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Judges 8:1-35

 

“And the men of Ephraim said unto him, Why hast thou served us thus, that thou calledst us not, when thou wentest to fight with the Midianites?  And they did chide with him sharply. 2 And he said unto them, What have I done now in comparison of you?  Is not the gleaning of the grapes of Ephraim better than the vintage of Abiezer? 3 God hath delivered into your hands the princes of Midian, Oreb and Zeeb:  and what was I able to do in comparison of you?  Then their anger was abated toward him, when he had said that. 4 And Gideon came to Jordan, and passed over, he, and the three hundred men that were with him, faint, yet pursuing them. 5 And he said unto the men of Succoth, Give, I pray you, loaves of bread unto the people that follow me; for they be faint, and I am pursuing after Zebah and Zalmunna, kings of Midian. 6 And the princes of Succoth said, Are the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna now in thine hand, that we should give bread unto thine army? 7 And Gideon said, Therefore when the LORD hath delivered Zebah and Zalmunna into mine hand, then I will tear your flesh with the thorns of the wilderness and with briers. 8 And he went up thence to Penuel, and spake unto them likewise:  and the men of Penuel answered him as the men of Succoth had answered him. 9 And he spake unto the men of Penuel, saying, When I come again in peace, I will break down this tower. 10 Now Zebah and Zalmunna were in Karkor, and their hosts with them, about fifteen thousand men, all that were left of all the hosts of the children of the east:  for their fell an hundred and twenty thousand men that drew the sword. 11 And Gideon went up by the way of them that dwelt in tents on the east of Nobah and Jogbehah, and smote the host:  for the host was secure. 12 And when Zebah and Zalmunna fled, he pursued after them, and took the two kings of Midian, Zebah and Zalmunna, and discomfited all the host. 13 And Gideon the son of Joash returned from the battle before the sun was up, 14 and caught a young man of the men of Succoth, and enquired of him:  and he described unto him the princes of Succoth, and the elders thereof, even threescore and seventeen men. 15 And he came unto the men of Succoth, and said, Behold Zebah and Zalmunna, with whom ye did upbraid me, saying, Are the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna now in thine hand, that we should give bread unto thy men that are weary? 16 And he took the elders of the city, and thorns of the wilderness and briers, and with them he taught the men of Succoth. 17 And he beat down the tower of Penuel, and slew the men of the city. 18 Then said he unto Zebah and Zalmunna, What manner of men were they  whom ye slew at Tabor?  And they answered, As thou art, so were they; each one resembled the children of a king. 19 And he said, They were my brethren, even the sons of my mother:  as the LORD liveth, if ye had saved them alive, I would not slay you. 20 And he said unto Jether his firstborn, Up, and slay them.  But the youth drew not his sword:  for he feared, because he was yet a youth. 21 Then Zebah and Zalmunna said, Rise thou, and fall upon us:  for as the man is, so is his strength.  And Gideon arose, and slew Zebah and Zalmunna, and took away the ornaments that were on their camels’ necks. 22 Then the men of Israel said unto Gideon, Rule thou over us, both thou, and thy son, and thy son’s son also:  for thou hast delivered us from the hand of Midian. 23 And Gideon said unto them, I will not rule over you, neither shall my son rule over you:  the LORD shall rule over you. 24 And Gideon said unto them, I would desire a request of you, that ye would give me every man the earrings of his prey.  (For they had golden earrings, because they were Ishmaelites.) 25 And they answered, We will willingly give them.  And they spread a garment, and did cast therein every man the earrings of his prey. 26 And the weight of the golden earrings that he requested was a thousand and seven hundred shekels of gold; beside ornaments, and collars, and purple raiment that was on the kings of Midian, and beside the chains that were about their camels’ necks. 27 And Gideon made an ephod thereof, and put it in his city, even in Ophrah:  and all Israel went thither a whoring after it:  which thing became a snare unto Gideon, and to his house. 28 Thus was Midian subdued before the children of Israel, so that they lifted up their heads no more.  And the country was in quietness forty years in the days of Gideon. 29 And Jerubbaal the son of Joash went and dwelt in his own house. 30 And Gideon had threescore and ten sons of his body begotten:  for he had many wives. 31 And his concubine that was in Shechem, she also bare him a son, whose name he called Abimelech. 32 And Gideon the son of Joash died in a good old age, and was buried in the sepulchre of Joash his father, in Ophrah of the Abiezrites. 33 And it came to pass, as soon as Gideon was dead, that the children of Israel turned again, and went a whoring after Baalim, and made Baal-berith their god. 34 And the children of Israel remembered not the LORD their God, who had delivered them out of the hands of all their enemies on every side: 35 neither shewed they kindness to the house of Jerubbaal, namely, Gideon, according to all the goodness which he had shewed unto Israel.”

 

Introduction

 

[Audio version:  https://resources.ccphilly.org/detail.asp?TopicID=&Teaching=WED634]

 

