How the Weak Become Strong
January 30-31, 2021
One of the great questions I think that comes out of the book of Judges is what does God do with a wayward son? What does He do? Does He turn his back, does He quit, does He say "I'm done with you"? This is important question, because the answer reveals the heart oh God in it. This is an important question for people to understand, because there's a lot people who have become wayward at one time or another in their lives, and they need to know God's heart towards it.
That's what the situation was in Israel. It tells us in the early chapters in the book of Judges that the people served the Lord all the all the days of Joshua and the elders who survived Joshua. Then it says, there arose another generation after them who did not know the Lord nor yet the work which the Lord had done. Right there is the problem, the next generation. They hadn't experienced the miracles of God, they didn't know the Lord, that's the key phrase. They didn't know the Lord, so they had not experienced personal revival. That was the very thing that Moses said, "You must be careful to do." He says, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength." It's a call to revival, but they don't know. It says, "They don't know the Lord. They don't experience personal revival."
It says Israel was unfaithful. Just as God had forewarned, life became very difficult. That right there is a life lesson. You turn away from God, you become wayward and all kinds of trouble and difficulty arises. Life would get so bad for the sons of Israel that they would then finally cry out to the Lord. What I love about that, at least they knew to whom to cry. They didn't cry out to Baal, they didn't cry out to Ashtoreth, they didn't get any help from Moloch. They knew from whence help would come. Every time they cried out to the Lord, He would answer by sending a deliverer, a judge, and that's really where we get the name of this book. A series of deliverers that God would send to rescue them from the repression. Because He wouldn't turn his back. When they cried, He would send a deliverer.
Then it says that they would follow the Lord while that deliverer was alive, but then when that deliverer passed away, the next generation would fall back to the ways of the world, to the way of the gods of the nations that remained among them. This was a cycle that repeated itself for 250 years. In fact, the book of Judges spends that period of 250 years in the history of Israel. God sent a deliverer each and every time, 12 different judges or deliverers. He never quit. He never gave up.
I tell you, that's an important lesson that God wants you to know. He reveals it in his art in so many ways, and the book of Judges is really about revealing that great lesson. He never quits, He never gives up. In fact, in the book of Isaiah, many years after this, He says, "All day long I hold out my hands to an obstinate and rebellious people, who walk in ways not good." That's such an important verse to capture, because it reveals God's heart. See, this is important to know, because frankly, there's a lot of obstinate and rebellious people today. They need to know that God does not quit, that God keeps pursuing them, God wants them to come to relationship.
All right, in Judges 6 we meet Gideon. Gideon's very famous in the Bible. You've very likely heard of him. He's the fifth Judge or deliverer of Israel. However, he's not what one might expect God to raise up as a deliverer. In fact, when we first meet Gideon, he's hiding from the Midianites, threshing wheat in a winepress because of fear. That's not where you thresh wheat, in a winepress. You know you thresh wheat on the top of the hill, where the wind can blow the chaff away. No, he's doing it in a winepress out of fear.
In other words, this is a story of God taking the weak and making them strong. It's a story that a lot of people can relate to, because many people are very aware of their weakness. This is important. God delights to use the weak for his glory. Many want to walk in God's purpose, many want to have God's purpose in their lives, but they're very much aware of their inadequacy, of their insufficiency, of their insecurity. It's a story of how God takes the weak and makes them strong.
I. Faith is the Answer
Let's read it, it's quite a story. I want to read a pretty good section of his story, because it's a fascinating read and it's such an important story because of the applications that come from it. Judges 6, we start in verse 1. Then the sons of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the Lord. Here we go. The Lord gave them into the hands of Midian for seven years. Median was the people living on the other side of the Jordan, on the east side. They'd already come up that way when they came to enter into the Promised Land, they'd already defeated Midian mounts. It says, verse 2, that the power of Midian prevailed against Israel. Because of Median the sons of Israel made for themselves dens, which were in the mountains and caves and strongholds. In other words, they were literally hiding in the caves in the mountains.
For it was, that when Israel had sown-- Let's say a crop of wheat or whatever, that the Midianites would then come up with Amalekites, they were also over there in the East, and the sons of the East. We don't know who these are exactly, they could be from Arabia, very likely Arabs. They would all come up and go against Israel. They would camp against them and destroy the produce of the earth as far as Gaza. Now if you have this map in your mind, you realize Gaza, that's all the way to the Mediterranean. This is nothing short of an unmitigated disaster.
