Jdg 6:1 And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD: and the LORD delivered them into the hand of Midian seven years.
Jdg 6:2 And the hand of Midian prevailed against Israel: and because of the Midianites the children of Israel made them the dens which are in the mountains, and caves, and strong holds.
Jdg 6:3 And so it was, when Israel had sown, that the Midianites came up, and the Amalekites, and the children of the east, even they came up against them;
Jdg 6:4 And they encamped against them, and destroyed the increase of the earth, till thou come unto Gaza, and left no sustenance for Israel, neither sheep, nor ox, nor ass.
Jdg 6:5 For they came up with their cattle and their tents, and they came as grasshoppers for multitude; for both they and their camels were without number: and they entered into the land to destroy it.
Jdg 6:6 And Israel was greatly impoverished because of the Midianites; and the children of Israel cried unto the LORD.
Not only did Midian conquer Israel, but the Israelites’ life was one of sheer torture. They had no peace at all and had to resort to hiding in places that couldn’t be easily seen to be able to live – but they weren’t really living, just existing from day to day.
The phrase “when Israel had sown” in verse 3 above has significant meaning, because the Bible says there is always a time of sowing and reaping; it seems Israel had reaped what they had sown and it had turned out to be a terrible thing. They had done evil in the sight of the Lord and were now paying a heavy price for their idolatry.
But imagine this from the perspective of the Midianites. I’m sure they had no idea that God was using them to punish Israel for her sin. They must have thought they had grown strong on their own and could lord over and punish the Israelites as much as and for as long as they desired. I’m sure they felt the fate of the Israelites was in their hands forever. The word defeat probably never entered their minds.
But after years of torture at the hands of Midian, the Israelites’ lives had gotten so bad that in the depths of their despair they cried out to God to save them. Isn’t it ironic that many times we try everything else before seeing that nothing else has worked; then we finally ask God for help?
Jdg 6:7 And it came to pass, when the children of Israel cried unto the LORD because of the Midianites,
Jdg 6:8 That the LORD sent a prophet unto the children of Israel, which said unto them, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, I brought you up from Egypt, and brought you forth out of the house of bondage;
Jdg 6:9 And I delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians, and out of the hand of all that oppressed you, and drove them out from before you, and gave you their land;
Jdg 6:10 And I said unto you, I am the LORD your God; fear not the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but ye have not obeyed my voice.
Jdg 6:11 And there came an angel of the LORD, and sat under an oak which was in Ophrah, that pertained unto Joash the Abiezrite: and his son Gideon threshed wheat by the winepress, to hide it from the Midianites.
Jdg 6:12 And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him, and said unto him, The LORD is with thee, thou mighty man of valour.
Notice here that Gideon was in the process of threshing wheat to make bread, but was trying his best to hide so the Midianites would not find him. He definitely was not a “mighty man of valor” at this particular time.
But God saw what he could become – not what he was at that moment. God knows that He can place His supernatural power into a person who will take Him at His Word and walk in obedience to Him. With God’s power we can accomplish things that would be totally impossible in our own strength. But the key words here are walking in “God’s Power.”
Jdg 6:25 And it came to pass the same night, that the LORD said unto him, Take thy father’s young bullock, even the second bullock of seven years old, and throw down the altar of Baal that thy father hath, and cut down the grove that is by it:
Jdg 6:26 And build an altar unto the LORD thy God upon the top of this rock, in the ordered place, and take the second bullock, and offer a burnt sacrifice with the wood of the grove which thou shalt cut down.
Jdg 6:27 Then Gideon took ten men of his servants, and did as the LORD had said unto him: and so it was, because he feared his father’s household, and the men of the city, that he could not do it by day, that he did it by night.
Jdg 6:28 And when the men of the city arose early in the morning, behold, the altar of Baal was cast down, and the grove was cut down that was by it, and the second bullock was offered upon the altar that was built.
Jdg 6:29 And they said one to another, Who hath done this thing? And when they enquired and asked, they said, Gideon the son of Joash hath done this thing.