“We have followed Gideon through this remarkable set of circumstances, a young man, fearful, threshing grain in a winepress, the LORD calling him, we’re responding with all of the LORD’s short-sightedness about who he was, and all the mistakes the LORD was making by picking him, and the LORD just saying ‘Go in this thy strength, I will be with you,’ and guaranteeing him that there would be victory.  But again, first saying ‘Go home, throw down the altars to Baal and Ashtoreth that are home, begin there, you are going to be used greatly, it has to begin there, it has to begin at home.’  And then building an altar and sacrificing the bull of seven years and so forth.  And he takes him through that whole process.  And then as the tribes begin to gather, he goes through putting out the fleece, we talked about that last week, needing that reassurance from God, confirmation.  And then the battleplan seems to be gathering, the Midianites, 135,000 of them like locusts gathering in the Jezreel valley.  Gideon finding 32,000 had gathered to him, and the LORD calling him to a private meeting, Gideon probably hoping the LORD would say ‘Don’t worry son, I’m gathering 200,000 more.’  But instead he said ‘This is never going to work, 32,000, and I know the way that my people are, if I grant them victory with 32,000 they’re going to have the chutzpah of claiming it was because of their own ability in battle, and their own strength and so forth, so I want you to go to them,’ and Deuteronomy 20 had given that command, ‘just tell them, Anybody whose afraid, go on home, you don’t have to feel pressure to be here,’ and 22,000 of them said ‘Bye,’ and they were out of there.  So it left Gideon of course with 10,000 and he’s not feeling well about that at all, and God says ‘I need to talk to you again,’ and I don’t know if Gideon’s thinking ‘I hate it when this happens,’ by now.  And the LORD says ‘There’s still too many, I want you to go down to the brook there, to the well, and I will pick out the ones that I want,’ and it says 300 of them scooped up the water with their hands and lapped like dogs, the rest bowed down and put their faces in the water, and the LORD said ‘I want you to send everybody home but the 300.’  Now, it’s not real specific there why.  We assume that because those 300 had a particular attitude relative to the fact that they knew there was a battle to be begun, the enemy was encamped around them.  Giving them the benefit of the doubt, we feel like well maybe they were bringing the water up to their mouths, keeping their eyes open, remaining vigilant even in the things of life that are permitted, and again Camel Morgan talked about us being unnecessarily distracted by necessary things many times in life.  And he’s left with the 300.  Still, God being gracious to him, sends him down to hear a dream that one of them has, about a barley cake coming into the camp, destroying the royal tent and so forth, and hearing the Midianites say certainly this is Gideon, we’ve heard about him, and that being then confirming everything in his heart, he goes, the LORD says to him ‘Take your 300 men, divide them into three companies, 100 men each, I want them to have a rams horn in one hand, and I want them to have a clay pitcher in the other hand with firebrands inside of it,’ and Gideon divided them into three groups, 100 each, and he said ‘When I blow the horn, you blow the horns, when I break the pot, you break the pots, and everybody’s going to scream ‘The sword of the LORD and of Gideon!’ and again, you imagine these Midianites sound asleep, it says the guard is just changing so there’s a number of them walking through the camp, there are no lights, there’s no neon lights, there’s no street lights, no flashlights, there’s no lights.  So all of a sudden they hear all of this noise, all of this crashing, fires breaking out all over the side of the mountain, trumpets on every side, ‘The sword  of the LORD and Gideon!’ and everybody walking through the camp was perceived as an enemy, and it says ‘Every man’s sword was against his neighbour, his brother there,’ and in chapter 7, verse 22 it says ‘And the 300 blow the trumpets, and the LORD said every man’s sword was against his fellow, he even drew out all of the host, and the host fled to Beth-shittah, the House of Acacia, and Zererath, and to the border of Abel-meholah, unto Tabbath,’ now they’re crossing the Jordan.  But we’re going to find out here there’s 120,000 that had been destroyed.  Listen, not a sword is drawn (by Gideon and his men), but the LORD’s sword.  These men have a rams horn in one hand and a pitcher in the other hand, a clay pot.  Not a sword has been drawn, and 120,000 of the enemy are dead.   [Comment:  One of my favorite BBC historic documentary series about the founding of England, titled ‘The Last Kingdom’ is all about Alfred the Great, first king of the Saxons and of England, king of the kingdom of Wessex, and the battles he wages against the conquering Sword Danes, Danish Vikings that had invaded England to try to conquer the British Isles.  The sword battles are very realistic, and show that in a maylay of sword-swinging, sword wielding men, all mixed together in battle, all swinging broadswords in close proximity with each other, it becomes really easy to see how almost everybody in an enemy camp like this, all swinging swords at each other in a panic and in the dark could end up killing each other enmass.  The verses in chapter 7 indicate that Gideon and his 300 men stayed safely aside, on the outskirts of the enemy camp, so they didn’t become part of this insane mass of sword-swinging panic stricken group of men.  They must have been watching in total amazement at the spectacle playing out before them.  I love The Last Kingdom series, it shows that eventually, the English population became a mixture of Saxons, Britons and Sword Danes, who were Danites like their Irish brothers to the west of England.]  In chapter 2 it said that God left a contingent of the enemy in the land  to teach the children of Israel who had not known the wars of Canaan how to do battle, and again, that didn’t mean to train with the sword, to train in marshal arts, to train with the bow and arrow, it meant to fall on their knees and to depend on the LORD God.  That’s how the Jordan River was stopped, that’s how the walls of Jericho fell down, that’s how the sun stood still in the Valley of Aijalon, they had learned to depend on him for the victory.  All of their victories were secondary, their primary victories were prayer and obedience.  All of their failures, the one particular failure, it’s a secondary failure, they had failed to seek him, and to pray.  Now, this generation, hundreds of years later, who had been subjected to the Midianites, see this incredible, incredible victory, the enemy is fleeing now, not a sword drawn by human hand. 

 

Finishing Up With Chapter 7, verses 23-25

 

And it says in verse 23, “And the men of Israel gathered themselves together out of Naphtali, and out of Asher, and out of all Manasseh, and pursued after the Midianites.”  No doubt this is the remnant of the over 30,000 that he had sent home now, hearing these trumpets blasting, hearing what’s taking place, seeing to some degree this insanity taking place.  “And Gideon sent messengers throughout all mount Ephraim, saying, Come down against the Midianites, and take before them the waters unto Beth-barah and Jordan.  Then all the men of  Ephraim gathered themselves together, and took the waters unto Beth-barah and Jordan.” (verse 24)  “Beth-barah,” which is in the south down towards Jericho and the Jordan, to block the places where they would ford or cross the Jordan to the east side of the Jordan.  Now interesting, they didn’t know the experience of the 300, but still the LORD allows them to join in the battle, there’s grace extended.  There were those who hadn’t come when they were called initially, especially those of Ephraim.  God had not brought them to the point where they saw the miracle of the 300, but he’s allowing them to join in the battle, to be part of what he is miraculously doing.  And then it says those of Ephraim that came now, they took two princes, not kings, but two of the princes of the Midianites, Oreb and Zeeb, those words mean Raven and Wolf [sounds like Viking names, or those of Sword Danes], I don’t know what you think when you name your child something like that, ‘What a cute little guy, let’s name him Wolf.’  You know, we laugh at that, but there are many, English Wolfe, Foxe, many of those names, it’s the same thing [and some of those names come from some of their Danish Viking ancestors.  The British rank of royalty, being an Earl, came from the Sword Dane term Earl, which meant a king who had earned that rank in battle.]  And it says, “And they took two princes of the Midianites, Oreb and Zeeb; and they slew Oreb upon the rock of Oreb, and Zeeb they slew at the winepress of Zeeb, and pursued Midian, and brought the heads of Oreb and Zeeb to Gideon on the other side of Jordan.” (verse 25) and I’m assuming it wasn’t the Rock of Oreb until Oreb was killed there.  That’s two heads without bodies, by the way.  So they bring the heads of Oreb and Zeeb to Gideon.  And now this 8th chapter, we have a problem, problems without, not in the greatest sense, because the LORD had given them victory. 

