Now in the days of Gideon, a time of judgement, the Midianites and the Amikalites oppressed the children of God. No matter what the Israelites planted, they never got to see the fruits of their labor. The Midianites and the Amakilites would come in like locusts and devour and take everything. And so, Israel was greatly impoverished. Can I suggest that we face the same landscape and problems in Christendom today? We are impoverished spiritually and financially and no matter the work done, it is consumed by the idols and the enemy which seems to be all around us like locusts.
Now, in their distress, the children of Israel cried out to God for a deliverer, and the Lord sent them a prophet. The prophet reminded them of Gods faithfulness and how they had rejected Him (Jud 6:8-10) Now, at Gods appointed time, when all is desolate, He speaks to Gideon who was threshing wheat in the wine-press in an effort to hide his activities from their oppressors.(6-11) The Lord is with you mighty man of valor. You see how God is calling what is not as it would be. Hiding from your enemies in a defunct wine=press in an effort to get some bread is hardly the stuff of valor. Brothers and sisters, I want you to see Gideon as a type of the Remnant God is in the process of raising up right now. Do not focus on the 300 as of yet, for that is still a ways off. We as people are not ready yet. Listen to what Gideon says to the Lord.
Oh my Lord, if the Lord is with us, then why has all this happened to us? And where are all the miracles which our Fathers told us about saying,Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt? But now the Lord has forsaken us and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites.(v 13)
How many of us today, brothers and sisters, would cry out the same thing as Gideon just did? Does it not seem to you that we are surrounded by darkness on every side? Maybe in your personal life you feel forsaken? Maybe its been a long time since you have experienced the presence of God if ever? Have you ever said in your own heart, just like Gideon Where are all the miracles? Maybe its been a long time since you have seen a loved one or anyone for that matter, well saved and radically regenerated?
And after Gideon gets through with his complaints to God, the Lord speaks to him and says Go in the might of yours and you shall save Israel
.have I not sent you? (v 14) You see how God refuses to take on board what Gideon has just complained about and again affirms His calling on Gideons life? Saints, take heart at this for God has called you, listen to how Gideon replies and see if this reflects your own heart. How can I save Israel? Indeed my clan is the weakest in Manassah and I am the least in my fathers house. (v15) To which the Lord replies Surely I will be with you.
Can you see how the Lord picked the weakest man from the weakest clan? Its not about the man brothers and sisters, its about the God that goes with the man. If God is with us, who can be against us? This truly represents the Remnant believers today. We are the weakest men and women. The reply that Gideon gave to God is the right reply in the right spirit. Without God we are nothing and can do nothing, but by the same token, when God is with us , and He says to Gideon Surely I will be with you, then there is nothing we cannot do. This is the spirit of the people of God today. They acknowledge their own weakness and this is through their personal experience. They have experienced failure and they know what it is like to feel abandoned, this has been a journey and it ends with them knowing their utter helplessness without God being with them
Now brothers and sisters, this is a theme all through Scriptures. Consider what Moses says after forty years in the desert after fleeing Egypt and believing ( rightly) that he would be used to deliver his people. Again it comes in encounter and the Lord commissioning , this time in a burning bush Who am I that I should bring the children of God out of Israel? (Ex 3:11) You see, as with Gideon, there is an encounter with God. Consider Jeremiah as he encounters God Before I formed you in the womb I knew you. Before you were born I sanctified you. I ordained you as a prophet to the nations. Then said I, Ah Lord behold I cannot speak for I am a youth. (Jer 1:6) You see the reluctance of the prophets who know their limitations but it is God who calls and it is God who send and it is God who goes before.
One more example would be the prophet Isaiah in chapter six. He encounters God and cries out Woe is me for I am undone because I am a man of unclean lips. (Isa 6:5) There are many objections, and they are sound reasons, these prophets are not lying when they tell God how unworthy they are or how unable they are or how they cannot speak or are so very very weak. God knows these things. Yet God will share His Glory with no man. He picks the weak things of this world to confound the wise and to bring glory to Himself. It is He who does the calling, and it is obedience to the calling that is required. If you are not allowing God to use you because of how weak you are then maybe all of these prophets should not have moved forward with God either?
