Wednesday, December 05, 2012
GIDEON, FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSEPS OF FAITH, Today’s Hymn, This Is My Prayer, Wed, 12/5/2012
THE CALL OF GIDEON, Lesson 7a
Over the next few days we will be introduced to a remarkable judge by the name of Gideon. Gideon is a study in contrasts. On the one hand, he was a man who led a handful of warriors against a far larger army and won a great victory. On the other hand, Gideon was filled with doubts, fears and questions. He was a man who questioned God’s plan, yet he did God’s will.
Gideon was called to be a judge during a time of intense trouble in Israel. The nation was suffering under the grip of Midianite oppression. They watched helplessly as their land was stripped, their homes and villages were destroyed, and their lives endangered. Their condition is summed up in verse 6 where the Bible says they were “impoverished”. This word literally means that they were at the “end of their rope”. The people of Israel felt as though their nation was destroyed and their lives were over.
Israel’s main problem was that they counted God out. They cried out to Him, but they probably did not believe that He was listening, or that He was not able to do anything to help them. But, God always has a message. In vv. 7-10, God sent them a prophet to remind them of the Lord’s grace in their lives and to call them to a place of repentance.
Not only does God have a message, He always has a man as well. In the passage before us, we will meet the man God chose to save Israel. We will meet a man called Gideon, his name means, “He who cuts down”. While Gideon does not look like he has much to offer at the time he was called, in the end, he would be responsible for cutting down the enemies of God’s people.
Let’s take some time to meet this man God chose to deliver His people. In Gideon, I see a little bit of myself. Perhaps you will see yourself in this passage as well. Let’s examine ‘The Call Of Gideon” together today. I want to share a few insights from the text as we begin to study a man called Gideon.
v. 11 GIDEON’S CIRCUMSTANCES
This verse reveals even more on the conditions in Israel at that time.
It Was A Time Of Poverty – We know that Israel did not have a lot during these dark, desperate days. Verses 4-6 make that clear. Evidently, Gideon and his family had been able to hide away a small amount of wheat, and he was threshing that wheat behind a wine press to hide it from the Midianites.
Wheat was usually laid out on a special piece of ground prepared for just that purpose. The ground was very hard and usually circular in shape. The threshing floors were located on top of hills where there would be more wind. The grain would be poured out on the ground and oxen pulling a threshing sled called a “noreg” would walk over the grain. It consisted of three stone rollers embedded with pieces of iron that would break and cut the grain. After this process, which broke the hard shell around the kernel, men would take winnowing fans and toss the grain into the air. The lighter husk would be blown away by the wind, while the heavier grain would fall back to the earth.
The fact that Gideon is threshing grain by hand indicates that he had very little grain to work with. It was a time of poverty.
It Was A Time Of Persecution – Gideon was hiding while he threshed because he knew the Midianites would take the small amount of grain he had if they knew about it. Gideon and his people were suffering under the lash of intense persecution.
It Was A Time Of Powerlessness – This is seen in the fact that Gideon is hiding from the enemy. He is just as defeated and just as frightened as the rest of the nation. It was a difficult time for God’s people.
Let me just encourage you today. Like Israel, we are also living in difficult times. We are living in days when economic uncertainty has many people fearing that they will be forced into poverty. We are living in days when the government, and society in general, are growing increasingly hostile to the things of the Lord. We are living in days when it seems that there is little spiritual power among God’s people. In some ways, we are living through times that strongly resemble those that Gideon and Israel faced in their day.
“Be Still, My Soul” By: Katherine Von Schlegel (1752)
1. Be still, my soul; the Lord is on thy side;
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain;
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In every change He faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul; thy best, thy heavenly, Friend
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.
2. Be still, my soul; thy God doth undertake
To guide the future as He has the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence, let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul; the waves and winds still know
His voice who ruled them while He dwelt below.
3. Be still, my soul, though dearest friends depart
And all is darkened in the vale of tears;
Then shalt thou better know His love, His heart,
Who comes to soothe thy sorrows and thy fears.
Be still, my soul; thy Jesus can repay
From His own fulness all He takes away.
4. Be still, my soul; the hour is hastening on
When we shall be forever with the Lord,
When disappointment, grief, and fear are gone,
Sorrow forgot, love's purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul; when change and tears are past,
All safe and blessed we shall meet at last.
THIS IS MY PRAYER!
Loving Father, Gracious God! We pray the eyes of our hearts will be opened to see the hope to which You have called us in Christ Jesus. Help us to understand our true glorious inheritance. Enable us to comprehend the magnitude of Your power on our behalf as we believe in You. We seek more of Your presence and Your power, and we long to see them manifested in our life to Your glory. This we pray in Jesus’ glorious name. Amen!
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