 

An Attitude Problem Within Israel--And With Humans In General

 

Now it’s the problem within.  And we find that throughout the Scripture.  It says “And the men of Ephraim said unto him, Why hast thou served us thus, that thou calledst us not, when thou wentest to fight with the Midianites?  And they did chide with him sharply.” (Judges 8:1)  Now this is the attitude of Ephraim.  We’re going to find, in a few weeks if the Lord tarries, when we come to chapter 12, when we’re in the life of Jephthah, but it says there in verse 1 of chapter 12, “And the men of Ephraim gathered themselves together and they went northward, and they said unto Jephthah, Wherefore passedst thou over to fight against the children of Ammon, and didst not call us to go with thee?  we will burn thine house upon thee with fire.” And of course they learn a lesson from Jephthah.  But this attitude, and there’s an attitude that comes across here, ‘Why didn’t you call us?’  Now look, pride, ‘contention cometh only by pride,’ it says in the Book of Proverbs.  God had said to Gideon, when he had 32,000 men, ‘I want you to whittle this down, because I know what the heart of man is like, and if you don’t whittle this down, man is going to take the credit, he’s going to touch the glory.’  And the very thing that God didn’t want to see happen is the thing that begins to happen here.  The tribe of Ephraim said ‘Why didn’t you call us?’ they’re envious because there’s great success, there’s been a great move of God, there’s great victory.  And no sooner does that happen, then there’s a problem now as we look at this, it begins to arise within the tribes of Israel.  They had heard the trumpets, they could have come on their own, and now they’re complaining, there’s jealousy, they presumed that if they were there they could have entered in.  They don’t understand why God whittled it down to 300, they don’t respect the fact that God decided to use the 300 that he decided to use.  And one of the things that you can expect in ministry, is, again, there’s never spiritual progress without warfare.  If God grants success to you in ministry, in any way and in any form, home fellowship, wherever it may be, any kind of ministry, you can depend on it  that there will be those then who are jealous, envious, they can’t stand the fact, for some reason, that somebody else is seeing blessing.  And they get this sense of entitlement, like, this is like Korah, ‘This is not just yours, we should be able to touch this, we should have part of this.’  And it’s just so sad to see this.  Gideon isn’t putting his hand on the glory at all, Gideon understands that it was the LORD, Gideon is astounded at this point, he’s been obedient to the LORD, you know, 300 rams horns and 300 pots full of fire, and 120,000 dead Midianites, he understands completely it had nothing to do with him, and there’s 299 other guys that would give the same testimony.  Of course there are those who didn’t see that, who don’t understand that, and to think they have some right to touch something that the LORD, that they have some right to be part of it.  And look, I mean, I live with that all the time, I have people come here all the time saying ‘Hey, I want to start a men’s Bible study, put my name on the bulletin,’ like, boy have we been waiting for you [ 😊 ], or, ‘I think I have a message for your church, will you let me preach there?’  Don’t call us, we’ll call you.  I’ve had them come saying ‘I’m a prophet, and I know I have a message for your church,’ and we say ‘We’re a non-prophet organization, thank you [loud laughter].’  But this is a big pond to fish in, so everybody wants to come here.  And to me, and I know to the pastors, we’ve never looked at you as a commodity, like we can farm out part of it here, to me it’s the Bride of Christ, we remember when there were 25 of us, we know that it was started with the 300, we know it’s been a move of God and it’s God’s hand, we see what’s happened, we see the churches that have spun off, and we come, I come with anticipation, every week.  I come, say, ‘OK Lord, what are you going to do?’  I can’t wait to get there.  ‘Is the sermon going to be good or is it gonna stink?  Is the worship gonna be good or is it gonna be dry?  Are people going to get saved, are people going to get healed, or cry?’  I just can’t wait to come, to see what HE is going to do, to see what he is going to do.  But there are those who can’t wait to get included for some reason.  Sometimes I think ‘Lord, give ‘em a taste.’  “And they chide with him sharply.  And he said unto them, What have I done now in comparison of you?  Is not the gleaning of the grapes of Ephraim better than the vintage of Abiezer?” (verses 1c-2)  Now great wisdom here, Gideon is a tactful leader.  “is not the gleaning of the grapes of Ephraim” because Ephraim meant fruitful, and the territory of Ephraim was very fruitful with vineyards and so forth.  He’s from the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh, but his family Abiezer, he said ‘Look, the gleanings of Ephraim…’ “God hath delivered into your hands the princes of Midian, Oreb and Zeeb:  and what was I able to do in comparison of you?  Then their anger was abated toward him, when he said that.” (verse 3)  ‘I mean, you guys got the cream of the crop here in the battle, the two princes of Midian, God trusted them to you.’  It says “Then their anger was abated toward him, when he had said that.”  Solomon would say in Proverbs that a soft answer turns away wrath.  That’s a great bumper-sticker, it’s a terrible thing to remember once somebody’s screaming at you and you want to take their head off.  “A soft answer turns away wrath,” Gideon here, God gives him wisdom, he said ‘Look, Ephraim you’re famous with the gleanings that take place in your territory, and God has given you the princes of the Midianites, into your hands, not to mine.  Who am I?  He’s entrusted you with this.’  And it says their anger then was settled down toward him.

 

‘Faint, Yet Pursuing’

 

