November 21, 2021 Service
Building a People of God with Unusual Characters: Gideon and the 300–God’s Deliverance
      • Psalm 93ESV

  • The Cycle of Spiritual Decline

    Here We Go Again

    Does consistency count?
    Judges 6:1 CSB
    1 The Israelites did what was evil in the sight of the Lord. So the Lord handed them over to Midian seven years,
    Judges 6:2 CSB
    2 and they oppressed Israel. Because of Midian, the Israelites made hiding places for themselves in the mountains, caves, and strongholds.

    The Midianite Oppression

    This was not an occupying governor or a ruling King.

    This Was A Siege Against Prosperity

    Judges 6:3–4 CSB
    3 Whenever the Israelites planted crops, the Midianites, Amalekites, and the people of the east came and attacked them. 4 They encamped against them and destroyed the produce of the land, even as far as Gaza. They left nothing for Israel to eat, as well as no sheep, ox, or donkey.

    Raiding the Israeli “Breadbasket” Like Locusts

    Judges 6:5 CSB
    5 For the Midianites came with their cattle and their tents like a great swarm of locusts. They and their camels were without number, and they entered the land to lay waste to it.
    In Trouble Again,

    Israel Calls On the God Who Delivers

    Judges 6:6 CSB
    6 So Israel became poverty-stricken because of Midian, and the Israelites cried out to the Lord.

    God Hears Their Cry

    Judges 6:7 CSB
    7 When the Israelites cried out to him because of Midian,

    God Sends A Prophet Not A Deliverer

    The Prophet reminds them of the God who saves
    Judges 6:8 CSB
    8 the Lord sent a prophet to them. He said to them, “This is what the Lord God of Israel says: ‘I brought you out of Egypt and out of the place of slavery.
    Judges 6:9 CSB
    9 I rescued you from the power of Egypt and the power of all who oppressed you. I drove them out before you and gave you their land.

    God’s Law Was Ignored

    Judges 6:10 CSB
    10 I said to you: I am the Lord your God. Do not fear the gods of the Amorites whose land you live in. But you did not obey me.’ ”

    God Promised This Consequence

    Deuteronomy 28:20 CSB
    20 The Lord will send against you curses, confusion, and rebuke in everything you do until you are destroyed and quickly perish, because of the wickedness of your actions in abandoning me.
    Deuteronomy 28:38 CSB
    38 “You will sow much seed in the field but harvest little, because locusts will devour it.
    Deuteronomy 28:47 CSB
    47 Because you didn’t serve the Lord your God with joy and a cheerful heart, even though you had an abundance of everything,

    God Calls On Gideon

    Who is trying to survive
    Judges 6:11 CSB
    11 The angel of the Lord came, and he sat under the oak that was in Ophrah, which belonged to Joash, the Abiezrite. His son Gideon was threshing wheat in the winepress in order to hide it from the Midianites.

    This is Unexpected:

    Judges 6:12 CSB
    12 Then the angel of the Lord appeared to him and said, “The Lord is with you, valiant warrior.”

    Gideon’s Despair

    Judges 6:13 CSB
    13 Gideon said to him, “Please, my lord, if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened? And where are all his wonders that our ancestors told us about? They said, ‘Hasn’t the Lord brought us out of Egypt?’ But now the Lord has abandoned us and handed us over to Midian.”

    God Is Sending Gideon to Deliver

    Judges 6:14 CSB
    14 The Lord turned to him and said, “Go in the strength you have and deliver Israel from the grasp of Midian. I am sending you!”

