January 15, 2017
Clarity in the midst of Chaos
Intro: Sometimes we hear the great stories of faith and victory of others, but it seems like we don’t experience any of it.
Year by year for 7 years, plant crops and raise cattle only to have the enemy come in at the harvest time and steal it all away. All of the hard work turns to nothing and barely able to survive.
Gideon was hiding; threshing wheat at the winepress. Trying to scratch out enough flour to live on.
He was discouraged, weak and saw no hope. The great stories of God were only for the past, but no present reality.
God meets us in our despair to give us hope
Does God Care About Us? (Judges 6:11-14)
Gideon was beating out wheat in the winepress to hide it from the Midianites. And the angel of the Lord appeared to him and said to him, “The Lord is with you, O mighty man of valor.” And Gideon said to him, “Please, sir, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all his wonderful deeds that our fathers recounted to us, saying, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt? ’ But now the Lord has forsaken us and given us into the hand of Midian (Judg 6:11-13)
God called him “mighty man of valor” seeing him for who is will be as a man of faith not in his weakness.
And the Lord turned to him and said, “Go in this might of yours and save Israel from the hand of Midian; do not I send you (Judg 6:14)
God meets us in our weakness to reveal His strength (Jud 6:14-24)
I’m not up for this task.
And he said to him, “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.” And the Lord said to him, “But I will be with you, and you shall strike the Midianites as one man.” And he said to him, “If now I have found favor in your eyes, then show me a sign that it is you who speak with me (Judg 6:15-17)
Gideon can only see his own strength and resources
I don’t have enough energy
I don’t have enough emotional stock
I don’t have enough knowledge
God is up for any task:
‘Ah, Lord God! It is you who have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for you (Jeremiah 32:17)
But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible (Matt 19:26)
God reveals the problem and gives me a step of obedience to follow (Judg 6:25-32)
God assigned him a home task: Before a big public victory he was tested at home.
That night the Lord said to him, “Take your father’s bull, and the second bull seven years old, and pull down the altar of Baal that your father has, and cut down the Asherah that is beside it and build an altar to the Lord your God on the top of the stronghold here, with stones laid in due order. Then take the second bull and offer it as a burnt offering with the wood of the Asherah that you shall cut down.” So Gideon took ten men of his servants and did as the Lord had told him. But because he was too afraid of his family and the men of the town to do it by day, he did it by night (Judg 6:25-26)
God reveals strongholds and wants them tore down
True believers can’t build an altar to the Lord until they tear down the altars built to false gods.
Before he could declare war on the enemy on the outside, he had to declare war on inside…the heart issue. Where am I placing false devotion above the Lord?
God meets us in our doubts and affirms his words (Judge 6:33-40)
Then Gideon said to God, “If you will save Israel by my hand, as you have said, behold, I am laying a fleece of wool on the threshing floor. If there is dew on the fleece alone, and it is dry on all the ground, then I shall know that you will save Israel by my hand, as you have said (Judg 6:36-37)
God wasn’t obligated to confirm His word through another sign, but he did. He is nurturing a man of faith along instead of kicking him in the butt.
Disciples said after seeing many miracles, “Lord increase our faith.”
God tests our faith to see if we are ready to follow
God tests faith (Judg 7:1-8)
Test show us if our faith is real and strengthens for the task.
Sifting from 32,000 to 10,000: Remove the fearful (1-3)
From 10,000 to 300: determined in an ordinary experience of life
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 (Judg 7:7)
God encourages our faith (Judg 7:9-15)
God had already confirmed his word: fire from a rock, wet fleece, dry fleece.
God didn’t condemn his unbelief, but confirmed again
That same night the Lord said to him, “Arise, go down against the camp, for I have given it into your hand. (Judge 7:9)
Gideon heard about the dream of a MidianiteGideon was a new man and had the resolve of faith in his heart. He moved on his convictions.
Impossible war was wonHe announced, “Arise, for the Lord has given the host of Midian into your hand
Faith saw the invisible: A war victory with too few men and no weapons of war
Faith turns a fearful man in hiding into a fearless leader who stands and says, follow me.
And he said to them, “Look at me, and do likewise
The kings of Midian were defeated at the winepress.
He went from the Winepress of fear and hiding to the Winepress of faith and victory.