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Ambassador Baptist Church
1926 Babcock Blvd
Pittsburgh, PA 15209
(412)822-7255
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March 20, 2007

Judges 6-7
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  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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;
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • And Israel was greatly impoverished because of the Midianites; and the children of Israel cried unto the LORD.
  • And it came to pass, when the children of Israel cried unto the LORD because of the Midianites,
  • 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;
  • 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;
  • 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.
  • And there came an angel of the LORD, and sat under an oak which was in Ophrah, that pertained unto Joash the Abi-ezrite: and his son Gideon threshed wheat by the winepress, to hide it from the Midianites.
  • And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him, and said unto him, The LORD is with thee, thou mighty man of valour.
  • 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 Egypt? but now the LORD hath forsaken us, and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites.
  • 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?
  • 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.
  • And the LORD said unto him, Surely I will be with thee, and thou shalt smite the Midianites as one man.
  • And he said unto him, If now I have found grace in thy sight, then shew me a sign that thou talkest with me.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • And the LORD said unto him, Peace be unto thee; fear not: thou shalt not die.
  • Then Gideon built an altar there unto the LORD, and called it Jehovahshalom: unto this day it is yet in Ophrah of the Abi-ezrites.
  • 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:
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Therefore on that day he called him Jerubbaal, saying, Let Baal plead against him, because he hath thrown down his altar.
  • 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.
  • But the Spirit of the LORD came upon Gideon, and he blew a trumpet; and Abi-ezer was gathered after him.
  • 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.
  • And Gideon said unto God, If thou wilt save Israel by mine hand, as thou hast said,
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • And God did so that night: for it was dry upon the fleece only, and there was dew on all the ground.


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    Judges
    Chapter 7
    1. Then Jerubbaal, who is Gideon, and all the people that were with him, rose up early, and pitched beside the well of Harod: so that the host of the Midianites were on the north side of them, by the hill of Moreh, in the valley.
    2. And the LORD said unto Gideon, The people that are with thee are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel vaunt themselves against me, saying, Mine own hand hath saved me.
    3. Now therefore go to, proclaim in the ears of the people, saying, Whosoever is fearful and afraid, let him return and depart early from mount Gilead. And there returned of the people twenty and two thousand; and there remained ten thousand.
    4. And the LORD said unto Gideon, The people are yet too many; bring them down unto the water, and I will try them for thee there: and it shall be, that of whom I say unto thee, This shall go with thee, the same shall go with thee; and of whomsoever I say unto thee, This shall not go with thee, the same shall not go.
    5. So he brought down the people unto the water: and the LORD said unto Gideon, Every one that lappeth of the water with his tongue, as a dog lappeth, him shalt thou set by himself; likewise every one that boweth down upon his knees to drink.
    6. And the number of them that lapped, putting their hand to their mouth, were three hundred men: but all the rest of the people bowed down upon their knees to drink water.
    7. And the LORD said unto Gideon, By the three hundred men that lapped will I save you, and deliver the Midianites into thine hand: and let all the other people go every man unto his place.
    8. So the people took victuals in their hand, and their trumpets: and he sent all the rest of Israel every man unto his tent, and retained those three hundred men: and the host of Midian was beneath him in the valley.
    9. And it came to pass the same night, that the LORD said unto him, Arise, get thee down unto the host; for I have delivered it into thine hand.
    10. But if thou fear to go down, go thou with Phurah thy servant down to the host:
    11. And thou shalt hear what they say; and afterward shall thine hands be strengthened to go down unto the host. Then went he down with Phurah his servant unto the outside of the armed men that were in the host.
    12. And the Midianites and the Amalekites and all the children of the east lay along in the valley like grasshoppers for multitude; and their camels were without number, as the sand by the sea side for multitude.
    13. And when Gideon was come, behold, there was a man that told a dream unto his fellow, and said, Behold, I dreamed a dream, and, lo, a cake of barley bread tumbled into the host of Midian, and came unto a tent, and smote it that it fell, and overturned it, that the tent lay along.
    14. And his fellow answered and said, This is nothing else save the sword of Gideon the son of Joash, a man of Israel: for into his hand hath God delivered Midian, and all the host.
    15. And it was so, when Gideon heard the telling of the dream, and the interpretation thereof, that he worshipped, and returned into the host of Israel, and said, Arise; for the LORD hath delivered into your hand the host of Midian.
    16. And he divided the three hundred men into three companies, and he put a trumpet in every man's hand, with empty pitchers, and lamps within the pitchers.
    17. And he said unto them, Look on me, and do likewise: and, behold, when I come to the outside of the camp, it shall be that, as I do, so shall ye do.
    18. When I blow with a trumpet, I and all that are with me, then blow ye the trumpets also on every side of all the camp, and say, The sword of the LORD, and of Gideon.
    19. So Gideon, and the hundred men that were with him, came unto the outside of the camp in the beginning of the middle watch; and they had but newly set the watch: and they blew the trumpets, and brake the pitchers that were in their hands.
    20. And the three companies blew the trumpets, and brake the pitchers, and held the lamps in their left hands, and the trumpets in their right hands to blow withal: and they cried, The sword of the LORD, and of Gideon.
    21. And they stood every man in his place round about the camp: and all the host ran, and cried, and fled.
    22. And the three hundred blew the trumpets, and the LORD set every man's sword against his fellow, even throughout all the host: and the host fled to Bethshittah in Zererath, and to the border of Abel-meholah, unto Tabbath.
    23. And the men of Israel gathered themselves together out of Naphtali, and out of Asher, and out of all Manasseh, and pursued after the Midianites.
    24. And Gideon sent messengers throughout all mount Ephraim, saying, Come down against the Midianites, and take before them the waters unto Beth-barah and Jordan. Then all the men of Ephraim gathered themselves together, and took the waters unto Beth-barah and Jordan.
    25. And they took two princes of the Midianites, Oreb and Zeeb; and they slew Oreb upon the rock Oreb, and Zeeb they slew at the winepress of Zeeb, and pursued Midian, and brought the heads of Oreb and Zeeb to Gideon on the other side Jordan.


