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Judges 7. Gideon, part 36: God's grace in removing our fear.

JUDGES-7-170412
length: 66:28 - taught on Apr, 12 2017
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Title: Judges 7. Gideon, part 36: God's grace in removing our fear.      

 

 

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 to go. Yet, of course, God knows his heart and knows that Gideon is still afraid, and so God helps his fear in grace and gives Gideon another sign.

 

Gideon doesn't hide his fear. He acknowledges his fear to God. It is best that we never fear, but when we do, we must not self-justify it, or blame another person or circumstance. We must acknowledge it before God and cast it upon Him and trust Him.

 

It turns out that the Midianite who had the dream and the man he shared it with have more faith in Gideon's victory than Gideon does. However, their faith is empty. They only believe that Jehovah will be more powerful than their pagan deity in this instance. They do not believe in Jehovah as the one, true God. Gideon is asked to believe much more than they do.

 

Verse twelve reveals the reason for Gideon's fear.

 

JDG 7:12 Now the Midianites and the Amalekites and all the sons of the east were lying in the valley as numerous as locusts; and their camels were without number, as numerous as the sand on the seashore.

 

He is discouraged by the sheer number of the enemy and their beasts, but God is the one who goes before him, which makes numbers insignificant.

 

God is not unwilling to continue to reveal things to him that will strengthen him. This is the grace of God in action and it has been in action all of our lives.

 

Gideon and his assistant sneak up close to a guarded outpost on the edge of the Midianite camp. As they approach they are filled with awe concerning the number of the enemy and their beasts. God is able to ensure that a Midianite soldier would relate to another the details of a recent dream and that his companion would interpret it at the moment Gideon and his attendant come within earshot.

 

God knows everything that everyone will do; the when, the where, the why, and the how.

 

God doesn't tell Gideon the time that he is to go and at what time he is to go to a specific spot. It doesn't appear that God has to tell him any of this. God just tells him to go, and God is able to work out all of the details just as He desires. Remember that when you wish a certain situation could have gone another way. It went the only way it could. Yet, be careful not to over think this. None of us can enter into the omniscience of God. Simply trust Him with your life and be at peace.

 

1PE 4:19

Therefore, let those also who suffer according to the will of God entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right.

 

JDG 7:13 When Gideon came, behold, a man was relating a dream to his friend. And he said, "Behold, I had a dream; a loaf of barley bread was tumbling into the camp of Midian, and it came to the tent and struck it so that it fell, and turned it upside down so that the tent lay flat."

 

JDG 7:14 And his friend answered and said, "This is nothing less than the sword of Gideon the son of Joash, a man of Israel; God has given Midian and all the camp into his hand."

 

Generally speaking, when God communicated with or through pagans, He would do so by means of a dream. Only with Balaam did He use direct speech. But for people like Pharaoh, Nebuchadnezzar, and Abimelech, He used dreams.

 

Barley was the poor man's bread, and it represented Israel made poor by famine and oppression. It also represented them as cultivators of the soil and who were despised among the nations.

 

The tent is necessary for his survival and it is his home. His life is full of movement and so his shelter from the wind and sun of the desert must move with him. So important was the tent to him that inviting someone in to his tent was the equivalent of pledging complete protection and provision to his guest.

 

The tent is everything to the nomad; being turned upside down can only mean that they will be destroyed.

 

These nomads would be destroyed, and by a loaf of barley - by the soil cultivating Israelites whom they despised.

 

The tent is sure enough a very common symbol of the nomad, but God puts the image of barley in the mind of the dreaming man. We would not think that God would use this symbol for Israel, but it was the symbol that the Midianite man would understand, for he disdained the land bound, farming, people of Israel and he hated them for their butchering of his people by Moses.

 

The Israelites had been crushed by Midian over the last seven years into a nation of slaves. The nomads looked down upon them with pride. As those who loved the freedom of movement and of plundering crops rather than settling down and doing the work of cultivating land, they saw those who lived as settled farmers, tied to land and dependent on weather as subordinate to them.

 

With such an attitude we can see why they would rather burn crops that they couldn't take with them rather than leave them to the land dwellers. The nomad had been telling themselves for generations that they were superior to those who settled down and they had come to wholeheartedly believe it.

 

Hatred of another class or culture stems from the arrogance of attempting to convince yourself of your own superiority.

 

This is a common thing in fallen man. He wants to think himself and his clan or people to be superior to others and so he looks with disdain upon the differences of others. It he is superior then his way of life and culture must be superior.

 

Israel was scattered all over the globe by God, destined to live amongst foreign nations until the Lord's return, yet in those nations, many of them lived the Jewish way and culture separate from others of that nation. They way of the law, though not in force during the church, prospered many of them while the unjust ways of pagans within the nation did not prosper them. Even during the depression they prospered. Isolated, different, and more prosperous, anti-Semitism was easy to promote and it occurred at various times everywhere.

 

A similar situation occurred for Christians in the early church. They rejected Caesar worship, lived together separate from the ways of the pagans, worshipped in isolation, believed never before heard things, claimed that God was someday going to judge the world and destroy the world. They were different, isolated, and claimed superiority to the world. It's no wonder they were persecuted and even by the Jews. The Jew finally had someone to pick on.

