jehovah,” “for because I have seen the angel of the LORD face to face.”  And the LORD’s going to answer now, so we know Gideon’s afraid he’s going to die, because in Hebrew tradition, you know from Moses you were not allowed to see the LORD’s face, anybody who sees the LORD face to face is going to die.  And he says “Alas, I’ve seen the LORD face to face.”  “And the LORD said unto him, Peace be unto thee; fear not:  thou shalt not die.” (verse 23)  ‘I just told you you’re going to deliver Israel, why should I kill you now, what kind of program do you think I’m running here?’  Now look, this is a very interesting process as you watch this, because the LORD is still speaking, but his presence is gone.  It says “the LORD went from his eyes.”  So the physical manifestation of his presence is gone, but it says his voice is still speaking.  And that’s the very same condition that you and I are in [except we don’t actually hear his voice, wish we could, but it doesn’t happen].  Peter, in his second Epistle tells us ‘When we made known unto you the power and the coming of the Lord, we didn’t use cunningly devised fables, but we ourselves were eyewitnesses, we heard his voice speak in the holy mount’ he said.  But he said ‘Now you have a more sure word of prophecy, that you do well to give heed to,’ and then he tells us that none of the prophets in the Old Testament wrote of themselves, they were moved by the Spirit of God, and Peter says the Word of God for us is more foundational than spiritual experience.  And spiritual experience is profound and wonderful, that’s God prerogative and his sovereignty being exercised whenever he wants.

 

The Various Names Of The LORD Describe Who He Is

 

But this, it’s very interesting, the presence of the LORD disappears, he’s terrified, and says ‘What’s going to happen, Alas, I’ve seen God face to face,’ and then the voice is still there, not the presence of the LORD, and it says “And the LORD said unto him, Peace be unto thee; fear not:  thou shalt not die.  Then Gideon built and altar there unto the LORD, and called it Jehovah-shalom:  unto this day it is yet in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.” (verses 23-24) we’re not sure what he sacrifices, but blood comes into the picture right away, he knows that much about his heritage.  So when Samuel or whoever’s writing the Book of Judges says it’s still there to this day.  So this is one of those circumstances, listen, you know that when Moses comes to the burning bush and he says to the LORD ‘Who should I say sent me?’ and you have the Tetragamagram there, the LORD says ‘I AM that I AM,’ or ‘I AM the becoming One,’ or ‘I AM the One who becomes whatever my people are in need of at the time.’  You remember in Genesis 22, there Abraham offering Isaac, and God provides the ram, caught in a thicket, and he calls that place ‘Jehovah-jira, the LORD shall provide.’  You remember in Exodus 17 there, where they have great victory over the Amalekites, against all odds when Aaron and Hur held up Moses’ hand with the rod, and Joshua’s down in the valley, they had a great victory, and they called the name of that place ‘Jehovah-nisi, the LORD is our Banner.’  Do we really take these things to ourselves?  Do you really believe that he’ll provide?  In America that’s a huge test, because we’re used to getting everything by the most practical means possible.  Do we really believe that he is our Banner, that he’ll give victory, that he’s there on our behalf.  We’re told that in Ephesians, that we should put on the Armour of God, but the Lord’s the one who vanquishes the enemy.  We’re told in Exodus, he says ‘none of the diseases that came upon the Egyptians shall come upon thee,’ and there they called him ‘Jehovah-rafa, the LORD our healer.’  Here he’s ‘the LORD our Peace, Jehovah-shalom.’  David speaks of ‘Jehovah-ra, the LORD is my Shepherd,’ one of my favourite names of God, the LORD is my Shepherd he says.  Jeremiah tells us the LORD secanu, the LORD is our Righteousness.’  You get one of those days where you blow it, you do something wrong, or you’re coming to a real assessment of what you really are without the Lord and his presence, and the wonderful consolation and confidence that we have is that he is our righteousness.  In the last chapter of Ezekiel, there in the Temple, it says the LORD is going to dwell in the midst of his people throughout the Kingdom Age, and he’ll be called Jehovah-shama, the LORD Ever-Present.’  Jesus told us “I’ll never leave you or forsake you, I’m with you always, even unto the end of the age.”  The seven pronounced compound names of God in the Old Testament, now, seven is the number of completion, eight is the number of new beginnings, and in the first chapter of Matthew, Gabriel tells Joseph ‘you shall call his name Jehovah-shua, for he shall save his people from their sins.’  Jaho-shua, the completion, the number of new beginnings.  [All Messianic Jewish believers call Jesus Yeshua, not Jesus.  They would rather call him by his real Hebrew name, and not a Greek paraphrase or transliteration of it, and technically they are totally correct in this.]  He is the one who saves his people from their sins.  The good news is, that means his people have sins, we qualify right away, wonderfully.  We see God in these different circumstances, revealing himself in kind, relative to what’s happening.  Here is Gideon, fearful, because he's realized ‘I’ve had an experience in the LORD’s presence, I’ve seen his face, I’m not gonna live,’ and the LORD reveals himself to Gideon, saying, ‘you’re not gonna die,’ and gives him peace, and he, Gideon, builds an altar there and he calls the name of the place ‘Jehovah-shalom, the LORD is our peace.’ 

