Gideon (Sketches of Glory Book 2)

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  4. Gedeon the Faithful Servant

To this day it stands in Ophrah of the Abiezrites. Using [as fuel] the wood of the Asherah pole that you cut down, offer the second bull as a burnt offering. But because he was [too] afraid of his family and the men of the town, he did it at night rather than in the daytime. Are you trying to save him? Whoever fights for him [ argues his case] shall be put to death by morning! If Baal really is a god, he can defend himself when someone breaks down his altar.

If there is dew only on the fleece [in the morning] and all the ground is dry, then I will know that you will save Israel by my hand, as you said. Gideon rose early the next day; he squeezed the fleece and wrung out the dew—a bowlful of water. Let me make just one more request. Allow me one more test with the fleece. This time make the fleece dry and the ground covered with dew.

Only the fleece was dry; all the ground was covered with dew. The camp of Midian was north of them in the valley near the hill of Moreh. Take them down to the water, and I will sift [test] them for you there. All the rest got down on their knees to drink. Let all the other men go, each to his own place. Now the camp of Midian lay below him in the valley. Afterward, you will be [greatly] encouraged [and eager, your hands will be strengthened] to attack the camp.

Their camels could no more be counted than the [grains of] sand on the seashore [too many to count]. It struck the tent with such force that the tent overturned and collapsed. God has given [victory over] the Midianites and the whole camp into his hands.

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Faith in Action ……. The Timing of the Attack ….. The Lord has given the Midianite camp into your hands. When I get to the edge of the camp, do exactly as I do. They blew their trumpets and broke [smashed] the jars that were in their hands. They killed Oreb at the rock of Oreb, and Zeeb at the winepress of Zeeb. What was I able to do compared to you? Why should we give bread to your troops?

Why should we give bread to your exhausted men? As surely as the Lord lives, if you had spared their lives, I would not kill you. The Lord will rule over you. All Israel prostituted themselves by worshiping it there, and it became a snare [trap] to Gideon and his family. Obstacle of Faith: Wrong Relationships ……to many Loves.

They set up Baal-Berith as their god and 34 did not remember [they forgot] the Lord their God, who had rescued them from the hands of all their enemies on every side. I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel and the prophets, 33 who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies.

Faith is obeying God in spite of what we see, how we feel, or what the consequences might be …. Marvel at God power………. El mandato Dios para ejercer la Fe No temas. No vas a morir. Los Primeros Pasos de Fe de Gedeon … Obstaculo de Fe: El ejercito de Gedeon es demasiado grande Dios ha entregado en sus manos a los madianitas con todo el campamento.

Y le reconvinieron fuertemente. Amazed at God power………. JM - Midian. They became the worst scourge yet to afflict Israel. He used prophets in isolated cases before Samuel, the band of prophets Samuel probably founded 1 Sam. Here the prophet is sent to bring the divine curse because of their infidelity v. This angel lit.

See note on Ex. Gideon threshed wheat in the winepress … to hide it. This indicated a situation of serious distress; also it indicated a small amount of grain. This is clear because he is doing it rather than having cattle tread it. It is on bare ground or in the winepress rather than on a threshing floor made of wood, and is done remotely under a tree out of view.

The fear of the Midianites caused this. The very chastisements of God were proof of His care for and presence with Israel. God graciously gave it. Fire from God further filled Gideon with awe and even the fear of death. When he saw the Lord, he knew the Lord had also seen him in his fallenness. Thus he feared the death that sinners should die before Holy God. But God graciously promised life v. For a similar reaction to the presence of God, see Manoah in , 23 cf. Very real human fear and wise precaution interplays with trust in an all-sufficient God.

This was a bold rebuke to the non-existent deity, who was utterly unable to respond. But they were also legitimate requests for confirmation of victory against seemingly impossible odds ; , God nowhere reprimanded Gideon, but was very compassionate in giving what his inadequacy requested. Three hundred men win against an incredible Midianite host Judg. God gains the glory by making the outcome conspicuously His act, and no sinful pride is cultivated.

Soldiers who lapped as a dog, scooping water with their hands as a dog uses its tongue, were chosen; while those who sank to their knees to drink were rejected. No reason for such distinction is given, so that it showed nothing about their ability as soldiers. It was merely a way to divide the crowd. God encouraged him to take his servant as protection.

See note on — God said this in Infused with courage, Gideon is in step with the Lord. The impression caused by blaring noise, the always terrible shouts of Israel cf. Here was the power of God in harmony with the obedience of man. Such shouts reminded the enemies that the threat of the sword of Gideon and of God was for real. The impression was one of doom and terror.