“And Gideon came to the Jordan, and passed over, he, and the three hundred men that were with him, faint, yet pursuing them.” (verse 4)  Important words, “faint,” “yet,” “pursuing them.”  “And he said unto the men of Succoth, Give, I pray you, loaves of bread unto the people that follow me; for they be faint, and I am pursuing after Zebah and Zalmunna, kings of Midian.” (verse 5)  Now I have journeyed through how many opinions, this is not the Succoth we find in another part of Israel, this is something over in the area of Gad, Transjordan, in what modern Jordan is today.  It is very difficult to track the way that these men are fleeing, these names are hard to identify, but the point is, now Gideon and the 300 that are with him continued to pursue the fleeing host.  Look, there’s 15,000 of them still alive.  Gideon and 300 are pursuing 15,000 warriors, if you can imagine that [and these warriors are like Sword Danes].  That’s like one of those shows you see on TV where somebody’s chasing somebody, and says ‘I’m gonna get you!’ and the guy turns around, and he runs the other way.  Here’s Gideon with 300 guys chasing 15,000 men.  And it says this, it says ‘that they’re faint, yet pursuing.’  Now look, this is no doubt one of the qualities of water-lappers, you know.  This is those water-lappers that God saw, he saw something in them that set them aside, a diligence, a watchfulness, a persistence.  And they’re weary, but they’re weary in the battle, they’re not weary of the battle.  They were weary in the battle, because the LORD’s battle was the thing they had witnessed, not their own.  [They had witnessed 120,000 swordsmen hack themselves to pieces in a dark night, leaving nothing but 120,000 dead in the Valley of Jezreel, while they stood on the sidelines, on the outskirts safely out of reach of this lawnmower of swords being wielded around.  When the sun came up, that’s all they saw, 120,000 dead, hacked up bodies, with a 15,000 strong remnant fleeing toward the Jordan River.]  So they’re travelling, they’re running, they’re pursuing, they’re weary in the battle, not of the battle.  If we are yoked in the yoke with him, our burden is easy and light.  The assistant pastor at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa where I came from, Romane when he was alive, used to say “Ministry burn-out is stupidity, because if you’re yoked in the yoke with Christ you shouldn’t be burning out.”  And I’m thanking, I mean just this last week and a half it’s been so busy, and Kathy and I get weary in the ministry, we never get weary of the ministry.  There was a time, in a different ministry, when we got weary of the ministry, just got tired of it.  And I remember saying “Lord, I just don’t want to be in the ministry,” and he said “I never asked you to be in the ministry,” I said “Why did you wait all these years to tell me that? I’d have bailed out much sooner.”  he said “Well I don’t want you in the ministry,” a day later, “I want the ministry in you,” he said “In the Book of Acts the believer didn’t fall into the ministry, the ministry fell into the believer.” and he said “If you serve me in the Spirit, you’re not going to burn out, if you serve me in the flesh you’re gonna burn out.”  And this is a great picture, these warriors had been obedient to God, with a rams horn and a pitcher, and a shout.  This world we live in is about to be shocked by the blast of a trumpet and a shout.  And I want when the Lord comes, to find us maybe faint, but pursuing, maybe weary but pursuing.  Not weary of the battle, but weary in the battle, because we stay involved.  You know in 1st Corinthians chapter 1 he says ‘He’s chosen the weak things of this world, to confound the strong.’  Paul says ‘This one thing I do, pressing onward, forgetting the things that are behind.’  And it’s a beautiful picture, you know, because we see folks that come here for years and years, and you just kind of watch, there tends to be a cooling.  I think our whole Church needs to be revived, I think we need, I need to be revived.  I think, you know there was an era, a different sense of things, I think it would be wonderful just to see a fresh move of God’s Spirit.  [Comment:  that’s coming, the final Restoration and Revival God prophecied just before the Tribulation period starts to occur, see https://unityinchrist.com/prophets/Zephaniah/RestorationAndRevival.htm]  But we, when Jesus comes, would be weary, yet, we want to have that “yet” attached to us, “weary, yet pursuing, going after them.” 

 

The Men Of Succoth Are About To Get Into Big Trouble—Gideon & His 300 Pursue The Remnants Of Midian

 

“And he said unto the men of Succoth” as he comes there to that village, town, “Give, I pray you, loaves of bread unto the people that follow me; for they be faint, and I am pursuing after Zebah and Zalmunna, kings of Midian.” well if you killed Oreb and Zeeb you might as well get them too.  “And the princes of Succoth said, Are the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna now in thine hand, that we should give bread unto thine army?” (verses 5-6)  Now this is an Israelite city, in the area of Gad.  Now, you know, in the natural, the men of Succoth are thinking ‘Hey, this is 300 against 15,000, you want us to feed you, and then when they slaughter you they’re going to come back and slaughter us.’  No doubt Gideon has given testimony to the men of Succoth and Penuel, we’re going to see, of God’s great victory.  And their refusal to cooperate with that is tantamount to being on the side of the enemy.  They’re refusing to believe the great work the God has done.  And they’re refusing to give supplies to Gideon and his men who are faint, because they were saying ‘Ya, they’re gonna slaughter you, then they’re going to come back and they’re going to get us.’  And it’s a mockery of the victory of God.  Now, what should have been a give-away to them is the word Zebah means “sacrifice” and the word Zalmunna means “shelter denied.”  So when you’re chasing “sacrifice” and “shelter denied” you should feed the guys who are chasing them, as far as I’m concerned.  “And Gideon said, Therefore when the LORD hath delivered Zebah and Zalmunna into mine hand, then I will tear your flesh with the thorns of the wilderness and with briars.” (verse 7)  ‘I will thresh you with thorns of the wilderness and with briars.’  I don’t know if he’s led of the Spirit there.  Penuel was the idea of a tower, “And he went up thence to Penuel, and spake unto them likewise:  and the men of Penuel answered him as the men of Succoth had answered him.  And he spake unto the men of Penuel, saying, When I come again in peace, I will break down this tower.” (verses 8-9) the tower was their security, their fortress, no doubt giving them a false sense of security.  The Book of Deuteronomy had said this, ‘An Ammonite or a Moabite shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD, even unto the tenth generation shall they not enter into the congregation of the LORD forever, because they met you not with bread and water in the way, when you came forth out of Egypt, and because they hired against thee Baalim,’ and so forth, and it says that God pronounced a judgment against their enemies who were of their brethren, there was way back a relationship, that because they refused to give them refreshment of bread and water, that God then pronounced a judgment on Moab and Ammon.  And now we have here the very children of Israel, they were supposed to know ‘I will bless them that bless thee, and curse them that curse thee,’ (Genesis 12:3) and they’re refusing to give unto their own brethren sustenance.  And look, just in the culture itself, hospitality even today in that part of the world, is a sacred thing.  And they (these Gadites and Reubenites) refuse it to their own brethren.  So he said ‘When I come back, I’m gonna break down your false security, your tower.’  “Now Zebah and Zalmunna were in Karkor, and their hosts with them, about fifteen thousand men, all that were left of all the hosts of the children of the east:  for there fell an hundred and twenty thousand men that drew the sword.” (verse 10)  Karkor seems to be a word that describes a plain, a flat plain or a place that’s enclosed.  They were there with their hosts, notice about 15,000 men, “all that were left of all the hosts of the children of the east:  for there fell an hundred and twenty thousand men that drew the sword.” (verse 10b)  An hundred and twenty thousand men, plus women and children.  An hundred and twenty thousand men, and Israel (Gideon and his 300) had not drawn a sword.  “And Gideon went up by the way of them that dwelt in tents on the east of Nobah and Jogbehah, and smote the host:  for the host was secure.” they were in this area called Karkor, it was a plain, they must have believed that Gideon was not pursuing them.  And we don’t know if they did the same thing.  Did they blow the trumpets, we don’t know, but it says he came on them there, and he smote the host.  “And when Zebah and Zalmunna fled, he pursued after them, and took the two kings of Midian, Zebah and Zalmunna, and discomfited [margin: “terrified”] all the host.” (verses 11-12)  Now Ephraim had killed the princes, these are the two kings of Midian, Zebah and Zalmunna, and discomfited all the host, I love that word, discomfited, discombubarated, discomfited, put them in complete terror, destroyed them, and the hand of the LORD no doubt there. 

