Wed Pm Worship
Text: Judges 5 & 6 (King James Version)
"Father, I am your servant, willing and desiring to be used to bless your people."
Judges 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.
Judges 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.
Judges 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;
Judges 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.
Judges 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.
Judges 6:6 And Israel was greatly impoverished because of the Midianites; and the children of Israel cried unto the LORD.
Judges 6:7 And it came to pass, when the children of Israel cried unto the LORD because of the Midianites,
Judges 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;
Judges 6:9 And I delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians, and out of the hand of all that oppressed you, and drave them out from before you, and gave you their land;
Judges 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.
Judges 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.
Judges 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.
Judges 6:13 And Gideon said unto him, Oh my Lord, if the LORD be with us, why then is all this befallen us? and where be all his miracles which our fathers told us of, saying, Did not the LORD bring us up from gypt? but now the LORD hath forsaken us, and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites.
Judges 6:14 And the LORD looked upon him, and said, Go in this thy might, and thou shalt save Israel from the hand of the Midianites: have not I sent thee?
Judges 6:15 And he said unto him, 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.
Judges 6:16 And the LORD said unto him, Surely I will be with thee, and thou shalt smite the Midianites as one man.
Judges 6:17 And he said unto him, If now I have found grace in thy sight, then show me a sign that thou talkest with me.
Judges 6:18 Depart not hence, I pray thee, until I come unto thee, and bring forth my present, and set it before thee. And he said, I will tarry until thou come again.
Judges 6:19 And Gideon went in, and made ready a kid, and unleavened cakes of an ephah of flour: the flesh he put in a basket, and he put the broth in a pot, and brought it out unto him under the oak, and presented it.
Judges 6:20 And the angel of God said unto him, Take the flesh and the unleavened cakes, and lay them upon this rock, and pour out the broth. And he did so.
Judges 6:21 Then the angel of the LORD put forth the end of the staff that was in his hand, and touched the flesh and the unleavened cakes; and there rose up fire out of the rock, and consumed the flesh and the unleavened cakes. Then the angel of the LORD departed out of his sight.
Judges 6:22 And when Gideon perceived that he was an angel of the LORD, Gideon said, Alas, O Lord GOD! for because I have seen an angel of the LORD face to face.
Judges 6:23 And the LORD said unto him, Peace be unto thee; fear not: thou shalt not die.
Chapter 5 ends with these words: "And the land had rest forty years."
Chapter 6 begins: "And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord..."
The cycle continues for God's chosen nation. It's the same old story.
Rebellion - Retribution - Repentance - Restoration
Rebellion led to retribution, repentance would lead to restoration.
When America is under God's blessing we forget Him, and we have made the complete circle many times as a nation.
God used the wicked Midianites to judge His people. V. 5 says they were like grasshoppers in number.
Imagine a field full of grasshoppers jumping around. What if you were told to count them. There would be no way.
We should shake in our boots when we see the parallels w/ global terrorism. They are innumerable and jumping around and impossible to defeat.
Terrorism isn't our greatest threat, as great as it is. And it's not N. Korea, Iran, or China. V. 1 says that "The Lord delivered them into their hands..."
In the Bible God often uses one wicked nation to judge another.
Our Christian founded nation has come a long way. We have freedom of religion but many are trying to twist that into freedom FROM religion. And we need to remember which religion we were founded upon.
George Washington: While just government protects all in their religious rights, true religion affords to government its surest support.
( from his address to the Synod of the Dutch Reformed Church in North America, October 9, 1789.)
Thomas Jefferson: "The reason that Christianity is the
best friend of Government is because Christianity is the only religion that
changes the heart."
Jefferson: "Of all the systems of morality, ancient or modern, which have come under my observation, none appear to me so pure as that of Jesus."
Can you imagine seeing such quotes in a public school textbook?
John Adams: "The highest glory of the American Revolution was this: it connected in one indissoluble bond the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity."
John Quincy Adams: "It is no slight testimonial, both to the merit and worth of Christianity, that in all ages since its promulgation the great mass of those who have risen to eminence by their profound wisdom and integrity have recognized and reverenced Jesus of Nazareth as the Son of the living God."