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Panic followed shock. Every soldier was on his own, in desperate retreat. In the darkness and crash of sounds the soldiers were unable to distinguish friend from enemy, and with their swords they slashed a path of escape through their own men. He had them dragged under heavy weights over thorns and briers, which painfully tore their bodies. This was a cruel torture to which ancient captives were often subjected. He did it on his return, not wanting to delay the pursuit v. They probably had defiantly boasted of their strength and defensibility because of the tower.

He kept his promise and more v. Gideon desired to place a great honor on his son by killing the enemies of Israel and of God. The earlier Midianite scourge inflicted on Israel was the worst, so this victory lived long in their minds cf. Israelites sinned by the misguided motive and request that Gideon reign as king. To his credit, the leader declined, insisting that God alone rule cf. Synonymous with Midianites cf. Gideon intended nothing more than to make a breastplate as David did 1 Chr.

It was never intended to set up idolatrous worship, but to be a symbol of civil power. That no evil was intended can be noted from the subduing of Midian v. The total was about 42 lbs. Abimelech, a son by yet another illicit relationship, grew up to be the wretched king in Judg. Polygamy always resulted in trouble. The downward cycles see the sketch near of apostasy again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord ; cf. The story of Samson is comparable, consisting of 96 verses in four chapters.

The distress under the Midianites b-6 b This relatively brief period of oppression was sandwiched in between two year periods of peace ; The Midianites were descendants of Abraham and Keturah Gen. They were a nomadic people who came from near the Gulf of Aqabah and ranged throughout the Arabah and Transjordania, apparently at this time subduing the Edomites, Moabites, and Ammonites as they crossed the Jordan into Canaan as far north as the Jezreel Valley Jud. The strength of Midianite oppression forced the Israelites to hide themselves and their produce in mountain clefts, caves, and strongholds.

However, this was not a continual occupation like the preceding one of the Canaanites but a seasonal invasion at harvesttime, whenever the Israelites planted their crops. But the cumulative effect of these invasions on Israelite agriculture and food cycles was devastating. Midianite allies included the Amalekites from south of Judah; cf.

On these annual predatory invasions, in typical nomadic style, the oppressors camped on the land in such numbers and with such devastation that they were compared to swarms of locusts cf. The Midianites and their allies traveled on innumerable camels cf.

This is the first reference to an organized raid using camels cf. The impoverishment that came to Israel drove her to cry out to the Lord for help. The deliverance by Gideon 1 The censure of Israel by a prophet. The Lord. The prophet rebuked them for their continued disobedience But you have not listened to Me [God]. This message is similar to that from the Angel of the Lord at Bokim cf.

Possible site identifications are el-Affula six miles east of Megiddo or et-Taiyiba Hapharaim, eight miles northwest of Beth Shan. Normally wheat was threshed the grain separated from the wheat stalks in an open area on a threshing floor cf. Though this description may have been spoken in satire at this point Gideon was anything but a mighty warrior! He correctly concluded, however, that the Lord had put them into the hand of Midian. The words the strength you have perhaps assumed the divine presence previously mentioned v.

But, Gideon objected, My clan is the weakest. This objection might have stemmed from typical Near-Eastern humility, but perhaps it also reflected a good amount of reality. This request was granted cf. He no doubt planned to take the leftovers home for his family! But the Angel of the Lord touched the food offering with the tip of His staff and consumed it by fire, thus providing the sign Gideon had requested ; cf. Then the Angel. When the Lord assured Gideon he was not going to die. Gideon built an altar and named it the Lord is Peace. The Lord gave Gideon a test of obedience.

If Gideon was to deliver Israel from the Midianites, he must not only achieve military victory over the enemy but also must remove the cause of idolatry which initially led the Lord to give His people over to the Midianites cf. Their investigation of the overnight vandalism quickly implicated Gideon, whose execution they demanded.

This wise advice appealed to the people who then called Gideon by the name of Jerub-Baal, meaning Let Baal contend. They crossed. Gideon immediately began to muster men, summoning his Abiezrite clan cf. In fact Gideon already had a sign from God at the time of his commission Jud. Perhaps Gideon had second thoughts about the uniqueness of this event since the surrounding threshing floor might naturally dry before the fleece.

So he requested the opposite— This time make the fleece dry and the ground covered with dew. God patiently did so, and Gideon was reassured to continue his assignment. The Midianite force of , cf. God, whose strength does not depend on numbers cf. The permission to leave Mount Gilead is puzzling since Gilead was across the Jordan River to the east. Though the test given to the 9, seems simple enough, the words describing it are somewhat ambiguous. As the men drank from the spring, Gideon was to separate those who lap the water with their tongues like a dog from those who kneel down to drink.

