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August 18, 2018

The story of Gideon who judged Israel and delivered them from their seven years of oppression by the Midianites along with the Amalekites and the children of the east is found in Judges chapters 6 to 8. This oppression by these nomadic tribes was a result of Israel’s sinning, and this caused Israel to be displaced in their land and relocated into dens, caves, and strongholds. These enemies destroyed their land, took their livestock and impoverished Israel.

As usual, their suffering caused Israel to cry out to God, but before He sent Gideon to their rescue, God sends Israel a prophet with a word of rebuke, and then he sends an angel to Gideon who was hiding from the Midianites while threshing wheat by the winepress.

When the angel appears and speaks to Gideon, he is surprised and puzzled by the angel’s address, “The Lord is with thee, thou mighty man of valor.” After being told how God was going to use him, Gideon voiced what he felt was his inadequacies and requested a sign for reassurance. After receiving the sign, Gideon built an altar unto God and called it, “Jehovah Shalom.”

Following God’s instruction Gideon and 10 men threw down the altar of Baal and cut down the Asherah that was in their town during the night; however, in the morning the men of the town wanted to kill him for his actions, but his father stood in his defense and Gideon was given the name Jerubbaal which means Baal’s antagonist.

With the next invasion of the 135,000 Midianites and their allies, the Spirit of the Lord came on Gideon, and he gathered together an army from the tribes of Manasseh, Asher, Zebulun, and Naphtali. Additionally, wanting to be sure that God was sending him into battle, Gideon fleeced the Lord two times before he and his 32,000 men proceeded into combat with the enemy.

Not wanting the men to take the credit for the impending victory, God reduced Israel’s army number down to 300 by eliminating certain groups of men. To reassure Gideon of the victory he sent him into the enemy’s camp at night where he heard a soldier telling a dream to his comrade which revealed the favor of God on Gideon and his band of men and led Gideon to take time to worship God.

At the beginning of the middle watch, Gideon strategically separated his army into three groups around the enemy’s camp. When given the signal, the men blew their trumpets and smashed the pitchers they were holding with a torch on the inside of it. Plus, they stood their ground and shouted, “The sword of the Lord, and of Gideon.” The sound, light, and stance of the men confused the Midianites, and panic-stricken the Midianites turned on each other and slew one another. For those that escaped the men of Israel from the tribes of Manasseh, Asher, and Naphtali pursued after them while the Ephraimites were able to capture and kill two princes of Midian Oreb and Zeeb.

While Gideon and his men pursued Kings Zebah and Zalmunna whom they caught and slew for their treatment of kinsmen, Gideon requested food from the men of Succoth and Penuel; however, they failed to comply with Gideon’s request, and for this, he executed vengeance on them by whipping the elders of Succoth with thorns and destroying the tower in Penuel and killing the men of the city.

When the men of Ephraimites met with Gideon after the battle they complained because they were not asked to participate in the initial battle; however, Gideon was able to pacify them by praising their capture of Oreb and Zeeb.

At the conclusion of the battle, Israel wanted Gideon to be their ruler; however, he declined and reminded them that God was their ruler. Unfortunately, as a reward, he requested every man to give him an earring from their booty, which he used to make an ephod and which eventually resulted in Israel committing idolatry and apostasy.

Israel had peace for the next forty years, and Gideon lived to be a good old age in Ophrah of the Abiezrites having birthed seventy sons with many wives. Also, despite being their deliver when Gideon died, Israel was not kind to his children, and they forsook God and went a whoring after Baalim, and made Baalberith their god.

Conclusion: Sin produces consequences, and for Israel, it was confinement to dens, caves, and strongholds.

The enemy knew when to attack. They waited for Israel’s harvest to manifest than they came and stole it.

Sometimes those that deny you help and rob from you are your family members. The Midianites are the descendants of Abraham and Keturah, and the Amalekites are the descendant of Esau. Also, the inhabitants of Succoth and Penuel were family members who refused to share substance with their famished countrymen.

God’s presence is everywhere. He sees you when you are hiding. For example, He sent the angel to where Gideon was hiding.

Gideon presented all the reasons to the angel why he was not fit for the task; however, God was not concerned with his social status; He was concerned with his availability. God accentuated Gideon’s strength, not his weakness. Gideon’s limitations were God’s opportunity to show up and out.

When in difficulty, men question God’s actions toward them, but they fail to question their actions toward God. Men will cry over their problems but not over their sins.

Due to the suffering of Israel, Gideon questioned God’s concern for them and His wisdom of the solution.

The need for reassurance comes from self-doubt; hence, throughout this assignment, God kept giving Gideon reassurances (fire from the rock, the dry and wet fleece, and the enemy’s dream).

When the enemy comes, he comes with reinforcements.

Fear will cause you to forget who God is, what He has done, and what He can do. Fear will make you think the enemy is more powerful than God. Fear will make you tremble when facing your enemy; so, this was one of the groups of men that God had Gideon send home before the battle.

Jealousy over the accomplishments of others will make you minimize your accomplishments.

Spiritual Application: Though you may feel incapable of fulfilling God’s plan for your life with Him on your side, you can do it.

Before going to battle, Gideon was told to throw down the altar of Baal and cut down the groove that his father had in their town and then offer a sacrifice to God of two bullocks on a newly erected altar. Follow Gideon’s example, before casting out the enemy in your world, cast it out of your home. Before evangelizing the world, evangelize your home.

After you tear down false idols, erect a holy altar for God.

With our sacrifices, God makes miracles.

While the world sleeps, be busy doing God’s work.

When you go where God sends you, go in His strength.

When seeking conciliation with your fellowmen, respond tactfully.

All of our victories come from God, don’t forget to praise and thank Him for them all.

Don’t be like the men of Succoth and Penuel who doubted Gideon’s ability to capture their enemy. Just because you cannot visualize victory in someone else’s life does not mean they will not obtain it.

When you have the power to do so, help those in need.


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