2023  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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The battle belongs to the Lord

Judges 7 ESV
Then Jerubbaal (that is, Gideon) and all the people who were with him rose early and encamped beside the spring of Harod. And the camp of Midian was north of them, by the hill of Moreh, in the valley. The Lord said to Gideon, “The people with you are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hand, lest Israel boast over me, saying, ‘My own hand has saved me.’ Now therefore proclaim in the ears of the people, saying, ‘Whoever is fearful and trembling, let him return home and hurry away from Mount Gilead.’ ” Then 22,000 of the people returned, and 10,000 remained. And the Lord said to Gideon, “The people are still too many. Take them down to the water, and I will test them for you there, and anyone of whom I say to you, ‘This one shall go with you,’ shall go with you, and anyone of whom I say to you, ‘This one shall not go with you,’ shall not go.” So he brought the people down to the water. And the Lord said to Gideon, “Every one who laps the water with his tongue, as a dog laps, you shall set by himself. Likewise, every one who kneels down to drink.” And the number of those who lapped, putting their hands to their mouths, was 300 men, but all the rest of the people knelt down to drink water. And the Lord said to Gideon, “With the 300 men who lapped I will save you and give the Midianites into your hand, and let all the others go every man to his home.” So the people took provisions in their hands, and their trumpets. And he sent all the rest of Israel every man to his tent, but retained the 300 men. And the camp of Midian was below him in the valley. That same night the Lord said to him, “Arise, go down against the camp, for I have given it into your hand. But if you are afraid to go down, go down to the camp with Purah your servant. And you shall hear what they say, and afterward your hands shall be strengthened to go down against the camp.” Then he went down with Purah his servant to the outposts of the armed men who were in the camp. And the Midianites and the Amalekites and all the people of the East lay along the valley like locusts in abundance, and their camels were without number, as the sand that is on the seashore in abundance. When Gideon came, behold, a man was telling a dream to his comrade. And he said, “Behold, I dreamed a dream, and behold, a cake of barley bread tumbled into the camp of Midian and came to the tent and struck it so that it fell and turned it upside down, so that the tent lay flat.” And his comrade answered, “This is no other than the sword of Gideon the son of Joash, a man of Israel; God has given into his hand Midian and all the camp.” As soon as Gideon heard the telling of the dream and its interpretation, he worshiped. And he returned to the camp of Israel and said, “Arise, for the Lord has given the host of Midian into your hand.” And he divided the 300 men into three companies and put trumpets into the hands of all of them and empty jars, with torches inside the jars. And he said to them, “Look at me, and do likewise. When I come to the outskirts of the camp, do as I do. When I blow the trumpet, I and all who are with me, then blow the trumpets also on every side of all the camp and shout, ‘For the Lord and for Gideon.’ ” So Gideon and the hundred men who were with him came to the outskirts of the camp at the beginning of the middle watch, when they had just set the watch. And they blew the trumpets and smashed the jars that were in their hands. Then the three companies blew the trumpets and broke the jars. They held in their left hands the torches, and in their right hands the trumpets to blow. And they cried out, “A sword for the Lord and for Gideon!” Every man stood in his place around the camp, and all the army ran. They cried out and fled. When they blew the 300 trumpets, the Lord set every man’s sword against his comrade and against all the army. And the army fled as far as Beth-shittah toward Zererah, as far as the border of Abel-meholah, by Tabbath. And the men of Israel were called out from Naphtali and from Asher and from all Manasseh, and they pursued after Midian. Gideon sent messengers throughout all the hill country of Ephraim, saying, “Come down against the Midianites and capture the waters against them, as far as Beth-barah, and also the Jordan.” So all the men of Ephraim were called out, and they captured the waters as far as Beth-barah, and also the Jordan. And they captured the two princes of Midian, Oreb and Zeeb. They killed Oreb at the rock of Oreb, and Zeeb they killed at the winepress of Zeeb. Then they pursued Midian, and they brought the heads of Oreb and Zeeb to Gideon across the Jordan.
O to have too many people.
Back Story
The Israelites had been Delivered from Egypt and settled in to the promise Land
They were now in the period of Judges
God appointed men and women called Judges over the people of Israel
We see that the nation would allow itself to slip away from the ways of God
Going from obedience to disobedience
During the times of Obedience, God would pour all His favour on the nation and they would have a time of prosperity then they would slowly slip in to disobedience and Gods blessing would be distanced
God would raise a Judge up and the people would swing back in to line with God and blessings would come, then the Judge would die and slowly they would move away from the things of God
So the story of Gideon starts in Judges 6
It starts with this statement.
6 The people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, and the Lord gave them into the hand of lMidian seven years. 2 And the hand of Midian overpowered Israel, and because of Midian the people of Israel made for themselves the dens that are in the mountains and mthe caves and the strongholds.
