November 14, 2012

Battle Gideon

Passage: Judges 7

Bible Text: Judges 7 | Preacher: Pastor Steve | Series: sea
Judges 7:1-15 So Jerubbaal (that is, Gideon) and his army got up early and went as far as the spring of Harod. The armies of Midian were camped north of them in the valley near the hill of Moreh. The LORD said to Gideon, You have too many warriors with you. If I let all of you fight the Midianites, the Israelites will boast to me that they saved themselves by their own strength. Therefore, tell the people, ‘Whoever is timid or afraid may leave and go home. Twenty-two thousand of them went home, leaving only ten thousand who were willing to fight.
But the LORD told Gideon, There are still too many! Bring them down to the spring, and I will sort out who will go with you and who will not.When Gideon took his warriors down to the water, the LORD told him, Divide the men into two groups. In one group put all those who cup water in their hands and lap it up with their tongues like dogs. In the other group put all those who kneel down and drink with their mouths in the stream.
Only three hundred of the men drank from their hands. All the others got down on their knees and drank with their mouths in the stream. The LORD told Gideon, With these three hundred men I will rescue you and give you victory over the Midianites. Send all the others home. So Gideon collected the provisions and rams’ horns of the other warriors and sent them home. But he kept the three hundred men with him.
Now the Midianite camp was in the valley just below Gideon. During the night, the LORD said, Get up! Go down into the Midianite camp, for I have given you victory over them! But if you are afraid to attack, go down to the camp with your servant Purah. Listen to what the Midianites are saying, and you will be greatly encouraged. Then you will be eager to attack.
So Gideon took Purah and went down to the outposts of the enemy camp. The armies of Midian, Amalek, and the people of the east had settled in the valley like a swarm of locusts. Their camels were like grains of sand on the seashore — too many to count! Gideon crept up just as a man was telling his friend about a dream.
The man said, I had this dream, and in my dream a loaf of barley bread came tumbling down into the Midianite camp. It hit a tent, turned it over, and knocked it flat! His friend said, Your dream can mean only one thing — God has given Gideon son of Joash, the Israelite, victory over all the armies united with Midian!
When Gideon heard the dream and its interpretation, he thanked God. Then he returned to the Israelite camp and shouted, Get up! For the LORD has given you victory over the Midianites!
Gideon and his men go to war against the Midianites. Gideon recruited 32,000 men to fight. The Midianites had an army of 135,000. Gideon was outnumbered four-to-one.
BUT God said, “You don’t need as many as you have, because this is MY battle. So you will need to send home everyone who’s afraid.”
Twenty-two thousand troops went home, leaving Gideon with 10,000 soldiers. Now Gideon’s outnumbered thirteen-to-one.
God came again to Gideon: There are still too many men. Take them down to the water, and I will filter out those who should not fight. Separate those who lap the water with their tongues like a dog from those who kneel down to drink.
Three hundred men lapped with their hands to their mouths. All the rest got down on their knees to drink. The Lord said to Gideon with the 300 men that lapped I will save you, Israel and give you victory over the Midianites!
In the time that Gideon is written dogs are not well thought of as they are today. The idea that these guys lapped water like a dog drank would be considered nerdy today.
The point of God reducing the numbers of troops was to make clear that victory would be God’s alone. Midian trained, skilled troops now outnumbered the Israelites 450-to-1.
Does anybody wrestle with worry? Does anybody get anxious? Do we struggle with fear?
Philippians 4:6-7 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
Paul continued to write under the power of the Holy Spirit that I can do all things.
Philippians 4:10-13 How grateful I am, and how I praise the Lord that you are concerned about me again. I know you have always been concerned for me, but for a while you didn’t have the chance to help me. Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to get along happily whether I have much or little. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything with the help of Christ who gives me the strength I need.
Paul sounds so positive so confident! It would be easy to assume that life was rosy when he wrote these words. But where was he? According to 1:12–14, he is in prison; in Rome, facing a death sentence!
We don’t plan for things to go wrong but we have a choice, because we are believers in Jesus Christ, either we start to see these circumstances as opportunities or opposition.
We can do everything through Him who gives me strength: Literally we can do all things, anything and everything we face we can survive, be bold, be strong because it is Christ who keeps on empowering us from within. It is the on-going life of Jesus living in us that will take us through the fire and deep waters.
Paul had learned the lesson of contentment. The word content in terms of a secular definition means to be self-sufficient. This word pictures human self-reliance and fortitude, a calm acceptance of life’s pressures.
But Paul used the word contentment referring to his God-sufficiency for whatever circumstances he face! The secret is Jesus who strengthens us.
The Holy Spirit reminds us: I am bigger than your problems. I am bigger than your failures.
God knows about the Midianites in your life. He knows when we are outnumbered! He knows about our worries and fears. He knows about the struggles you have; He knows!

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