Pardon Me? 03JAN – #1356

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Gideon said: “Pardon me?” to the Angel of God, and actually later realizing he was speaking to the Lord God Himself, yet he did not die from the intensity (as was predicted from Moses’s time).

How many times have we said: ” ‘EXCUSE ME?’, ‘Are you really God?’ and ‘You want me to do what?’ “

Gideon (later chosen as the patron “saint” of the “Gideons” the group which places Bibles in hotels), was picked by God as a hidden gem in God’s growing field. Gideon was a young man thrashing wheat secretly hidden away from scoundrel invaders, but Gideon was chosen to do SOMETHING BIG by God. He reminds us that little people can do BIG things when God is directing. (Just like little but ever present Gideon bibles placed where people look for inspiration, they can find true power and direction).

Midian people invaded the Israelites’ Promised Land and were as numerous and hungry like grasshoppers and ate up the provisions so that the Israelites couldn’t feed their own livestock. It was so bad that the Israelites, who at that time also had been doing evil in the Lord’s eyes, actually called out to the Lord for help. They continually forgot (like we do) that people are not supposed to worship leaders or material things, ONLY God.

The Lord reached out to one man, Gideon, who essentially said: What?! Wait! Me? How do I really know it’s You Lord? Yes, he said all that. God bless us for we are also like Gideon… ‘Little ole me?”… Gideon asked the Lord to demonstrate miracles, well yeah we ask that too. Gideon said “WAIT” to God, and God said He would wait! Does God wait for us to come back to Him? You can be sure of that.

Gideon said: but I am the weakest! How many times do we not realize that God’s going to provide the Power behind His Plea for us to do something. Yes God makes a Way. God told Gideon to prepare a sacrifice of food, bring it to the oak tree where they spoke. God then started the consuming fire. Gideon was amazed, realized he had seen God and lived, and built an altar there called “The Lord is Peace“. 

God’s work for Gideon had just begun, commanding him to destroy the altar of the false God Baal. Joash was Gideon’s Dad and told the truth to the angry people that the false God won’t save them.

Gideon was back at discussions with God. Who would have thought that our REAL God would tolerate and engage in REAL conversations. Well He does, ask Him. Gideon asked for a sign – that a fleece blanket of a sheep to be made sopping wet, God did that. Gideon said “EXCUSE ME LORD, ONE MORE THING”… REALLY.  Gideon asked the fleece to be kept dry when the morning dew covered the land the next morning. Yup, God delivered. Delivered the dew (as He does normally) and delivered the sign of His Power.

Now it really was time for the BIG battle and instead of a HUGE army, Gideon was asked to pare down the numbers, down to ONLY 300 men, so that everyone would realize that God’s Hand was the cause of the victory. The Lord said to Gideon, “You have too many men. I cannot deliver Midian into their hands, or Israel would boast against me, ‘My own strength has saved me.’… 

God didn’t want them boasting, nor does He want us boasting today. Both because they did not achieve the victory and because others should not surmise that anyone besides God was solely responsible. It’s finesse not fierceness in this situation, just like in our lives. Give credit where credit is due.

The battle was won before it was even started, God had planted a dream into a sleeping soldier in the enemy camp that a whole loaf of barley bread tumbled in and knocked down the tent. Another soldier interpreted the dream as that they were all delivered into the hand of the mighty warrior Gideon. This conversation was overheard by Gideon who realized GOD WAS RIGHT! Gideon worshiped then organized the 300 men into 3 divisions of 100, gave them torches, trumpets, and empty jars. That’s REALLY what God used: a dream of a tumbling loaf of bread, an interpretation of the dream, the noise of empty jars broken, the sound of Trumpets, and the LIGHT of the torches… WOW. (and cool the symbolic use of bread, those dreams, yes trumpets, and LIGHT which all relate to JESUS, who is the Sword of Truth being the Word, dividing based upon the Word, saving because of the Word.)

THE ENEMY RAN AWAY… no swords except for the piercing Sword of Truth planted in the minds of all who would believe that God IS Sovereign

God is really Lord. REALLY Gideon, REALLY. 

God does GREAT things.

KEEP LISTENING FOR THE TRUMPET.

Amen

And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord: and the Lord delivered them into the hand of Midian seven years. And the hand of Midian prevailed against Israel

And they encamped against them, and destroyed the increase of the earth, till thou come unto Gaza, and left no sustenance for Israel, neither sheep, nor ox, nor ass.

The angel of the Lord came and sat down under the oak in Ophrah that belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, where his son Gideon was threshing wheat in a winepress to keep it from the Midianites. When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.”

Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our ancestors told us about when they said, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up out of Egypt?’ But now the Lord has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian.”

The Lord turned to him and said, “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?”

Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.”

The Lord answered, “I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites, leaving none alive.”

Gideon replied, “If now I have found favor in your eyes, give me a sign that it is really you talking to me. Please do not go away until I come back and bring my offering and set it before you.” 

