Judges 6 – Part 2QUESTION: Cowardice to Faith - 2ANSWER:Judges 6 – Part 2
by Pastor Nathan Shepherd (Dive Chapel, Candle Key, Florida)
“At this point in history, about 1250 B.C., the Israelites have left their villages and are hiding in holes in the mountains because they are so, so scared of the TCJ’s – the terrible camel jockeys – of Midian. The children of Israel had to eat, so they planted crops out in the fields and ran back to their crude cave-homes at night. The Midianites, and our old friends the Amalekites on the other side of the mountains, would let the Israelites do all the work of plowing, planting, and cultivating. Then, when the crops were ripe, they’d ride in on their camels and steal the harvest.
“After seven years of this, the Israelites cried out to God in verse 6. In verses 7 through 10, the LORD sends a prophet who says, ‘look guys, the LORD your God is the most powerful God and He delivered you out of Egypt, but you’ve got to do what God says. So far, you have not obeyed Him.’
“Then we dive into the story of Gideon. Now, our boy Gideon, as we’ll see was a product of his culture. He was a coward, a wimp, a chicken-whiner.
“But wait, Gideon is in Hebrews 11 – the Faith Hall of Fame. His name means ‘he who chops down huge trees’, it does. It also means ‘warrior’. And, in verse 12, before he shows his true colors – pink and yellow – the angel of the LORD, ahh, that would be Jesus, calls him a ‘mighty man of valor’. What?
There was some shuffling and chuckling throughout the room. Nathan took a sip from a navy blue, liter-sized, Nalgene water bottle.
“I love this! I love it! You know why? Because the text in verse 12 says that Jesus, in a pre-incarnational appearance, knows the future. He knows that Gideon is going to be a powerful man of faith and valor. But not yet.
“Take a look at verse 13 and 15. Gideon goes off on this where-is-the-LORD-now tirade. ‘Where are the miracles?’ and ‘I’m a poor, sorry, wimpy excuse for a human being’ and ‘Give me a sign, a miracle, something I can sink my teeth into.’
“Does that sound like one of the sixteen great people of faith from Hebrews 11? Not to me, it doesn’t. But, we forget, the angel of the LORD – JESUS – is on the scene. And, as we saw in verse 12, He sees the future. The man of faith and valor that Gideon will become. Remember that, you guys, if you hang out with Jesus and believe Him, there is no limit to what He can do through you. Let’s walk through Gideon’s next few days…
“Jesus basically says, ‘I don’t care how poor and wimpy you are, I am with you and that’s all you need.’ But Gideon says, ‘I need a sign, but first, let me prepare an offering and sacrifice to You.’
“Gideon brings out a young goat, unleavened bread and an ephah of flour. This wimpy guy is at least suspecting that he is in the presence of the LORD almighty. Remember the Israelites are being oppressed AND it is a time of famine. That goat and flour and bread are incredibly valuable, yet he is willing to sacrifice the whole pile before this ‘angel’.
“Jesus says to him to put it all on a rock and then the LORD takes a staff and touches the sacrificial goods. They all evaporate in fire and Jesus departs from Gideon’s sight.
“Now, in verse 22, Gideon is convinced, he gets it. He says, ‘Wow. That was the LORD. He came to see me in person!’Judges 6 – Read Part 3!