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Judges 5-6

Thursday Evening Bible Study

September 27, 2018


The book of Joshua recorded the overall conquering of the Promised Land of Canaan.

Through their battles they conquer 31 kings over a period of about five years.

Through Joshua’s leadership, they had done the larger, overall job of taking care of the main resistance and establishing themselves as the dominant force in the land.

(Jos 21:43–45 NKJV) —43 So the LORD gave to Israel all the land of which He had sworn to give to their fathers, and they took possession of it and dwelt in it. 44 The LORD gave them rest all around, according to all that He had sworn to their fathers. And not a man of all their enemies stood against them; the LORD delivered all their enemies into their hand. 45 Not a word failed of any good thing which the LORD had spoken to the house of Israel. All came to pass.

The main battles were over, but there were still pockets of resistance left, still places to be conquered.

There is unfinished business.

God has told the people that the reason these places remain unconquered are to test the people:

To keep them “battle ready”
To see if they really love God

The book of Judges gets its name from the people God used to help lead the nation during the period between Joshua and the kings.

This would be a period of four hundred years.

Some were warriors, others prophets, one was a woman.

These people were not kings as such. The nation considered God to be their king, and that God used a specific man to bring help and leadership to the nation at various times.

The book of Judges is a “messy” book.

Video:  Peanut Butter Baby

Video:  Kids Paint Face

You are going to see a lot of things happen that will make your skin crawl.

You’re going to see God use some very flawed people to save the nation.
The book is summed up by the last verse:
(Judges 21:25 NKJV) In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.
We might tend to think that God only uses “perfect” people, but the truth is, everyone God has every used is flawed at some point.
You’re going to see God’s people doing the most horrible things.

Note: Some of the blocks of events recorded in Judges may not be in chronological order.

There aren’t a lot of time markers in each section. For example, in Judges 20:28 (at the end of the book), Phinehas is mentioned as being the high priest. Yet he was also the high priest at the time of the beginning of the book. We know that the book of Judges covers roughly four hundred years, and Phinehas didn’t live that long.

Last week we ended with the story of Deborah, the only woman “judge”.

Video:  Deborah battle map

God used Deborah to stir up the northern part of the nation and to encourage Barak from Kadesh to take the lead and deliver the people from king Jabin of Hazor and his commander Sisera.

After the victory they wrote a song.

5:1-31 Deborah’s Song

:1 Then Deborah and Barak the son of Abinoam sang on that day, saying:

:2 “When leaders lead in Israel, When the people willingly offer themselves, Bless the Lord!

:2 leaders lead … people willingly offer


Stronger Together

A nation does well when not only the leaders are leading in the right direction, but the people follow along.
The victory for Deborah and Barak came when leaders led and the people came along and gave of themselves.
To me I see a picture of the blessing of “unity” – when each person does their part.
The Psalmist writes,
(Psalm 133:1–2 NKJV) —1 Behold, how good and how pleasant it is For brethren to dwell together in unity! 2 It is like the precious oil upon the head, Running down on the beard, The beard of Aaron, Running down on the edge of his garments.

The oil running down Aaron’s head is a picture of the Holy Spirit at work.  And there’s a connection with “unity”.

A.W. Tozer wrote,
...unity of mind on the part of the people of God precedes the blessing. I have often heard people pray, “Oh Lord, send the Holy Spirit that we may become a united people.” That is all right except it is precisely backwards. The Holy Spirit comes because we are a united people; He does not come to make us a united people.

Our prayer should be more like, “Lord, help us to get united in order that the blessing might flow and there might be an outpouring of oil and dew and life.” That’s the way we should pray....

This teaches us that unity is necessary to the outpouring of the Spirit of God. If you have 120 volts of electricity coming into your house but you have broken wiring, you may turn the switch, but nothing works-no lights come on, the stove doesn’t warm, your radio doesn’t turn on. Why? Because you have broken wiring. The power is ready to do its work with all the appliances in your home, but where there is broken wiring, you have no power. Unity is necessary among the children of God if we are going to know the flow of power. 

