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Written by: Kennedy, Tod M.    Posted on: 05/06/2003

Category: Christian Living

Source: CCN

            Doctrine: Gideon, Judges 6-8


    1.  When  things  go badly that does not  means that  God has abandoned you.  It means that  God  is working in your life. Gideon was wrong (6.13).

    2.  God can use any believer that is willing to grow.  He  can change you from  spiritual  timidity, unbelief,  and  self-centeredness  to  spiritual courage, faith, humility, and orientation to Himself and  His plan.  But this takes time.  Gideon started (6.25-27,34-35; 7.1-8,15-8.23).

    3.  Believe  God right from the  beginning  and therefore  serve  him  faithfully  by  learning  and applying His word instead of testing God like Gideon because  you  do  not believe Him and  are  worried. Faithful  application will result in contented  rest (faith  rest),  accomplishment of  your  task,  and spiritual  victory.  Gideon  failed  a  lot  (6.12- 18,27,36-40; 7.9-15; 8.27).

    4.  When  the will of God is clear (statment or principle from Bible) do not wait  for God to verify it.  Act on it. Do not check up on God or test Him. If the will of God is not clear, then 1) live inside God's plan 2) apply  the doctrine that you know  and 3) use the principles of divine guidance. Gideon did not do this failed (6.12-18,27,36-40; 7.9-15; 8.27).

    5. The learning of a few spiritual lessons does not  make  a believer mature.  But you are  able  to serve faithfully with the growth you have. Spiritual growth  and health requires day to day learning  and applying the Word of God (8.21-23; Heb 11.32-34).

    6.  Repeated  spiritual  failure  does  not disqualify  you from important service for the LORD. Learn  by failures and apply God's word (Heb  11.32- 34).

    7. Certain kinds of warfare are right (6.14-16; 7.9). ----------------------------------------------------     1.  Israel did not live by God's plan or follow His  will  so God sent the Midianites  in  order  to correct  Israel's relationship with Him (Judges 6.1- 6).  The  Midianites were "...Highly mobile  Bedouin marauders mounted on camels.  They infiltrated  from the  desert and filled the valleys with their flocks and  tents,  harassing  the  Israelites  populace scattered  in  open settlements."  (MacMillan  Bible Atlas, page 55).

    2.  After seven years Israel finally asked  the LORD for help (6.6).

    3.  The LORD sent a prophet who reminded Israel about God's goodness to them,  their relationship to Him (fear the LORD), and their failure (6.8-10).

    4.  Then  the angel of the LORD visited  Gideon (6.11-24).           4.1.  The  angel of the LORD was the  LORD (Yahweh),  but  He looked like a man to Gideon.  The writer  identified Him as the angel of the LORD  and LORD.  Gideon calls him Lord (sir). The angel of the LORD was God the Son (Jn 1.18).           4.2. The angel of the LORD called Gideon a valiant  warrior  (gibor  hehayil).  He  was  not  a valiant warrior at the time.  He was timid.  He  was beating  wheat  in a wine  press  (6.11-12).  Gideon misinterpreted  the  divine discipline  upon  Israel (6.13).  The LORD (angel) gave clear instructions to Gideon.  He  was to lead the Israeli troops  against the  Midianites and defeat them.  Gideon refused  to trust  the  LORD.  He  made  excuses.  Gideon  was demonstrating  pride,  not humility,  when he  said that  he  was the youngest in the  least  family  in Manasseh (6.14-16).           4.3.  Gideon  eventually realized that the messenger  was  probably  the  LORD  and  asked  for verification  (6.17-18).  The  angel  of  the  LORD demonstrated  that  He  was  the  LORD.  Gideon  was finally convinced (6.19-24).  By now God's will  was clear. God's power was given. Gideon's answer should have  been "Yes sir,  LORD." He should have prepared to fight.

    5.  Gideon  obeyed  the LORD and destroyed  the idol  altar (6.25-32).  He accepted this order  from the LORD.  This confirmed that Gideon knew the  LORD was commanding him.  But Gideon was still timid.  He was  not thinking and acting with the confidence and energy  that  God's representative  should  exhibit. (6.25-28).