It says they would come up, camp against them all the way to Gaza, leaving no sustenance in Israel, as well as no sheep, rocks and no donkey. For they would come up with their livestock and their tents, and they would come up like locust in number. Both they and their camels were innumerable. They came into the land to devastate it. Israel was brought very low because the Midian. Then it says, the sons of Israel cried out to Jehovah.
Now it came about that when the sons of Israel cried out to the Lord on account of Midian, that the Lord sent a prophet. Now, this is not a deliverer or judge, but it's a prophet that God sends to show them the problem, the root of the issue. He sent a prophet to the sons of Israel, and this is what the prophet said: "Thus says the Lord, God of Israel, 'It was I who brought you up from Egypt. Brought you out from the house of slavery. It was I who delivered you from the hands of the Egyptians and from the hands of all of your oppressors, and dispossessed them before you and gave you their land. It was I who said to you, "I am Jehovah. I am the Lord your God; you shall not fear the gods of the Amorites in whose land you now live. But you have not obeyed Me." You haven't served me, you haven't followed me, you haven't loved. That's the problem.'" The prophet speaks this word.
We meet Gideon in verse 11. Then the angel of the Lord, which is an interesting figure in the Old Testament, absolutely fascinating. The angel of the Lord came and sat under the oak that was in Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, as his son Gideon, here we meet now Gideon, as his son was beating out wheat in the winepress in order to save it from the Midianites. The angel of the Lord appearing to Gideon said to him, listen to this greeting. "The Lord is with you, O valiant warrior." Gideon said, "O my lord." Now, when you see the word "lord" in lower case, it really means the word "sir". When you see the Lord in all caps, it's the name of God, Jehovah or Yahweh.
"Sir, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us? Where are all the miracles which our fathers told us about, saying, 'Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt?' Where are all these miracles? You say God is with us. No, look, the Lord has abandoned us, that's what, and He's given us into the hand of Midian." The Lord looked at him-- By the way, don't miss out little details.
Its says, "The angel of the Lord spoke to him," and then it says, "The Lord looked at him." A very interesting detail. The Lord looked at him and He said, here's his answer. "Go in this your strength and deliver Israel from the hand of Midian. Have I not sent you?" Gideon said to him, "O Lord, how shall I deliver Israel? Behold, my family is least in Manasseh." His tribe of Israel. "And behold, I am the youngest in father's house." Which is to say, "I am no one. I am nobody, and my family is least. How would I do this?" The Lord said to him, "Surely, I will be with you, and you will defeat Midian as one men."
Gideon said to him, verse 17, "If now I have found favor in your sight, show me a sign that it is you who speak to me now. Please don't depart from here until I've come back to you and bring out my offering and lay it before you." The angel of the Lord said, "I will remain until you return." Gideon went and prepared a kid and unleavened bread with an ephah of flour. That's a whole bushel. He put the meat in the basket, and the broth, and the pot, and he brought them out under the oak and presented them.
The angel of God said to him, "Now, take the meat and unleavened bread, and lay them on that rock, and pour out the broth." The angel of the Lord then put forth the end of his staff that was in his hand, and touched the meat and unleavened bread, and fire sprang up from the rock and consumed the meat and the unleavened bread. Then the angel of the Lord vanished or departed from his sight.
Gideon, when saw that he was the angel of the Lord, he said, "Alas. O Lord God." He's afraid for his life now, "Alas, O Lord God. For now I have seen the angel of the Lord face to face." But the voice of God. The Lord said to him, "Peace to you. Do not fear. You will not die." Gidieon built an altar there to the Lord, and he named it Jehovah Shalom. The Lord is peace. To this day, it is still in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.
Now, that same night it came about that the Lord said to him, "Take you father's bull, and a second bull seven years old, and pull down the alter of Baal which belongs to your father." Wait just a minute. Are you saying here that in his own father's house there was a figure of Baal, an altar to Baal so massive in size that it took two bulls to pull them down in his own father's house? Yes, and there's more. Then he says, "Cut down the Asherah, or the Asherah that's beside it."
Now, here's the thing you got to see. These altars, the figures to Baal. Baal would be the male figure. Asherah, the female figure and these massive figures. Let's just put it in the right way. They weren't appropriate. They were not appropriate. They were offensive in very sense. Take the two bulls, pull down Baal, and then cut down Asherah. Then, verse 26, build an altar to the Lord on top of the stronghold in an orderly manner so that it's very clear what it is. Take a second bull, offer that as a burn offering with the wood of the Asherah which you just cut down.