Success and the Christian, 86-87.

:3 “Hear, O kings! Give ear, O princes! I, even I, will sing to the Lord; I will sing praise to the Lord God of Israel.

:4 “Lord, when You went out from Seir, When You marched from the field of Edom, The earth trembled and the heavens poured, The clouds also poured water;

:5 The mountains gushed before the Lord, This Sinai, before the Lord God of Israel.

:4 when You went out from Seir

Israel journeyed from Mount Sinai, through the land of Edom (or, Seir).

Deborah is recalling how God had delivered Israel back in the times of Moses with thunder and lightning.

Here there was apparently a storm that played into the battle.

The area southeast of Israel, through which the Israelites had come on their way to the Promised Land.

I think at this point Deborah is pointing out past times when Yahweh had helped the people.

The people had journeyed in the book of Numbers from Sinai to the Promised Land.

At Mount Sinai there was thunder and lightning.

:6 “In the days of Shamgar, son of Anath, In the days of Jael, The highways were deserted, And the travelers walked along the byways.

:6 the days of Shamgar

The previous judge (Judg. 3:31) with the ox goad.

Josephus said he was only around for a year.

:6 in the days of Jael

This was the gal who killed the Canaanite general Sisera.

:6 travelers walked along the byways

Deborah is describing a sad condition where people were afraid of travelling on the regular roads.

When I was growing up, we used to walk or ride our bikes to school.  Today, parents are a bit afraid of letting their kids walk.

:7 Village life ceased, it ceased in Israel, Until I, Deborah, arose, Arose a mother in Israel.

:8 They chose new gods; Then there was war in the gates; Not a shield or spear was seen among forty thousand in Israel.

:9 My heart is with the rulers of Israel Who offered themselves willingly with the people. Bless the Lord!

:8 They chose new gods

This was the source of Israel’s problems.

The problem wasn’t the economy or foreign trade agreements, though some might have thought that, it was their relationship with God.

:8 Not a shield or spear

Israel was not equipped for war.

:7 Until I, Deborah, arose


God uses moms

God used an “ordinary” mother to turn things around in Israel.


Mom and Dad were watching TV when Mom said, “I’m tired, and it’s getting late. I think I’ll go to bed.”
She went to the kitchen to make sandwiches for the next day’s lunches, rinsed out the popcorn bowls, took meat out of the freezer for supper the following evening, checked the cereal box levels, filled the sugar container, put spoons and bowls on the table and started the coffee pot for brewing the next morning. She then put some wet clothes into the dryer, put a load of clothes into the wash, ironed a shirt and secured a loose button.  She yawned and stretched and headed for the bedroom. She stopped by the desk and wrote a note to the teacher, counted out some cash for the field trip, and pulled a textbook out from hiding under the chair. Mom then creamed her face, put on moisturizer, brushed and flossed her teeth and trimmed her nails.
Hubby called, “I thought you were going to bed.” “I’m on my way,” she said. She put some water into the dog’s dish and put the cat outside, then made sure the doors were locked. She looked in on each of the kids and turned out a bedside lamp, hung up a shirt, threw some dirty socks in the hamper, and had a brief conversation with the one up still doing homework.
About that time, the hubby turned off the TV and announced to no one in particular “I’m going to bed,” and he did.

Not all mothers are “ordinary”.  Some are extraordinary.

Either way, God can use you.

:10 “Speak, you who ride on white donkeys, Who sit in judges’ attire, And who walk along the road.

:11 Far from the noise of the archers, among the watering places, There they shall recount the righteous acts of the Lord, The righteous acts for His villagers in Israel; Then the people of the Lord shall go down to the gates.

:10 you who ride on white donkeys

Pure white donkeys were highly prized.

Only the wealthy could own a white donkey.

All the people who are far from the battle will be telling the stories of how God delivered Israel.

:11 among the watering places

(NLT) Listen to the village musicians gathered at the watering holes. They recount the righteous victories of the LORD, and the victories of his villagers in Israel. Then the people of the LORD marched down to the city gates.