And the Lord said, “I will wait until you return.”

Gideon went inside, prepared a young goat, and from an ephah of flour he made bread without yeast. Putting the meat in a basket and its broth in a pot, he brought them out and offered them to him under the oak.

The angel of God said to him, “Take the meat and the unleavened bread, place them on this rock, and pour out the broth.” And Gideon did so. Then the angel of the Lord touched the meat and the unleavened bread with the tip of the staff that was in his hand. Fire flared from the rock, consuming the meat and the bread. And the angel of the Lord disappeared. When Gideon realized that it was the angel of the Lord, he exclaimed, “Alas, Sovereign Lord! I have seen the angel of the Lord face to face!” 

But the Lord said to him, “Peace! Do not be afraid. You are not going to die.” So Gideon built an altar to the Lord there and called it The Lord Is Peace. To this day it stands in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.

That same night the Lord said to him, “Take the second bull from your father’s herd, the one seven years old. Tear down your father’s altar to Baal and cut down the Asherah pole beside it. Then build a proper kind of altar to the Lord your God on the top of this height. Using the wood of the Asherah pole that you cut down, offer the second bull as a burnt offering.”

So Gideon took ten of his servants and did as the Lord told him. But because he was afraid of his family and the townspeople, he did it at night rather than in the daytime.

 So because Gideon broke down Baal’s altar, they gave him the name Jerub-Baal that day, saying, “Let Baal contend with him.”

Gideon said to God, “If you will save Israel by my hand as you have promised— look, I will place a wool fleece on the threshing floor. If there is dew only on the fleece and all the ground is dry, then I will know that you will save Israel by my hand, as you said.” And that is what happened. Gideon rose early the next day; he squeezed the fleece and wrung out the dew—a bowlful of water.

Then Gideon said to God, “Do not be angry with me. Let me make just one more request. Allow me one more test with the fleece, but this time make the fleece dry and let the ground be covered with dew.” That night God did so. Only the fleece was dry; all the ground was covered with dew.

The Lord said to Gideon, “You have too many men. I cannot deliver Midian into their hands, or Israel would boast against me, ‘My own strength has saved me.’ Now announce to the army, ‘Anyone who trembles with fear may turn back and leave Mount Gilead.’” So twenty-two thousand men left, while ten thousand remained. But the Lord said to Gideon, “There are still too many men. Take them down to the water, and I will thin them out for you there. If I say, ‘This one shall go with you,’ he shall go; but if I say, ‘This one shall not go with you,’ he shall not go.” So Gideon took the men down to the water. There the Lord told him, “Separate those who lap the water with their tongues as a dog laps from those who kneel down to drink.” Three hundred of them drank from cupped hands, lapping like dogs. All the rest got down on their knees to drink.

The Lord said to Gideon, “With the three hundred men that lapped I will save you and give the Midianites into your hands. Let all the others go home.” So Gideon sent the rest of the Israelites home but kept the three hundred, who took over the provisions and trumpets of the others.

Now the camp of Midian lay below him in the valley. During that night the Lord said to Gideon, “Get up, go down against the camp, because I am going to give it into your hands. If you are afraid to attack, go down to the camp with your servant Purah and listen to what they are saying. Afterward, you will be encouraged to attack the camp.” So he and Purah his servant went down to the outposts of the camp. The Midianites, the Amalekites and all the other eastern peoples had settled in the valley, thick as locusts. Their camels could no more be counted than the sand on the seashore.

Gideon arrived just as a man was telling a friend his dream. “I had a dream,” he was saying. “A round loaf of barley bread came tumbling into the Midianite camp. It struck the tent with such force that the tent overturned and collapsed.” His friend responded, “This can be nothing other than the sword of Gideon son of Joash, the Israelite. God has given the Midianites and the whole camp into his hands.”

When Gideon heard the dream and its interpretation, he bowed down and worshiped. He returned to the camp of Israel and called out, “Get up! The Lord has given the Midianite camp into your hands.” Dividing the three hundred men into three companies, he placed trumpets and empty jars in the hands of all of them, with torches inside. “Watch me,” he told them. “Follow my lead. When I get to the edge of the camp, do exactly as I do. When I and all who are with me blow our trumpets, then from all around the camp blow yours and shout, ‘For the Lord and for Gideon.’”

Gideon and the hundred men with him reached the edge of the camp at the beginning of the middle watch, just after they had changed the guard. They blew their trumpets and broke the jars that were in their hands. The three companies blew the trumpets and smashed the jars. Grasping the torches in their left hands and holding in their right hands the trumpets they were to blow, they shouted, “A sword for the Lord and for Gideon!” While each man held his position around the camp, all the Midianites ran, crying out as they fled.

When the three hundred trumpets sounded, the Lord caused the men throughout the camp to turn on each other with their swords. The army fled… 

Judges 6:1-2, 4, 11-27, 32, 36-40

Judges 7:2-22

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