    6.  Gideon prepared for the fight (6.33-35). At this  point Gideon clearly knew God's will  and  had God's support (6.14,16,22,).  He had the Holy Spirit (6.34),  and  he even had Israeli soldiers (6.34-35, 7.1-2).

    7.  Gideon tested God by asking that He perform two  miracles  on the wool  fleece  (6.36-40).  This showed disobedience toward the LORD (lack of  faith, lack  of orientation to LORD and His plan,  lack  of authority orientation,  lack of humility, occupation with  self) by asking for further evidence of  God's support.

    8.  The  LORD  decreased the number of  Israeli troops  before  the battle  against  the  Midianites (7.1-8).  He did this so Israel would have no reason to  think their human ability defeated Midian (7.2). The  first cut removed the fearful so 22,000  people left  and 10,000 stayed (7.3).  The second cut  left 300 with Gideon.  God chose those that lapped  water from their hand (7.4-8).  God promised again to give Israel victory.

    9. Gideon again showed fear so God let him make an  unnecessary  reconnaissance  with  Purah,  his servant (7.9-15).           9.1.  Gideon wanted to have human evidence instead of trusting the Word of God about the coming battle (7.9-11).           9.2.  Gideon  heard  someone tell about  a dream.  The  dream  pictured  Israel  defeating  the Midianite  army.  Gideon was quick  to believe  this man,  but  he had trouble believing  God  (7.12-15). Gideon  finally  believed that God would defeat  the Midianites after other people said God would.

    10.  Gideon's strike force was made up of three companies,  each with 100 men.  They were all  armed with trumpets and torches inside jars.  The LORD had already  decreed  they  would  win  (7.15-18).  The Midianites  had 135,000 (7.16 and 8.10).  They  were very mobile. They had camels (6.5).

    11. Gideon's strike force was really the LORD'S strike  force.  When they attacked the enemy (middle watch  was  about 10 at night)  the  LORD  confused, panicked, and defeated the Midianite army (7.19-23).

    12.  Gideon  sent out a call for reinforcements to  help the pursuit.  The men of Ephraim  were  mad because  Gideon  had not asked them to fight in  the earlier battle,  but they joined in the fight  after Gideon (thinking clearly under pressure) calmed them down (7.24-8.3).

    13.  Gideon  and his force successfully carried out  the mop up operation without any help from  the men  of Succoth and Penuel (both Israeli  cities  in Gad on the east side of the Jordan River (8.4-17).           13.1.  The men of Succoth and Penuel  were hesitant  to  trust  God so they  would  not  commit themselves  to  Gideon's  cause  (8.4-9).  Their resistence  showed  their  rejection  of  God  and willingness  to  accept the  Midianites.  They  will regret this (8.13-17; 5.23).           13.2. Gideon and his strike force followed a  caravan route to Karkor,  east of the  Dead  Sea. There  they  finished off the enemy army  (8.11-12), then  executed the Midianite kings  (8.18-21).  Note that the LORD's army searched out and destroyed  the enemy. The was will of the holy and loving God.

    14. Gideon demonstrated by his humility that he was  beginning to learn important lessons (obey God, authority orientation,  humility,  faith in God  and His plan), but he had trouble with the details as we learn from the Ephod incident (8.22-35).           14.1.  After  the  LORD had  restored  the peace  through Gideon's military force,  the  people asked  Gideon to become the king.  He  refused.  The LORD was the true king (8.22-23).           14.2.  Gideon  was probably  well  meaning when  he made the ephod (priest loin cloth (Ex 39.1- 26),  but he should have known that it would  become an idol (8.24-27; Exodus 32.1-8).

    15.  Israel prospered until Gideon died.  Then, without Gideon to lead them,  Israel reverted to the Caananite  way of life.  People need strong  leaders (8.28-35).

Copyright 1986 by Tod M. Kennedy

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