    Gideon Asks for a Sign

    well, for the first time, anyway?
    Judges 6:17 CSB
    17 Then he said to him, “If I have found favor with you, give me a sign that you are speaking with me.
    The First Sign:

    Gideon’s Hospitality Becomes a Burnt Offering

    Judges 6:21 CSB
    21 The angel of the Lord extended the tip of the staff that was in his hand and touched the meat and the unleavened bread. Fire came up from the rock and consumed the meat and the unleavened bread. Then the angel of the Lord vanished from his sight.
    Judges 6:24 CSB
    24 So Gideon built an altar to the Lord there and called it The Lord Is Peace. It is still in Ophrah of the Abiezrites today.
    Begin With the Spiritual Disgrace:

    Deal With Dad’s Idolatry

    Judges 6:25 CSB
    25 On that very night the Lord said to him, “Take your father’s young bull and a second bull seven years old. Then tear down the altar of Baal that belongs to your father and cut down the Asherah pole beside it.

    Gideon’s Fear-full Obedience

    Judges 6:27 CSB
    27 So Gideon took ten of his male servants and did as the Lord had told him. But because he was too afraid of his father’s family and the men of the city to do it in the daytime, he did it at night.
    By the way, the 7-year-old bull was witness to all the years of Midian’s oppression

    Vigilantes Come for Gideon

    Judges 6:30 CSB
    30 Then the men of the city said to Joash, “Bring out your son. He must die, because he tore down Baal’s altar and cut down the Asherah pole beside it.”

    Let Baal Defend Himself

    Judges 6:31 CSB
    31 But Joash said to all who stood against him, “Would you plead Baal’s case for him? Would you save him? Whoever pleads his case will be put to death by morning! If he is a god, let him plead his own case because someone tore down his altar.”

    The Midianites Assemble for the Raid

    Judges 6:33 CSB
    33 All the Midianites, Amalekites, and people of the east gathered together, crossed over the Jordan, and camped in the Jezreel Valley.

    Gideon Calls Out an Army

    Judges 6:34 CSB
    34 The Spirit of the Lord enveloped Gideon, and he blew the ram’s horn and the Abiezrites rallied behind him.
    Judges 6:35 CSB
    35 He sent messengers throughout all of Manasseh, who rallied behind him. He also sent messengers throughout Asher, Zebulun, and Naphtali, who also came to meet him.

    Gideon’s Fleece: Fix My Fears

    Send a Sign Before Battle

    Judges 6:36 CSB
    36 Then Gideon said to God, “If you will deliver Israel by me, as you said,
    Judges 6:37 CSB
    37 I will put a wool fleece here on the threshing floor. If dew is only on the fleece, and all the ground is dry, I will know that you will deliver Israel by me, as you said.”

    First Night: a Wet Fleece

    Judges 6:38 CSB
    38 And that is what happened. When he got up early in the morning, he squeezed the fleece and wrung dew out of it, filling a bowl with water.

    Second Night: a Dry Fleece

    Judges 6:39 CSB
    39 Gideon then said to God, “Don’t be angry with me; let me speak one more time. Please allow me to make one more test with the fleece. Let it remain dry, and the dew be all over the ground.”
    Judges 6:40 CSB
    40 That night God did as Gideon requested: only the fleece was dry, and dew was all over the ground.

    Gideon’s Army

    Too Many Warriors for God’s Glory

    Judges 7:2 CSB
    2 The Lord said to Gideon, “You have too many troops for me to hand the Midianites over to them, or else Israel might elevate themselves over me and say, ‘I saved myself.’

    Send Away the Fraidy-cats

    Judges 7:3 CSB
    3 Now announce to the troops, ‘Whoever is fearful and trembling may turn back and leave Mount Gilead.’ ” So twenty-two thousand of the troops turned back, but ten thousand remained.

    Send Away the Careless

    Judges 7:4 CSB
    4 Then the Lord said to Gideon, “There are still too many troops. Take them down to the water, and I will test them for you there. If I say to you, ‘This one can go with you,’ he can go. But if I say about anyone, ‘This one cannot go with you,’ he cannot go.”
    Judges 7:5 CSB
    5 So he brought the troops down to the water, and the Lord said to Gideon, “Separate everyone who laps water with his tongue like a dog. Do the same with everyone who kneels to drink.”