The Lord raises up who He will. And now, in these latter days, He and He alone is raising up a remnant. And despite all of your objections, it matters not for He deliberately raises up the weak and the over-looked so that the glory that is soon to cover the earth as the waters cover the sea will be all His. He is raising up the broken and the battered, the lowly and the humble, to come against the proud and the strong and the mighty and the many.
After Gideons encounter with God he begs Him not to leave. (v18) Can I tell you saints, one encounter with God, with the presence of God, ruins you for this life. His presence will become your all-consuming passion. Gideon, in a day of poverty and famine, insists on sacrificing to the Lord and he prepares the little that he had and he offers it to God. This is what happens saints when we encounter the living God. What was ours becomes His. We gladly give Him what we have, and if it is only a widows mite, we see from Scripture that the Lord is well pleased with this kind of sacrifice. Gideons sacrifice to God was well pleasing and acceptable, we see this because fire falls on acceptable sacrifice and consumes it. What will you sacrifice saints?
After the offering Gideon cries out I have seen the angel of the Lord face to face. (v22) This changes Gideon forever. Saints, have you had such an encounter? Has your life been drastically changed from the inside out? This encounter , not unlike Isaiah, was so traumatic that God has to speak into Gideon and say Peace be with you, do not fear, you shall not die. ( v23) Now, how can we tell if we ourselves have been effected as Gideon? Well, when one encounters the Lord then idols have to go. Nothing can come between God and His people. And this is exactly what Gideon is called to do. Now, the children of Israel in that day worshiped Baal just as the those that surrounded them did. There will be a severe price to pay if Gideon breaks down the altar of Baal, in fact, in means almost certain death. I wonder if the saints of today are willing to pay such a price to see the idols of today torn down? Can we buck the system and the ways of the world and survive.just as the Lord has asked Gideon to do?
Well, Gideon gets himself ten others who are willing to go with him, and at night, they tear down the altar of Baal. It does not take the people long to figure out who tore down their idols altar. They find Gideons father and demand that he hand over Gideon to be killed. Now, in wisdom that undoubtedly came from God, Gideons father says to the crowds that if Baal is so all-powerful, why are they here pleading on his behalf? Surely Baal is strong enough to exact revenge on his own? This argument works and of course Gideon did not die for Baal is a false God. Now, every time the people saw Gideon it was a testimony to the impotency of the god that they worshipped. Can you say, brothers and sisters, that you are a living testimony to the impotency of the enemy of our soul?
Saints, God is raising up a remnant people who are a testimony to the one true living God. By defying the convention and idols and gods of our day, then we ourselves become a testimony and a witness to the world. Can you see the process we have to go through prior to the ultimate defeat of the our adversary? Gods children have to follow the same path as Gideon, before ever being involved in mightier battles to come. First Gideon had to see the desolation of a country devoid of God. Then he had to believe that he had been forsaken because this truly highlights our utter helplessness outside of God. Then he had to encounter God and see himself as he truly was, so that when God accomplishes great things through him he will be in no doubt that it was not by might nor power but by Gods Spirit and the Spirit alone. Then we see the hunger and thirst after Gideons encounter with the Lord and his willingness to give al that he had. Its in this process that it is learned that God has called us, He prepares us and He anoints us. Then there is the obedience to defy the culture of the day and live as God has called us to live.
This is the preparation process. There can be no short-cuts. Where are you in this process saints? Be encouraged, know that you have been called and you will be sent. Remember that God used the weakest man from the weakest clan who complained of being forsaken. Do not say that God cannot use you, for it is by calling that you are called. Follow the example of Gideon and continue to prepare. The time is short saints, the remnant are being raised. Reject the world and all that it has to offer and rise with them by the hand of God.