:12 “Awake, awake, Deborah! Awake, awake, sing a song! Arise, Barak, and lead your captives away, O son of Abinoam!

:12 lead your captives away

Telling Barak to take his Canaanite prisoners of war and parade them in front of the people.

:13 “Then the survivors came down, the people against the nobles; The Lord came down for me against the mighty.

:14 From Ephraim were those whose roots were in Amalek. After you, Benjamin, with your peoples, From Machir rulers came down, And from Zebulun those who bear the recruiter’s staff.

:15 And the princes of Issachar were with Deborah; As Issachar, so was Barak Sent into the valley under his command…

:14 Ephraim … whose roots were in Amalek…

Perhaps this refers to some of the Ephraimites living in parts of the central hill country previously occupied by the Amalekites.

Others prefer to translate “Amalek” (“dwellers in the valley”) and have the verse to read, “From Ephraim their root they marched down into the valley” (ESV)

:14 Ephraim … Benjamin …

Deborah lists all the various groups that took place in the battle: Ephraim, Benjamin, Machir, Zebulun, Issachar.

:15 … Among the divisions of Reuben There were great resolves of heart.

:16 Why did you sit among the sheepfolds, To hear the pipings for the flocks? The divisions of Reuben have great searchings of heart.

:15 the divisions of Reuben

At first, the tribe of Rueben seemed interested in helping, but later decided that they would rather tend to their flocks than join the battle.


Finish what you start

Some of Reuben’s problem may have been that they hadn’t thought through their initial commitment, and when they began to think about what they committed to, they backed out.
(Matthew 21:28–31 NKJV) —28 “But what do you think? A man had two sons, and he came to the first and said, ‘Son, go, work today in my vineyard.’ 29 He answered and said, ‘I will not,’ but afterward he regretted it and went. 30 Then he came to the second and said likewise. And he answered and said, ‘I go, sir,’ but he did not go. 31 Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said to Him, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you that tax collectors and harlots enter the kingdom of God before you.
In Jesus’ day, the tax collectors were the ones who actually responded to God’s call to follow Him.
I think God would prefer that we be a bit slow in making commitments than to make commitments and then back out of them.

:17 Gilead stayed beyond the Jordan, And why did Dan remain on ships? Asher continued at the seashore, And stayed by his inlets.

:17 Gilead … Dan … Asher

These were some of the groups that stayed at home rather than join the battle.

:18 Zebulun is a people who jeopardized their lives to the point of death, Naphtali also, on the heights of the battlefield.

:18 Zebulun … Naphtali

These two tribes risked their lived to help in the battle.

:19 “The kings came and fought, Then the kings of Canaan fought In Taanach, by the waters of Megiddo; They took no spoils of silver.

:19 Taanach

Located 5 miles southeast of Megiddo.

:19 by the waters of Megiddo

In Israel, cities were built around water sources.  You need water to survive.

If you’ve been to Megiddo, you might have been down to the water source for the city. (5 pics)

Some of these ancient cities created these wells to protect their water and keep invaders from taking their water source.

This was probably built long after Deborah.

:19 they took no spoils

This is talking about the Israelite warriors.  They didn’t do this for money, they did it for survival.

:20 They fought from the heavens; The stars from their courses fought against Sisera.

There was some kind of supernatural help, possibly in the form of an unexpected, unseasonable rain storm resulting in a flood of a shallow creek bed.

:21 The torrent of Kishon swept them away, That ancient torrent, the torrent of Kishon. O my soul, march on in strength!

:21 torrent of Kishon

The little Kishon creek flooded and the chariots of Sisera got stuck in the mud, giving the Israelites the advantage.

:22 Then the horses’ hooves pounded, The galloping, galloping of his steeds.

The battle (Judg. 4) went something like this (see Bible map):

The Canaanites gathered their troops near Megiddo (red lines).