    300 Against Midian

    Will Be God’s Deliverance
    Judges 7:7 CSB
    7 The Lord said to Gideon, “I will deliver you with the three hundred men who lapped and hand the Midianites over to you. But everyone else is to go home.”

    Gideon Kept What He Needed

    Judges 7:8 CSB
    8 So Gideon sent all the Israelites to their tents but kept the three hundred troops, who took the provisions and their rams’ horns. The camp of Midian was below him in the valley.

    The Midnight Ambush

    Judges 7:9 CSB
    9 That night the Lord said to him, “Get up and attack the camp, for I have handed it over to you.

    The Midianites Were Many

    Judges 7:12 CSB
    12 Now the Midianites, Amalekites, and all the people of the east had settled down in the valley like a swarm of locusts, and their camels were as innumerable as the sand on the seashore.

    Gideon Overhears Their Fear

    Judges 7:13 CSB
    13 When Gideon arrived, there was a man telling his friend about a dream. He said, “Listen, I had a dream: a loaf of barley bread came tumbling into the Midianite camp, struck a tent, and it fell. The loaf turned the tent upside down so that it collapsed.”
    Judges 7:14 CSB
    14 His friend answered, “This is nothing less than the sword of Gideon son of Joash, the Israelite. God has handed the entire Midianite camp over to him.”
    Judges 7:15 CSB
    15 When Gideon heard the account of the dream and its interpretation, he bowed in worship. He returned to Israel’s camp and said, “Get up, for the Lord has handed the Midianite camp over to you.”

    The Attack of the 300

    Judges 7:19 CSB
    19 Gideon and the hundred men who were with him went to the outpost of the camp at the beginning of the middle watch after the sentries had been stationed. They blew their rams’ horns and broke the pitchers that were in their hands.
    Judges 7:20 CSB
    20 The three companies blew their rams’ horns and shattered their pitchers. They held their torches in their left hands and their rams’ horns to blow in their right hands, and they shouted, “A sword for the Lord and for Gideon!”

    The Midianites Self-Destruct in Fear

    Judges 7:22 CSB
    22 When Gideon’s men blew their three hundred rams’ horns, the Lord caused the men in the whole army to turn on each other with their swords. They fled to Acacia House in the direction of Zererah as far as the border of Abel-meholah near Tabbath.

    Gideon’s End-Point Error

    Judges 8:22 CSB
    22 Then the Israelites said to Gideon, “Rule over us, you as well as your sons and your grandsons, for you delivered us from the power of Midian.”

    A Good Start

    Judges 8:23 CSB
    23 But Gideon said to them, “I will not rule over you, and my son will not rule over you; the Lord will rule over you.”
    At their insistence, Gideon prepared an Ephod from the booty of Midian

    A Poor Finish

    Judges 8:27 CSB
    27 Gideon made an ephod from all this and put it in Ophrah, his hometown. Then all Israel prostituted themselves by worshiping it there, and it became a snare to Gideon and his household.

    Gideon’s Legacy:

    He Answered God’s Call

    But he tested God 3 times

    He Defeated Midian with Victory of the 300

    But he succumbed to the gold

    He Judged Israel 40 Years

    Judges 8:28 CSB
    28 So Midian was subdued before the Israelites, and they were no longer a threat. The land had peace for forty years during the days of Gideon.

    But Israel Wasn’t Led Away from Idolatry

    Judges 8:33 CSB
    33 When Gideon died, the Israelites turned and prostituted themselves by worshiping the Baals and made Baal-berith their god.
    Judges 8:34 CSB
    34 The Israelites did not remember the Lord their God who had rescued them from the hand of the enemies around them.
    Judges 8:35 CSB
    35 They did not show kindness to the house of Jerubbaal (that is, Gideon) for all the good he had done for Israel.
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      • Deuteronomy 28:20ESV

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