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Story of Gideon

The Story of Gideon

By Joyce Webb 2017

Gideon a farmer led 300 men to fight against the army of Midian, who had tens of thousands of men.

Who won? Gideon How? Here is how it happened.

It is told in the book of Judges Chp. 6-8

The people of Judah/Israel, the Hebrews, the Jews, had not been following the rules that God gave them. They had not been faithful to God to worship him. They had begun to worship idols of the nations around them. They had been doing all kinds of sins.

Because of these sins, and their worshipping idols God let other nations come in and take over Judah/Israel. These nations would put heavy burdens, taxes, rules on the people of Judah/Israel.

Then the people of Israel would repent of their sins and pray and asked God to help them.

God would forgive them, and help them. He would help them throw off the rule of those nations and they would rule themselves again.

This happened many times in Judah/Israel’s history.

This time it was the nation of Midian who was ruling over them.

The rulers of Midian had not allowed the Hebrew people to have any weapons. Tools made of metal were few because the Midianites did not want the Hebrew people to melt them and make weapons.

The Midianites also stole their cattle and sheep, and took the grain and food grown in the fields. The Hebrew people were hurting badly.

They cried out to God to help them.

There was a farmer, named Gideon. He was threshing (beating) wheat to get the grain off the stalk. He was doing it in the place where they pressed out the grapes. He was trying to hide the wheat so the Midians would not steal it.

The angel of the Lord came to him as he worked. The angel said to him, “You mighty man of valor (brave, good), the Lord is with you.”

I wonder if Gideon laughed at being called a mighty man of valor.

He was hiding his wheat out of fear of the Midianites.

God was calling him a “mighty man of valor”!!

In our human thinking, we do not see ourselves as God sees us. God sees us as what we can be with his strength----not as we are as weak humans.

If we could learn to see ourselves as God sees us how different we would live and think!!

Gideon said, If God is with us why are we having all these problems? The answer was because of the people’s sins.

When the Bible uses the words “angel of the Lord” that means a special angel. Many Bible teachers think it means it was Jesus showing up in the Old Testament.

When Gideon asks why they are having so many problems the Bible says The Lord said to him, Go and you will save Israel from the hand of the Midianites, have I not told you?

Gideon seeing himself as we humans do said, How can I save them? My family is poor. I am the least important person in my family.

The Lord said to him, I will be with you and you will fight them as though they were only one man.

Wow! The Midianite army had thousands of men.

Gideon said, If all you say is true and you are truly God speaking to me, give me a sign, and wait here until I go get an offering for you.

That took some time. A goat had to be killed, cooked, and brought back to the Angel of the Lord.

When Gideon put the offering on a rock, the Angel of the Lord touched the offering with his staff (stick, rod) and fire came out to burn up the offering and the Angel of the Lord disappeared.

Gideon understood that he had truly seen a divine being. He said, Oh, I have seen the angel of the Lord, face to face. Gideon understood that this was not an ordinary angel. He believed it to be God, himself.

The Old Testament teachings were that no man could see God and live. Exodus 33:20

That God was so holy, and powerful, that if any human looked upon him, it would be too much for the human body and the person who die.

So, Gideon was afraid he would die. But the Lord spoke to him and he heard his voice and the Lord said, Do not be afraid, you will not die.

That night, the Lord spoke to Gideon again. He told Gideon to get a bull from his father’s animals and to make a sacrifice/offering of it.

But first he was to break down the altar to the idol that he father had made.

Then he was to build an altar to God and offer the bull.

This was a big thing!! What will his father do to him when he finds out?

What will the people of the village do when they find out?

Taking down the idol’s altar, was going against what everyone was doing and believing---this will make his neighbors angry.

Gideon had a choice to make. If he did what God said, he was going to have a big problem with his father and with the people of the village.

Gideon decided to choose God and obey God.

He was still afraid. So he took 10 servant men with him, and he went at night, to break down the altar of the idol and make a new altar to God.

Doing it at night, did not hide things for long. The next morning the people saw what happened and found out who did it.

They wanted to kill Gideon.

We are surprised, but Gideon’s father did not give Gideon over to the men.

He asked them a question. Why are you trying to defend (protect) the idol, Baal? If Baal was truly God and so powerful he could have saved himself and no one would have broken the altar.

Gideon’s father said, whoever stands up for Baal will be killed.

So the men went away.

The armies of Midian and the Amalekites were gathered together to fight against the Hebrews.

The Bible says the Spirit of the Lord came upon Gideon.

Like when the Spirit of the Lord came on Samson and he was able to do those “strong” things.

The Spirit of the Lord would make Gideon have the strength and wisdom beyond human ability.

Gideon had proven that he was willing to do what God asked when he broke down the altar of Baal.

Now, God is leading him on to another thing.

Gideon called the Hebrew men to come fight in the army--32,000 men came.

Gideon was still fearful. There were thousands of fighting men in the enemy armies. Gideon wanted to make sure, he was hearing clearly from God.

So he asked God to give him a “sign”. He put a wool skin (fleece) out on the ground at night. He said, If in the morning, the wool is dry, but the ground is wet and has dew on it, I will know God has spoken to me.

It happened just like he prayed. Dew was on the wool, and the ground was dry.

Gideon was still fearful. He asked God to be patient with him, and if he would show him one more time, this time, let the wool be dry, but all the ground around it wet. It happened just like Gideon asked.

Gideon had 32,000 men to fight.