Barak rallies the Israel troops near Mt. Tabor. (gold lines)

The Canaanites attack Tabor (blue line)

 (14 miles Megiddo to Tabor)

The Canaanites are routed and flee west (green line) where their chariots get stuck in the mud of the Kishon River.

Sisera flees on foot where he is hidden in the tent of Jael. (orange line)

:23 ‘Curse Meroz,’ said the angel of the Lord, ‘Curse its inhabitants bitterly, Because they did not come to the help of the Lord, To the help of the Lord against the mighty.’

:23 they did not come to the help of the Lord

Meroz was a village located next door to Hazor, where the Canaanite king was.

If anyone should have fought, it was them.


Do nothings

It has been said, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”
(Perhaps Edmund Burke said it, others attribute it to Rev. Charles F. Aked)
The Bible says,
(James 4:17 NKJV) Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.
An incident from the American Revolution illustrates what tragedy can result from procrastination. It is reported that Colonel Rahl, commander of the British troops at Trenton, New Jersey, was playing cards when a courier brought an urgent message stating that General George Washington was crossing the Delaware River. Rahl put the letter in his pocket and didn’t bother to read it until the game finished. Then, realizing the seriousness of the situation, he hurriedly tried to rally his men to meet the coming attack, but his procrastination was his undoing. He and many of his men were killed, and the rest of the regiment were captured.
There is an ancient story about three demons who were arguing over the best way to destroy the Christian mission in the world. The first demon says, “Let’s tell all the Christians there is no heaven. Take away the reward incentive and the mission will collapse.” The second demon says, “Let’s tell all the Christians there is no hell. Take away the fear of punishment and the mission will collapse.” The third demon says, “There is one better way. Let’s tell all the Christians that there is no hurry” and all three immediately say, “That’s it! All we have to do is tell them there’s no hurry and the whole Christian enterprise will collapse.”

:24 “Most blessed among women is Jael, The wife of Heber the Kenite; Blessed is she among women in tents.

:24 blessed … is Jael

Jael was blessed because she said “yes” to being used by the Lord.

And this is how she single handedly took care of general Sisera

Note: Jael was used by the Lord and she didn’t even have to leave her house to obey. God brought Sisera to her.

:25 He asked for water, she gave milk; She brought out cream in a lordly bowl.

:26 She stretched her hand to the tent peg, Her right hand to the workmen’s hammer; She pounded Sisera, she pierced his head, She split and struck through his temple.

:27 At her feet he sank, he fell, he lay still; At her feet he sank, he fell; Where he sank, there he fell dead.

Messy stuff.

:28 “The mother of Sisera looked through the window, And cried out through the lattice, ‘Why is his chariot so long in coming? Why tarries the clatter of his chariots?’

:29 Her wisest ladies answered her, Yes, she answered herself,

:30 ‘Are they not finding and dividing the spoil: To every man a girl or two; For Sisera, plunder of dyed garments, Plunder of garments embroidered and dyed, Two pieces of dyed embroidery for the neck of the looter?’

:28 The mother of Sisera

Deborah now gives a picture of what general Sisera’s mom was thinking when she realized that her son hadn’t shown up for dinner.

She pictures her son being busy with dividing the Israelite spoil.

Sometimes our “imaginations” are just wrong.


Sometimes our imaginations can be terribly wrong.

How sad for this woman to think that her son was at that moment enjoying the spoils of war, when in reality, he lay dead as a doornail (or a tent peg) at the feet of a woman.
Wishful thinking doesn’t make it true.
It is a dangerous thing to get so caught up in your fantasy world that you actually start believing in something that you are only dreaming of.
We need to be careful that what we call “truth” is based in reality.

:31 “Thus let all Your enemies perish, O Lord! But let those who love Him be like the sun When it comes out in full strength.” So the land had rest for forty years.

:31 rest for forty years

Deborah was “judge” for the next forty years.

6:1-10 Midianite Problems

:1 Then the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord. So the Lord delivered them into the hand of Midian for seven years,

:1 Then the children of Israel did evil

Another cycle begins of Israel falling away. We’re going to see that part of the idolatry they’re caught in is again the Baals and the Ashtoreth.