Others have suggested that each used his hand to bring the water to his mouth much as a dog uses his tongue to bring water to his mouth. Whatever the explanation, the test probably identified those who were watchful, though some think it was strictly an arbitrary test for reducing the number of men. Now with just a few fighters, Gideon was again reassured by a divine promise: With the men.

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I will save you and give the Midianites into your hands cf. In spite of all the encouragement and assurance previously given Gideon, the Lord knew that he was afraid to attack, so God provided two further means of encouragement: a a direct divine word go down against the camp, because I am going to give it into your hands ; cf.

Gideon and Purah his servant stalked the outskirts of the Midianite camp with its innumerable tents spread out in the valley like locusts cf. The other Midianite responded, perhaps in jest, that this must refer to the sword of Gideon. However, the divinely intended symbolism is clear barley bread aptly described the poverty-stricken Israelites, and the tent referred to the nomadic Midianites. Gideon correctly understood it as an encouragement from the Lord that Israel would be victorious over Midian.

Spontaneously worshiping God after this message, Gideon returned to the Israelite camp and proceeded immediately to marshal his forces, passing on to them the same assurance God had given him— The Lord has given the Midianite camp into your hands cf. Gideon divided his small band into three companies of men, whose strategic but strange weapons were trumpets and empty jars.

They arrived at the edge of the Midianite camp at the providential time of the beginning of the middle watch p. At this critical moment the Israelites blew their trumpets and broke the jars both making a terrible noise and revealing the glowing torches , and shouted loudly, A sword for the Lord and for Gideon! This battle cry indicated their confidence in the Lord to give them victory and also identified them to the Midianites and aroused fear in them.

The jars were pitchers probably made of clay. The confusion in the Midianite camp was unbelievable as they imagined a much larger Israelite force attacking them and as they perhaps mistook their own retiring guards for Israelites. This divinely planned confusion caused the Midianites to turn on each other with their swords while the Israelites apparently watched in safety around the camp.

Gideon summoned reinforcements from Naphtali, Asher, and all Manasseh to pursue the fleeing Midianites. Gideon also requested aid of the Ephraimites, who were well situated, to cut off the Midianites at strategic locations, preventing them from fording the Jordan River. However, the Ephraimites. Though the Israelite reinforcements destroyed many of the fleeing Midianites, a sizable group, including two Midianite kings, Zebah and Zalmunna, escaped beyond the Jordan in a southeasterly direction.

They were rapidly pursued by Gideon and his men who sought food from the men of Succoth v. Both communities refused aid to Gideon, perhaps through fear of reprisal by the Midianites. However, this was tantamount to allying themselves with the Midianites against the Lord and His chosen deliverer.

To the people of Succoth he said, I will tear lit. Whatever the exact meaning, death seemed the inevitable result. To the people of Peniel he gave the threat, I will tear down this tower cf. The tower was possibly a fortress where people went for safety, like the tower of Shechem or the tower of Thebez The two Midianite kings Zebah and Zalmunna arrived with a surviving force of only 15, men at Karkor, an unidentified site thought to be near the Wadi Sirhan well east of the Dead Sea. The 15, was a mere 11 percent of the total Midianite force of , Gideon followed a caravan route.

Gideon then carried out his previous threat to punish the elders of the city cf. He also fulfilled his threat to punish the city of Peniel cf. With the two Midianite kings in hand, Gideon interrogated them regarding an otherwise unrecorded incident—the slaying of several brothers of his at Tabor, the conical small mountain just north of the Hill of Moreh. It is not stated whether this took place in the current invasion or on a previous Midianite invasion of the Jezreel Valley. Since Gideon felt obligated by the duty of blood revenge cf.

Gideon asked Jether his oldest son to kill them. This was an honor that the boy was not prepared to undertake, though it would have been a fitting insult to the kings to be slain by an untried opponent. They bravely invited Gideon to fulfill the revenge himself, considering it an honor to be slain by the courageous Gideon. Following this significant victory, the Israelites turned to Gideon with the request that he rule as king over them, that is, establish a ruling dynasty you, your son, and your grandson.

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Gideon declined both the rule and the dynasty but one of his sons, Abimelech, would later speak for himself; cf. Probably Gideon spoke words more significant than he realized when he affirmed the theocratic kingship of Yahweh— The Lord will rule over you. Though he rejected kingship, Gideon did take occasion to indulge in a form of virtual taxation by requesting a share of the plunder in the form of gold earrings, the total weight coming to about 43 pounds.

The term Ishmaelites originally referred to another nomadic tribe descended from Hagar Gen. Gideon took the gold he received and made an ephod, which he placed in Ophrah, his town. The nature of this ephod is not clear. It may have been patterned after the short outer garment worn by the high priest Ex. In the end Gideon seems to have returned to the syncretistic society out of which God had called him to deliver Israel.

