Pastor Jonathan Falwell
And the Lord said to him, “Surely I will be with you, and you shall defeat the Midianites as one man.”
Today we begin a Summer series using a “technology” that is pretty old. That technology is flannelgraph. I remember seeing these stories on a flannel graph board when I was a child. Right here at TRBC, flannel figures were used to teach me and thousands of others the great stories of the Bible. This Summer, we’re going to do the same thing, telling the great stories of the Old Testament through this old-school method while reframing these familiar stories so they apply to us today.
Today’s story is about a man named Gideon. This was about forty years after Israel had entered the promised land, Canaan. Joshua was dead and a new generation of Israelites were now living.
These Israelites had long since forgotten the promises and deliverance of God. They kept falling into sin, into idol worship and walking away from the one true God.
The Israelites did evil in the Lord’s sight. So the Lord handed them over to the Midianites for seven years.
The attacks were overwhelming. So much so that the Israelites dug holes in the ground in order to hid themselves (Verse 2).
Israel got to the place where they knew that something had to change and once again they remembered the God who had delivered them. So they cried out to God. (Verses 6-10) There was one man that God had chosen to deliver them from their enemies…and from their fears.
The Angel appeared to Gideon and told him that He would deliver them. But Gideon was just as afraid as everyone else. He didn’t believe that he could do it. He said that he was not capable of leading them out of this mess. But God assured Gideon of His faithfulness (Verses 11-16). Gideon then bargained with God for proof…twice!
So Gideon called for help and 32,000 showed up. But God said it was too many so he told those who were afraid to go home. 22,000 left. But God said there were still too many, so he took them to a stream for a test. Gideon was left with 300 men. (Judges 7:1-7)
God told Gideon and his men to go to the Midianite camp and wait until nightfall. They hid there until they heard the dream of one of the men. This dream encouraged them that God was truly with them. They did as God instructed and the Midianites were so afraid, they began killing each other. (Judges 7:9-22) Gideon got more help and continued to pursue the Midianites eventually capturing the kings. (Judges 8:1-21)
After the victory, Gideon asked all the men to bring gold to him. He made a golden ephod and placed it in the midst of the city. While God had made it abundantly clear that He was their victory and the only one to be worshiped, Gideon became a little to comfortable in his power and his celebrity. (Judges 8:22-27)
That is the story of how the people of Israel defeated Midian, which never recovered. Throughout the rest of Gideon’s lifetime—about forty years—there was peace in the land.
As soon as Gideon died, the Israelites prostituted themselves by worshiping the images of Baal, making Baal-berith their god. 34 They forgot the Lord their God, who had rescued them from all their enemies surrounding them. 35 Nor did they show any loyalty to the family of Jerub-baal (that is, Gideon), despite all the good he had done for Israel.
1. Defeating Fear Requires Faith (Verses 6:13 & 15, 16)
– Faith in yourself
– As a result of your faith in God
2. Defeating Fear Requires Focus (Verses 7:2 & 7)
– As the men beside the water were focused on the job at hand, we too must be focused on God’s will and plan for our lives
– we do not have the luxury of being distracted by the “things” of the day
3. Defeating Fear Requires Fidelity (Remaining true to Him) (Verses 8:27 & 33)