 

Gideon Teaches The Men Of Succoth & Penuel A Lesson

 

“And Gideon the son of Joash returned from battle before the sun was up,” (verse 13) now we have a question here, and I haven’t found an adequate answer.  Because it seems like they travelled a great distance.  The battle, the night before, seemed to begin sometime between 10 and 12 at night, it gives us the watch.  What we’re not certain of, is, does all of this take place in one night when it says he returns before the sun comes up, which seems, they must have been flying, it’s a lot of territory to cover.  Or was it when those of Naphtali and so forth gathered was the next day, and when Ephraim came and complained, so they’ve been fighting at this point for about 24 hours now.  Now, either way, fighting and running for six hours might as well be 24 hours.  It just says here “before the sun was up” so we’re not certain of the length here, but no doubt it is beyond human strength, no doubt they are more faint than they had been before.  And it says “And they caught a young man of the men of Succoth, and enquired of him:  and he described unto him [to Gideon] the princes of Succoth, and the elders thereof, even threescore and seventeen men.” (verse 14)  Now he gives a description of 77 men, so this kid’s got a good memory.  And it says he described them there, literally, it says “he wrote,” he sat down with something, and he wrote for Gideon and his men, specific enough descriptions of all of the princes and the rulers there in Succoth, “And he came unto the men of Succoth, and said, Behold Zebah and Zalmunna, with whom ye did upbraid me, saying, Are the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna now in thine hand, that we should give bread unto thy men that are weary?  And he took the elders of the city, and thorns of the wilderness and briers, and with them he taught the men of Succoth.” (verses 15-16) it should say “a lesson.”  I bet he did.  He taught the men of Succoth there.  Some scholars feel that he drug a threshing sled of thorns and thistles over them, some feel that he just scourged them with thorns and thistles, either way, I don’t want to be, take my bread, keep your thorns and thistles, tough situation.  He taught them, interesting, there these men, something in regards to the LORD and trusting the LORD.  Then we’re going to find he breaks down the tower of Penuel, “And he beat down the tower of Penuel, and slew the men of the city.” (verse 17)  Look, there are things in our lives, Zebah’s and Zalmunna’s that we should give no shelter to, they’re enemies to us.  There are other things in our lives that are not enemies, but they’re just not helpful, and they’re not necessary.  And yet great victory without that.  And I think all of us need to identify that.  But for you and I as believers, there should be no confusion about what, as it were, is an enemy to us, is an adversary.  The Scripture is abundantly clear, the media’s confused, NBC is exceedingly confused, we see nobody knows what’s right and wrong now.  There Isaiah would say the days would come when a nation would call good evil and evil good, and right wrong and wrong right, that’s going on all around us.  But you and I should not be confused at all, it’s an open Book test.  ‘Let’s see, is sexual sin wrong?’  Just we’ll give you the list of verses for you to read.  ‘Is it wrong to get drunk?’  We’ll give you the list of verses to read.  ‘Is purity correct?  We’ll give you the list of verses to read.  ‘Marriage,’ the Bible knows what it is, don’t worry.  There’s going to be no confusion in the Kingdom when the King is here [and he’s coming soon, real soon].  There are things in our lives that are adversarial to us, they’re of the enemy as it were, they’re destructive to us, then there’s other things in our lives that are there, not enemies but certainly not helpful, not expedient.  And those are things that we pray about, maybe the Holy Spirit will speak to you about those things the same way he speaks to me about it, and I have a list, none of your business, don’t even think it, but I have a list.  Not things that would disqualify me from ministry, but ‘Do you really need to do this?  You need to stop this…’  You know, when you first get saved, you know, no more drinking [Calvary Chapels, which started out as a ministry helping alcoholics and drug addicts, and they still minister to that group, teach that you can’t drink in their fellowships, but they know the Bible teaches that one can drink, as the Bible teaches, in extreme moderation], no more fist-fighting, no more drugs, no more immorality.  But then when the years go on, then it’s ‘Stop thinking about that,’ ‘Lord, I can’t,’ Martin Luther said “You can’t stop a bird from flying over your head, but you can keep it from making a nest in your hair.”  An attitude, I can’t believe we’re boiled down to attitudes, you know, you’d think when you stop punching people and getting high, you’re a Christian  [loud laughter].  Now God is still working, in your life and my life.  Because our destination is an image, not just a place, he’s conforming us into an image, and anything else in life you think you want to be or you want to come to, does not compare to the image that he’s conforming us into, to the plan that he has for us, to the glory that he wants us to stand in.  There are things in our lives, Zebah’s and Zalmunna’s, that we should give no shelter to, they’re enemies to us.  There are other things in our lives that are not enemies but they’re just not helpful, and they’re not necessary. 

 

The Execution Of Zebah & Zalmunna

 

