Gideon: The Mighty Hero (pt. 1) • Gideon is the 4th major judge beginning the 4th cycle in the book of Judges. Gideon’s Judges 6:11 (NLT), Then the angel of the Lord came and sat beneath the great tree at Ophrah, which belonged to Joash of the clan of Abiezer. Gideon son of Joash was threshing wheat at the bottom of a winepress to hide the grain from the Midianites. 12 The angel of the Lord appeared to him and said, “Mighty hero, the Lord is with you!” ... 16 The Lord said to him, “I will be with you. And you will destroy the Midianites as if you were fighting against one man.” • The angel of the LORD is believed to be Jesus – appearing in OT times. • Gideon does not look like a “mighty warrior!” • Gideon is down in a winepress hiding! He is afraid the Midianites will steal his harvest. • Fear is a big part of Gideon’s story. He never gets over it. Yet, God uses him anyway. • Barry Webb, “The important thing is not how Gideon himself thinks or feels, but what God has declared him to be: a mighty warrior (v. 12). His strength lies in his being chosen by God, and in God’s promise to be with him.” • Gideon is fearful, but by faith he is working, planting, harvesting, and threshing. 1st Principle – God keeps calling and faith keeps working in spite of our fears and circumstances. Gideon’s Judges 6:13 (NLT), Gideon replied, “...if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? And where are all the miracles our ancestors told us about? Didn’t they say, ‘The Lord brought us up out of Egypt’? But now the Lord has abandoned us and handed us over to the Midianites.” 14 Then the Lord.. said, “Go with the strength you have, and rescue Israel from the Midianites. I am sending you!” 15 “But Lord,” Gideon replied, “how can I rescue Israel? My clan is the weakest in the whole tribe of Manasseh, and I am the least in my entire family!...17 If you are truly going to help me, show me a sign to prove that it is really the Lord speaking to me. • Gideon is full of questions: • 1. Why is all this bad stuff happening to me? • 2. Where are all the miracles today? • 3. Why has God abandoned me? • Gideon will be the new Moses. • Gideon will see, will be the miracle. • Gideon will deliver God’s people! • The LORD says, “I am sending you!” • Moses was full of excuses when God called him too! • God appeared to Moses in a burning bush. • God appeared to Gideon in a burning rock. • God is happy to answer Gideon’s questions. Principle #2 - God in His grace will give us assurance that He is real even when we question. Gideon’s Judges 6:25 (NLT), ...the Lord said to Gideon, “Take the second bull from your father’s herd, the one that is seven years old. Pull down your father’s altar to Baal, and cut down the Asherah pole standing beside it. 26 Then build an altar to the Lord your God here on this hilltop sanctuary, laying the stones carefully. Sacrifice the bull as a burnt offering on the altar, using as fuel the wood of the Asherah pole you cut down.” 27 So Gideon took ten of his servants and did as the Lord had commanded. But he did it at night because he was afraid of the other members of his father’s household and the people of the town. • The people seem to be worshipping God and Baal. • Baal and Asherah were Caananite gods of fertility. • They were the original prosperity gods of that time. • For the farmers, worshipping Baal and Asherah was like buying crop insurance. • Baal and Asherah would bring the rain, the milk, and multiply the herd. • The bull is the symbol of Baal worship, so Gideon uses that bull to pull down the idols and then he uses the wood from the idol to sacrifice the bull. • Why a 7-year old bull? That’s how long they have been oppressed by the Midianites. • Baal must come down to end this oppression. Principle #3 Before our outward battles can be won, we must take down the idols in our hearts. • Faith and fear can coexist. • Gideon was afraid when he did this courageous act. • But faith and idols cannot coexist. • We can’t serve two masters. • Gideon’s father repented of his idolatry. He gave his son a nickname, Jerub-baal, which means “Let Baal defend himself.” Gideon’s Judges 6:33 (NLT), ...Soon afterward the armies of Midian, Amalek, and the people of the east formed an alliance against Israel and crossed the Jordan, camping in the valley of Jezreel. 34 Then the Spirit of the Lord clothed Gideon with power. He blew a ram’s horn as a call to arms, and the men of the clan of Abiezer came to him. 35 He also sent messengers throughout Manasseh, Asher, Zebulun, and Naphtali, summoning their warriors, and all of them responded. 36 Then Gideon said to God, “If you are truly going to use me to rescue Israel as you promised, 37 prove it to me in this way…." • With the idols gone the Spirit of the LORD clothed Gideon with power. • Gideon becomes that “mighty hero” because He is clothed with the Spirit. • A huge army gathered around him - 32,000! • But, Gideon wants another sign! He puts out the fleece. • The fleece is NOT a way to find God’s will (He already knows God’s will). • The fleece IS a way to find God’s assurance of victory! • Moses is the key to understanding this. • In Exodus 4, Moses told the LORD he was concerned that the people would not believe him. So, God gave Moses a double sign. The rod turns to a snake, then turns back into a rod. This double-sign would convince Israel that God is with Moses. • In the same way, God gives Gideon a double-sign to convince Israel God has spoken and God will deliver them from their oppressors. • Miles Van Pelt, “The sign of the fleece will fill the people with the courage. The ground of the threshing floor represents the land of Israel. The fleece of wool represents the Midianite army… The dew symbolizes the blessing of God… In the first fleece sign the land is dry and the fleece is wet with dew, symbolizing Israel’s current situation, as the Midianites consume [God’s] blessing. In the second fleece sign the fleece is dry and the land is wet with dew, symbolizing that God is about to reverse the situation and return the blessing [back] to his people. • The fleece proves the Lord has spoken. • The situation will be reversed. • The Lord has already won the battle. 4th Principle – God’s mighty hero’s must be clothed with His Spirit and convinced of His Word. CONCLUSION • 1st Principle – God keeps calling and faith keeps working in spite of our fears and circumstances. • 2nd Principle – God in His grace will give us assurance that He is real even when we question. • 3rd Principle – Before our outward battles can be won; we must take down the idols in our hearts. • 4th Principle – God’s mighty heros must be clothed with His Spirit and convinced of His Word.