This time, it only takes seven years for Israel to wake up and ask God for help.


The Five Chapter Book:
Chapter One:  A man was walking down the street.  He fell into a hole.  He groped his way in the darkness.  After a long time, he made his way out of the hole.
Chapter Two:  A man was walking down the same street.  He pretended not to see the hole.  He fell in.  After a long time, he made his way out of the hole.
Chapter Three:  A man was walking down the same street.  He sees the hole.  He falls in.  He says it's not his fault.  After a long time, he made his way out of the hole.
Chapter Four:  A man walks down the same street.  He sees the hole.  He knows it's there.  He tries to walk around it.  He falls in.  He knows it's his fault.  He quickly gets out.
Chapter Five:  A man takes another street.
The quicker we stop making excuses and learn to change the path we’re on, the less time we spend stuck in a hole.

:2 and the hand of Midian prevailed against Israel. Because of the Midianites, the children of Israel made for themselves the dens, the caves, and the strongholds which are in the mountains.

:3 Midianites

The Midianites were descendants of Abraham from his third wife Keturah (Gen. 25:1-2).

They were a nomadic people who eventually had subdued the whole eastern side of the Jordan by this time.

:3 So it was, whenever Israel had sown, Midianites would come up; also Amalekites and the people of the East would come up against them.

:3 whenever Israel had sown

The Midianites only showed up at harvest time after all the hard work of farming was over.  The Israelites would hide in caves from the Midianites.

:4 Then they would encamp against them and destroy the produce of the earth as far as Gaza, and leave no sustenance for Israel, neither sheep nor ox nor donkey.

:5 For they would come up with their livestock and their tents, coming in as numerous as locusts; both they and their camels were without number; and they would enter the land to destroy it.

:5 coming in as numerous as locusts

When locusts swarm, everything is destroyed as they pass.

We call locusts “grasshoppers”.

Every time the Israelites would harvest their crops, the Midianites would come in and take everything.

Just like…

Video:  Bugs Life - Hopper

We find out later when Gideon has begun to fight the Midianites, that they had an army of 135,000 men. Even though Israel had an army of 600,000 men when they had made it to the Promised Land, things had changed quite a bit. The last battle with Barak and Sisera had taken place with Barak having an army of 10,000.

:6 So Israel was greatly impoverished because of the Midianites, and the children of Israel cried out to the Lord.

:7 And it came to pass, when the children of Israel cried out to the Lord because of the Midianites,

:8 that the Lord sent a prophet to the children of Israel, who said to them, “Thus says the Lord God of Israel: ‘I brought you up from Egypt and brought you out of the house of bondage;

:9 and I delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians and out of the hand of all who oppressed you, and drove them out before you and gave you their land.

:10 Also I said to you, “I am the Lord your God; do not fear the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell.” But you have not obeyed My voice.’ ”

:8 the Lord sent a prophet

We don’t know the name of this prophet, but he reminds the people that the reason they are in this mess is because they have turned their backs on God.

But this doesn’t mean that God isn’t going to respond to their cry.

6:11-27 Gideon

:11 Now the Angel of the Lord came and sat under the terebinth tree which was in Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, while his son Gideon threshed wheat in the winepress, in order to hide it from the Midianites.

:11 Ophrah – was this near the land of “Winfrey”? J

Ophrah (see map) is thought to be about 6 miles southwest of Shechem (modern Nablus).  About 30 miles from Ein Harod (where the battle takes place)

Gideon is from the tribe of Manasseh, of the Abiezrite family.

:11 Abiezrite – a descendant from Abiezer, one of the descendants of Manasseh.

:11 in the winepress

A winepress was a hollowed out hole in the ground where grapes were crushed and the juice collected.

Wheat was usually threshed on top of a hill where there was a breeze to be able to blow away the chaff as you winnow the wheat.