Well he taught the men of Succoth a lesson there, taught them a lesson, and then it says “And he beat down the tower of Penuel, and slew the men of the city.” (verse 17)  They must have all ran in there, heard what he did to the men of Succoth and said ‘He ain’t whupping me with the thorns,’ and they all ran into their fortress, and it says “he beat down the tower of Penuel, and slew the men of the city.” Ancient rabbis tell us because he met armed resistance from there, they took to battle with Gideon and his men.  “Then said he to Zebah and Zalmunna, What manner of men were they whom ye slew at Tabor?  And they answered, As thou art, so were they; each one resembled the children of a king.” (verse 18) Zebah and Zalmunna were probably thinking ‘We’re in trouble if this guy is doing this to his own country, we are in deep trouble.’  Now they were at Moreh over by Tabor, they were at the foot of Gilboa, the other mountain in the Valley of Jezreel, he asked them ‘What kind of men were they that you killed there at mount Tabor?’ and they answered “As thou art, so were they; each one resembled the children of a king.” they were men that seemed noble, good strong men.  We’re finding out that Gideon has brothers, and these kings of the Midianites had slaughtered his brothers, had killed them.  “And he said, They were my brethren, even  the sons of my mother:  as the LORD liveth, if ye had saved them alive, I would not slay you.  And he said unto Jether his firstborn, Up, and slay them.  But the youth drew not his sword:  for he feared, because he was yet a youth.” (verses 19-20)  Now look, again, no police in this day, there was the avenger of blood, which is still by the way recognized in some Middle Eastern cultures, that if someone kills your son or kills your father, the next adult male in line has the responsibility to track down that person and mete out vengeance.  [As I commented before, a Syrian man whose son had been killed in the Syrian civil war by the soldiers of some Syrian general or leader, who had fled and retired to South America, tracked him down and assassinated him, killed him.]  And we hear of the cities of refuge, people [Israelites] could flee to if it was involuntary manslaughter, but this is outlined in Deuteronomy, and Numbers 35, that Gideon had the right now to mete out vengeance on these two men that had slaughtered his brothers.  And he said ‘If you had kept them alive, I’d be merciful to you.’  So he tells his youngest son, Jether, which would have been an insult to these two kings by the way, he said ‘Draw your sword and take their lives,’ but it says “But the youth drew not his sword:  for he feared, because he was yet a youth.” (verse 20b)  “Then Zebah and Zalmunna said, Rise thou, and fall upon us:  for as the man is, so it his strength.  And Gideon arose, and slew Zebah and Zalmunna, and took away the ornaments that were on their camels’ necks.” (verse 21) they said ‘Gideon, you kill us, we want at least the honour of being killed by a real man, a famous man.’  “And Gideon arose, and slew Zebah and Zalmunna, and took away the ornaments that were on their camels’ necks.” (verse 21b)  [Comment:  If you watch the BBC series titled The Last Kingdom, about the Sword Danes fighting the Saxons of England in England, all these actions and attitudes will come alive for you, the honour of dying in battle, where a Sword Dane would only become a king of a region or town and be given the Danish Viking titled of Earl by winning it in battle.  They believed they would not go to Valhalla if killed in battle, unless they died with their sword in their hand.  From the time of Gideon in somewhere around 1200BC to 878AD when Alfred the Great, king of Wessex and the Sword Danes where warring, not much had changed in warfare, interestingly enough.]  Now this is very interesting, because it is the figures of the moon, now this is thousands of years ago, this worship of the Moon god amongst the Bedouins, the Midianites, Ela, the Moon god was worshipped in ancient times.  There is an evolution of that into modern times, and of course we see in Islam we see the crescent moon, it’s from the Middle East, it’s from an ancient culture, the insignia is adopted, it goes all the way back before Mohammed was born.  It says here that he took away the ornaments, the Hebrew is “the ornaments of the moon” that were on their camels’ necks.  “Then the men of Israel said unto Gideon, Rule thou over us, both thou, and thy son, and thy son’s son also:  for thou hast delivered us from the hand of Midian.” (verse 22)  EEEnt, Wrong! he didn’t deliver them.  What do you mean, 300 of them slew 135,000 Midianites?  No, Gideon knows they hadn’t delivered them at all.  “And Gideon said unto them, I will not rule over you, neither shall my son rule over you:  the LORD shall rule over you.” (verse 23)  He knew full well it wasn’t in his strength, he had not delivered them.  That is ridiculous, he was just the instrument, God used him.  My pastor always says [said, Pastor Chuck passed away in 2014], “If you go into surgery, you get brain surgery, you have a tumor that’s removed, and the surgeon does an incredible job, and your life expectancy is restored, when you’re healed up you don’t go back to the hospital and say ‘I’d like to see the scalpel, please,’ and go and find the scalpel and say ‘You are such a great scalpel.’’  That’s ridiculous, you want to find the surgeon who had the scalpel in his hand.  And Gideon knew he was just an instrument in the hand of the LORD.  They’re coming to him now saying ‘We want you to rule over us,’  he said ‘No, not me nor my son, we didn’t deliver you, it wasn’t me.’  Billy Graham said “We’re never more like the devil than when we touch the glory, saying ‘I will be like the Most High,’ in Isaiah 14, ‘I’ll sit on the sides of the north,’” and so forth.  Look, it’s not just an Old Testament problem.  In Acts chapter 3, when the man is healed at the Gate called Beautiful the people run together, Peter and John say “Why look ye upon us as though some power or some goodness in ourselves had anything to do with the healing of this man.  It happened in the name of Jesus.”  We see Ananias and Sapphira wanting the attention, wanting someone to pay them some type of honor or homage, as though they gave more than they did.  Of course their mistake is they should have read the chapter, before they tried to pull that one off.  Paul, when he meets in Acts 20 with the elders from Ephesus on the beach at Miletus says “I know that after my departure, grievous wolves shall arise not sparing the flock, and many shall arise out of your own midst, drawing disciples after themselves,” instead of after the Lord Jesus.  Because there’s always people with some insecurity in themselves that’s stroked by having people look to them, and we’re all that way, all of us.  It’s the flesh.  If you’re a guitar player, leading worship, somebody says ‘That was a great lick you played there,’ ‘Oh I really, praise the Lord, it wasn’t me,’ or you’re a Christian artist…or somebody comes to the pastor ‘Oh, that was a good sermon,’ ‘Ah, praise the Lord, pray for me.’ because there’s something in all of us that wants to reach out and touch the glory, so that, ‘Really?’  So once in a while he sends somebody, somebody comes and says “we only come here because we like the worship, we really don’t like the teaching.” [laughter]  I say, “Well enjoy.”  I thought ‘I hope they don’t make a song after that.’  but, thank you Lord, I need that.  Put everything in perspective.  In 1st Samuel we read this, “And ye have this day rejected your God, who himself saved you out of all your adversaries and out of your tribulations, and you have said unto him, Nay, but set a king over us.”  That’s in regards to Samuel and Saul.  “Now therefore, present yourselves before the LORD by your tribes,” and so forth.   Samuel’s reproving them, saying, ‘You’re turning away, you don’t want the LORD to rule over you, you want a king to rule over you.’  There’s something in the natural, you know, it’s more difficult to say ‘OK, it’s the LORD, we’re going to trust, the invisible God.’  We can’t see him, he doesn’t speak audibly to us, and sometimes we would like that.  I know sometimes, I talk to people, and they’re 100 percent sincere and genuine, and I know if the Lord would appear in their bedroom and say ‘I want you to do this,’ they would do it.  They have no agenda, they’re really looking for direction.  But then there would be other times he’d probably talk to us, I’m sure once in awhile I hear ‘Yo!’ ok Lord, back on track, ‘Hey you!’  But it’s so much simpler for us when there’s somebody tangible there, we want to look to someone.  These were not in the battle with the 300, they didn’t see the hand of the LORD, so they’re looking again to the natural, it’s carnal, and Gideon’s saying ‘No, I’m not gonna do that, I’m not gonna rule over you, that’s not gonna happen,’ “the LORD will rule over you.” (verse 23b) 

 

The LORD Never Hides The Humanness Of His Servants--The Earrings Become A Greater Threat Than The Enemy’s Swords

 