Gideon, he took 10 men of his servants, and he did as the Lord as spoken to him. It came about, however, that because he was too afraid of his father's house and the men of the city to do it by day, that he did it by night. Not exactly a valiant warrior yet, but I suggest to you nevertheless it took courage. Now, when the men of the city arose early in the morning, and behold the altar of Baal was torn down, and the Asherah which was beside it was cut down, and the second bull was offered on the altar, which had been built. They said to one another, "Who did this thing?" When they searched about and inquired, they said, "Gideon. It was Gideon the son of Joash. He did this thing." The men of the city came to Joash, "Bring out your son. That he may die for he has torn down the altar of Baal, and indeed he has cut down the Asherah which is beside it."
Now, verse 31. I love verse 31. Here his father Joash has a come to Jehovah moment. I love this. It's like a moment. His eyes awakened. Joash said to all who stood against him, "Really?" Okay, I added that part, but it is the idea. "Really?" "Will you contend for Baal, really? You're going to deliver Baal." Then he adds this phrase, and this is where you can really see he's got a come to Jehovah moment. He says, "Listen, whoever's going to plead for Baal shall be put to death by morning." Which is to say, "You want to do this thing? We're going to do this thing." He's got a come to Jehovah moment, "You want to do this thing? We're going to do it."
Look, if he is a God, then let him contend for himself because someone tore down his altar. Therefore, on that day, he named Gideon Jerubbaal which is to say, let Baal contend with him, which is to suggest that there's a spiritual aspect to this contention because he has torn down his altar. Now, verse 33. All the Midianites, the Amalekites, the sons of the east assembled themselves, and they crossed over and camped in the Valley of Jezreel. The spirit of the Lord came upon Gideon and he blew a trumpet, and the Abiezrites were called together to follow him. He sent messengers throughout Manasseh, and they were called to follow him. He sent messengers to Asher, and Zebulun, and Naphtali, and they came out to meet him.
Then this little side story. Gideon then said to God, "If you will indeed deliver Israel through me as you have said, behold, I will put a fleece of wool on the threshing floor. If there is dew on the fleece only, and it is dry on all the ground, then I will know that you will in fact deliver Israel through me as you have said." Now, this is a very famous scene. This is the picture of the putting forth a fleece that some believed is an example to follow today. A way of knowing whether God's will is this or that.
Let me give you a preview of what we're going to see. No, this is not a good example, but God is gracious. He's doing it out of a lack of faith, but God is gracious nevertheless. It was so, verse 38, when he arose early the next morning and squeezed out the fleece. He drained the dew from the fleece. There was a whole bowl full of water. Then Gideon said to God, "Now, don't let your anger burn against me that I may speak once more. Please let me make a test one more time with the fleece." He needs more convincing. "Let it now be dry only on the fleece and let there be dew on all the ground," but the Lord didn't. That very night, it was dry only in the fleece, and dew is on the ground.
All right, this is the story I want us to take hold of and apply. There's so much to apply to our lives. They're in such great trouble. They've walked away. They've became wonderers. Wayward, you might say. Walked away from God. The prophet is sent to show them the problem. The root of the problem is faith. The lack of faith. Faith is the answer. You want help from God? Faith is the answer. God shows them the root of the problem. The prophet says to them, the point of the message here, "I am that same God who brought you up from Egypt. My power has not diminish. Why would you not listen to my voice? Was it not I who brought you up out of Egypt. I'm the same God."
Now, to me this is a vey important question because I suggest to you that we needed to take hold of that great truth. The very same God who brought Israel out of Egypt is the very same God who sits on the throne today. Do you believe this? God is not finished yet. He shows them the root of the problem. The oppression of the Midianites is a symptom. The real problem is a lack of faith, and lack of faith comes from lack of relationship. If there's no relationship, there can be no faith. With relationship and then drawing nearer, there is the foundation by which faith can be build. These are life lessons.
Here's an interesting thing. Faith is the answer. When the angel speaks to Gideon, "Hail, O valiant warrior. God is with you." His first response is to literally blame God. "If the Lord is with us, then why is this happening? Where are all the miracles that our father's told us about? You tell me that." In fact, he blames God, but clearly, the Lord hasn't abandoned us. Let me just suggest. Blaming God is never helpful, but many do it. Many do it still today. "Hail, valiant warrior. God is with you.