Normally, oxen would pull sledges through the stalks of wheat, then the grain was tossed into the air to allow the wind to blow the chaff away.

The fact that Gideon is threshing his wheat in a winepress instead of a threshing floor shows two things:

He’s scared of the Midianites, so he’s doing his threshing in a place where he hopes he won’t be found. The Midianites won’t be looking for food at winepresses during the wheat harvest.
Secondly, Gideon’s harvest must be unusually small. A winepress was not a large place.

:12 And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him, and said to him, “The Lord is with you, you mighty man of valor!”

:12 the angel of the LORD

This is a special personage in the Old Testament. He appeared to Abraham (Gen. 22), to Moses (Ex. 3), and here to Gideon.

We believe this is none other than an appearance of Jesus Christ in the Old Testament. This is a “theophany”, Jesus before He took on human flesh in Bethlehem.

:12 mighty man of valor

valourchayil – strength, might, efficiency, wealth, army

An interesting thing to say to Gideon, since you’ll see that he was also quite afraid at times.

I have this notion that God must think we can handle a lot more than we give ourselves credit for.

:13 Gideon said to Him, “O my lord, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all His 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.”

:13 why then has all this happened to us?


We ought to know better

I find it interesting to think that Gideon should really know better.
After all, the answer to Gideon’s question has already been clearly given by the prophet (Judg. 6:10).
The people had gone into idolatry.
Sometimes we just don’t want to face the fact that we’ve made bad choices in life.

:14 Then the Lord turned to him and said, “Go in this might of yours, and you shall save Israel from the hand of the Midianites. Have I not sent you?”

:15 So he said to Him, “O my Lord, how can I save Israel? Indeed my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.”

:15 I am the least


God uses the least

Sometimes we get to thinking that God only uses smart, strong, good-looking, wealthy people – people that we’re not.
(1 Corinthians 1:27–29 NKJV) —27 But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; 28 and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, 29 that no flesh should glory in His presence.
Video:  March of the Unqualified
Peter and John stood trial before the Sanhedrin and preached Jesus…
(Acts 4:13 NKJV) Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus.

All that matters is that we’ve been with Jesus.

That’s what Gideon will find out …

:16 And the Lord said to him, “Surely I will be with you, and you shall defeat the Midianites as one man.”

:17 Then he said to Him, “If now I have found favor in Your sight, then show me a sign that it is You who talk with me.

Gideon isn’t so sure about this whole thing. He wants to know that this is really a God thing.

:18 Do not depart from here, I pray, until I come to You and bring out my offering and set it before You.” And He said, “I will wait until you come back.”

:19 So Gideon went in and prepared a young goat, and unleavened bread from an ephah of flour. The meat he put in a basket, and he put the broth in a pot; and he brought them out to Him under the terebinth tree and presented them.

:20 The Angel of God said to him, “Take the meat and the unleavened bread and lay them on this rock, and pour out the broth.” And he did so.

:21 Then the Angel of the Lord put out the end of the staff that was in His hand, and touched the meat and the unleavened bread; and fire rose out of the rock and consumed the meat and the unleavened bread. And the Angel of the Lord departed out of his sight.

:21 fire rose out of the rock

For me, if I had asked God for a “sign”, and then I see this guy start a fire with a stick and then disappear, I’d be pretty satisfied. But this isn’t what Gideon asked for. He’s not impressed or convinced yet.  This isn’t the “sign” Gideon is looking for.

:22 Now Gideon perceived that He was the Angel of the Lord. So Gideon said, “Alas, O Lord God! For I have seen the Angel of the Lord face to face.”

:23 Then the Lord said to him, “Peace be with you; do not fear, you shall not die.”

:24 So Gideon built an altar there to the Lord, and called it The-Lord-Is-Peace. To this day it is still in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.

:24 The-Lord-Is-Peace

Or, “Yahweh-Shalom” or “Jehovah Shalom”

:25 Now it came to pass the same night that the Lord said to him, “Take your father’s young bull, the second bull of seven years old, and tear down the altar of Baal that your father has, and cut down the wooden image that is beside it;

Note that the altar belonged to Gideon’s dad.