The Lord came to Gideon and said, You have too many men. If I let all of them fight, they will say that they won by their own strength.

When God does a miracle, he does not share the glory with men.

The glory goes to God only.

God told Gideon, if any of the men who came, are afraid, let them go home. 22,000 went home!!

Gideon had 10,000 men.

The Lord said, You have too many men. Let them all go to the river. Tell them to drink water from the river. Watch them. Any of the men who lay on the ground and put their face in the river to drink----put in one group.

Any of the men who kneel and scoop up water in their hands to drink, put them in another group.

There were 300 men who knelt and drank from their hands. God said, Keep them. Send the others home.

What was the difference? I will guess. Soldiers laying on the ground with their face in the water, are not watching their back or around them.

The men who were kneeling, were able to watch all around them as you would expect a soldier to do.

Now, Gideon had 300 men in his army. The enemy had thousands.

Gideon had God. The enemy had Baal.

The enemy camp was down in the valley below Gideon. The Lord told him to go down there to “spy” and listen.

There was so many enemy soldiers, the Bible says they were like grains of sand on a sea shore.

So at night, Gideon and another man went down and listened as the enemy soldiers talked. They were listening by one tent, a soldier was telling about a dream he had.

He said, in his dream a loaf of barley bread came falling down on the tent, it made the tent flat.

His friend said, This dream means that Gideon and his sword and his army is going to kill us. He will win.

When Gideon heard this, he gave thanks to God, for it encouraged him, and helped him have faith that God would do a wonderful miracle for them.

Gideon divided the 300 men into 3 groups. He gave each man a lighted torch and a clay pitcher. He told them to put the pitcher over the torch to hide the light. And he gave each man a trumpet. (most likely the “trumpet” was a ram’s horn). You can blow into the ram’s horn and it makes a sound.

He sent the groups one group to 3 different sides of the enemy army. The Hebrew men were to wait until everyone was in place, and wait for a signal from Gideon.

When it was time, Gideon would blow his ram’s horn and would yell, “The sword of the Lord, and of Gideon.” Then the men would do the same.

In the night, after all the men were in place, Gideon blew the ram’s horn, threw the clay pitcher on the ground, it broke, he lifted up high the burning torch, and yelled, “The sword of the Lord, and of Gideon.” All of the men did the same.

Then they just stood there watching.

It was night. The enemy soldiers were in their tents asleep. They heard these loud ram’s horns, clay pitchers breaking, men shouting. They looked out and all around their camp on every side they saw burning torches.

They become so frightened, that they grabbed their swords and ran out of the camp. As they were going they started swinging and fighting the men around them thinking they were the enemy come into the camp.

But they were fighting their own men. They were in total confusion. Fighting each other. Killing each other. Those of the enemy soldiers who were not killed ran into the next towns.

Gideon and his men watched. Gideon sent messengers to some of the Hebrew tribes to send men to fight. They went after the men who run to other places.

The Bible does not say where Gideon and his men got swords. But some where along the way they must have picked up swords from those who had been killed.

That day God broke the rule of Midian over the Hebrew people.

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What are some of the things we learn from Gideon?

**God sees us as what we can be with his help. We look at all our faults and weaknesses.

He uses ordinary people some who are the least important in the opinions of others.

 

**In America, so far, we have freedom to change our religion and go to another religion if we want.

In some countries, you have to belong to the religion that the government says. If you stop doing that religion, or try to change to another religion, you will have big problems.

You could be killed, put in prison, beaten to death, your family will not speak to you, you may lose your job and no one will hire you------all kinds of problems could happen.

So, like Gideon you may have to think carefully about removing yourself from the religion that everyone else says is right.

It may be that you will have to make a choice Jesus and heaven or life here on earth, but no heaven with Jesus..

In your heart, you will have to be sure that God has spoken to you and have faith that He will be with you in whatever happens to you.

When you understand that God’s Word is true and Jesus is the only way to eternal life in heaven you will know that having Jesus is more important than life here on earth.

It may be that Jesus will protect you and your life will go on.

 

**God wants us to succeed. He shows patience with us when we are true and sincere in wanting to know that He has spoken to us.

God does not show us the whole plan. He only shows us the first step. We have to trust Him. We have to be willing to obey the first step, before we will know the next step.

God is patient with us. But he will not reward our lack of faith, by showing us the whole plan.

**God will work out problems for us in wonderful ways. But he will not share he glory with man. All glory goes to Him.

The reason God wanted only 300 men, because he wanted the situation to be so impossible for the men to succeed by themselves, that they would have to admit and tell everyone, that they did nothing, God did it all.

**Gideon made “enemies” and the people of the village were against him because he chose to go against what they thought was right.

Obeying God does not always make you well liked and popular.

Surprisingly, Gideon’s father did not stand against Gideon. I think that was God’s working, too.

When Gideon called for men to follow him in battle, even with no sword, and only a torch, a pitcher, and an ram’s horn, there were 300 that were willing to have faith, also.

When we step out in faith, we may find that there are others who will believe and have faith, too.

When God is by your side, it does not matter how many thousands there are of the “enemy”.

**God has many “ideas” of how to take care of a problem. Some of his “ideas” may seem very strange, even will make you laugh.

When Gideon yelled “The sword of the Lord” that was true. Gideon’s men did not have swords. God’s sword was to confuse the men in the darkness.

It is not easy to step out in faith like Gideon. But God will reward those who are willing to trust Him.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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