Gideon’s people were scattered and terrified of the Midianites. They would hide in caves in the mountains while the Midianites destroyed their crops and homes.
1 The Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD, and for seven years he gave them into the hands of the Midianites.
Gideon was hiding in a winepress threshing wheat when an angel of the the Lord appeared before him.
11 The angel of the LORD came and sat down under the oak in Ophrah that belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, where his son Gideon was threshing wheat in a winepress to keep it from the Midianites. 12 When the angel of the LORD appeared to Gideon, he said, “The LORD is with you, mighty warrior.”
13 “Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but if the LORD is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our ancestors told us about when they said, ‘Did not the LORD bring us up out of Egypt?’ But now the LORD has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian.”
14 The LORD turned to him and said, “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?”
15 “Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.”
16 The LORD answered, “I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites, leaving none alive.”
What God is telling Gideon is that “IT IS NOT YOU BUT ME that will accomplish things if you trust me!!”
God then asks Gideon to destroy his father’s alter. This is a bold and scary thing. Why did God ask him to do it ? A test of faith or commitment ? Who knows, the point is that when God asks us to do things which are uncomfortable or scary, you better do it if you want God to work in your life.
25 That same night the LORD said to him, “Take the second bull from your father’s herd, the one seven years old.Tear down your father’s altar to Baal and cut down the Asherah pole beside it. 26 Then build a proper kind of altar to the LORD your God on the top of this height. Using the wood of the Asherah pole that you cut down, offer the second bull as a burnt offering.”
Judges 7 – Gideon Defeats the Midianites
God then tells Gideon his plan for destroying the Midianites. What he wants to ensure is that everyone knows and remembers that IT WAS ME WORKING THROUGH YOU that made it possible. All you had to do was trust me and obey me!!
So He commands Gideon to reduce his army from 30,000 to 10,000 and then to 300.
2 The LORD said to Gideon, “You have too many men. I cannot deliver Midian into their hands, or Israel would boast against me, ‘My own strength has saved me.’ 3 Now announce to the army, ‘Anyone who trembles with fear may turn back and leave Mount Gilead.’” So twenty-two thousand men left, while ten thousand remained.
4 But the LORD said to Gideon, “There are still too many men. Take them down to the water, and I will thin them out for you there. If I say, ‘This one shall go with you,’ he shall go; but if I say, ‘This one shall not go with you,’ he shall not go.”
5 So Gideon took the men down to the water. There the LORD told him, “Separate those who lap the water with their tongues as a dog laps from those who kneel down to drink.” 6 Three hundred of them drank from cupped hands, lapping like dogs. All the rest got down on their knees to drink.
7 The LORD said to Gideon, “With the three hundred men that lapped I will save you and give the Midianites into your hands. Let all the others go home.” 8 So Gideon sent the rest of the Israelites home but kept the three hundred, who took over the provisions and trumpets of the others.
Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
Gideon listened to, trusted and obeyed God and so they defeated the Midianites.
16 Dividing the three hundred men into three companies, he placed trumpets and empty jars in the hands of all of them, with torches inside.
17 “Watch me,” he told them. “Follow my lead. When I get to the edge of the camp, do exactly as I do. 18 When I and all who are with me blow our trumpets, then from all around the camp blow yours and shout, ‘For the LORD and for Gideon.’”
19 Gideon and the hundred men with him reached the edge of the camp at the beginning of the middle watch, just after they had changed the guard. They blew their trumpets and broke the jars that were in their hands. 20 The three companies blew the trumpets and smashed the jars. Grasping the torches in their left hands and holding in their right hands the trumpets they were to blow, they shouted, “A sword for the LORD and for Gideon!” 21 While each man held his position around the camp, all the Midianites ran, crying out as they fled.
22 When the three hundred trumpets sounded, the LORD caused the men throughout the camp to turn on each other with their swords. The army fled to Beth Shittah toward Zererah as far as the border of Abel Meholah near Tabbath. 23 Israelites from Naphtali, Asher and all Manasseh were called out, and they pursued the Midianites.
Joshua listened to, trusted and obeyed God, even though what he suggesting must have made no sense to him, and the walls of Jericho fell.
2 Then the LORD said to Joshua, “See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its king and its fighting men. 3 March around the city once with all the armed men. Do this for six days. 4 Have seven priests carry trumpets of rams’ horns in front of the ark. On the seventh day, march around the city seven times, with the priests blowing the trumpets. 5 When you hear them sound a long blast on the trumpets, have the whole army give a loud shout; then the wall of the city will collapse and the army will go up, everyone straight in.”
Abraham listened to, trusted and obeyed God and built the ark even though he had never even seen rain.
What about you? Do you listen to, trust I and obey God? Or only when it looks like you will be better off, more comfortable, better salary? Remember John the Baptist, it is not our safety and comfort that count but God’s plan. And the beautiful paradox is that if we go in our own direction we will be less comfortable, less safe and less prosperous but when we follow Him wherever we may leave we will have a better life because we have the fruit of the spirit :
love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control
No money but peace = OK Lots of money but no peace = NOT OK