The duration of peace This is the last period of peace recorded in the Book of Judges. The death of Gideon Though Jerub-Baal i. He also had a concubine. It may be significant that none of the judgeships recorded in the rest of the Book of Judges resulted in a designated period of peace contrast , 30; ; This seems to fit the general pattern of progressive political and social decline and moral degeneration in the book. The event that launched the declining phase of the period of the Judges was the abortive kingship of Abimelech.

Abimelech, a son of Gideon by a concubine, was not called a judge. In fact his rule included some elements of oppression which were eliminated only by his death and by the subsequent positive judgeship of Tola who lived in the same general area of the central highlands. The defection of Israel Instead of worshiping Yahweh with thanksgiving for all His deliverances, they set up Baal-Berith as their god, who had a central shrine at Shechem where he was also worshiped as El-Berith Their accompanying failure to show gratitude to the family of Jerub-Baal that is, Gideon ; cf.

About the time of the eighth Midianite invasion, God called a farmer in Manasseh named Gideon to become the deliverer of His people. Gideon started his career as somewhat of a coward Jdg. Gideon is a great encouragement to people who have a hard time accepting themselves and believing that God can make anything out of them or do anything with them. But before the Lord could use Gideon in His service, He had to deal with four doubts that plagued him and were obstacles to his faith. These doubts can be expressed in four questions. He had chastened them vv.

Obedience to the Lord builds character, but sin destroys character; and God cannot sit idly by and watch His children destroy themselves. Unless our suffering leads to repentance, it accomplishes no lasting good; and unless our repentance is evidence of a holy desire to turn from sin, not just escape from pain, repentance is only remorse. The Midianites organized a coalition of nations to invade the land Jdg.

When the Jews returned to their homes, they found only devastation; and they had to face another year without adequate food. He had rebuked them vv. Previous to this, an angel of the Lord, probably the Son of God, had come to Bochim to reprove Israel for her sins —5 ; and now an unnamed prophet came to repeat the message.

He also reminded them of His generosity in giving them the land and helping them overcome their enemies. He had given them everything they needed. The apostles repeatedly reminded the Christians that God had saved them so that they might live obediently and serve the Lord faithfully. Often after spanking a child, parents will reassure the child of their love and then gently admonish the child to listen to what they say and obey it.

God speaks to His children, either through the loving voice of Scripture or the heavy hand of chastening; and if we ignore the first, we must endure the second. One way or another, the Lord is going to get our attention and deal with us. Now He came down to help them vv. Here was Almighty God telling him that He was with him and would make him a conqueror, and Gideon replied by denying everything God said!

God would have to spend time with Gideon turning his question marks into exclamation points. Gideon was living by sight, not by faith, and had he remained that way he would never have been named among the heroes of faith in Hebrews In this, he was like Moses Ex. God cannot lie and God never fails.

Faith means obeying God in spite of what we see, how we feel, or what the consequences might be.

Once God has revealed His will to us, we must never question His wisdom or argue with His plans. Or who has been His counselor? Can you find out the limits of the Almighty? God promised to be with him. Gideon asked for a sign to assure him that it was really the Lord who was speaking to him 1 Cor. Gideon prepared a sacrifice, which was a costly thing to do at a time when food was scarce.

An ephah of flour was about a half a bushel, enough to make bread for a family for several days. It probably took him an hour to dress the meat and prepare the unleavened cakes, but God waited for him to return and then consumed the offering by bringing fire from the rock. The sudden appearance of the fire and disappearance of the visitor convinced Gideon that indeed he had seen God and spoken to Him, and this frightened him even more.

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Since the Jews believed it was fatal for sinful man to look upon God, Gideon was sure he would die. The human heart is indeed deceitful: Gideon asked to see a sign, and after seeing it, he was sure that the God who gave him the sign would now kill him! God had to give Gideon a message of peace to prepare him for fighting a war. Gideon now believed the Lord was able to use him, not because of who he was but because of who God was.

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Whenever God calls us to a task that we think is beyond us, we must be careful to look to God and not to ourselves. Job discovered that God could do everything Job , and Jeremiah admitted that there was nothing too hard for God Jer. Remember, he belonged to a family that worshiped Baal; and if he challenged the Midianites in the name of the Lord, it meant defying his father, his family, his neighbors, and the multitudes of people in Israel who were worshiping Baal. My guess is that Gideon had his emotional ups and downs that day, rejoicing that God was planning to deliver Israel, but trembling at the thought of being named the leader of the army.