A. Blaming God is never helpful
See in Gideon's mind, he was anything but a valiant warrior. He certainly did not understand how God could be with him. Was he angry with God? Clearly he's blaming God. Verse 13 makes it clear. "The Lord has abandoned us." People do it today. When they get into some things, some trouble or whatever, then they say, "Oh God, you say you love me, but look. You say you love me, but then look at all these troubles. Why do I have all of these troubles? If you love me?" They're blaming God in that.
I've even heard a pastor suggest that people need to learn how to forgive God. I'm sorry. This is not-- I can't get there. No, blaming God never helps, but many do. Now, Gideon, his perspective was that all of God's miracles were behind them. God has already done all of the great things that God was ever going to do. It's all behind them. I tell you, as we're going to see in the story, God's not done. There are many things yet to come that God is going to do. I suggest the same is true today. There are people today who look back, they look at all the great revivals in the past, going all the way back to the great move of God in the book of Acts and wonder, are all the great works of God behind us?
I suggest no. There is much more that God is yet to do. In fact, we are entering into an age where God yet will bring about a great revival. God is stirring people up, even now. For that move of God that he will do in the latter days. I love this verse out of Habakkuk 3:2. What a verse? Where the prophet says, "Lord, I have heard of your fame. I stand in awe of your deeds." In other words, when I hear of the great things, I stand in awe. "Oh Lord," he's prays, "renew them in our day, in our time, make them known." Which is to say, "Lord, do it again. do it again. I know you're not done. Do it again, Lord." Then he adds a phrase by which we know that he was putting his finger on the root of the problem, "But in wrath, remember mercy. But Lord, do it again."
Would you notice something else here, very interesting. When he speaks to him, "Hail, O valiant warrior, God is with you." Then Gideon response by blaming God. "Where are the miracles our father spoke about?" Do you notice something interesting? God takes no offense at this. God's feelings don't get hurt. God doesn't respond by saying, "You know what, okay, that's how you're going to respond. I was going to do a great thing, but you know what? Now that you said that like that, if you're going to blame me, I'm done. I'm finished. Forget the whole thing." That's not his response.
B. God calls you what you will become
There is this graciousness. The reason that blaming God is not helpful is because it doesn't help you. God answers Gideon with the very simple answer, "Go. Go in strength. Have I not sent you?" Now this is a amazing story. When he addresses him, he calls him, "O valiant warrior." This is important because there's an application. God calls you what you will be. God calls you what he knows you will become. Surely he doesn't appear to be a valiant warrior. He's not valiant nor a warrior, but then he adds this. "My family is leased in Manasseh and I am the youngest in my father's house." Which is to say, "I am nobody." People are very well aware of their weaknesses, of their inadequacies and insecurities. That's why this story is so important to take hold of. I am nobody, but God sees you not as you are, but as you will be.
When I was young, if someone would have said to me, "You know one day you will be a pastor and called to make a difference in the kingdom of God." I would not have believed it. I would have said the very same thing that that Gideon said. My family is leased. Many of you know my story, I was raised in extreme poverty. I didn't know anyone leaster. That's not a true word. I made it up. We were the least of the families. I didn't know anyone more least. My father was an alcoholic. There was nothing but trouble and chaos all around me. Then if someone would say, "Oh, one day you will be a pastor." I don't believe it. I'm a nobody.
You see this is the way many see it. They are well aware of their weaknesses, their inadequacies, their insecurities. I suggest to you that without God, we are nobody. With God, we are everything that he has called us to be. He will call us by what he knows we will become. In fact, we see it in the scriptures. There's many examples. God gave Abraham the name, Abraham, which means the father of nations before he even had a son. He was an old man and gave him a name. He called him what he will be.
There's another one, Jesus gave Simon the name, Peter, which means rock. He called Simon a rock when he was still yet a flaky fishermen with an attitude. God knows who you will be. He addresses you according to what you will become. I suggest this is important because God is looking for men and women today. God is still looking for people who will arise in what God is calling them to be.
It's like this in 2 Chronicles 16:9. I love this verse. 2 Chronicle 16:9, the eyes of the Lord range to and fro, search to and fro throughout the whole earth. In order to show himself strong in behalf of those whose hearts are completely ease.
