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Judges 7. Gideon, part 35: Holding fast every opportunity.

JUDGES-7-170411
length: 63:09 - taught on Apr, 11 2017
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Title: Judges 7. Gideon, part 35: Holding fast every opportunity.      

 

 

Gideon needs to know and understand the natural state of the OT believer under the Law: full recognition of the power and majesty of Jehovah, complete faith, and humble worship.

 

So we return to Gideon. His heart is in the process of being changed into a full recognition of the power and majesty of Jehovah so that he will put his full faith in God and bow to the ground and worship God.  

 

The first test, a voluntary release, eliminated the fearful. The second test of readiness eliminated the careless or immature.

 

JDG 7:7 And the Lord said to Gideon, "I will deliver you with the 300 men who lapped and will give the Midianites into your hands; so let all the other people go, each man to his home."

 

JDG 7:8 So the 300 men took the people's provisions and their trumpets into their hands. And Gideon sent all the other men of Israel, each to his tent, but retained the 300 men; and the camp of Midian was below him in the valley.

 

This 9,700 were not sent home, but back to base camp. They will be called upon later to participate in the fighting, but they will not be a part of the initial attack.

 

Even though we are completely under the grace of God, our decisions still have consequences. Bad decisions will cause us to miss out on opportunities. Yet, in God's grace, He will bring other opportunities directly to us when we mature. This principle is not so that we will be afraid of ourselves. Understanding the grace of God removes fear of self.

 

This is a principle that motivates alertness. All of us to a person will miss out on opportunities as a direct result of our bad decisions, but we should desire not to miss out on any one of them, and with such a thirst, we will not miss out on most of them.

 

On Sunday we looked at the tree planted by the stream in Jer 17 whose roots reached the water and always remained in contact with it. This tree was analogous to the man who trusts in the Lord. In that passage the man who trusts in mankind is cursed. He makes flesh his strength and his heart turns away from the Lord. He is compared to a bush in the desert who does not see when prosperity comes. How could he? Prosperity is only with the Lord and if his heart turns away from the Lord then he will not see it at all.

 

GAL 6:9-10

And let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we shall reap if we do not grow weary. So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all men, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.

 

Php 4:10

But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at last you have revived your concern for me; indeed, you were concerned before, but you lacked opportunity.

 

COL 4:5

Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most [redeeming] of the opportunity.

 

God has made sure that Gideon could not trust in the flesh or trust in mankind. Per God's order he only has 300 men and he has to go against at least 135,000. It's a bit like Paul's thorn in the flesh. It made him weak and God would not remove it. He had to learn to trust in the Lord.  

 

A man's life and actions are the surest guide to his actual beliefs.

 

These are blessed opportunities, and we should never look for some other solution other than trust in the Lord. The opportunity to trust in Him, the season of adversity and trial, will come and go. By the grace of God, another season will come, just like winter returns, but we cannot go back to last winter and relive it. More trials will come but if we understand who we are in Christ and we see the importance of our lives in glorifying Him, then we will not wish to miss any opportunity. We often mention John-Mark's failure to experience the total of the first missionary journey of Paul.

 

HEB 5:12

For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food.

 

GAL 3:3-4

Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? Did you suffer so many things in vain —  if indeed it was in vain?

 

JDG 7:7 And the Lord said to Gideon, "I will deliver you with the 300 men who lapped and will give the Midianites into your hands; so let all the other people go, each man to his home."

 

JDG 7:8 So the 300 men took the people's provisions and their trumpets into their hands. And Gideon sent all the other men of Israel, each to his tent, but retained the 300 men; and the camp of Midian was below him in the valley.

 

 

 

This passage ends with a statement concerning the enemy, "and the camp of Midian was below him in the valley." This is a transitional statement setting the stage for what was about to happen next.

 

God gives Gideon the option of further assistance.

 

JDG 7:9 Now the same night it came about that the Lord said to him, "Arise, go down against the camp, for I have given it into your hands.

 

JDG 7:10 But if you are afraid to go down, go with Purah your servant down to the camp,

 

JDG 7:11 and you will hear what they say; and afterward your hands will be strengthened that you may go down against the camp. "So he went with Purah his servant down to the outposts of the army that was in the camp.

 

God reaffirms to Gideon that He has given him the victory, so God says that it's time. Go get'em! But if you're still afraid, take your shield bearer and go to the edge of the camp by stealth and you will hear something.

 

Gideon is still weak in faith but he at least understands that it is fruitless to hide this from God. We all get weak. We don't have to reveal this to other people but we must open ourselves to God and ask and seek for His counsel and His power. We are to cast all of our cares and burdens upon Him when we are worrisome or afraid. David wrote, "When I am afraid, I will trust in You."

 

It qualifies as failure and weakness for Gideon to be afraid after being given multiple guarantees from God and if he had tried to hide this from God it would reveal him to be unqualified for the task. But Gideon doesn't hide it. He acknowledges his fear to God.

 

It is best that we do not fear at all, but when we do, we must not hide it from God in pride or self-justify it. We must acknowledge it to Him, cast it upon Him, and trust in Him.

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