[a] You will be familiar with the story of Gideon, and how the angel appeared to him, when he was about his everyday business, and brought a great change in his life - for it was a call to deliver the nation of Israel from the persecution of Midianites.
[b]Gideon,lived some 1200 years before the birth of Christ, and was by nature, something of a ‘Doubting Thomas’. He always wanted signs.
[c] Even when the angel spoke to him, he thought it was his imagination, so he told the angel to wait, while he got some meat & broth, and when this was burnt up, in a very supernatural and spectacular way - he was convinced that it was not his imagination.
[d] Because he had received the message of God there,he called the place, there on the threshing floor, JEHOVAH SHALOMwhich means, “THE LORD WILL GIVE PEACE.”
[b] In fact, there was a very real sense in which they looked at God as their one and only King.
[c] What power there was, and the authorization to make decisions, rested on JUDGES of which Gideon was one.
[d] In a sense, they were the M.S.P.’s or senators of their day, to whom people would go to for help, and wise judgment in difficult situations, and when disputes needed to be settled.
[e] They were highly honored, prominent public figures, which is why people took notice of what Gideon said about attacking the Midianites.
[f] The Midianites had been thorns in the flesh of Israel, because when Israelites would try and sow their seed to grow a crop, they would attack them, it says in Judges 6:3-4, and destroy their crop.
[g] In those days, it was a pretty hand tomouth experience, and if the crops were destroyed, then it could be devastating for ordinary Israelites, who were totally dependent on them.
[b] But in the light of the opposition, that was minute! The enemy, it says in verse 12 of Judges 7, were “like grasshoppers for multitude; and their camels were without number, as the sand of the sea side for multitude.”
[c] So Gideon faced an impossible task!
[d] Some of you may remember, that when I have spoken about GIVING in the past, I have said, that God doesn’t look at what we give to Him, He looks at WHAT WE HAVE LEFT! I said, God’s arithmetic works on different principles from that of earth!
[e] We find a perfect example of this in Gideon’s army!
32,000 against a vast uncountable multitude!
[f] We would be running around like headless chickens enlisting new soldiers - BUT GOD SAYS “IT’S TOO MANY!!”
[g] 32,000 AGAINST PROBABLY HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS, AND GIDEON SAYS “IS ANYBODY SCARED??” HE TELLS THEM, IF SO HE DOESN’T WANT THEM - GO HOME!!
SO TWO THIRDS OF HIS ARMY BREATHES A SIGH OF RELIEF AND RETIRES!!
[h] Eventually they are whittled down to 300soldiers!!
[b] DOESN’T THAT TELL US SOMETHING!!
The vast hosts of Satan are encamped around us, wanting our destruction - BUT WE ARE ON THE LORD’S SIDE.
[c] As far as Gideon’s army was concerned, it was QUALITY AND NOT QUANTITY that God was interested in!
[d] The church that is packed to the gunnels is not necessarily the greatest fighting force for God! Often it can be the whittled down Gideon’s army!
[e] TODAY, GOD WANTS SPIRITUAL QUALITY, WHICH IS STILL MUCH MORE IMPORTANT THAN NUMBERS!!
OFTEN IT IS THE SMALL BAND OF GOD’S PEOPLE THAT IS MAKING THE BIGGEST IMPACT ON THE POWERS OF DARKNESS!!
[f] Those who were left in Gideon’s army were obviously people of faith - lets face it, they had to be - what else did they have??
[*] They believed the promise of God to Gideon in verse 16, “I will be with thee, and thou shalt smite the Midianites as one man.”
[g] God needs you and me to be people of faith, who will follow unquestioningly, His leading.
[b] The people of Succoth refused to provide Gideon and his army with food while he was fighting the Midianites.
When Gideon was victorious he returned and punished the town officials. Do not fear, God will judge and punish all those who hinder and undermine His work!
[c] Those from whom we expect support, and on whom we rely in our warfare, can sometimes let us down. BUT THE RESULT OF THE BATTLE WAS UNCHANGED - IT WAS STILL VICTORY!
[c] The people wanted to make Gideon their king, but he wouldn’t have any of it.
[d] When we are successful in our work for God, sometimes people will try and give us the glory. BUT ALL GLORY BELONGS TO THE LORD!!
[e] God told Gideon, in verse 2, that He was reducing the army to a mere pittance, in case Israel would say, “My own hand hath saved me!”
[f] Let us always remember, IT IS ALL OF HIM, AND NONE OF US!!
PRAYER CHORUS - HE IS LORD