He's touching there on the root, the issue, whose hearts are completely, his faith comes from that relationship. You draw near to God. It becomes the foundation of believing, because the principle of the scripture shows us a wonder.
C. God delights to use the weak.
He loves to use the weak. "How can I deliver Israel? I am a nobody." There are many people who never do anything for the Lord because they think they are a nobody. They're convinced. They see their inadequacies, their insecurities and their weaknesses. "I'm a nobody." God says, "I know, and I delight to use nobodies. I delight."
I remember when I was in my young '20s and I knew then that God had called me to become a pastor and absolutely proved that by miraculously and I mean, miraculously providing for my Bible college, all paid for seminary, all paid miraculous, no question, a miracle of God. I was sharing this with a friend of mine. I was sharing what God had done. The calling that God had made clear to me in my life and the amazing miraculous provision that God has done. I was sharing with this, "I'm going to go to Bible college. I'm going to plan a church. I'm so excited."
My friend said to me, "I'm excited with you. That is so awesome. Man, I would love to join you." I said, "Really? Really? Let's do it together." Then he said, "Oh no, no, no. No, you don't understand. I got way too much sin in the past." I'm like, "I'm trying to give you this. I'm sorry. You said you were all excited. Let's do this thing. Now you say it's the sin in the past? Listen, is this not the same God of grace, of redemption and forgiveness? Does not God delight to use those that are messed up and broken and then does something with their lives?"
The whole Calvary Chapel Movement is a story of God using broken, messed up people and then transforming them into leaders of a new revival. You want to talk about messed up lives, look at some of the Calvary Chapel pastors. My goodness, the drugs and the sexcapades and the mess. You want to talk about a mess, but God took hold of them, made them leaders of a new revival. I remember when God convinced me and showed me that I was going to be a Calvary Chapel pastor. I thought, I'm not qualified. I don't have enough mess up stuff, but that is what God does, he uses. He delights to use the week, the nobodies.
This is what Paul said in 1 Corinthians 1:26-29. He says, "Consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise." God does not call-- He says, "There were not many wise according to the flesh that God called, not many mighty, not many noble. God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise. God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong and the base things of the world, and the despised. God has chosen the things that are not so that he may nullify the things that are so that no man may boast before the Lord. That's why I’m nothing, I'm a nobody. My family's least."
Yes. Let's start with that. Let me see if I could a personal word. When people think poorly of themselves, this is not humility, this is a lack of faith. Please take no offense. May God use this to stir us up. When people think poorly of themselves and many, many do, this is not humility, this is a lack of faith. This is clearly seen in Gideon's response to the Lord. Interestingly, the polar opposite, arrogance is also a lack of faith. If thinking poorly of oneself is a lack of faith and thinking highly of oneself is a lack of faith, then how ought one then think of himself? "Pastor, you’re not giving us a lot of options here." It's an important answer. Answer is this, you should see yourself as God sees you.
Without God, I'm nothing, but with God I am everything that He has called me to be. How ought one to think of himself as God sees him, as God says he is? That's why 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 is such a great verse. "God has said to me," Paul writes. "My grace is sufficient for you for power is perfected in weakness. Most gladly, therefore, I would rather boast about my weaknesses so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore, I am well content with weaknesses. I am content with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties. These things don't break me. These things I am contented for Christ's sake, for when I am weak, then I'm strong. Without God, I am nothing but with God I am everything that he's called me to be."
God delights to use those who are weak to demonstrate the greatness of His glory. I tell you there are many, many examples in the Bible, let me just highlight a couple starting with Moses. Moses at 40 years old was at the peak you might say, of self-sufficiency. You might remember the story of Moses’ life, the way that God moved in his life by a set of circumstances that got arranged he was adopted into Pharaoh's own family. Now, he's raised with opulence and opportunity and privilege and education. He had everything a man could want.
At 40 years old he's at the peak of self-sufficiency and self-actualization to use a modern word. He had everything and then filled up with self-sufficiency he went out one day and he saw an Egyptian mistreating a Hebrew and something snapped. Something snapped in Moses and he filled with rage and appointed himself as the deliverer, attacked the Egyptians, struck him down and killed them, and buried him in the sand so that no one should know.
Next day, he's out and he sees two Hebrews in the conflict and he says, "Brothers, why are you doing this your brothers." One of them with an attitude says, "Who do you think you are? Who made you ruler over us? What are you going to do? You're going to kill us like you did that Egyptian?" Instantly he knew that he was known and his world was crashing upon him and he fled. He left, he ran from Egypt.
