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Bible

Understanding

Made Easy

Gideon

Gideon has a very interesting story that we can learn a lot from.  He is one who triumphed in faith and God uses him as an example for us to imitate (Hebrews 11:32).  Here are some highlights from his life.

 

  1. Gideon lived in a time when the children of Israel were living sinfully in the land (Judges 6:1-6).

    1. As a punishment for their sins, God allowed their country to constantly be raided by the Midianites and other enemies of the time.

    2. These enemies were very cruel to the children of Israel as they would steal all the food from the land.

      1. These enemies put the children of Israel in severe poverty.

        1. Times were very tough for them!

  2. However, God noticed their suffering and His big heart of compassion was moved to help them after they prayed about the situation.

    1. He sent the angel of the Lord to Gideon (Judges 6:7-16).

      1. The angel of the Lord told Gideon that he should go and lead the children of Israel to victory against their Midianite oppressors.

        1. Gideon did not have the confidence in himself to get the job done.

        2. In response to his lack of confidence, God just repeated Himself by telling Gideon that He was with him and children of Israel would be victorious.

      2. What do we learn from Gideon’s lack of confidence and God’s response?

        1. Well, we must understand that our confidence comes from God.

        2. When we continue to study the promises of God, we understand that our strength and victory comes from God.

        3. The more you study, the more confidence you will gain in the things you do, because you understand that God will empower you to do anything He sends you to do.

          1. How do we know this?

            1. God has said so.

            2. Read Philippians 4:13 that says, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (King James Version).

            3. Again, whatever God tells us to do in His Word, He will be with us and empower us to get it done.

            4. This is why we study our Bibles every day.

            5. It constantly reminds us of what God has done, can do, and will do for His children – including you and me!

            6. This will give you more confidence in the good things you do!

  3. Gideon wanted to make sure God was really sending him to lead the children to victory against the Midianites.

    1. So, He asked God for a sign.

    2. He said, “17…If now I have found favor in your eyes, give me a sign that it is really you talking to me. 18 Please do not go away until I come back and bring my offering and set it before you...” (Judges 6:17-18 New International Version).

      1. The Lord agreed to give him a sign.

      2. So, Gideon took some goat’s meat and unleavened bread and placed it on a rock.

      3. The angel of the Lord took his staff and miraculously lit the meat and bread on fire.

      4. Then, the angel disappeared (Judges 6:20-22)!

  4.  In the next Bible scene concerning Gideon’s story, we see the enemies of the children of Israel start gathering together to attack.

    1. These were the Midianites, Amalekites, and other people east of Israel.

    2. Gideon blew his trumpet and called all the fighting men of Israel to join the upcoming battle (Judges 6:33-35).

  5. After the enemies showed up in the land, Gideon requested two signs that God was with him before he and the children of Israel went into battle (Judges 6:36-40).

    1. Gideon said, “36…If you will save Israel by my hand as you have promised— 37 look, I will place a wool fleece on the threshing floor. If there is dew only on the fleece and all the ground is dry, then I will know that you will save Israel by my hand, as you said” (Judges 6:36-37 New International Version).

      1. God worked with Gideon and gave him the sign he wanted.

      2. Gideon put the fleece on the ground and in the morning, it was wet while the ground around it was dry!

      3. God showed Gideon again that he and the children of Israel would be victorious over their enemies through this sign.

    2. Gideon also asked for another sign when he said the following to God, “39…Do not be angry with me. Let me make just one more request. Allow me one more test with the fleece, but this time make the fleece dry and let the ground be covered with dew.” (Judges 6:39 New International Version).

      1. God came through again with the results confirming victory.

      2. He miraculously made the fleece become dry while all of the ground around it was wet!

    3. What is our sign today?

      1. Today, we are not to expect God to confirm our decisions with miracles like in Gideon’s day.

      2. Instead, God wants us to study His Bible to confirm whether or not He is with us (2 Peter 1:5).

      3. Here is a list of ways to know if God is with today.

        1. If we are living righteously as children of God, then He is with us (Romans 8:14; 1 Peter 3:12).

        2. If have faith in what He tells us, then He is with us (Hebrews 11:6).

          1. Remember, He said He would never leave the righteous (Hebrews 13:5).

        3. If we pray and ask for Him to help us, then He is with us (1 John 5:14-15).

  6. Moving on to Judges 7, we see Gideon and his army before they went to battle with the Midianites.

    1. God purposely made Gideon reduce his army.

    2. First, God said to him, “2…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” (Judges 7:2-3 New International Version).

      1. Unfortunately, a massive amount of men left Gideon’s army.

        1. 22,000 men were reported to have left Gideon.

      2. Why did God reduce the army?

        1. It is because God did not want the children of Israel to say after the victory that they won the battle on their own power.

        2. God wanted to get the praise for the victory Himself.

        3. As we always are to do and is constantly repeated through our studies, we must give God the praise for all of His blessings given to us.