Knowing that Gideon was still afraid, God assigned him a task right at home to show him that He would see him through. Gideon had to take his stand in his own village before he dared to face the enemy on the battlefield. Before God gives His servants great victories in public, He sometimes prepares them by giving them smaller victories at home. Before David killed the giant Goliath in the sight of two armies, he learned to trust God by killing a lion and a bear in the field where nobody saw it but God 1 Sam. For that matter, he had the right to stone everybody who was involved in Baal worship Deut.

Gideon decided to obey the Lord at night when the village was asleep. This showed his fear Jdg. How is it that you have no faith? Our God is a jealous God Ex. Gideon had privately built his own altar to the Lord Jdg. Before he could declare war on Midian, he had to declare war on Baal. The men of the city considered this a capital offense and wanted to kill Gideon. See Deut.

Gideon was no doubt wondering what would happen to him, but God proved Himself well able to handle the situation. See Isa. Elijah would take a similar approach years later. See 1 Kings Gideon learned a valuable lesson that day: If he obeyed the Lord, even with fear in his heart, the Lord would protect him and receive the glory.

Gideon needed to remember this as he mustered his army and prepared to attack the enemy. It was time for Gideon to act, and the Spirit of God gave him the wisdom and power that he needed. See Jdg. When a group of British pastors was discussing the advisability of inviting evangelist D. Does D. Moody have a monopoly on the Holy Spirit? Then he sent messengers throughout his own tribe of Manasseh as well as the neighboring tribes of Asher, Zebulun, and Naphtali. These four tribes were near the Valley of Jezreel, and therefore the invading army affected them most.

But what chance did 32, men have against an army of , men plus numberless camels? The Jews were outnumbered and would certainly be outmaneuvered, except for one thing: Jehovah God was on their side, and He had promised them victory. Did God really want him to lead the Jewish army? What did he know about warfare? After all, he was only an ordinary farmer; and there were others in the tribes who could do a much better job.

So, before he led the attack, he asked God to give him two more signs. It means asking God to guide us in a decision by fulfilling some condition that we lay down. Twice Gideon reminded God of what He had said —37 , and twice Gideon asked God to reaffirm His promises with a miracle. Gideon spent two days playing the fleece game with God at the threshing floor. The second night, the test was much harder; for he wanted the threshing floor to be wet but the fleece dry.

The ground of a threshing floor is ordinarily very hard and normally would not be greatly affected by the dew. But the next morning, Gideon found dry fleece but wet ground. There was nothing for Gideon to do but to confront the enemy and trust God for the victory. Christians are either overcome because of their unbelief or overcomers because of their faith.

God tests our faith Jdg. Spurgeon was right when he said that the promises of God shine brightest in the furnace of affliction, and it is in claiming those promises that we gain the victory. The first sifting vv. Less than 1 percent of the original 32, ended up following Gideon to the battlefield. Victories won because of faith bring glory to God because nobody can explain how they happened. Campbell Morgan. A decrease that sifts the ranks of the Church of men who fear and tremble is a great, a gracious and a glorious gain.

Fear has a way of spreading, and one timid soldier can do more damage than a whole company of enemy soldiers. We never know when God is testing us in some ordinary experience of life. Whether or not neatness and careful driving habits are always a guarantee of ministerial success is debatable, but the lesson is worth considering. More than one prospective employee has ruined his or her chances for a job while having lunch with the boss, not realizing they were being evaluated.

Pondering it from time to time has done me good. What significance was there in the two different ways the men drank from the river? Most expositors say the men who bowed down to drink were making themselves vulnerable to the enemy, while the who lapped water from their hands stayed alert.

But the enemy was four miles away v. My assumption is that God chose this method of sifting the army because it was simple, unassuming no soldier knew he was being tested , and easy to apply. Since the men undoubtedly came to the water by groups, Gideon was able to watch them and identify the All Gideon needed was 27 soldiers to defeat the whole Midianite army of , men Jdg. It is clear from that the Midianites knew who Gideon was, and no doubt they were watching what he was doing.

Did it make the Midianites overconfident and therefore less careful? Or did their leaders become even more alert, wondering whether Gideon was setting them up for a tricky piece of strategy? The soldiers who departed left some of their equipment with the men thus each man could have a torch, a trumpet, and a jar—strange weapons indeed for fighting a war.

God encourages our faith Jdg. God had already told Gideon three times that He would give Israel victory , 16; , and He had reassured him by giving him three special signs: fire from the rock —21 , the wet fleece —38 , and the dry fleece — After all this divine help, Gideon should have been strong in his faith, but such was not the case. Our great High Priest in heaven sympathizes with our weaknesses Heb. God gave Gideon another promise v.

The Lord told Gideon for the fourth time that He had delivered the Midianite host into his hand. Note the tense of the verb, and see Josh. Although the battle must be fought, Israel had already won! The men could attack the enemy host confident that Israel was the victor. Some people have the idea that confident, courageous faith is a kind of religious arrogance, but just the opposite is true.