Where did he go? Interesting little factoid of coincidence he went to Midian and there he stayed for 40 years and became an abject failure. 40 years is a long time to be an abject failure and that's when God could use him. That’s when God at 80 years old gave him a new career. "You are going to be the deliverer of Israel." "Me? I'm a nobody." He's finally come to see that he's a nobody. That's when I can use you. "I will be with you, my name is Jehovah. I'll be with you."
David was the youngest of eight brothers and when the prophet Samuel came to his father's house to anoint the future king of Israel, David wasn't even invited. "Oh, you want to anoint the future king of Israel here are my great sons." Each one appeared before Samuel, "Not this one. No, and it's not that one. Not that one either." They went through all seven. Samuel is confused. "Do you have no other sons?" "Well, there’s David but you know--" "We will wait and no one will sit until he shows up." Then David arrives, Samuel says, "Behold the future king of Israel." He poured oil over his head. What a scene.
When Israel faced the Philistines in battle, David was considered too insignificant to join the soldiers yet God would call David to be the greatest King in the Old Testament and the greatest warrior in the history of Israel which is to say do not allow your insignificance to keep you from what God has called you to do. We need more people like Joshua and Caleb willing to take a stand in faith even when no one else will.
Your insignificance is the very thing that God will use to do something. Without God, I'm nothing but with God I am everything that he calls me to be because there is such a thing as the sin of doing nothing. James 4:17, therefore to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it's a sin. Going back to the story of Gideon in Judges 6 there's so much to apply. "I'm a nobody. I'm least in my family."
II. God is the strength of your life
The answer is this, God is the strength of your life. "Will I not be with you?" That's the answer. One of the greatest lessons of the book of Joshua as well as the book of Judges that God is the strength.
The Midianites are not the problem, they're a symptom. The problem is that Israel was not what they were called to be because Israel was reduced as a nation because they had turned away. You see that theme over and over in scriptures. The way of a transgressor is hard, the way of the one who walks waywardly, who's turning their heart away from God is going to find many difficulties in their life. Sin reduces, sin weakens. It's like this Proverbs 6:26-28, on account of a harlot one is reduced. On the count of a harlot, one is reduced to a loaf of bread. Can a man take fire in his bosom and his clothes not be burned?
In other words, this is the principle, you will be reduced. Can a man walk on hot coals in his feet not get scorched? This is a principal. Sin reduces, but faith strengthens. That's the point. This is like the 2 Samuel 22:32, 34 and 37, David is writing about this and he says, "For who is God besides Jehovah and who is a rock, besides our God? It is He who makes my feet like hind’s feet. It is He who sets me on high places. You God you enlarge my steps under me, and because of you, my feet have not slipped." Now what a great word is that? You are the one who lets me walk on high places. You make my feet like hind's feet.
Do you know what a hind is? A hind is a doe, a deer, a female deer. I thought I just throw that out there just for something fun. Hind’s feet, what is it about that's so important to recognize? He said because a hind has this thing. It was set its feet on that which is strong. Then when it takes the next step, the foot behind will set his foot exactly in the same spot, strength to strength to strength. That's why you sent me on high places. Strength to strength you are the one. Your footing is sure because God ordains your steps.
A. God will contend for you
Then he adds this, this is an interesting part of it. We can see the spiritual aspect of the war, God will contend for you. When Gideon responds to the Lord that he's insignificant, that his family is least, the Lord responds, "Surely, I will be with you and you will defeat Midian." Then the Lord asked Gideon to take a stand in his own house for his father had an altar to Baal and Asherah in his own house and it was so large it took two bulls to pull it down. This I say is a life lesson.
You want to be a man or a woman of God's purpose and strength? Begin by taking down the things in your own house that dishonor God. Let's start in your own house. Gideon wasn't yet a valiant warrior, but he did what God said to do. Though he did it under the cover of darkness, he did it, and I suggest to you that it took a lot of boldness to do what he did. That took a lot of courage to do what he did.
I say that because God is speaking that same word today. I'm calling you to arise to the purpose of God in your life. Tear down these things, these altars, these things that are offensive to God. Take these things down. I tell you what, it takes courage. It takes courage to do what you know that God is asking you to do though that everything inside of you says, "I want to keep these things." God says, "Do you want my purpose?" I want you to arise in and I want you to become a man and a woman of strength. Tear down these things in your house that are offensive to God.