          1. Everything comes from Him and is given to us as a gift (James 1:17).

          2. Remember, the Bible says, “By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name” (Hebrews 13:15).

        4. So, sing with the understanding of everything you have been given, especially salvation, since everything is a gift from God (Romans 3:23; 6:23).

          1. Put enthusiasm in your praise and don’t just go through the motions!

          2. Mean the praise that you sing to God, because His love and kindness upon us is worth the sincere the effort we give to Him in song!

        5. Furthermore, the Bible also says, “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).

        6. Keep in mind that giving thanks to God is not limited to just worship service and before we eat meals.

          1. Give Him daily thanks in prayer to show your daily love for Him!

          2. Each day of life and all the blessings within them that He gives us are gifts from Him and we should tell Him “thank you” for all of these blessings every day in our prayers (Philippians 4:6-7; Deuteronomy 32:39).

      3. Getting back to the story of Gideon, we find out another reason why God wanted to reduce the army of Gideon (Judges 7:3).

        1. He does not want the fearful serving Him.

        2. The same thing is true for us today.

          1. God says the following to Christian people of our day and age, “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28 New International Version).

          2. As you can see, God does not want us fearful of others mistreating us because we are Christians.

          3. He does not want us being ashamed of being a Christian either because others do not like it or accept us for being Christians (Matthew 10:32).

          4. Do not be afraid to say you are a Christian even if it loses friends.

          5. A real friend will accept you and your Christian faith if he or she really cares about you!

    3. Second, God tells Gideon to reduce his army again (Judges 7:4-8)!

      1. Let’s examine how God did it as read from Judges 7:4-8, “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…” (New International Version).

      2. As you can see, the water was the test as to which soldiers would be chosen for Gideon’s army and which ones would be rejected (Judges 7:4).

        1. God’s test would surely separate the two groups.

        2. The soldiers who would be kept were the ones who would cup their hands and lick the water out of them.

        3. The soldiers who would be rejected would be the ones who got on their knees to drink the water directly out of the river.

        4. This author does not know why God separated the groups the way that He did.

        5. We just have to trust that He knows what He is doing, because He is always more intelligent and wiser than us (Isaiah 55:8).

        6. God’s plan reduced Gideon’s army down to only 300 men!

        7. You will find out that the children of Israel’s enemies were over 100,000 soldiers strong (Judges 8:10)!

        8. Thus, for Gideon and the children of Israel to win the battle, God would have to directly intervene as they were outmatched over 300 to one!

          1. These are terrible odds of victory.

          2. This is worse than one man trying to beat an entire football team of 11 players against him!

          3. The average person would think that Gideon had no chance at victory!

          4. However, as we constantly study, nothing is impossible with God on our sides (Luke 1:37).

          5. Don’t get discouraged with numbers.

          6. God can use you and a small group of Christians to do powerful things.

          7. Many times, God uses a small group of people to do his work in this world.

  7. Moving on, Judges 7 also reveals to us Gideon’s plan against his enemies.

    1. It says, “…Get up! The Lord has given the Midianite camp into your hands.” 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…” (Judges 7:15-18 New International Version).

      1. Gideon and his men did just what the plan said to do.

      2. The blowing of the horns, smashing the jars, and shouting terrified the Midianite army.

        1. The Midianite army began to run away.

        2. On top of their running away, God caused them to start killing each other.

        3. As they fled, Gideon called for backup from the other tribes of the children of Israel who caught up with the fleeing Midianites.

        4. These Midianites were crushed in defeat and their leaders were slain (Judges 7:19-25).

  8. In Judges 8, we find out that still other Midianite soldiers survived and needed to be defeated (Judges 8:1-21).

    1. God’s Word says that there were only 15 enemies left, because 128,000 had already been killed by the children of Israel (Judges 8:10).

      1. Gideon and the children of Israel ambushed the enemy and killed their two kings.

      2. They defeated the enemy army by the blessing of God (Judges 8:11-12)!

 

In summary, we learned a lot from the story of Gideon.  We learned first that our confidence comes from God.  Gideon did not have confidence in himself, but God made his confidence stronger so he was able to lead an army to victory.  Regarding us today, always remember that we can do all things through Christ that strengthens us (Philippians 4:13).  Just like Gideon received confidence to do God’s work, we should have the same confidence to do our works for God today.  This confidence comes from knowing that Jesus will be with us always and will give us the ability to get the job done (Matthew 28:18-20)!  Also, we learned that God can help us do a lot with very little.  God used Gideon and three hundred men as the group who started the process of defeating over 100,000 men.  You may only be working with a few Christian friends, but you can get a lot done anyway with God on your side!  Lastly, we understand the power of faith using Gideon’s life as a witness!  With Gideon’s awesome victory over his enemies, we find out that nothing is impossible with God.  As a result, we should trust God at all times even when the odds are against us!

- Anthony L. Norwood

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