 

Defeating The Enemy Starts At Home

 

“And it came to pass the same night, that the LORD said unto him, Take thy father’s young bullock, even the second bullock of seven years old, and throw down the altar of Baal that thy father hath, and cut down the grove that is by it:  and build an altar unto the LORD thy God upon the top of this rock, in the ordered place, and take the second bullock, and offer a burnt sacrifice with the wood of the grove which thou shalt cut down.” (verses 25-26)  So the LORD’s presence is gone, but the LORD’s still talking to him now.  Now this is interesting, here the LORD tells Gideon, ‘Look, I’m not going to use,’ and evidently Joash, his father, is either the custodian or he is the one who is the head person in the village in charge of worshipping Baal and Asherah, the grove is the worship of Ashuram, you know he had cried unto the LORD, didn’t he back in verse 13? he calls him a mighty man of valour, and he says to the LORD, ‘If this is true, then why is all of this befallen us, where are all of his miracles, isn’t this the God?’  Now God is saying ‘Let’s start with the reasons.  First thing I want you to know, I’m not going to use an idolatrous people to drive idolators out of the land.  The first thing that’s gonna happen is not gonna happen on the pulpit in front of thousands of people, the first thing that happens, happens in your house.’  You want to be Gideon, you want to be a mighty man of valour?  Some of us, men, we need to put the pants on at home, don’t we?  You want to start somewhere?  What about the idolatrous things in our home?  Alcohol, or drugs, or pornography or movies that should never be watched in a Christian home.  Do we really need HBO?  Do we really need some of the things we let in our homes?  Do we need some of the music and the lyrics that we let in there?  Isn’t it interesting, let’s start at home.  He says “And it came to pass the same night, that the LORD said unto him, Take thy father’s young bullock,” now that’s your dad’s Lexus in this culture, that’s the tractor, your sustenance, “even the second bullock of seven years old,” you’ve been in subjection seven years, this bull  has lived through all seven years of your subjection to Midian, you’ve been idolators all through that time, take this young second bullock of seven years old, “and throw down the altar of Baal that thy father hath,” remember, Joshua ended it by saying ‘As for me and my house, we’re going to serve the LORD,’ not that long after, it’s within 200 and some years now, it should be fresh in all of their minds, “and cut down the grove that is by it:” the place where this horribly immoral sexual worship would take place, with Ashtoreth, “and build an altar unto the LORD thy God upon the top of this rock,” he puts him in a prominent place where he’s going to build a fire and sacrifice his dad’s Lexus, “in the ordered place, and take the second bullock, and offer a burnt sacrifice with the wood of the grove which thou shalt cut down.” (verses 25-26)  “Then Gideon took ten men of his servants, and did as the LORD had said unto him:  and so it was, because he feared his father’s household, and the men of the city, that he could not do it by day, that he did it by night.” (verse 27)  So Gideon has some that are faithful to him.  No, the peace is gone, not that many verses before this, the LORD appeared to him and said ‘I’m going to give you peace, he made and altar, and he called the place Jehovah-shalom, the LORD is my peace,’ and he should have said ‘the LORD is my peace’ for five verses.  But look, he’s stepping out here, that’s for sure.  “and so it was, because he feared his father’s household, and the men of the city, that he could not do it by day, that he did it by night.”  That seems like that would wake up everybody in the village too, it doesn’t tell us how exactly he pulls that off.  “And when the men of the city arose early in the morning, behold, the altar of Baal was cast down, and the grove was cut down that was by it, and the second bullock was offered upon the altar that was built.” (verse 28)  Now look, here’s a very interesting thing at this point in time, he puts his hand to God’s Work, at this point in time, and there’s no looking back.  He puts his hand to God’s Work with the threat of those around him who have a different conviction and worship a different god.  He puts his hand to the work, and in putting his hand to the work, he forever separates the past from the future.  Gideon was a man, and the things of God resonated in his heart.  Gideon was a man that was troubled, the fact that the children of Israel were in subjection to idolators and pagan people.  Gideon was a man, who when the LORD came to him, resonated, he asked the right questions.  And Gideon was a man who was overwhelmed with the presence of the LORD, but Gideon was also a man, a hu-man, and he had to make a decision to step out and do the things that God had called him to do.  And in making that decision in your life and my life and Gideon’s life, you forever separate the past from the future.  When you make up your mind, ‘I’m going to step into the things that God has set before me, I’m going to put my hand to the plow, and I’m not gonna look back,’ there is a line of demarcation as it were, ‘Lord we’re going to look onward from here.’  