The next morning, the people of the city want to kill him, but his father Joash says his come to Jehovah moment which I love. "Let Baal contend for him," he says. He calls him that name Jerubaal. The spiritual warfare of the story should not be missed because we are living in a time of tremendous spiritual warfare and I will tell you that it is spiritual warfare by which a man must contend with the things in his own house. God is calling you to stand under-promise, "I will be with you. I will be with you as the King. " When Joshua was giving his final speech before his death he said to Israel, "How is it possible that one man is able to put a thousand the flight? Because God is He who fights for you."
God is with you. It's the key to spiritual strength. 2 Chronicles 20:15. "Thus says the Lord to you. Do not fear or dismayed because of this great multitude or this great amount of enemy for the battle is not yours but God’s." There are many conflicts and battles in this life that people face quite wrongly. They are contending in fleshly things, they're contending in fleshly ways, but this is a spiritual. They stand in the character of God and learn and live life God's way and He will contend. He will be with you in it and He will direct your steps and then lastly we'll close with this. Having to do with this fleece.
B. Don't ask for a fleece-believe.
He is not yet a valiant warrior. He needs more convincing, so he puts forth a fleece and as I mentioned, it is important to stay here, this is not an example to follow. Don't ask for a fleece, believe. In fact, Jesus corrected those who sought after a sign. Remember they came, "You say you're this or that. Show us the sign." Matthew 12:39 he answered he said to them, "An evil and adulterous generation trace for a sign yet no sign will be given but the sign of Jonah he prophet." Jonah the prophet, three days in the belly of the fish is a picture of the resurrection of Jesus Christ after three days.
That is the sign. "Has not God proven Himself? Has not God given evidence?" "But by the Spirit," He says, "and believe." See, the problem with fleeces is that people set it up themselves. They tell God what to do. God may very well confirm. When He has a calling on your life He may very well confirm that, but He will do it by His choosing, His way. Or when people set up the circumstance, they say, "Okay, God here's the thing, if indeed you want me to do this and that then here's what I'm telling you to do." "You want a sign that way? Have I not already proven to you? Have I not already demonstrated my love. If I give a sign or a confirmation, I'll do it. I'll do it. Am I not enough?"
Matthew 28:20, Jesus as, "And lo, I am with you always even to the end of the age." Take hold of that picture. "It's my presence among you that will accomplish God's purpose. Without God you are nothing," He says. "With God, you are everything He has called you to be, and He'll be with you in it."
Let's pray. Father, thank you so much. Oh, how you have won us over. You have demonstrated your great love. God, there's so much in this story we can so relate to. So many people are very well aware of their weaknesses, inadequacies, insecurities. God would use me? I'm nothing. I’m nobody. God would say "Yes, exactly so. Let's begin with that, shall we? Then, let's do something. I delight in taking simple nobodies and doing something of purpose."
Church today would you arise to it? Would you say, "Yes, God, I want your purpose? I want to walk in your purpose. I'm very much aware of my insecurities and my frailties and my weaknesses, but I see you use people like me. Well then, here I am, here I am God, a nobody, but with you, I am everything that you’ve called me to be. Do it. I want you to do it. I want you to do it, Lord, I believe." Would you say that to the Lord?
Would you also know that He would say this to you too? He would also say to you, "Then let's start with this. There's some things in your life, there's some things in your house I want you to get rid of them. Tear them down." It takes courage. It takes boldness in the spirit to do what God is saying to do. "Take these things down." I want to accomplish much. "These things we can you, I want to strengthen you. Don't let these things remain because they will weaken you even more. I want to strengthen you. Do you want my purpose? Let me strengthen you. I will strengthen you by my spirit, by my presence. Let me do this."
Would you say to the Lord today, "Do it? Do it, Lord. I want your purpose, I want to walk in your ways. I've heard of your fame. I stand in awe. Renew it in this day. Do it in my life. I'm asking God. Do it in me." Would you say that to the Lord today? If you would, would you say that just by raising your hand to the Lord? Just say it by raising your hand. "I want to walk in the purpose of God. Do this thing, Lord. My heart is open to you. I want to see the great purpose of God in my life. Do this thing, Lord. I love you and honor you for all that you've done." In Jesus' powerful name, and everyone say-- Let's give it a little praise and glory and honor.