If you would like to listen to this message, please click on the following link.
Date: 14 February, 2019
Text: Judges 7
Title: Like Gideon and Phurah
Gideon - What an interesting character from God's Word.
Judges 6:11 And there came an angel of the LORD, and sat under an oak which was in Ophrah, that pertained unto Joash the Abiezrite: and his son Gideon threshed wheat by the winepress, to hide it from the Midianites.
12 And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him, and said unto him, The LORD is with thee, thou mighty man of valour.
13 And Gideon said unto him, Oh my Lord, if the LORD be with us, why then is all this befallen us? and where be all his miracles which our fathers told us of, saying, Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt? but now the LORD hath forsaken us, and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites.
14 And the LORD looked upon him, and said, Go in this thy might, and thou shalt save Israel from the hand of the Midianites: have not I sent thee?
15 And he said unto him, Oh my Lord, wherewith shall I save Israel? behold, my family is poor in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father's house.
16 And the LORD said unto him, Surely I will be with thee, and thou shalt smite the Midianites as one man.
exp. The mighty man of valour - soldier of the Lord seems to have been a very cautious if not fearful person.
1.) Gideon immediately wants a sign that it is God speaking with him. (God grants it - fire out of the rock consumes the offering Gideon provided.)
2.) Destroys the idol grove at night.
Genesis 6:27 Then Gideon took ten men of his servants, and did as the LORD had said unto him: and so it was, because he feared his father's household, and the men of the city, that he could not do it by day, that he did it by night.
3.) Needs confirmation from God that he is the chosen leader. (Judge)
36 And Gideon said unto God, If thou wilt save Israel by mine hand, as thou hast said,
37 Behold, I will put a fleece of wool in the floor; and if the dew be on the fleece only, and it be dry upon all the earth beside, then shall I know that thou wilt save Israel by mine hand, as thou hast said.
38 And it was so: for he rose up early on the morrow, and thrust the fleece together, and wringed the dew out of the fleece, a bowl full of water.
exp. But, that wasn't enough....
39 And Gideon said unto God, Let not thine anger be hot against me, and I will speak but this once: let me prove, I pray thee, but this once with the fleece; let it now be dry only upon the fleece, and upon all the ground let there be dew.
40 And God did so that night: for it was dry upon the fleece only, and there was dew on all the ground.
Then there is Phurah - the servant of Gideon.
1.) His name, the only other recorded one of the 300 men we know in this story.
2.) God used him to encourage Gideon as he goes down with him to hear the Midianite dream.
note: However, unlikely - these were men chosen by God to be his fighters in his army.
God is still looking for men to fight in His army.
Ill. Paul told Timothy - 2Ti 2:3 Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.
exp. The fight for God's glory did not end at the cross as we entered the NT.
hymn: Am I a soldier of the Cross - Isaac Watts
1 Am I a soldier of the cross,
a foll'wer of the Lamb?
And shall I fear to own His cause
or blush to speak His Name?
2 Must I be carried to the skies
on flow'ry beds of ease,
while others fought to win the prize
and sailed through bloody seas?
3 Are there no foes for me to face?
Must I not stem the flood?
Is this vile world a friend to grace
to help me on to God?
4 Sure I must fight, if I would reign;
increase my courage, Lord;
I'll bear the toil, endure the pain,
supported by Thy Word.
exp. When men were enlisted in the military - there came a day when they had to report for duty.
Do your duty as a good soldier for God's army. Are you desirous of fighting for God? Are you a soldier that would please Him?
I. Give GOD all the glory for every victory.
1 Then Jerubbaal, who is Gideon, and all the people that were with him, rose up early, and pitched beside the well of Harod: so that the host of the Midianites were on the north side of them, by the hill of Moreh, in the valley.
2 And the LORD said unto Gideon, The people that are with thee are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel vaunt themselves against me, saying, Mine own hand hath saved me.
exp. God had to delay the victory and thin the army because the pride of man is so great - they would steal the glory of God's victory.
note: God will not use proud men, but will cast them down.
ill. King Nebuchadnezzar.
