Judges: Transforming Power
Gideon’s life is a classic example of how God prepares us to be used in a significant way.
God uses a four-step process to transform us…
1 God’s Affirmation: He Will Encourage Me
Judges 6:13, 15 “Sir,” 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.” “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!”
He sees your POTENTIAL and He wants you to see it.
When God starts to work in your life, first He wants you to get a new VIEW of you.
He wasn’t looking at what Gideon was; he was looking at his potential.
Judges 6:14, 16 Then the Lord turned to him and said, “Go with the strength you have, and rescue Israel from the Midianites. I am sending you!” The Lord said to him, “I will be with you. And you will destroy the Midianites as if you were fighting against one man.”
God’s response to our insecurity: I’m sending you; I’m going to be with you; You can’t fail.
When you’re doing God’s will you cannot be considered a failure!
Romans 8:31 “If God be for us, who can be against us.”
2 God’s Revelation: He Will Meet Me
Judges 6:21-24 And Gideon did as he was told. …And the angel of the Lord disappeared. When Gideon realized that it was the angel of the Lord, he cried out, “Oh, Sovereign Lord, I’m doomed! I have seen the angel of the Lord face to face!” “It is all right,” the Lord replied. “Do not be afraid. You will not die.” And Gideon built an altar to the Lord there and named it Yahweh-Shalom (which means “the Lord is peace”).
Gideon had a personal experience with God.
The fact of the matter is, when God wants to change me, first He encourages me and second, He meets me.
He gets to know me. He shows His face to me. I have a personal experience with God. Life becomes more than a religion but a relationship.
The Altar: symbol of a personal commitment to God
He named the altar. He named it, “The Lord is peace”. In Hebrew, Jehovah-shalom. Why did he do that? He’s getting ready to go into battle. The world is falling apart. It’s total chaos around him and yet he says, “The Lord is peace.”
That’s the natural consequence anytime you have an experience with God. For the first time in Gideon’s life he felt at peace. He felt at peace with himself. He had peace of mind. No matter even though the circumstances around him were falling apart (and many of you are in situations right now where the circumstances are falling apart) he had internal peace. That’s the result of COMMITTING it all to God. It always brings peace.
What’s THE LESSON? Before you are ready to fight external battles you must have internal peace. Before you are ready to face the tough times you’re facing at work or at home or out there in the world, you’ve got to have an internal peace inside, capable to handle the battles. Where do you get that? You come to the point that Gideon did. A face to face encounter.
3 Gideon’s Confrontation: God Will Test Me
God gave Gideon a test and God will test you. If you don’t get anything else this morning get this:
Before God will ever use you in a significant way He will test you. There will always be a test before God can use you in a significant way. A test of whether you’re really going to trust God and obey him. This is what happened in Gideon’s life.
Spiritual Test – no other gods
Judges 6:25-26 That night 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, 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”
Emotional Test – tradition, family
Judges 6:27 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.
Physical Test – follow directions
Judges 6:28 Early the next morning, as the people of the town began to stir, someone discovered that the altar of Baal had been broken down. In their place a new altar had been built, and on it were the remains of the bull that had been sacrificed.
*When you choose to honor God, while being submitted to authority, as you live out integrity – there will be fireworks!
*People who are free in Christ and do right make other people very uncomfortable! Especially religious people…because they fear being exposed!
But Gideon obeyed completely. And it affected his father. It influenced his father. His father actually came to his defense even though it was his father’s idol that had been torn down.
4 Gideon’s Transformation: God Will Help Me
Judges 6:34 Then the Spirit of the Lord took possession of Gideon.
The path to power is through a test.
How do you handle a trial? When you have a trial in your life, do you get cranky and irritable? Cuss God out? Say, “I’m not going to be a Christian!” and quit church… ? How do you handle the irritations in your life? If you handle them incorrectly — no power.
Gideon responded correctly. When you read the rest of Judges 6 and 7 we have the conclusion of the story. Gideon was now ready. He was transformed into a leader.
Judges 7:7 The Lord told Gideon, “With these 300 men I will rescue you and give you victory over the Midianites. Send all the others home.”
He goes out, blows a trumpet and says, “Everybody rally around!” and thousands of people rallied around him — a man, who a few weeks before, was in the bottom of a wine press hiding out. He cries out, “Who wants to follow the Lord into battle?” and 32,000 people showed up.
God says, “Gideon, that’s too many people. I want you to thin the ranks.” That doesn’t make sense. It tells us that the enemy had 135,000 in their army.
So, Gideon, you tell every one of those 32,000 people who are afraid to go home.” So Gideon gets up and says, “Everybody who’s afraid, go home!” and 22,000 went home. Evidently there were a lot of people like Gideon during this time.
God said, “That’s still too many. I want you to do a test. Take them down to the river. Those who get down and lay on their stomachs to get a drink, drinking straight out of the water, send them home. Those who hold their spear to their side and lap up water with their hands, and keep looking for the enemy, those are the trained ones.” Some were careless and some were careful.
So he took them down and gave them that test and sent another 9,700 home. That left 300 men. God not only often uses unlikely people, he uses an unlikely strategy. Three hundred men against 135,000 that’s odds of about 450 to one. Those aren’t very good odds.
Don’t limit what God wants to do in your life!
Philippians 2:13 For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.
My Decision Today
What part do you think you’re supposed to play today?
Is your life in a place where you can fully embrace today and play your part?
If not, what steps do you need to take?