They claim no merit in their faith or honor from their victories. All the glory goes to the Lord because He did it all! Hope and love are important Christian virtues, but the Holy Spirit devoted an entire chapter in the New Testament—Hebrews 11—to the victories of faith won by ordinary people who dared to believe God and act upon His promises. It took courage for Gideon and his servant to move into enemy territory and get close enough to the Midianite camp to overhear the conversation of two soldiers. God had given one of the soldiers a dream, and that dream told Gideon that God would deliver the Midianites into his hand.

The Lord had already told Gideon this fact, but now Gideon heard it from the lips of the enemy! In the biblical record, you often find God communicating His truth through dreams. Among the believers He spoke to through dreams are Jacob Gen. But He also spoke to unbelievers this way, including Abimelech Gen. Dreams can be deceptive Jer. Since barley was a grain used primarily by poor people, the barley-cake image of Gideon and his army spoke of their weakness and humiliation.

The picture is that of a stale hard cake that could roll like a wheel, not a complimentary comparison at all! Joshua did the same thing before taking the city of Jericho Josh. Before we can be successful warriors, we must first become sincere worshipers.

God honors our faith Jdg. Faith means more than simply trusting God; it also means seeking God and wanting to please Him. God gave him wisdom to prepare the army b— Gideon was a new man when he and his servant returned to the Israelite camp. His fears and doubts were gone as he mobilized his small army and infused courage into their hearts by what he said and did. As Vance Havner said, faith sees the invisible victory in a battle not yet fought and does the impossible wins the battle with few men and peculiar weapons. He gave each of his men a trumpet to blow, a jar to break, and a torch to burn.

They would encircle the enemy camp, the torches inside the jars and their trumpets in their hands. Gideon was the example for them to follow. Follow my lead Gideon had come a long way since the day God had found him hiding in the winepress! Instead, he confidently gave orders to his men, knowing that the Lord would give them the victory. Through faith in Jesus Christ, anybody can be changed. God can take a weak piece of clay like Simon and make a rock out of him! God can take a doubter like Gideon and make a general out of him!

God gave him courage to lead the army vv. The Lord intervened and put a spirit of confusion in the camp, and the Midianites began to kill each other. Then they realized that the safest thing to do was flee. Thus they took off on the caravan route to the southeast with the Israelite army pursuing.

God gave him opportunity to enlarge the army vv. The story of Gideon began with a man hiding in a winepress , but it ended with the enemy prince being slain at a winepress. The day of Midian was a great day that Israel would never forget Ps. The church today can also learn from this event and be encouraged by it. Gideon and his men were available for God to use, and He enabled them to conquer the enemy and bring peace to the land.

When leaders depend on their education, skill, and experience rather than in God, then God abandons them and looks for a Gideon. The important thing is for us to be available for God to use just as He sees fit. According to an article in the June 25, issue of Pulse, there are fifty-six nations that have serious problems with land mines. Each of these events presented a new challenge to Gideon, and he responded differently to each one. A soft answer for his critics Jdg.

Knowing that they were a large and important tribe, second only to Judah, the Ephraimites were a proud people. But why would such an important tribe want to follow a farmer into battle? They had assisted Ehud —29 and Deborah and Barak —14 , but that was no guarantee they would help Gideon. This proud tribe would have been incensed if Gideon had told the frightened men to go home, and their volunteers would not have tolerated his thinning out the ranks to only soldiers!

If Gideon had called them and then sent most of them back, they would have created a far worse problem before the battle than they did afterward. Ephraim, however, missed out on acquiring some valuable spoils of war from over , soldiers, and this may have been what irritated them. When the men of Ephraim should have been thanking Gideon for delivering the nation, they were criticizing him and adding to his burdens.

Gideon proved that he could control not only an army, but also control his temper and tongue. He told them that their capturing Oreb and Zeeb was a greater feat than anything the men had done from his hometown of Abiezer. Peace was restored and Gideon returned to the more important tasks at hand. A stern warning for the skeptics Jdg. While others were risking their lives, the people of Gad were doing nothing.

Hospitality is one of the basic laws of the East, and custom demands that the people meet the needs of strangers as well as relatives. Hospitality was also an important ministry in the early church, for there were no hotels where guests might stay; and in times of persecution, many visitors were fleeing. See Rom. Indeed, helping a hungry brother is an opportunity to help the Lord Jesus Matt. Since Gideon received the same response from the men at Peniel Penuel , he warned both cities that he would return and discipline them. God gave Gideon and his men victory over the fleeing Midianite hosts and enabled him to capture the two enemy kings.