This was fairly serious for Gideon, this was his first mandatory course in seminary here, to take your dad’s Lexus and burn it on top of the hill, as it were.   “And when the men of the city arose early in the morning, behold, the altar of Baal was cast down, and the grove was cut down that was by it, and the second bullock was offered upon the altar that was built.  And they said one to another, Who hath done this thing?  And when they enquired and asked, they said, Gideon the son of Joash hath done this thing.” (verses 28-29) somebody squeals on him, somebody dime’s him out, ‘Gideon, the son of Joash, he’s the one whose done this,’  “Then the men of the city said unto Joash, Bring out thy son, that he may die:  because he hath cast down the altar of Baal, and because hath cut down the grove that was by it.” (verse 30)  Isn’t this crazy?  Back in Deuteronomy chapter 13, verses 6 to 10, God said to the children of Israel through Moses, ‘If one in all of your villages and all of your tribes worships another god, and asks the children of Israel to come with them and to worship another god, you shall not pity him, you shall slay him, you shall take him out and stone him, publicly.’  So the person who tried to lure Israel into idolatry and worship other gods was the one who was supposed to be put to death.  Here we have Gideon trying to call the children of Israel back from idolatry to the True and Living God, and the town’s saying ‘Let’s put this guy to death.’  This is all backwards, it’s all backwards.  But it happens, and it will happen again, and it’s happening around us. Isaiah took note of it when he said this, “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil, that put darkness for light, and light for darkness, that put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.”  We are surrounded with a culture that is telling us that good is evil, and evil is good, that right is wrong and wrong is right, that light is darkness and darkness is light.  And so many of us just, none of us, but so many flow along with that.  This is all backwards here, ‘Go get your son,’ now Joash, the name Joash means “Jehovah is my strength,” and he’s the custodian of the worship of Baal and Ashuram, “Then the men of the city said unto Joash, Bring out thy son, that he may die:  because he hath cast down the altar of Baal, and because he hath cut down the grove that was by it.” and look, “And Joash said unto all that stood against him, Will ye plead for Baal?  will ye save him?  he that will plead for him, let him but put to death whilst it is yet  morning:  if he be a god, let him plead for himself, because one hath cast down his altar.” (verses 30-31) he’s saying ‘My son’s got more guts than I do, you want me to put my son to death? let the person who wants to plead for Baal be put to death this morning, cause if he’s a god, he don’t need your help, let him plead for himself,’ he says, because someone has cast down his altar.’  “Therefore on that day he called him Jerubbaal, saying, Let Baal plead against him, because he hath thrown down his altar.” (verse 31)  “he” that refers back to Joash, “called him,” that’s Gideon, “Jerubbaal” which is the name his gives to Gideon and it has to do with “let Baal plead for himself” is the idea.  And it is interesting, you know, God is just not going to use an idolatrous household to deliver or call a nation back to God in repentance, that will have to change.  And as we look at this, I think, ‘Is God challenging us to take a stand in our home?’ is God challenging us to take a stand?  And look, we hear over and over again, ‘My father would freak out, my mother would freak out, my family would freak out if I told them, I go there, and I sneak in here, if I told them I was doing this or I told them I was doing that, you know,’ take a stand.  Is God saying to you ‘Take a stand’  That’s the bottom line, you know he’s saying it to me, I don’t know about you guys, in the era we live in and the culture we live in, and in 2009 God is saying to me ‘Take a stand.’  Beyond that, it’s just obedience.  Because look, again, the stock in heaven is going way up, as I looked at what’s happening in the market around us in this world.  The things that can’t be shaken become more beautiful and more important, ‘our inheritance, incorruptible, undefiled, that fadeth not away,’ is not being touched by any of this happening around us.  And our hope is, that in the desperation this world is going to experience, that hearts may cry out for the Living God and that we might see the greatest ingathering this nation has ever seen [God has prophecied that great Revival, it’s almost time for it to happen, see  https://unityinchrist.com/prophets/Zephaniah/RestorationAndRevival.htm].  And God’s eyes go to and fro, throughout the earth, looking for those whose hearts are perfect towards him, that he might show himself strong on their behalf.  Are we willing to stand up?  Are we willing to do that?  Interesting here, he says that his father changed his name to Jerubbaal, saying ‘let Baal plead against him, because he is the one that’s throwing down his altar,’ “Then all the Midianites and the Amalekites and the children of the east were gathered together, and went over, and pitched in the valley of Jezreel.” (verse 33)  Now look, before this they’re all spread out, all the way down to Gaza.  “Then” this is typical of spiritual warfare, “Then,” when somebody takes a stand, all of them come, prancing, and they set themselves up, pitched in the valley of Jezreel.  Now they’re drawn of God for their own destruction, which they don’t realize.  But are they drawn because they’ve heard of Gideon, they hear what’s going on, that there’s a stirring, a rebellion of God’s people, that there are those that are standing up on behalf of Jehovah?  We don’t know.  Next week we will pick up here, in regards to the Spirit of the LORD coming upon Gideon, and then he went and he blew the trumpet, the Spirit of the LORD clothed Gideon, some scholars try to say “clothed himself with Gideon,” but he clothed, he enswathed Gideon, he wrapped himself around Gideon, Gideon was clothed with the very Spirit of God, and that’s the only way we’re going get the work done that we need to get done in the time we have left.  [Comment:  “in the time we have left,” he said that in 2009, and today in 2021, as we near 2022, we have even less time left, see  https://unityinchrist.com/prophets/Zephaniah/REVIVAL.html]  So, very interesting picture, look, a very human person, bashing his wheat with a stick in a wine vat instead of a threshing floor, someone who can hardly believe God would ever use him, God calling him, and knowing that in his heart, though he would never step out in faith, he would never think anything serious about himself, God knows that the things of God resonate in the heart of this man.  He knows the potential that he has.  He doesn’t see him the way every human eye would see him, and he challenges him, and he calls him.  But he says, ‘Let’s go home to dad’s house, let’s start there, let’s get things straightened out, if you’re going to go to a nation and call them to repentance, you’re going to go to a people and challenge them, if you’re going to go tell others how God can set you free from the bondage of the things of this world,’ then he says, ‘let’s start at home.’  God will never use an unrepentant person to reach an unrepentant world, God will never use a compromised person to reach a compromised world.  God will never use someone in bondage to reach people in bondage, God will reach out to someone who has been delivered from bondage by the power and love and blood of Jesus Christ to go to a world in bondage and say ‘the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ will set you free, because it has set me free from all of those things, it has set me free.’  [Comment:  what is that Gospel of Jesus Christ?  see https://unityinchrist.com/misc/WhatIsTheGospel%20.htm]  God will use an individual who has been set free from compromise to go and say ‘You don’t need to live that way, because the Lord is able to take those things out of our lives.’  God will use us, you and I, the likes of us, to speak of his glory and the great works that he’s done, not to wear our own badges and our own certificates and our own pat-ourselves-on-the-back, but as we go and talk of this God who delivers, who loves, who saves, whose willing to reach out to the sinners and embrace them, and bring them in.  When we go and say ‘I know, because he’s done it in my life, he will do it in your life,’ and when that’s real, the world is touched, the world is changed.  It only takes a Gideon or Gide-ette, Gide-ess, bearer, I have trouble with these women, don’t want to exclude anybody here.  But, are we listening?  Do you resonate with the things of God?  As we read through these stories of David and Goliath, do you resonate with those things?  Or do you think, ‘Ya, but it was a different time,’?  Ya, it was a different time, I understand, I understand the Gospel, I understand it’s the Church now, I understand all of those things.  But the Book of Hebrews tells us of Gideon, and of Samson and of Abraham, and of those who did great things for God in faith, as he challenged them to step forward.  Again, those things are happening around us in wonderful ways, in wonderful ways.  Let’s stand, and let’s pray…[transcript of a connective expository sermon on Judges 6:1-32, given by Pastor Joe Focht, Calvary Chapel of Philadelphia, 13500 Philmont Avenue, Philadelphia, PA  19116]”  There’s no difference in the pattern revealed in the Book of Judges and now, it’s just being repeated on a grander scale.  Now we’re to be that “unnamed” prophet that came just before Gideon, taking the Gospel to the world (cf. Matthew 24:14).  Then Jesus Christ will come back, delivering our nation and the whole world from bondage (cf. Matthew 24:15-31, see https://unityinchrist.com/mathew/Matthew24-1-31.htm).

 

related links:


Audio version: https://resources.ccphilly.org/detail.asp?TopicID=&Teaching=WED632

God has prophecied that great Revival, it’s almost time for it to happen, see  https://unityinchrist.com/prophets/Zephaniah/RestorationAndRevival.htm

“in the time we have left,” he said that in 2009, and today in 2021, as we near 2022, we have even less time left.  What was the last Revival the Body of Christ had like?  see  https://unityinchrist.com/prophets/Zephaniah/REVIVAL.html

What is that Gospel of Jesus Christ we’re supposed to preach to the world before “the end” comes?  see https://unityinchrist.com/misc/WhatIsTheGospel%20.htm



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