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     The story of Gideon reminds us that God can use little people and insignificant things to accomplish great tasks. Once again, Israel finds itself under the domination of another nation, the Midianites. The people became destitute, and cried out to the Lord for mercy. God answered their prayer and sent His angel to visit Gideon. The angel informed Gideon that he was to lead the people of Israel against the mighty Midianite army. It is important to understand that Gideon was neither a famous nor a wealthy man. By his own admission his "family is poor in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father's house" ( 6:15). He was also not a military mastermind, nor was he a politician. He was a simple farmer threshing wheat, and was so unsure of his abilities that he not only asked the Lord for several signs to prove that he was really the man that God wanted, but he carried out his first task, the destruction of the altar of Baal, by night so that no one would see him, including his own family members ( 6:25-27). Yet God took control, placed His Spirit upon Him, and used Gideon to win a decisive victory for Israel.

     Not only did God choose a seemingly insignificant man for a leader, but he used a small band of men to accomplish the goal. When Gideon called the fighting men of Israel together, 32,000 soldiers came. At that point, God told him that he had too many men. He instructed all the men who were afraid to go home, and only 10,000 remained. In light of the fact that the Bible states that the Midianite soldiers were as the sands of the sea and covered the valley like grasshoppers, it would seem to any thinking person that 32,000 men would be necessary for victory, and that 10,000 would not begin to be enough. Yet God said that he still had too many. He instructed Gideon to take them all to the brook, and note how they drank from it. Those who took the water in their hands and brought it up to their mouths were kept, and all the others were dismissed. This brought the total down to 300. So now we have a man with no military experience leading a very small group of soldiers against a far larger army. Yet the Bible records that the victory belonged to Israel.

     One last point should be made. The insignificant man leading the miniscule band of men had completely inadequate weapons. Each of his men took with them a pitcher with a lamp inside and a trumpet. No spears nor swords were to be found. No protective shields were carried. There was absolutely nothing there that could be seriously considered as an instrument of war. Yet a great victory was won.

     What took place here? God chose a man, and told that man that if he would obey, God would use him. Gideon obeyed, and God came through just as He had promised. Many a Christian could accomplish a great task for God if he would stop looking at and worrying about his own limitations, and focus on the promises of an unlimited God. An individual does not have to be clever or talented to be used by the Lord. A church does not need to have a beautiful facility and a large bank account to make a difference in its community and throughout the world. It does not take a large team of workers to get the job done. All that is needed is one man who will simply trust God, take what limited resources God makes available to him, and obey. In Gideon's case, the Lord stepped in and caused the Midianites to panic and kill each other.

     Note what the men said after they had sounded their trumpets and broken their pitchers:

    "The sword of the Lord and of Gideon!"
    It was God's sword that destroyed the Midianites. However, Gideon, who in fact held no sword, was the human instrument through which the victory was achieved. God will do great things through us, and will allow us to win victories over the world, the flesh, and the devil when we stop focusing on ourselves, start following the Lord, and allow Him to do what needs to be done.

    Pastor Dr. Mark J Montgomery

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