:26 and build an altar to the Lord your God on top of this rock in the proper arrangement, and take the second bull and offer a burnt sacrifice with the wood of the image which you shall cut down.”

:27 So Gideon took ten men from among his servants and did as the Lord had said to him. But because he feared his father’s household and the men of the city too much to do it by day, he did it by night.

:25 tear down the altar

Apparently, Gideon’s father had at least two bulls. For some reason, the “first” bull was unacceptable. It might be that God didn’t want Gideon to sacrifice the “main” bull. Another suggestion was that the “first bull” had already been set aside to be sacrificed to Baal.


Repentance then victory

We saw this last week with Othniel (Jdg 3:10)
(Jdg 3:10 NKJV) —10 The Spirit of the Lord came upon him, and he judged Israel. He went out to war, and the Lord delivered Cushan-Rishathaim king of Mesopotamia into his hand; and his hand prevailed over Cushan-Rishathaim.
He “judged” Israel (removing the idols), and then he fought and beat the enemy.
God is looking for men and women who are serious about Him.
(2 Corinthians 7:11 NLT) Just see what this godly sorrow produced in you! Such earnestness, such concern to clear yourselves, such indignation, such alarm, such longing to see me, such zeal, and such a readiness to punish wrong. You showed that you have done everything necessary to make things right.
God isn’t looking for tears.
Do you want to change?

:27 he feared his father’s household

This is the “mighty man of valor” (v.12)

In reality, Gideon was a man full of fears.

Keep in mind, even though he had plenty of fears, he still went and did what God asked.


Obedience and fear

We often talk about how we ought to trust the Lord and not be afraid.
But the truth is, God uses people who are scared to death.
Joshua – Over and over again, God said to Joshua …

(Jos 1:7 NKJV) —7 Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go.

But God doesn’t want you to stay in a state of fear.
There will come a day when God will ask you to put your fears aside and serve Him.

With Gideon, God will have him tell the army that if they are afraid, they should go home. And two thirds of Gideon’s army will leave.

6:28-35 Jerubbaal

:28 And when the men of the city arose early in the morning, there was the altar of Baal, torn down; and the wooden image that was beside it was cut down, and the second bull was being offered on the altar which had been built.

:29 So they said to one another, “Who has done this thing?” And when they had inquired and asked, they said, “Gideon the son of Joash has done this thing.”

:30 Then the men of the city said to Joash, “Bring out your son, that he may die, because he has torn down the altar of Baal, and because he has cut down the wooden image that was beside it.”

:31 But Joash said to all who stood against him, “Would you plead for Baal? Would you save him? Let the one who would plead for him be put to death by morning! If he is a god, let him plead for himself, because his altar has been torn down!”

:32 Therefore on that day he called him Jerubbaal, saying, “Let Baal plead against him, because he has torn down his altar.”

:31 let him plead for himself

Apparently the truth of what Gideon has done has affected his dad, even though Gideon has torn down his altar.

Gideon’s obedience has impressed his dad.

:32 JerubbaalY@rubba‘al – “let Baal contend”

:33 Then all the Midianites and Amalekites, the people of the East, gathered together; and they crossed over and encamped in the Valley of Jezreel.

:33 the Valley of Jezreel

This is the same area where Barak and Sisera fought near the city of Megiddo.

:34 But the Spirit of the Lord came upon Gideon; then he blew the trumpet, and the Abiezrites gathered behind him.

:35 And he sent messengers throughout all Manasseh, who also gathered behind him. He also sent messengers to Asher, Zebulun, and Naphtali; and they came up to meet them.

:34 he blew the trumpet

Trumpets (Hebrew – shofar) were used for various reasons, including this:

Gideon uses a trumpet to gather an army.

I think the “trumpet” that happens at the Rapture is the same idea – God gathering His people together.

The people of Gideon’s city didn’t like what Gideon had done with their altar, but there are other people who are responding to the message, and some of them were from his own family the Abiezrites.

