The Israelites had already been in bondage 3 times. – 1 st Period – Othniel (3:8) – 2 nd Period – Ehud (3:13) – 3 rd Period – Deborah (4:2)
It had been forty years since the defeat of Jabin – Jud. 4:24 “And the hand of the children of Israel prospered, and prevailed against Jabin the king of Canaan, until they had destroyed Jabin king of Canaan.” – Jud. 5:31 “So let all thine enemies perish, O LORD: but let them that love him be as the sun when he goeth forth in his might. And the land had rest forty years.”).
“Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.”
“Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:”
Israel became prosperous and the business of living and making a living occupied all their time and effort.
It is always on hand! – If a man neglect his fields, nature will remind him of his neglect: weeds will take over and his crops will be ruined. Israel – Did they think that work in the fields and harvesting was their chief concern? Man Today – Do we think that material things are the chief aim of life?
“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”
“And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.”
Our Nation – Do we not, in our nation, think about material matters? – What about the moral evils that affect this nation?
“And Israel was greatly impoverished because of the Midianites; and the children of Israel cried unto the LORD.”
Now the Israelites think about God! V. 6 The first answer by God was the message of a prophet. Vs. 8-10
“that the Lord sent a prophet to the children of Israel, who said to them, “Thus says the Lord God of Israel: ‘I brought you up from Egypt and brought you out of the house of bondage; 9 and I delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians and out of the hand of all who oppressed you, and drove them out before you and gave you their land. 10 Also I said to you, “I am the Lord your God; do not fear the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell.” But you 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 Abiezrite: and his son Gideon threshed wheat by the winepress, to hide it from the Midianites. 12And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him, and said unto him, The LORD is with thee, thou mighty man of valour. 13And 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? 15And 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. 16And the LORD said unto him, Surely I will be with thee, and thou shalt smite the Midianites as one man. 17And he said unto him, If now I have found grace in thy sight, then shew me a sign that thou talkest with me. 18Depart 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 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:” – Judges 6:25
“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.” – Judges 6:26
Gideon started with 32,000 soldiers, but God said this was too many. – “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.” – Judges 7:2
The faint-hearted were rejected. – “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.” – Judges 7:3
“Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.”
“Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.”
The Water Test – “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 sayunto 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. 5So 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…
The Water Test – “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. 7And 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.”
Many commonplace things test the quality of men. Every day we are led to the stream to drink to show what we are and whether we are earnest about divine things. We show our spiritual state by our attitude and actions. Do we pile up engagement after engagement until we spend all our time at the stream and forget the battle?
The 300 Soldiers – Judges 7:7 – 8:4 – They were selected men. – They had faith in the cause they were fighting for. – They made the fullest use of their means and left the results to God. – Every man stood in his place.
The 300 Soldiers – Judges 7:7 – 8:4 – They acted in unity! (16-22)
“And Gideon came to Jordan, and passed over, he, and the three hundred men that were with him, faint, yet pursuing them.”
The reason for their success is the reason for our success: – Unity – Are you hearing only the voice of the captain! – Obedience – Following the example of Christ! – Faithfulness – “every man stood in his own place” Are we united in the battle cry, “The sword of the Lord”! – Our sword today is the word of God and it is all- sufficient and always victorious! (Eph. 6:17; Heb. 4:12; Rom. 1:16)
“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.”
“Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. 6 So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.”