Dan 4:37 Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honour the King of heaven, all whose works are truth, and his ways judgment: and those that walk in pride he is able to abase.
exp. So said Nebuchadnezzar after being found guilty of robbing God of His glory by his pride and being sentenced to 7 years served as a beast of the field.
Dan 4:33 The same hour was the thing fulfilled upon Nebuchadnezzar: and he was driven from men, and did eat grass as oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, till his hairs were grown like eagles' feathers, and his nails like birds' claws.
ill. King Herod
Acts 12:21 And upon a set day Herod, arrayed in royal apparel, sat upon his throne, and made an oration unto them.
22 And the people gave a shout, saying, It is the voice of a god, and not of a man.
23 And immediately the angel of the Lord smote him, because he gave not God the glory: and he was eaten of worms, and gave up the ghost.
exp. God will deal with the men who would steal his glory.
Isaiah 2:11 The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, and the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, and the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day.
12 For the day of the LORD of hosts shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty, and upon every one that is lifted up; and he shall be brought low:
James 4:6 But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.
ill. In the warning to putting men into God's service, Paul warns against the danger of pride in a young believer.
1Ti 3:6 Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.
app. Do you want to serve in God's army? Determine that every time God will get all of the glory for what He has done despite you.
II. Refuse to draw back in fear.
3 Now therefore go to, proclaim in the ears of the people, saying, Whosoever is fearful and afraid, let him return and depart early from mount Gilead. And there returned of the people twenty and two thousand; and there remained ten thousand.
exp. The 30 percent who remained were not fearless men. They were men who wanted to do battle for God despite their fears.
note: Some of God's great servants have been men whom we know had fear.
1 Kings 19:1 And Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and withal how he had slain all the prophets with the sword.
2 Then Jezebel sent a messenger unto Elijah, saying, So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I make not thy life as the life of one of them by to morrow about this time.
3 And when he saw that, he arose, and went for his life
exp. A man who called down fire from Heaven (several times) and who would go to heaven in a fiery chariot - fled for his life from the hand of a wicked queen.
Joshua was told to be courageous because he wasn't fearless.
Joshua 1:7 Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest.
8 This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.
9 Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.
The disciples panicked with fear in the boat - Mat 8:26 And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.
Timothy was told not to fear - because he had fear.
2Ti 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
Peter betrayed Jesus because he let fear stop him from being a good soldier and he went out and wept bitterly. Praise God he was restored and with the enablement of the Holy Spirit became one of the boldest preachers of the New Testament - imprisoned and preaching where he was forbidden to preach.
quote: "The test of your character is what it takes to stop you."
Paul: battled the weakness of his flesh and fear - Act 27:24 Saying, Fear not, Paul; thou must be brought before Caesar: and, lo, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee.
app. Are you ready to obey God's orders even when you are afraid and He gives you opportunity to depart? DO YOU WANT TO DO YOUR DUTY FOR THE LORD JESUS - DO NOT let fear stop you from being a part of God's army!
III. Be alert for the enemy.
exp. If you asked Gideon, he would tell you that God had already taken his military down to the faith level. But, God has another hurdle to get past to get into his army.
4 And the LORD said unto Gideon, The people are yet too many; bring them down unto the water, and I will try them for thee there: and it shall be, that of whom I say unto thee, This shall go with thee, the same shall go with thee; and of whomsoever I say unto thee, This shall not go with thee, the same shall not go.
5 So he brought down the people unto the water: and the LORD said unto Gideon, Every one that lappeth of the water with his tongue, as a dog lappeth, him shalt thou set by himself; likewise every one that boweth down upon his knees to drink.
6 And the number of them that lapped, putting their hand to their mouth, were three hundred men: but all the rest of the people bowed down upon their knees to drink water.
7 And the LORD said unto Gideon, By the three hundred men that lapped will I save you, and deliver the Midianites into thine hand: and let all the other people go every man unto his place.
8 So the people took victuals in their hand, and their trumpets: and he sent all the rest of Israel every man unto his tent, and retained those three hundred men: and the host of Midian was beneath him in the valley.
exp. The host of Midian was just below them in a valley. The soldiers who were wary of the enemy did not put their mouths down into the water. They brough the water in the cup of their hand to their mouths.
ill. I was shocked a few years ago to be with seminary students (undergrad and grad) who asked naively - do you really think that we do battle with Satan?