After it was all said and done, Gideon will gather an army of 32,000 men (Judg. 7:3). They would be facing an army of 135,000 Midianites (Judg. 8:10)

:34 the Spirit of the Lord

Earlier, Gideon had been told by the Lord, “Go in this might of yours” (v.14)

But now, as the time for action has come, God puts His Spirit on Gideon.


You step, God fills

I think this is often the case.
We may face a particular challenge and feel pretty inadequate for the job.
But, out of obedience to God, we take a step in our “own strength”.
And then the Holy Spirit comes in to pick us up and take us through the event.
For some of us, we may be waiting for some kind of energy bolt from heaven to come cursing through our bodies before we will get up out of our Lazy Boy recliner.
But I think we will find that if we will get up and start taking a step, God will meet us with His strength.

6:36-40 The Fleece

:36 So Gideon said to God, “If You will save Israel by my hand as You have said—

:37 look, I shall put a fleece of wool on the threshing floor; if there is dew on the fleece only, and it is dry on all the ground, then I shall know that You will save Israel by my hand, as You have said.”

:38 And it was so. When he rose early the next morning and squeezed the fleece together, he wrung the dew out of the fleece, a bowlful of water.

:39 Then Gideon said to God, “Do not be angry with me, but let me speak just once more: Let me test, I pray, just once more with the fleece; let it now be dry only on the fleece, but on all the ground let there be dew.”

:40 And God did so that night. It was dry on the fleece only, but there was dew on all the ground.

:40 It was dry on the fleece

A common place to visit in Israel is Ein Harod, which is where we’ll see Gideon next week.

When you’re at this site, you can look north to the hill of Moreh were the Midianites are camped, and it’s real, real close, like three miles away.
It’s possible that when Gideon sees that his army is dwarfed by the Midianites, he’s a little unsure that he heard God correctly.



Some folks think that it is immature of Gideon to be asking for confirmation.
They will say that once we have the Holy Spirit, we don’t need “fleeces”.

But keep in mind, this happens AFTER Gideon has the Holy Spirit on him.

One of the important elements of this “fleece” is that it was only meant to confirm what God had already told Gideon.
God didn’t use this “fleece” to give Gideon a message.  The message was already there.  God had already told Gideon that He wanted to use him.  The fleece only confirmed what God already had said.
Gideon has already demonstrated a willingness to obey God – like pulling down the altar of Baal.
Sometimes people are looking for a “sign” to find out what to do, this is called “divination” or “fortune-telling”
(Deuteronomy 18:10 NLT) For example, never sacrifice your son or daughter as a burnt offering. And do not let your people practice fortune-telling, or use sorcery, or interpret omens, or engage in witchcraft,
The ancient pagan practice of “divination” was about looking for “signs” from God. It might be the spotting of an eagle flying overhead, or the shape of a sacrificial animal’s liver that was used to determine which enemy an army was to attack next. It’s the practice of using tea leaves and tarot cards to determine what choices you make.
Sometimes the practice of laying out a “fleece” gets awfully close to the practice of divination.

Remember that the “fleece” only confirmed what God had already told Gideon.


Clear Guidance

The Psalmist wrote,
(Psalm 119:105 NKJV) Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path.
If you’re looking for clear guidance from God, the first place to start is with God’s Word.
Having a daily routine of reading through the Scriptures – you will hear God better and clearer as you learn to recognize His voice.


Fleece reluctance

He was afraid of testing God’s patience.  This is good.
At some point you need to get up and get moving. Though I believe God may from time to time give us these extra blessings to show us that He’s leading us, don’t expect God to give you twenty-five fleeces, just to be sure.
The story goes that Sam was on a serious new diet.  But he couldn’t stop thinking about donuts.  So he prayed.  “God if you don’t want me to have a donut, then please don’t let there be a parking spot in front of Krispy Kreme.”
But as you would imagine, Sam did get his donut that day because there was a parking spot in front of the donut shop … his tenth time around the block.