“And Gideon said unto them, I would desire a request of you, that ye would give me every man the earrings of his prey.  (For they had golden earrings because they were Ishmaelites.)  And look, we’re going to follow this, the LORD never hides the humanness of his servants.  We’re going to see some of his failings here towards the end of his life here.  The Midianites are Ishmaelites, and their earrings were their coinage, they didn’t have any coinage, so they had both nose rings, I don’t know if I’d want a bunch of those, give me the rings, keep the nose rings.  They had nose rings and earrings, he said ‘Give me what you can,’ and they were of gold, and used in barter and as coinage, he said ‘Give me all of their earrings, the earrings of the prey, for they had golden earrings because they were Ishmaelites.’  “And they answered, We will willingly give them.  And they spread a garment, and did cast therein every man the earrings of his prey.  And the weight of the golden earrings that he requested was a thousand and seven hundred shekels of gold; beside the ornaments, and collars, and purple raiment that was on the kings of Midian, and beside the chains that were about their camels’ necks.” (verses 25-26) there’s all kinds of estimates, it’s probably over 50 to 75 pounds of gold, then it says “beside the ornaments, and collars, and purple raiment that was on the kings of Midian, and beside the chains that were about their camels’ necks.”  So he got the golden ornaments too, so he probably has over a hundred pounds of gold here, and the ornaments that were upon their necks.  Isn’t it interesting, he said ‘No, I’m not going to rule over you, no, this is not my victory, this is the LORD’s victory.  He’s going to rule over you.  But you can give me some of the earrings, take some of the earrings and give me some of the gold earrings.’  You know, isn’t it interesting the way we are?  The LORD should get all of the glory for this, don’t you take the earrings, give ‘em to the LORD.  You know, we think of Naman the Syrian, and how he was healed.  And Elisha refused any of the price that Naman came to pay with, and it says his servant Gehazi that pursued after Naman, ‘You know, my master changed his mind, and he took some of the gold, some of the garments,’ and it says ‘God took the leprosy that was on Naman and he put it on Gehazi.’  And there’s kind of a leprosy as it were here a bit, we see in the life of Gideon towards the end here.  He ends up with this gold.  Look at verse 27, “And Gideon made an ephod thereof, and put it in his city, even in Ophrah:  and all Israel went thither a whoring after it:  which thing became a snare unto Gideon, and to his house.” it wasn’t his city, it was the LORD’s city.  I keep thinking of Oprah.  Now Gideon takes the gold and he makes an ephod.  An ephod was like a breastplate that the priest wore.  Back in chapter 6, God told him to take the idol of Baal, the Ashuram, to tear them down and to make an altar and sacrifice the bull of seven years, but Gideon was no priest.  In Shiloh in those days was a vestige of Aaron’s line, there was a priesthood somewhere.  We don’t hear anything about them.  [Comment:  It’s amazing, but considering God’s Holy Spirit wasn’t upon the ordinary Israelite, even the priesthood of Levites and Aaron it’s understandable, but again it’s amazing, the cities of the Levites were scattered throughout Israel, over 60 cites, and the Levites were supposed to be there, easy access, knowing and teaching God’s Word to the people.  Somehow these Levites  were falling down on their jobs, as the whole Book of Judges plainly shows.]  And here Gideon, no doubt he does this as a memorial, I’m not doubting his motive, I don’t think Gideon sets this up to worship, idolatrous.  But he does this unprescribed, the LORD hasn’t told him to do it.  No prophet has spoken to him.  Maybe he thinks because he offered a sacrifice on an altar before he has some right, and he builds this ephod, that looked like a garment of a priest, evidently out of gold, put it on a pole, put it somewhere in town, and it said all of Israel then went a whoring, they came there to worship it when they should have been at Shiloh, and it becomes a snare.  The man did a lot of good things, and I’m sure he did this as a memorial.  You know, to him here’s a picture of an ephod and it’s made of the gold of our enemies, an ephod is something the priest wears, and the priest serves the True and Living God, and here’s a picture of the priesthood, and the fact that our enemies are destroyed, whatever he reasoned out in his mind, it was unprescribed by God, he should never have done that, and it ends up to be a stumbling block.  It says all of the nation comes there, and at least Hezekiah had more sense to say Nehushtan and break it into pieces.  And it’s interesting as we look at this, the earrings of the enemy actually become a greater threat than the swords of the Midianites.  The earrings of the enemy, the coinage of the enemy becomes more a threat than the weapons of the enemy.  And America is in the exact same position today.  Money changing hands, globally, has become a much greater threat to us than weapons.  We had amassed the greatest military the world has seen, greater than Rome, but our security is not there, our security is in trusting the Lord, the might of a nation depends on it’s righteousness, the Bible says.  [Comment:  After 9/11, take a firm look at what we relied upon to guarantee our military might and national safety.  Buy the book Reign of Terror by Spencer Ackerman.  It’s disgusting what we have done to parts of the world to guarantee the security and safety of America.  God has taken notice, and these national sins won’t go unpunished.]  And we have forgotten the fear of the Lord as a nation.  And now we’re becoming debtors, and God said foreigners will own your land and so forth, and it’s very interesting to look at this, that the coinage, the earrings of the enemy are a greater threat than the swords, the weapons.  They had trusted God, now they’re striking out on their own.  Back to verse 28.

 

The Land Had Rest For Forty Years While Gideon Had 70 Sons

 