Benjamin Franklin: God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the Ground without his Notice, is it probable that an Empire can rise without his Aid?"
There are many more quotes, but when Americans turn their backs on Christianity they turn their backs on America! This doesn't mean they have to be Christians, but they should at least tolerate us and appreciate us, for Christianity and its principles are what have made America great.
In Judges 6 God's people are so ravaged by the Midianites that they are hiding in dens and caves. In v. 7 they cry out to God to for mercy and God gives them...
Here's 4 principles from the life of Gideon that can help us all:
You and I are in a battle spiritually, it's a fight, not a frolic; a war, not a waltz; it's a warzone, not some tiptoe thru the tulips.
God just needs a few good men.
1. The Principle of Encounter.
v. 11, 14 Gideon has a word from the Lord.
v. 22-24a He was an ordinary man, not a prophet, preacher, priest, or a king. He was radically changed by this encounter. He used to be afraid. How do we know? Because he threshed wheat at the winepress.
The winepress was at the bottom of the hill so you could carry the grapes downhill. The wheat threshing took place at the top of the hill so the wind would drive away the chaff. Gideon is hiding at the bottom doing the work of the top. He's hunkered in the bunker! The end of v. 11 says he's hiding from the Midianites.
But fear turned to faith after his encounter with the Lord. His eyes turned from his enemies to the Lord.
We all must turn our eyes from our foes to our Father!
We can live our lives looking at the terrorists or the
political imbeciles in Washington or we can turn our eyes to the hills from
whence cometh our help! "Looking unto Jesus!"
"The man that fears God can face any foe."
ill.--the 12 spies of Canaan: 10 saw giants, 2 saw God.
ill.--when most looked at Goliath and said "He's too big to hit" David said, "He's too big to miss!"
"Turn your eyes upon Jesus..."
America is truly in a fight for survival, so it's time we turn to God!
2. The Principle of Courage.
v. 12 "valour"
7:1-3 Gideon raised up an army of 32,000. And God says, it's too many! The Midianites were innumberable! But God says no, I just need a few good men. I'll get the glory when I do more with less! God will share anything with us except His glory.
22,000 were afraid and left. Now there's 10,000 remaining. God doesn't use the fearful. He hasn't given us the spirit of fear.
25 The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the Lord shall be safe.
1 John 4:18
18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.
Soldiers of the cross have courage and aren't afraid to take a stand.
366 times the Bible says be not afraid, one for every day, even in leap year!
Tell me God did not write this book!
Some should be serving but are afraid...
[teaching / witnessing /Evangelizing / tithing]
Some are afraid to trust God.
In the parable of the talents the bad servant said he didn't invest his talent because "I was afraid."
Fear and sin are linked. In Eden Adam said he hid himself from God because he was afraid.
But if God be for us, who can be against us?!
3. The Principle of Wisdom.
Courage needs to be balanced with wisdom.
7:4-7 Still too many? Gideon has got to be sweating it now!
The first purging was of the fearful...this one is of the foolish. There is a fine line between bravery and stupidity.
ill.--should we not lock our doors because we trust the Lord?
God told the cowards to go home, and now He tells the careless to leave as well. It was just a little test, and they failed it.
4. The Principle of Strength. 7:9-14 God told Gideon to lurk in the shadows of the enemy camp and see what he can learn.
In this dream we see God doing something extraordinary thru someone who is very ordinary. It was not Gideon's strength, but God's thru him.
v. 15-21 What a powerful victory story! 300 vs. a multitude w/ no weapons. A trumpet in one hand, a torch covered w/ a pitcher in the other hand.
- The trumpet stands for boldness - its sound announced that we're here and not backing down. It's time for Christians in America to stop rolling over and playing dead...let your voice be heard. Say to Washington, if you vote against morality and common sense, we vote you out!
- The clay pitcher stands for brokenness - God has placed His treasure in earthen vessels but we must be broken before Him.
- The torch stands for brightness - "Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works..."
Now is the time for Christians to get bold, broken, and bright...and we could take America back for God!
It only takes a few good people to do this and with God's help we can have victory as we hold high the sword of the Lord!