Ephesians 6:10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
1Pe 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
Eph 4:27 Neither give place to the devil.
1Ti 3:7 Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.
Jas 4:7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
ill. Jesus words....
Mat 16:23 But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.
Luk 8:12 Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.
Luk 22:31 And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat:
ill. "look again" cinema and social media campaign by police to help people see that what appears to be innocent is actually an enemy in our society. Why? Because if you don't identify the enemy before he can strike, he can destroy you.
2Co 2:11 Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.
app. God wants alert soldiers "look again" who have the advantage for the Lord. Do your duty as a good soldier - be alert to the enemy.
IV. Go with His humble servant, Jesus.
9 And it came to pass the same night, that the LORD said unto him, Arise, get thee down unto the host; for I have delivered it into thine hand.
10 But if thou fear to go down, go thou with Phurah thy servant down to the host:
11 And thou shalt hear what they say; and afterward shall thine hands be strengthened to go down unto the host. Then went he down with Phurah his servant unto the outside of the armed men that were in the host.
exp. This statement, "God thou with Phurah" is what caught my attention as I read this in my devotions this past week.
note: Proving that those that remained were not fearless - Gideon was still ready to serve God. But, he is admittedly afraid. God says if you are afraid, "Go thou with Phurah thy servand down to the host."
ill. Have you ever been alone and afraid? Would you like to have someone else with you?
Getting locked in a toilet when I was 5. My brother had to go with me to the toilet until I was a teenager. Why? Fear - loves company.
Gen 26:24 And the LORD appeared unto him the same night, and said, I am the God of Abraham thy father: fear not, for I am with thee,
Jer 1:8 Be not afraid of their faces: for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the LORD.
Acts 18:9 Then spake the Lord to Paul in the night by a vision, Be not afraid, but speak, and hold not thy peace:
10 For I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to hurt thee: for I have much people in this city.
app. God has provided the same GREAT companion for us in our fear as well.
Mat 28:20 ....and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
Heb 13:5 .... for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
Joh 14:23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.
app. If you would go forth to battle, we need not say, "God be with you" for we can have all confidence that He is for He as promised so to be.
V. Let God's revelation strengthen your hands.
12 And the Midianites and the Amalekites and all the children of the east lay along in the valley like grasshoppers for multitude; and their camels were without number, as the sand by the sea side for multitude.
13 And when Gideon was come, behold, there was a man that told a dream unto his fellow, and said, Behold, I dreamed a dream, and, lo, a cake of barley bread tumbled into the host of Midian, and came unto a tent, and smote it that it fell, and overturned it, that the tent lay along.
14 And his fellow answered and said, This is nothing else save the sword of Gideon the son of Joash, a man of Israel: for into his hand hath God delivered Midian, and all the host.
15 And it was so, when Gideon heard the telling of the dream, and the interpretation thereof, that he worshipped, and returned into the host of Israel, and said, Arise; for the LORD hath delivered into your hand the host of Midian.
exp. Oh the odds were overwhelmingly in the favour of the enemies of God. BUT GOD WAS GOING TO GIVE A GREAT VICTORY AND HE REVEALED THE END OF THE STORY TO GIDEON.
ill. I remember playing competitive volleyball in High School and University. You get the pre-game jitters (as we called them.) Nervous because you don't know the outcome or how well you're going to play. Always encouraging to have a coach calm you down and let you know that he has confidence in your abilities to win.
exp. This is even better - God says - you will win. Have we any hope of victory? ALL THROUGH THE WORD OF GOD.
Rom 8:37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
1Co 15:57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
1Jn 4:4 Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.
Psa 1:3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
Jos 1:8 This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.
app. We are not a great number - Neither was Gideon. The enemy seems massive and powerful - so did the Midianites. But, God promised Gideon victory and so He has promised us. (We ought to bow our head in faith with Gideon and worship God who has told us that He will give us the victory.) LET GOD'S REVELATION STRENGTHEN YOUR HANDS.
V. Use what is in your hands.
16 And he divided the three hundred men into three companies, and he put a trumpet in every man's hand, with empty pitchers, and lamps within the pitchers.
