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Saturday, June 18, 2022

Gideon – God’s Mighty Warrior – Judges 6–8

          Gideon was the 5th judge of Israel.  He is listed in the men of faith in Hebrews 11: 32. Gideon saw himself as unfit to be a leader in God’s service, but God saw Gideon differently. God saw Gideon as a “mighty warrior” because God knows Gideon’s end from his beginning and all in between. God had a job for Gideon to do, and He will complete it through Gideon. Without God, we can do nothing. In type and shadow, Gideon is a picture of Jesus, God’s Supreme Mighty Warrior, and Judge. As God knew Gideon’s end from His beginning, He also sees our end from our beginning as we walk with Christ. He has a job for us to do whether big or small and He will prepare us for the task.

Gideon is chosen of God to lead His people out of the hands of their enemies with God’s help. Gideon must first understand how God’s people ended up in the dire condition they are in. The key to Gideon’s success was his willingness to obey God. Gideon’s faith was weak at times, but God patiently strengthened Gibeon’s faith in Him. Like all of us, Gideon had a fleshly nature, like all humans, that made him make wrong moves, but God never deserted Gideon. God is faithful even when we are not! God is patient with Gideon and the weakness of his flesh. Eventually, Gideon will unite God’s people against their common enemy and through his obedience and God’s power defeat them.

         For seven years, the Midianites, Amalekites and other eastern nations invaded and oppressed God’s people. God’s people had betrayed God by worshiping false idols. The Midianites were so strong that God’s people made shelters for themselves in mountain clefts, caves, and strongholds. In other words, they hid in the cleft of a rock and rock caves. God hid Moses in the cleft of a rock as His glory passed by on Mount Sinai. First Moses had to “stand on a rock.” (see Exodus 33:21) as Christians are to stand on the Rock Jesus. We are hidden in Him. When God’s glory passed by, God put Moses “in the cleft in the rock and cover you with My hand until I have passed by. Then I will remove My hand and you will see My back; but My face must not be seen.” 33:22-23. God’s face will not be seen until Jesus Christ -- the fullness of the Godhead and God’s glory in a flesh body -- comes down to earth. Despite the sinfulness of those God created in His image, God had His precious Son take on the flesh of man to pay the price for our sin. This is God’s love and heart at work. Don’t ever underestimate how much God loves us despite us. He also loves us enough to help us put away our sinful ways so we can walk in His way which is the way of blessing.

             For seven years, the enemies of God’s people ruined the crops of God’s people and took their flocks. These nations would let the Israelites plow, sow, reap and thresh, but then they would steal their grain and livestock. Because God’s people were in rebellion against God and His Word, they were disorganized, hiding, disunited, and weakened. They hid in fear. They didn’t have the strength to resist the enemy. Jesus warned that the devil and his demonic host would come to steal, kill, and destroy life, but Jesus came to give us life and that more abundantly as we walk the earth. The devil wants to divide and conquer, but the Godhead wants to bring us to unity through His will, ways, and heart to bring peace and victory. When we are in disobedience to God and His Word, we will be divided and defeated. Jesus gave us the power of the Holy Spirit and Truth to resist the devil and his evil ways and to help us to obey God’s Word and be fruitful and blessed. Walking in our fleshly ways instead of God’s ways brings death to our spirit and defeat. It is the Spirit that brings life. “The flesh profits nothing.” (see John 6:63) There is no spiritual life in sin and there is no victory in disobedient to God and His Word. Our fleshly ways are the opposite of God’s ways. When we walk in God’s love, grace, truth, and ways, we will be victorious.

          Finally, God’s people become so desperate and oppressed that they cry out to God for help. (see Judges 6:6) In answer to their cry, God sends them a prophet who reminds His people that He had brought them out of Egypt and the bondage of their oppressors. “I drove them from before you and gave you their land. I said to you, ‘I am the Lord your God; do not worship the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you live.’ But you have not listened to me.” Judges 6:7-10 In other words, “I am faithful. I did it! Not you! And I did it My way.”  God’s people didn’t listen to the prophet He sent. There is no victory in doing things our way. When God’s people didn’t listen and obey God’s Word, they were taken into bondage and oppression. God wants the Israelites to know why they are in the situation they are in. We must see and know how we got into the position we are in. Then, if we obey God’s Word of instruction, He will turn our situation around. Victory can only come through the ways of God, not man. 