 

The most different of all people was Jesus. He was and always will be the most persecuted person ever. Being gracious, merciful, true, kind, meek, gentle, offering salvation and the kingdom of heaven without cost, and yet He was still supremely persecuted.

 

PSA 69:4

Those who hate me without a cause are more than the hairs of my head; Those who would destroy me are powerful, being wrongfully my enemies,

 

PSA 83:2

For, behold, Thine enemies make an uproar;

And those who hate Thee have exalted themselves.

 

PSA 25:19

Look upon my enemies, for they are many;

And they hate me with violent hatred.

 

PSA 109:3-5

They have also surrounded me with words of hatred,

And fought against me without cause. In return for my love they act as my accusers; But I am in prayer. Thus they have repaid me evil for good, And hatred for my love.

 

When this happens, don't forget that God knew every detail, every word, and He allowed it for some reason. If you don't know the reason, and so often we don't, rejoice, for God knows and in trusting Him you will find peace.

 

1PE 4:19

Therefore, let those also who suffer according to the will of God entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right.

 

JOH 7:1 And after these things Jesus was walking in Galilee; for He was unwilling to walk in Judea, because the Jews were seeking to kill Him.

 

JOH 7:2 Now the feast of the Jews, the Feast of Booths, was at hand.

 

JOH 7:3 His brothers therefore said to Him, "Depart from here, and go into Judea, that Your disciples also may behold Your works which You are doing.

 

JOH 7:4 "For no one does anything in secret, when he himself seeks to be known publicly. If You do these things, show Yourself to the world."

 

JOH 7:5 For not even His brothers were believing in Him.

 

JOH 7:6 Jesus therefore said to them, "My time is not yet at hand, but your time is always opportune. 

 

JOH 7:7 "The world cannot hate you; but it hates Me because I testify of it, that its deeds are evil.

 

JOH 7:8 "Go up to the feast yourselves; I do not go up to this feast because My time has not yet fully come." 

 

JOH 7:9 And having said these things to them, He stayed in Galilee.

 

It’s not that we roam around pointing out the evil in others. When the light of Christ shines through us, when the rivers of living water flow outward from within us, the world feels the condemnation of its darkness and it hates the light.

 

JOH 3:16 "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.

 

JOH 3:17 "For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through Him.

 

JOH 3:18 "He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

 

JOH 3:19 "And this is the judgment, that the light is come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the light; for their deeds were evil.

 

JOH 3:20 "For everyone who does evil hates the light, and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.

 

JOH 3:21 "But he who practices the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God."

 

JDG 7:13 When Gideon came, behold, a man was relating a dream to his friend. And he said, "Behold, I had a dream; a loaf of barley bread was tumbling into the camp of Midian, and it came to the tent and struck it so that it fell, and turned it upside down so that the tent lay flat."

 

JDG 7:14 And his friend answered and said, "This is nothing less than the sword of Gideon the son of Joash, a man of Israel; God has given Midian and all the camp into his hand."

 

The conclusion of the other man is quite candid. It is clear that they take dreams very seriously and it is also clear that they know that Israel's God is powerful. As we have seen, their acknowledgment of Israel having a powerful God is not a sign of belief, but only that they acknowledged that every nation and people had their own gods and that they only desired for their own god to be more powerful than the others.

 

God not only foreknew it, but really caused the Midianite to dream, and to relate the dream to his comrade, just at the time when Gideon had secretly entered the camp, so that he should hear it, and discover, as God had foretold him, the despondency of the enemy.

 

The details of the dream would have quickly spread through the camp and all of Midian would have been on edge, which is just the attitude that God wanted before He threw them into confusion.

 

Under these circumstances, Gideon could not fail to regard the dream as a divine inspiration, and to draw the assurance from it, that God had certainly given the Midianites into his hands.

 

JDG 7:15 And it came about when Gideon heard the account of the dream and its interpretation, that he bowed in worship. He returned to the camp of Israel and said, "Arise, for the Lord has given the camp of Midian into your hands."

 

Gideon had built an altar to the Lord when the Lord had first burnt the meal that Gideon had offered Him, but the word "worship" was not used. Gideon has been asking for signs and he has gotten them. He has been following commands. But now that he has finally gained confidence in the Lord through this last sign, he worships God.

 

“worship” - hjc [shachah] = "to worship, prostrate oneself, bow down." This is not a general word for a ritual. This is humility and prostration before the might of God.

 

This is a complete submission to God in awe, wonder, fear, humility, smallness, futility, helplessness, etc. Such worship only flows from the heart when all arrogance is squashed before the magnificence of God and superior riches of His grace.

 

Shachah Yevah

 

Most common NT word:

 

“worship” - proskune,w[proskuneo] = reverence. Literally - to kiss towards.

 

Just as the OT word, this word does not refer to a ritual or overt way in which we might show worship. It is a matter of the heart and soul of the believer who has come to truly know the Trinity and they can only revere the magnificence of Him and want nothing more than to be able to kiss Him in adoration and thanksgiving.

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