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Saturday, October 31, 2009

Gideon - Mighty Man Of Valor

Judges 6

The Conditions: Israel had forsaken God and His commandments. Much like America today, one sub-group pitted against another sub-group, every man was doing what was right for his sub-group in his own eyes. No absolute right or wrong, what I say is right for me, is what is right. “In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” Judges 17:6

We encounter Gideon (an un-likely hero) in verse 11, when an angel from the Lord comes to him as he is hiding the wheat from Israel’s enemies. He is threshing the wheat in a winepress. Some have regarded this as Gideon being a coward and hiding from the enemy. He is hiding the wheat. A mark of an honest men is, he will not place at risk that which is not his. We see even clearer, later on, that this is the actions of a prudent man. He had not heard from the Lord so he did not presume to attempt to change the circumstances the Lord had the nation of Israel in at this time. Valor does not presume, it does not run where it has not been called.

In the greeting in verse 12, the angel greets him with the description the Lord has for him, “thou mighty man of valor.” The Lord often sees others so differently from how we see them or how they see themselves. And he greets him by telling him that the Lord is with him. When the Lord calls on someone, it is usually someone who is busy, and usually busy doing something for someone else. (The indication from scripture is he was threshing wheat for the community) God tends to call that which is closest, cleanest and caring enough to make the effort.

In verse 13 we hear a beautiful confession of God’s power, a confession of God’s past blessings on the nation and a confession of the national guilt for turning away from God and His commandments. This was a man who saw very clearly that God had indeed turned away from Israel and her wickedness. And notice, there is no hint that he is complaining and charging God with being un-fair. He as much as admits that the nation is receiving just as they deserve.

The beauty of humility is seen here in verses 14 & 15, when Gideon is charged with going and being the one to deliver Israel, (in his own strength) pleads his own weakness and in-ability. Anyone called of God who does not rehearse his shortcomings, is doomed by his presumption. It is not a sign of trying to evade God’s call, it is a sign of wisdom to confess one’s inability to be successful without the hand and help of the Lord. It is preparation for a heart that is humble before God. God does NOT call extraordinary men to do ordinary things, He calls ordinary men to do extraordinary things.

The reassurance of the help and presents of God Himself in the undertaking and success of task is again given to strengthen the warrior in verse 16. This is much like our commission to “Go and make disciples’ in Matthew 28:19-20. We are told in the closing statement that the Lord Himself will be there with us.

In verses 17-21 we see the wisdom of caution and obedience. The giving of a sacrifice of food was a heavy thing. He was hiding food from the Midianites when the Lord came to him. He understood that the Lord expected him to trust and obey His commands. He is not doubting God, he is proving to himself that he will trust and obey, even when it’s not easy. Valor that is brave enough to trust and obey the Lord, can over come ALL the man-made obstacles it faces.

In verse 24 we see the spirituality that always comes with true valor. This is part of the “servant” idea that Jesus spoke of when He walked the earth. True Valor does not have to seek it’s own glory. Men of valor do not great things to advance themselves, but for the good of others and the glory of God. Gideon builds an alter to the Lord as a statement that as he does this it is being done for the glory of the Lord. Selfishness is a repugnant character trait in all cultures. The Bible tells us, “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.” Col. 3:17

In verses 34-40 we are treated to the truth that “Divine Inspiration and Divine Fellowship” are the marks of True Valor. Gideon was inspired by God to send an invitation to all the people listed. God fearing, authority respecting people will always be drawn to assemble with and fellowship with a courageous man. People in rebellion, will always be repelled by valorous leadership from the Lord. This is what makes them rebels. Some have said that Gideon putting out the fleece was a sign of un-belief. Please note that when alone, he offered sacrifices and was obedient. It was only AFTER the others were gathered that he asked for this sign to reveal the will of God as he knew it to be, might be revealed to those gathered. It was for their sake, not his own that he asked for the sign. Again, true valor was concerned with the faith of the weaker brothers. In the New Testament we are admonished, “Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations.” Romans 14:1 -- “We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.” Romans 15:1 -- “Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men.” I Thessalonians 5:14 Concern for others, especially the weak is always the mark of true Valor.


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