            Lesson: God had to let His people experience the result of their disobedience, so they would see their need of Him and His ways again. God’s ways are the opposite of our fleshly ways. God wants His people to remember how He saved them from the bondage and oppression of their enemies in the past when He set them free of bondage and oppression in Egypt. When God’s people listened and obeyed God’s chosen leader, Moses, who was hearing from God, they were set free and victorious.

The obedience of God’s people and obeying God’s Word to Moses brought deliverance and freedom from bondage. Despite the disobedience of His people, it was God’s love and grace that motivated Him to set His people free. God’s ways don’t change! “I am the Lord. I change not!” Malachi 3:6 God had the fullness of love, grace, and truth in the Older Testament also. The two testaments must agree, or they couldn’t walk side by side. Why? Because God, Jesus/the Word and the Holy Spirit are the Godhead of agreement and unity. They will never contradict one another but will always be in unity (agreement). They are One! And, since the Word of God is the voice of God, it too will be in agreement and unity.

             God used the “natural” in the Older Testament to reveal “spiritual” truth, just as Jesus did in the New Testament. As I said, God’s ways don’t change! First the natural, then the spiritual. The Godhead created all things; therefore, all things have a message from the Godhead. 1 Corinthians 15:46: The spiritual is not first, but the natural, and afterward the spiritual. In the Older Testament, God parted the Red Sea to open an earthly way of escape from the earthly enemies of His people. God’s people were suffering because of their disobedience to God. When they turned back to God under the instruction of God’s chosen one Gideon, they were victorious. Since the “natural” speaks to the “supernatural/spiritual” in the New Testament, God parted the way between heaven and earth spiritually so all who believe in Jesus can spiritually return to God through the “red sea” of Christ’s shed, sinless blood on the cross of suffering. Jesus took our suffering upon Himself on the cross and prepared the way for us to be returned to God.

 Because those who love and follow Jesus have the Holy Spirit and the whole Truth, we are helped by the power of God’s Holy Spirit to make decisions according to God’s Word, will and heart. Christians have the whole Word of God to teach them. The Israelites only had a portion of the Word of God. They saw in part, but we have fuller vision through the life of Jesus until we see in fullness face-to-face. God gifted us with the whole Truth -- Word of God -- and the Living Word of God Jesus together with God’s Holy Spirit to teach, empower, correct, and fully reveal the Truth/Word to us. Jesus came in the fullness of grace, truth, love, Holy Spirit, and Word. The fullness of God’s grace and truth in Jesus is God’s gift to us. What we do with it, is up to us.  The power of the Holy Spirit of God and the Word of God through Jesus will help us obey His Word. Two in agreement in God’s love, will, ways and Word are powerful. Jesus wants us to receive His fullness. For Him to do this, we must know the Truth.

John 1:16: “From the fullness of His grace, we have all received one blessing after another. For the Law was given through Moses, grace and truth came through Jesus Christ,” the Only Begotten Son of God. Moses was human just like you and me, but Jesus is God who took on the flesh of man to save those of the flesh. He is the only One who could obey God fully and completely because He is God who along with God the Father and the Holy Spirit created all things. (see Genesis 1:1-3) Jesus is and will forever be the voice of God as He was in the beginning at creation. The Holy Spirit will forever be the Holy Spirit of God as it was in the beginning at creation. The more we allow Jesus and the Holy Spirit to recreate our sinful, fleshly ways into His ways, the fuller He resides in us. Victory over our spiritual enemy can only come through the ways of God, not our fleshly ways. God’s heart’s desire is that we know the pure Truth, so the Truth will set us free.

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