Triumphantly he retraced his steps and kept his promise to the men of Succoth and Peniel. Providentially, he found a young man who was able to give him the names of the seventy-seven leaders in Succoth who had refused to help him and his army. He showed them the two kings whom the elders had said Gideon would never capture, and then he chastised them, apparently by beating them with thorny branches. For one thing, their offenses were not alike. The pride of Ephraim was nothing compared to the rebellion of Succoth and Peniel.

Theirs was the sin of hardness of heart toward their brethren and treason against the God of heaven. Of what good was it for Gideon and his men to risk their lives to deliver Israel if they had traitors right in their own nation? Leaders must have discernment or they will make wrong decisions as they deal with different situations. Personal insults are 1 thing, but rebellion against the Lord and His people is quite something else. A solemn question for his enemies Jdg. Gideon was a true hero. With only men, he had routed the enemy camp and then pursued the fleeing soldiers across the Jordan and as far south as Karkor.

He had brought his royal prisoners back, plus whatever spoils the men had gathered along the way. Gideon had a personal matter to settle with these two kings because they had been guilty of killing his brothers at Tabor. According to Mosaic Law, the family was to avenge crimes like this by killing those responsible for the murder. There was no police system in the land, and each family was expected to track down and punish those who had murdered their relatives, provided the culprit was guilty see Num.

In the case of Zebah and Zalmunna, the culprits were not only murderers but also enemies of Israel. The two kings were shrewd in the way they answered Gideon, flattering him by comparing him and his brothers to princes. How could he spare these two evil men who had taken food from the mouths of Jewish women and children and had brutally killed Jewish men? In those days, how a soldier died was important to his reputation. For a child to kill a king would be the ultimate in humiliation thus Gideon told his young son Jether to execute the two criminals.

By doing so, Jether would not only uphold the law of the land and humiliate the two kings, but he would also bring honor to himself. For the rest of his life, he would be known as the boy who executed Zebah and Zalmunna. Even when people are guilty, enforcing justice in the land is a serious thing and must not be put into the hands of children. Because of his fear, Jether hesitated in avenging the murders of his uncles; so the two kings told Gideon to do it. A puzzling reply for his friends Jdg.

The people request a king vv. So popular was Gideon that the people asked him to set up a dynasty, something altogether new for the nation of Israel. This was one way they could reward Gideon for what he had done for them. But it was also somewhat of a guarantee that there would be a measure of unity among the tribes as well as the kind of leadership that would mobilize them against possible future invaders.

Their request was a confession of unbelief; for as Gideon reminded them, God was their king. Every Jew should have known that the mercy seat in the tabernacle was the throne of God from which He ruled in the midst of His people. To set up a rival throne would be to dethrone the Lord. What other nation had the Creator, the Lord of heaven and earth, as their King?

What Gideon said was commendable, but what he did later on was very puzzling. After rejecting the throne, he lived like a king! Judges —32 describes the lifestyle of a monarch, not that of a judge or a retired army officer. Gideon was quite wealthy, partly from the spoils of battle and partly from the gifts of the people; and he had many wives and at least one concubine. His wives bore him seventy sons, his concubine bore him one.

Gideon also seems to have assumed priestly duties, for he made his own ephod and probably consulted it on behalf of the people. Gideon requests gold vv. The people were only too eager to share their spoils with Gideon. After all, he had brought peace to the land v. Therefore, it was only right that he receive something for his labors. The Midianites wore gold crescents, either on the ear or the nose Gen. Gideon ended up with over forty pounds of gold, plus the wealth he took from Zebah and Zalmunna.

No wonder he was able to live like a king! This meant that they stopped giving their true devotion to the Lord and used the ephod for an idol. In Scripture, idolatry is looked upon as prostitution Isa. He knew it was wrong to make an idol Ex. Whether this ephod was an embellished version of the garment used by the high priest , or some kind of standing idol see Jdg. Perhaps Gideon used it to determine the will of God and help the people with their problems. Gideon missed a great opportunity to bring reformation and perhaps revival to the land. The great victory over Midian gave Gideon good reason to call the nation back to the Lord and obedience to His Law.

With his vast wealth and his great national reputation, Gideon probably thought that his children were well provided for, but just the opposite proved true. Sixty-nine of his seventy sons were killed by their half-brother who himself was slain by a woman dropping a stone on his head. There is no security apart from the will of God. Had Gideon practiced Matthew , subsequent events might have been radically different. I think it was pride. Before the battle against Midian, Gideon humbly depended on the Lord. Gideon started out as a servant, but now he was an important celebrity.

