THE STORY #8: A FEW GOOD MEN… AND WOMEN: (JUDGES)
(Pastor Chris Jordan – Beausejour Church)
To listen to or download the audio MP3, click HERE.
INTRO TO TOPIC:
- We are in week #8 of the Story: Right after the death of Joshua, the Bible says:
- “In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” (Judges 17:6, NKJV).
THE CYCLES IN JUDGES:
- Israel does evil in the eyes of God, God allows them to be enslaved,
- Israel cries out to the Lord, God raises up a judge (military leaders; champions),
- Israel is delivered, there is peace and Israel serves the Lord. *Rinse and Repeat*
SOME OF THE DIFFERENT JUDGES:
- Deborah – God uses women as well as men! (Judges 4-5)
- Gideon – a weak, small and insignificant farmer, battled Midianites (Judges 6-8)
- Samson – worldly compromiser – God uses imperfect people (Judges 13-16)
DEBORAH: Character Vignette (Judges 4)
(Left: Deborah narrating; Right: Deborah, Barak, Sisera and Jael acting)
Hi, my name is Deborah, and I was one of the mighty judges of Israel. When the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord, we were harshly oppressed by the wicked Jabin, the king of Canaan. His military leader was a terrible man named Sisera. During this time, I was a prophetess and would sit under the palm tree, and the people would come to me for guidance.
Well, God gave me a word for Barak, and I told him, “Has not the Lord God of Israel commanded, Go and deploy troops at Mount Tabor; take with you ten thousand men, and I will deliver Sisera into your hand!” But do you know what Barak said to me? He said, “If you will go with me, then I will go, but if you will not go with me, I will not go!”
So I told him I would go with him, but nevertheless there would be no glory for him in his battle, and the Lord would defeat Sisera by the hand of a woman.
Long story short, We fought against Sisera and his 900 chariots of iron, and I gave a rousing speech to Barak, “Rise up! For this is the day the Lord has delivered Sisera into your hand!” And the Lord routed Sisera’s army with the edge of the sword, but Sisera escaped! He had found his way to hide in the tent of a woman named Jael, and she let him in and hid him under a blanket. She gave him some milk to drink, and after he fell asleep, took a hammer and drove a tent peg into his temple, and this terrible terrorist died! All because of the courage of this brave woman.
And so today I want you to know that God uses women as well as men, and will use you to do great things for Him if you trust in Him!
BACKGROUND TO THE STORY: Forty years after Deborah:
“Then the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord. So the Lord delivered them into the hand of Midian for seven years, and the hand of Midian prevailed against Israel. Because of the Midianites, the children of Israel made for themselves the dens, the caves, and the strongholds which are in the mountains.” (Judges 6:1-2, NKJV).
- The Midianites, Amalekites and people of the East would team up against them (v.3).
- They destroyed their crops and livestock, and left them impoverished (v.4-6).
- They were broke, discouraged, depressed and hopeless. They were hiding in caves!
- GIDEON WAS CALLED AND CHOSEN:
“Now the Angel of the Lord came and sat under the terebinth tree which was in Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, while his son Gideon threshed wheat in the winepress, in order to hide it from the Midianites. And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him, and said to him, “The Lord is with you, you mighty man of valor!”” (Judges 6:11-12, NKJV).
- What do we learn about Gideon here? He was fearful – hiding in the winepress.
- Who is the Angel of the Lord? Possibly a Christophony – an appearance of Jesus.
- He called him a “mighty man of valor.” I’m sure his response was: “Who me?”
- Why did God call him a mighty man of valor? He was speaking to his potential!
“Gideon said to Him, “O my lord, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all His miracles which our fathers told us about, saying, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt?’ But now the Lord has forsaken us and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites.” (Judges 6:13, NKJV).
- Look at Gideon’s response when God called him: “If…”, “Why…”, “Where…”, and “The Lord has forsaken us.” He had questions, doubts and discouragements.
“Then the Lord turned to him and said, “Go in this might of yours, and you shall save Israel from the hand of the Midianites. Have I not sent you?” So he said to Him, “O my Lord, how can I save Israel? Indeed my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.” (Judges 6:14-15, NKJV).
- Gideon was a nobody – weak, fearful and discouraged. Could God use him? Yes!
- He ‘put out a fleece’ to test and make sure that God was really calling him (6:36-40).
“26 Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.” (1 Cor. 1:26-27, NIV).
- Someone said once, “God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called.”
- Look at everyone God has called: Moses: “I can’t speak!” Jeremiah: “I’m too young!” Gideon: “I’m too weak!” God can and will use you!
- GIDEON HAD A GOD ENCOUNTER WITH JESUS:
“And the Lord said to him, “Surely I will be with you, and you shall defeat the Midianites as one man. Then he said to Him, “If now I have found favor in Your sight, then show me a sign that it is You who talk with me. Do not depart from here, I pray, until I come to You and bring out my offering and set it before You.” And He said, “I will wait until you come back.” (Judges 6:16-18, NKJV)
“22 Now Gideon perceived that He was the Angel of the Lord. So Gideon said, “Alas, O Lord God! For I have seen the Angel of the Lord face to face.” 23 Then the Lord said to him, “Peace be with you; do not fear, you shall not die.” 24 So Gideon built an altar there to the Lord, and called it The-Lord-Is-Peace…” (Judges 6:22-24a, NKJV).
- Peace = Shalom = wholeness, security, well-being, prosperity, peace and friendship.
- It was after Gideon’s encounter with the Lord that he was ready to be used by Him.
- GOD GAVE GIDEON A MISSION:
“Now it came to pass the same night that the Lord said to him, “Take your father’s young bull, the second bull of seven years old, and tear down the altar of Baal that your father has, and cut down the wooden image that is beside it; and build an altar to the Lord your God on top of this rock in the proper arrangement, and take the second bull and offer a burnt sacrifice with the wood of the image which you shall cut down.” (Judges 6:25-26).
- God told Gideon first of all to deal with the sin and compromise in Israel.
- Gideon did it even though he was fearful (he went and did it at night with some friends).
- Then the Lord sent him to go and deal with the enemies (see Judges 7 for this story):
- Gideon had an army of 32,000 people that the Lord reduced to 300 to defeat the enemies: “Let the fearful go home.” 22,000 left. Of the 10,000 remaining, 9,700 were sent home.
- In his battle, the 300 men took trumpets, torches and jars of clay and surrounded the enemy and God helped give them the victory (7:16-25).
APPLICATION: HOW DOES THIS STORY APPLY TO US TODAY?
1. WE ARE CALLED AND CHOSEN BY GOD:
“just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will.” (Eph. 1:4-5, NKJV).
- What an amazing thought – that God calls and chooses US!
2. WE NEED A PERSONAL ENCOUNTER WITH JESUS:
“But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory…” (2 Cor. 3:18, NKJV).
- After we have a personal encounter with Jesus, everything changes! PREACH IT:
- He forgives our sins, heals our diseases, and delivers us from bondages and addictions…
- You need a personal encounter with Jesus if you want to experience His joy, peace, etc.
3. GOD HAS GIVEN US A MISSION:
“God has given gifts to each of you from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Manage them well so that God’s generosity can flow through you.” (1 Peter 4:10, NLT).
- You are called and chosen, encounter Jesus, and get busy doing your mission, amen?
THE BIG IDEA: Just like Gideon and the judges in Israel, God has called and chosen us to encounter Jesus and make a difference in the world for good.
CHALLENGE: Where are you going to serve the Lord in the church? In the community?
- Pastor’s Blog: https://pastorchrisjordan.wordpress.com/