Jdg 6:30 Then the men of the city said unto Joash, Bring out thy son, that he may die: because he hath cast down the altar of Baal, and because he hath cut down the grove that was by it.
Jdg 6:31 And Joash said unto all that stood against him, Will ye plead for Baal? will ye save him? he that will plead for him, let him be put to death whilst it is yet morning: if he be a god, let him plead for himself, because one hath cast down his altar.
Jdg 6:32 Therefore on that day he called him Jerubbaal, saying, Let Baal plead against him, because he hath thrown down his altar.
Jdg 6:33 Then all the Midianites and the Amalekites and the children of the east were gathered together, and went over, and pitched in the valley of Jezreel.
Jdg 6:34 But the Spirit of the LORD came upon Gideon, and he blew a trumpet; and Abiezer was gathered after him.
These verses totally amaze me, because they represent almost exactly the way we tend to do things today. While we are crying out to God to help us, we still want to hold on to our idols that we have so carefully guarded and protected. We might even know they are idols, but we have grown used to them and in some perverted way they bring us comfort.
So even though the people were under terrible oppression because of their worship of heathen idols instead of the One True God, they were furious when Gideon tore down the idols they had grown so comfortable with. It took the intervention of his father to keep Gideon from being put to death because of their intense anger.
Jdg 6:35 And he sent messengers throughout all Manasseh; who also was gathered after him: and he sent messengers unto Asher, and unto Zebulun, and unto Naphtali; and they came up to meet them.
Jdg 6:36 And Gideon said unto God, If thou wilt save Israel by mine hand, as thou hast said,
Jdg 6:37 Behold, I will put a fleece of wool in the floor; and if the dew be on the fleece only, and it be dry upon all the earth beside, then shall I know that thou wilt save Israel by mine hand, as thou hast said.
Jdg 6:38 And it was so: for he rose up early on the morrow, and thrust the fleece together, and wringed the dew out of the fleece, a bowl full of water.
Jdg 6:39 And Gideon said unto God, Let not thine anger be hot against me, and I will speak but this once: let me prove, I pray thee, but this once with the fleece; let it now be dry only upon the fleece, and upon all the ground let there be dew.
Jdg 6:40 And God did so that night: for it was dry upon the fleece only, and there was dew on all the ground.
So Gideon was new at this “save Israel” stuff. He needed some reassurance that this was really God who was telling him to do this. After all, he was a “nobody” as far as heroes and brave men were concerned. He had probably never done anything in his life that would make other people think that he would be the one who could lead Israel into battle to defeat their enemies the Midianites. He definitely was not already a hero in the eyes of the people as far as them wanting him to lead them in battle against this powerful enemy.
Gideon did not think of himself as a hero either, because in verse 16 he says, “Oh my Lord, wherewith shall I save Israel? Behold, my family is poor in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.”
But thank goodness God saw what Gideon could become, not what he was at that moment.
Right now ask God to show you that thing He wants you to do that you will never be able to do in your own power. It certainly will be something that looks larger-than-life, at least to you. You might already know what it is, but have been putting it off because you are afraid you will fail. And you certainly will fail without God’s supernatural power being accomplished through you.
More than at any other time in history, we need Christians who will walk in obedience to what God has told them to do and let Him work through them with His supernatural power.
Imagine what our world would be like if every Christian walked in total obedience to God. Israel was saved from their terrible oppression because Gideon said something like: “OK God, I will do this thing. I don’t see anything in myself, but I will trust that you see something in me that you can use. The only way this will be possible will be if you do it through me, so show me what to do….”
Gideon became a great leader God could use because he simply walked in obedience to everything God told him to do. God wants to use you in a mighty way, also, so make the choice to walk in obedience to Him each day.
If you do, your life will never be boring and mundane again. You will truly know that you are making a difference for the Kingdom of God.
This post written by Cathy Deaton.
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How To Deal With A Selfish Person
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