The result was decline for him, his family, and his nation. Abraham took nothing for himself but made sure that others received their share of the spoils Gen. He especially refused to take anything from the heathen king of Sodom Gen. In this narrative—along with the subsequent tragedy of Abimelech that follows in ch. First, God now rebuked Israel when it called upon Him — Second, the judge himself contributed to the spiritual decline — The Midianites were descendants of Abraham through his wife Keturah Gen. Midianites bought Joseph from his brothers Gen. Generally speaking, Israel counted Midian among its foes.

In this account, the Midianites were menacing Israel, burning, looting, and leaving many near starvation , 5. That the Israelites were forced to abandon their homes and live in caves indicates the desperate straits they were in. They were descendants of Esau Gen. People of the East were unspecified nomads who also plundered Israel. These easterners are also mentioned in several prophetic contexts Is.

It begins with the appearance of the Angel of the Lord to Gideon vv. Through it all, Gideon was ambivalent about being called to deliver Israel, much as Moses had been years earlier. It can grow as high as 25 feet. The terebinth figures in the stories of Abraham, who pitched his tent near the terebinth trees of Mamre Gen. The exact location of Ophrah is unknown, but it was a city somewhere in the territory of Manasseh.

It is not the same as the Benjamite city of the same name Josh. Abiezrite: See v. A winepress was a square or circular pit carved into rock in which grapes were crushed Is. Wheat was usually separated on open threshing floors so the wind could carry away the chaff in the winnowing process 2 Sam. The fact that Gideon was forced to thresh wheat hidden inside a winepress—despite the fact that he had access to a threshing floor v.

Sinai Ex. Clan Heb. It may represent the number one thousand Num. This should have greatly encouraged Gideon, but he still expressed doubts vv. Often we are quick to judge those who doubt God even when they have firsthand evidence of His mighty works. But we all fail to trust God fully at times. Here as elsewhere, Gideon was slow to respond to God vv. This reaction of fear appears to have been rooted in the knowledge that anyone who gazed upon God would die. In Ex. Abiezrites were descendants of Joseph through his son Manasseh. They were part of the tribe of Manasseh that settled west of the Jordan River Num.

Gideon obeyed, but his fearfulness caused him to do this by night v. His forthcoming military tests are foreshadowed in the text vv. Sacred wooden poles were erected at places where she was worshiped. The widespread worship of this goddess is attested to in and elsewhere 1 Kin. The second bull is not a second animal, but a phrase by which the Lord was specifying more clearly to Gideon which bull should be sacrificed.

The proper sacrifice that Gideon was to offer would be burnt with the wood of the destroyed idol. He refused to put his son to death, arguing that Baal should be able to take care of himself if he were indeed a god. Other examples of rhetorical questions in the Book of Judges are found at , 28; ; ; Gideon himself was aware that he was doing something unwise, if not sinful, since he asked God not to be angry with him. That is, He accommodated both of his requests. Occasionally God has chosen to answer such requests, even as He did for Gideon.

His requests only made evident his weak faith. So too did the disciples, who dropped their nets immediately and followed Jesus Mark — The reassurances from God that Gideon had received before the encounter were now reinforced by a dream — The battle itself did not involve any significant combat, for God Himself provided the victory — The Israelites blew horns, broke jars, and shouted, causing the enemy to kill each other in their confusion.

The survivors fled across the Jordan with the Israelites in pursuit. Mosaic law allowed military exemptions for several classes of people, including those who had just built a home, those who had just planted a vineyard, those engaged to be married, and those who were fearful Deut. Some commentators have suggested that the men who did not get down on their knees were maintaining a higher degree of military readiness by drinking out of their hands.

The reference to the way a dog laps might even be derogatory since dogs were despised creatures in the ancient world 1 Sam.


While in pursuit, he requested aid for his forces from Succoth and Penuel, but was denied. Gideon was doubtful Judges 6. Gideon was scared to go against the Midianites Judges 7. Even though Gideon needed quite a bit of coaxing and reassurance he still obeyed God 8. Gideon made an Ephod Judges When Gideon died the Israelites turned right back to worshiping Baal Judges Step Four : Ask the key questions and observe other structural or grammatical Elements.

Gideon ended up needing a lot of signs do to doubt and lack of faith in God. But despite his lack of faith he stilled obeyed God and did as he was instructed. Because Gideon was reluctant to take on his role of leading the Israelites into battle against the Midianites he on multiple occasions asked God for signs as reassurance. Gideon asked God to make the fleece wet and the ground dry, then the next day he asked for the fleece dry and the ground wet.

After that God shortened his army and he was still scared so God told him to spy on the camp and one of the Midianites said he had a dream that their camp had been given into the hands of Gideon and his army. Gideon was very doubtful and fearful. Want to read all 9 pages? You've reached the end of your free preview. Share this link with a friend: Copied!