17 And he said unto them, Look on me, and do likewise: and, behold, when I come to the outside of the camp, it shall be that, as I do, so shall ye do.
18 When I blow with a trumpet, I and all that are with me, then blow ye the trumpets also on every side of all the camp, and say, The sword of the LORD, and of Gideon.
exp. The captain of God's army told them to take a pitcher, a torch and a trumpet and follow him to battle. They needed no other weapons but what their captain had put in their hands.
ill. I can kind of picture the guys looking at each other and then looking at their captain to see if he was serious. In my imagination I can see them thinking, "You know I'm going to wish I had something else in my hands for this battle."
ill. David going out to fight Goliath as a shepherd boy tried to put on King Saul's armour.
1 Samuel 17:33 And Saul said to David, Thou art not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him: for thou art but a youth, and he a man of war from his youth.
34 And David said unto Saul, Thy servant kept his father's sheep, and there came a lion, and a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock:
35 And I went out after him, and smote him, and delivered it out of his mouth: and when he arose against me, I caught him by his beard, and smote him, and slew him.
36 Thy servant slew both the lion and the bear: and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them, seeing he hath defied the armies of the living God.
37 David said moreover, The LORD that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine. And Saul said unto David, Go, and the LORD be with thee.
38 And Saul armed David with his armour, and he put an helmet of brass upon his head; also he armed him with a coat of mail.
39 And David girded his sword upon his armour, and he assayed to go; for he had not proved it. And David said unto Saul, I cannot go with these; for I have not proved them. And David put them off him.
40 And he took his staff in his hand, and chose him five smooth stones out of the brook, and put them in a shepherd's bag which he had, even in a scrip; and his sling was in his hand: and he drew near to the Philistine.
app. Would you serve God if you had the king's armour? Do you feel like what you have is not sufficient to do REAL BATTLE with the enemy and so you refuse to serve in God's army? God is the one who put the weapons for his war in your hands. You don't need greater gifts you need greater faith to go into battle AS GOD HAS PROVIDED FOR YOU TO GO. Use what is in your hands!
VI. Stand in your place in time of battle.
19 So Gideon, and the hundred men that were with him, came unto the outside of the camp in the beginning of the middle watch; and they had but newly set the watch: and they blew the trumpets, and brake the pitchers that were in their hands.
20 And the three companies blew the trumpets, and brake the pitchers, and held the lamps in their left hands, and the trumpets in their right hands to blow withal: and the cried the sword of the Lord, and of Gideon.
21 And they stood every man in his place round about the camp: and all the host ran, and cried, and fled.
22 And the three hundred blew the trumpets, and the LORD set every man's sword against his fellow, even throughout all the host: and the host fled to Bethshittah in Zererath, and to the border of Abelmeholah, unto Tabbath.
exp. The sword of the Lord was the authority of God's WORD that they had the victory as God had declared it to them. The took that SWORD and stood in their place in battle.
ill. Breaking rank - in battle allows the enemy to break through your defenses. If everyone stands his ground and hold his position, the enemy is repelled and defeated.
app. Are you standing in your place as a good soldier for Jesus?
Ephesians 6:13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saint
note: THE BATTLE IS WON BY THE LORD WHEN HIS SOLDIERS STAND IN THEIR PLACE.
2Ch 20:17 Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the LORD with you, O Judah and Jerusalem: fear not, nor be dismayed; to morrow go out against them: for the LORD will be with you.
app. Don't forsake your captain. When the battle lines a drawn, stand in your place.
conclusion: Gideon and Phurah were good soldiers for God's army. Are you? God is looking for good men for His army.
Are you going to do your duty as a good soldier for God?
1.) Give God all the glory for every victory.
2.) Refuse to draw back in fear.
3.) Be alert for the enemy.
4.) Go with His humble servant, Jesus.
5.) Let God's revelation strengthen your hands.
6.) Stand in your place in time of battle.
Gideon wanted to see the glory of God's power. He got to see it first hand as a soldier in God's army.
We can see His glory over the enemy as well if we DO OUR DUTY AS A GOOD SOLDIER FOR GOD.