The nation of Israel living in the Promise Land, hiding in caves, worried about the invaders
The People of God, living in the promise of God, living in fear of the world
The story continues to tell us that the Midianites and other tribes from the East would take all that the people of Israel had grown, raised and and bred
It describes them as being like locust
So out of desperation the people of God started to Call out to God
And God sent a Prophet Reminding them that He saved them from Egypt and it was them who moved away from Him
So God calls Gideon
And there is a whole message just in the encounter
An Angel comes to Gideon who is hiding in a wine press trying to threash wheat
Not just any Angel, this is “the Angel of the Lord” this is Jesus before he is incarnated as a Human
The Angel says “The Lord is with you, O Mighty man of Valor”
There is a whole conversation where Gideon questions God being with the nation
In this conversation we see that Gideon puts the blame on God,
yet he is concerned about the state of the Nation,
And he is told to save the Nation
Gideon brings a gift which ends up being a sacrifice to God
In verse 22 “Then Gideon perceived that he was the angel of the Lord”
His first mission is to tear down the the Altar of Baal
Baal was the God of the Nations around Israel, it represents everything that is not of God
We all can have our own altars to the things of this world
So Gideon sneaks in the night time rips down the altar
God had called Gideon to save the Nation, to bring it back to God and free it from fear, poverty and oppression.
But first he had to get his own house in order
He did it at night, and in secret, probably because he feared that his fathers men or the local men would stop him
But he didn’t do it at night to save himself, if you read the record of this, you will see that they knew straight away who had done it.
Gideon didn’t just rip down the ungodly altar, he built a new altar to the living God
Israel would have worshiped Jehovah and Baal, and Asherah
God will not share His worship,
You can’t hedge your bets
He is looking for a devotion to Him, and before you remind me that this is OT
Revelation 3:15–17 ESV
“ ‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.
This is talking to the church in Laodicea
Jesus himself said “No man can serve two masters”
So Gideon makes a stand for God in his own household, and in His nation
He then calls His nation to war
Theres a whole story about the fleece, which I think gets mis understood and miss used so many times……But we don’t have time for that this morning
So we arrive in the point of the story we started at
God tells Gideon that his army (which is out numbered 6:1) is too bigPlease, Lord, how can I save Israel? Behold, my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.
Gideon who by his own confession was the least of His family, which was the least of a defeated nation, is now told that although his army is smaller than the enemies, it is too BIG
Please, Lord, how can I save Israel? Behold, my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.
Because God wants their victory to be a clear God Victory
This morning if you are going through something, where the odds look stacked against you, it might just be that God wants to do something undeniable divine
Before we came to this building, we had many prayer meetings at Antil street.
During those prayer meetings God said he wanted to do something with us being a few that would be clearly HIS work
So the HE would get the glory
Get Small
We are in this building, against the odds,
We have survived year on year, against the financial odds
Last year we ministered to many people that we would not have been able to if we had not followed the calling of God.
You are not in this room by accident
This is a divine moment in God, and He has a task that only you can do.
Wether that is in this place, another church, at work or somewhere else, if you have breath in your lungs you are called, with a purpose
So rise up, mighty warrior of God
Men and women of Valour
Valour meaning “great courage in the face of danger, especially in battle.”
So God tells Gideon to get small
He tells Gideon to get rid of those that are afraid
He actually shows them the enemy, he shows them what they are up against and more than 2/3 leave
Gideons army is reduced from 32,000 to 10,000
Why were these the first to be dismissed?
Fear or disbelief is contagiousGet Small
If you are sounded by those that doubt, it WILL limit how high you will go
The world tells us to think Big, strive to be Big, grow something Big
God says, do what I have asked, be who you are called to be, work at loving each other
So the army is 10,000
Imagine Gideons joy when God says, still too many
Before we move on, I want you to remember that for Gideon, this is not a story read in a warm church building, inspiring Him to be more than he is.
This is on the front line with real dust, real weapons, real blood, real death real risk.
But 10,000 was still too many, remember, the battle is Gods and so is the Glory
So we’ve got rid of the doubters, the nay sayers
Then God sets the next test
Take them to water
It seems a strange test, and there are different ideas as to why God used this to separate the soldiers.
Perhaps it was because those who cupped the water in their hands and brought it to their mouth were better soldiers because they kept their eyes on their surroundings even when taking a drink.
We now have 1% of the original army 300 solders go to war with trumpets and jars.
You really should remind yourself of the story
But before they go to battle, God builds up Gideon’s faith by letting him overhear the enemy’s own vision of defeat.
So Gideon makes a strange battle plan,
He decides the men in to 3 companies of 100 men
They sound the camp and break their jars blow their trumpets and shout “The sword of the Lord and of Gideon”
The enemy are so confused by being surrounded by the sound and the light that they turned on themselves.
Let me point out that there is nowhere that it tells us that God gave Gideon the plan. But that as an anointed follow of God he followed Gods instructions and went in with the confidence of the Lord.
God hands Gideon the victory and then Gideon follows through by calling others to bring the fight
Zechariah 4:6 ESV
Then he said to me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts.
Psalm 20:7 ESV
Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.
Lord Jesus, I am sorry for the things that I have done wrong in my life. Please forgive me, I now turn back to you, and away from the things that are not of you.
Help me to grow in the awareness that you are really my sustenance and nobody else. Help me to continuously increase in the recognition that only in you can I live in the fulness of life. Help me to rest in your strength as I realise that I am weak in my flesh.
I pray that my reliance in you may grow deeper today and that my assurance in you may grow wider. I pray that my faith in you may grow stronger and my zeal for you may grow bigger. I pray that I may continue to rely on your wisdom and I will no longer lean on my own understanding. I pray that I may yield to your instructions at all times and make you first in all that I do.
Thank You
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