God's Deliverance of Israel Through Gideon
Preparation for Deliverance
(Judges Chapter 6)
1. Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord (Vs. 1):
After 40 years of peace and rest under the judges Deborah and Barak, Israel was delivered by the Lord into the hand of Midian. The Midianites were also the offspring of Abraham, by Keturah his concubine (Genesis 25:1-6), after the death of Sarah.
Moses fled to Midian after slaying an Egyptian, and was received by Jethro the Midianite priest, who gave Moses his daughter Zippora for his wife. Later Jethro was a great blessing to Moses. But over-all the Midianites were a thorn in the flesh to Israel. Midianite merchants sold Joseph as a slave to the Egyptians. The Midianites leagued with the Moabites and the Amorites, as well as the Ishmaelites against Israel. Thus Abraham's promised seed reaped what Abraham sowed in the flesh- Even to this day!
The evil that Israel did, which caused their present distress, was to worship the gods of the heathen (Vs.10), particularly Baal and Ashtaroth.
The Lord allowed Israel to degenerate to a point of desperation before delivering them from their enemies.
The irony here was that Israel was in bondage to the Midianites and the Amalekites for worshipping their idols. When we bow down to the gods of this world and worship them, the world will hate us and seek to destroy us; not show us acceptance. Their idols not only can not deliver God's people, but they will bring the wrath of God and His chastening hand upon us, as well as the wrath of the heathen. It just doesn't pay to be a friend of this world, and to worship their gods!
Here in our text, Israel was literally being starved to death. They were in bondage, hiding out in caves and strongholds; and all the while they worshipped Baal! How spiritually blind can God's people become?
But Israel finally cried unto the Lord. Kind of a last resort. That is sometimes how we do when we're in trouble with our enemies and with the Lord. Sometimes in their history Israel cried unto the Lord too-late and God would not hear nor deliver them. May we seek the Lord while He may be found! Other times they failed even to cry to the Lord at all, and went on and were punished. This seems to be the case with many wayward Christian; they just will not cry out to the Lord. They would rather go on in their ways and into the judgment of God.
2. God calls Gideon (Vs. 11-24):
The angel appears to Gideon. He calls him a mighty man of valor, hardly a title that Gideon had earned or was worthy of.
Gideon questions the presence of God with Israel. "Why are we in the shape were in?" Where are the miracles of God that he only heard of from the fathers? Thus Gideon showed that he was not a spiritual man; otherwise he would have known why God had seemingly forsaken Israel.
The Lord commissions Gideon. Gideon's call was an act of God's sovereign grace. Gideon wasn't seeking the Lord, much less desiring to be a deliverer of Israel.
This whole deliverance was to prove to Israel that God is God, and that He is the only God Who can save! Gideon was not a mighty man of valor, but rather a fearful man as we will see, and not a man of faith, but a man of constant doubt! But the Lord can save by many of by few, by the fearful and weak, as by the strong and mighty.
This is an encouragement to me! I am often fearful and weak in faith. But I am reminded that it is God Who saves by His power and not mine. It is for me but to obey Him, and do what He says, and go where He sends! He will do the work- He will give the victory; He will give the increase!
Gideon professes his insufficiency and his inability. Truly this is the kind of man (or woman) that the Lord will use. He won't use the proud and haughty, who think they have power to accomplish the Lord's work in the strength of the flesh.
The Lord promises Gideon His presence and victory over their enemies. The Lord would be with Gideon, yet Gideon must go forth into the battle. The Lord wants us to fight, though the victory truly is His.
Gideon seeks a sign (1 of 4), being a doubtful man, to make sure that it really was the Lord Who was speaking with him. The Lord did not rebuke him for his lack of trust. The Lord would rather that we go forth in full assurance of faith, than to live and follow on in doubt.
His offering (Vs. 17) typified the sacrifice of Christ, His body that was consumed by the fire of God's wrath on Calvary. So the sign the Lord gave Gideon was a Messianic assurance, that God would always be with Israel.
(Vs. 22-24) Gideon was afraid because he saw the angel of the Lord, Who I believe was the pre-incarnate Christ.
3. Gideon destroys the idols:
Gideon was commanded to throw down the altar of Baal and to cut down the groves. Before deliverance, there must be repentance. God will not bless if there are idols and idol worship in the camp; that is why they are in trouble in the first place!
Gideon obeyed the Lord and destroyed the idols. This is key to returning to the Lord. Knowing what to do; and then doing it!
The men of Israel sought to kill Gideon because he destroyed the idols. There will be repercussions for obeying the Lord. People get very attached to their idols, and get very angry at the man of God Who tries to destroy them. This is a great evil; to despise God's man because of love and addiction to worldly idols.
Joash, Gideon's father withstood the men of Israel and said let him that pleads for Baal be put to death. If Baal is a god let him plead for himself. Destroy the temple of the Living God and see what happens to you. Read about that in 1 Cor. 3:17! Let the gods of this world plead for themselves if they are gods!
I don't know what God would have done to those men that day if they would have persisted in killing Gideon; but they probably would have been destroyed by the Lord.
Thus Israel was rid of its heathen idols and ready now to be delivered.
Today, are you in bondage to idols, and to serving them? Are you in bondage to Satan, who is ultimately the object of idol worship. Only Jesus can deliver you from your bondage- only He can destroy those idols and break their spill upon you. Look to Jesus Christ today and He will deliver your soul.
Repent by the power of God, and turn to Christ by faith in His shed blood for the remission of your sins. Believe that He died on the cross, was buried, and rose the third day for you- believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved!
(Sermon preached by Pastor Burke at the Faith Baptist Church of Lawtey, Florida)