“Thus was Midian subdued before the children of Israel, so that they lifted up their heads no more.  And the country was in quietness forty years in the days of Gideon.  And Jerubbaal the son of Joash went and dwelt in his own house.” (verses 28-29) though Gideon was a human, he was unperfect, he’s making these mistakes, yet still there’s rest for 40 years.  “And Gideon had threescore and ten sons of his body begotten:  for he had many wives.” (verse 30)  Gideon had 70 sons, and we’re glad to hear he had more than one wife, the poor woman.  We’re not told how many daughters he had.  Gideon had 70 sons of his body, his own biological sons, here’s the reason, “for he had many wives.”  The Holy Spirit notes that for us, in the end of this man’s life.  Just takes note and puts it up before us.  He had refused to be king and rule over them, Deuteronomy chapter 17 said ‘when you do have a king, he should not be from any foreign nation but from your own brethren, I don’t want him to multiply wives, I don’t want him to multiply gold, I don’t want him to go back to Egypt for horses, pride, power, money.’  Lust of the flesh, pride of life.  And here the Holy Spirit’s telling us, at the end of this guy’s life, look what it says, he had 70 sons, he had many wives, and verse 31 says, “And his concubine that was in Shechem, she also bare him a son, whose name he called Abimelech.” Come on, Gideon, he had 70 wives, why do you need a concubine, what in the world’s going on here?  Here’s a guy who refused to be king, is living like a king.  In the end of his life we see this weakness and he’s indulging himself.  And look, early in his career his badge of honour was “weary, yet pursuing, weary and yet pursuing.”  We want to finish well.  Paul could say ‘I fought the fight, I kept the faith, I finished my course.’   He had said in Acts chapter 20, ‘None of these things move me, there are threats against my life, only that I might finish my course.’  He understood that God had a calling and a plan for his life, and it was laid out, and he wanted to honour God and that he wanted to finish his course.  We want to be good finishers.  I want to tell you something, I need you, I look around this room, and I know your faces, I know a lot of you by name, I need you to be a good finisher.  My heart breaks when we have a casualty, I need you, your finishing well is part of the strength in my life.  We build one another up in the faith.  When one member suffers, every member suffers.  I need you guys to be good finishers.  I’m sure you want me to be a good finisher, you don’t want me to go down in flames, most of you [laughter].  Here’s Gideon, you know, who before in battle who had been weary, and yet, that yet was so wonderful, pursuing, pursuing what God had put in front of him, he didn’t stop, weary yet pursuing.  And now the victory’s won, things are settled down, now he’s made this ephod, there’s a stumbling in Israel, and he’s settled into his own house with many wives, we’re not told how many, 70 sons.  That’d be enough to make you pray, I don’t know what his problem is.  [I got two grandsons who are brothers, we call them “the boys,” and I love them to pieces, but I wouldn’t want even four of them, let alone 70, they’re strong-willed, got minds of their own, you say ‘Go right,’ they go left 😊]  Imagine 70 teenage boys, all getting their licenses at the same time [laughter].   How many daughters we don’t know.  And on top of that he’s not satisfied, he has to have a concubine, somebody for pleasure, but he couldn’t find it with 70 women.  “And his concubine that was in Shechem, she also bare him a son, whose name he called Abimelech.” (verse 31) that was in Shechem, I guess he had to have a concubine there in case he was on business or travelling.  Abba, “father,” melech, “king.”  ‘No, I don’t want to be your king, I’ll live like a king, and I’ll name a son of a concubine that I don’t really need to have, I’ll name him “my father is king.”’  Isn’t that interesting?  Abimelech, it means “my father is king.”  Verse 23, he says ‘I will not rule over you, the LORD will rule over you.’  And yet he names this son of this concubine “Abimelech.”  “And Gideon the son of Joash died in a good old age, and was buried in the sepulchre of Joash his father, in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.  And it came to pass, as soon as Gideon was dead, that the children of Israel turned again, and went a whoring after Baalim, and made Baal-berith their god.” (verses 32-33) notice, “made Baal-berith their god.”  “And the children of Israel remembered not the LORD their God, who had delivered them out of the hands of all their enemies on every side:  neither shewed they kindness to the house of Jerubbaal, namely, Gideon, according to all the goodness which he had shewed unto Israel.” (verses 34-35)  Isn’t it interesting?  One committed life can make a difference.  As soon as he died, the nation went a whoring after another god.  What a difference one committed life can make, what a difference one committed mom in the home, committed to the Lord with all her heart to make in the lives of her children, a committed father, being the high priest of the home like he’s supposed to, tearing down the idols that are at home.  If you’re in a fellowship with other believers, what a difference it makes if someone there is on fire and sold out, in the lives of everyone.  And he had feet of clay, we see this at the end, he was a man, a hu-man, just like you and I.  He wasn’t perfect, but I believe he loved the LORD.  He made his mistakes.  Hebrew 11 says we’re going to see him, he’s in Hall of Faith.  And it isn’t like you’re going to get to heaven and say ‘Why in the world did you need a concubine?’ those things are never going to be brought to remembrance.  It’s not mentioned in Hebrews 11, “he put to flight the armies of the enemy.”  Put to flight the armies of the enemy.  David, a man after God’s own heart, imperfect.  Abraham, compromising, going down into Egypt, telling Sarah ‘Just relax, tell them you’re my sister,’ easy for a husband to say.  God’s people throughout the Scripture, Mark turning back on Paul and Barnabas, and then at the end Paul saying ‘Bring Mark to me, he’s valuable to me in the ministry.’  Gideon, feet of clay like all of us, a man used of God in an incredible way, incredible victory, touching the life of the whole nation.  Isn’t it interesting, God doesn’t hide or apologize for the humanness of his servants.  There isn’t anyone here that’s disqualified because you’re human.  In the Book of Revelation chapter 5 when John is looking to see one of the angels open the scroll, it says ‘No man was found worthy in heaven, on the earth or under the earth,’ that should relieve all the pressure from us.  There’s only one whose worthy, that’s the Lamb who was slain.  Don’t ever let your humanness keep you from being a scalpel in the Surgeon’s hand.  Don’t ever let your humanness turn you away from serving the Lord, but look, we should pray for one another, encourage one another, be building one another up in the most holy faith.  We should be encouraging one another in faith and good works, especially as we see the day drawing near, not neglecting the gathering together of ourselves.  We want to finish well too, we want to take the lessons that God holds in front of us.  Isn’t it interesting, you would think this guy who seems to be towards the end of his life as an older man, with how ever wives he had, does he need a concubine too?  [maybe they were driving him crazy and he needed to get away 😊]  David was over 50 when he got in love with Bathsheba [Bathsheba was the granddaughter of his chief counselor, Ahitophel, David had watched her grow up and develop into a beautiful young woman, this started over a long period of time.]  Let’s finish well.  Will you guys pray for me to finish well?  Anybody.  Will anybody please?  Thank you.  Look, I can tell when people pray, it’s a very interesting thing, I don’t understand everything about it, but there’s a dynamic, and I know when I pray things are different in my life.  And there have been a few people in this church who genuinely had the gift of intercessory prayer, and it effects my life.  You know, Mike before he left, said that his mom was up hours every morning, alone, up in the morning by 4 O’clock, praying for him, every morning.  Prayer makes a difference.  I will pray for you.  Paul says ‘It’s for this reason I bend my knees before God the Father, for whom the whole family of God is named.’…[transcript of a sermon on Judges 8:1-35, given by Pastor Joe Focht, Calvary Chapel of Philadelphia, 13500 Philmont Avenue, Philadelphia, PA  19116]


related links:

Audio version:  https://resources.ccphilly.org/detail.asp?TopicID=&Teaching=WED634

 God has promised a final Restoration & Revival just before Jesus comes back to earth.  see https://unityinchrist.com/prophets/Zephaniah/RestorationAndRevival.htm                        



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