Gideon (Part 1)
This week we will start a study in the book of Judges about a man called by GOD, whose name was Gideon. I'm excited to go along with you and see what GOD has in store for us as we study through the pages of HIS Word. There are so many hidden treasures just waiting to be uncovered. I pray GOD blesses each and everyone of you who read and hear this word from The LORD.
Teacher's Guide: Gideon
Judges 6:1-6 "And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord: and the Lord delivered them into the hand of Midian seven years. And the hand of Midian prevailed against Israel: and because of the Midianites the children of Israel made them the dens which are in the mountains, and caves, and strong holds. And so it was, when Israel had sown, that the Midianites came up, and the Amalekites, and the children of the east, even they came up against them; And they encamped against them, and destroyed the increase of the earth, till thou come unto Gaza, and left no sustenance for Israel, neither sheep, nor ox, nor ass. For they came up with their cattle and their tents, and they came as grasshoppers for multitude; for both they and their camels were without number: and they entered into the land to destroy it. And Israel was greatly impoverished because of the Midianites; and the children of Israel cried unto the Lord."
Now in order for us to begin this lesson and understand who Gideon is, we have to go back a bit in the Bible and learn more about his background. Most of you who go to church and are familiar with scripture understand who Israel is and that they are the chosen people of GOD and that long ago GOD made a covenant with Abraham the father of Israel and that He will honor it forever. Now GOD had delivered Israel from being in bondage in Egypt you can read about this in the book of Genesis and the first five books of the Bible. There were great and mighty things The LORD had done for HIS people and they entered into a covenant with HIM and He was their GOD and they were HIS people. He agreed to take care of them, fight their battles, and always provide for them and they agreed to always serve and trust and obey HIM. However, over time, the people of Israel went back on their part of the deal and The Bible says they turned to false gods and idols and began to worship them and GOD burned in HIS anger toward them. GOD would then punish them, and finally Israel would cry out in repentance and then GOD would, in HIS great love and grace for them, deliver them again. This happened over and over.
I'm so thankful for the grace of GOD, because in my own life and in the lives of most of us, we find GOD delivering us over and over again from the enemy. HE is so good and worthy to be praised. So we come to the book of Judges and we learn that Judges were not as we know judges today. In those days, a Judge was an individual called out by GOD to deliver His people.
A Judge was an individual who was:
1. Called by GOD,
2. Then empowered by GOD,
3. To unify the people of GOD,
4. So that they could stand against the enemy of GOD.
I want you to remember that as we go along in our study. How wonderful the grace of GOD is, that when HIS people mess up and fall into a pit of sin, by their own will, still in HIS great love and mercy will deliver us when we call out to HIM in true repentance.
Now, what in the world would make Israel, who had seen the mighty works of The LORD, turn their backs on HIM? They had been delivered out of the bondage of Egypt, they had been led through the wilderness, they had seen GOD part the Red Sea so that they could walk across on dry ground and escape Pharaoh and his army. They had been fed with Manna which fell from the heavens and drank water from a stone when Moses struck. They had seen the glory of GOD on Moses face when he came down from being with GOD on the Mountain. They had been in the wilderness for forty years and their clothing and shoes did not wear out. All the things they had seen GOD perform. So why had they turned their backs on HIM now? Lets go to Judges chapter 2.
Judges 2:1-13 And an angel of the Lord came up from Gilgal to Bochim, and said, I made you to go up out of Egypt, and have brought you unto the land which I sware unto your fathers; and I said, I will never break my covenant with you. And ye shall make no league with the inhabitants of this land; ye shall throw down their altars: but ye have not obeyed my voice: why have ye done this? Wherefore I also said, I will not drive them out from before you; but they shall be as thorns in your sides, and their gods shall be a snare unto you.
And it came to pass, when the angel of the Lord spake these words unto all the children of Israel, that the people lifted up their voice, and wept. And they called the name of that place Bochim: and they sacrificed there unto the Lord. And when Joshua had let the people go, the children of Israel went every man unto his inheritance to possess the land. And the people served the Lord all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders that outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great works of the Lord, that he did for Israel. And Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died, being an hundred and ten years old. And they buried him in the border of his inheritance in Timnathheres, in the mount of Ephraim, on the north side of the hill Gaash.
10 And also all that generation were gathered unto their fathers: and there arose another generation after them, which knew not the Lord, nor yet the works which he had done for Israel.
And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord, and served Baalim: And they forsook the Lord God of their fathers, which brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods, of the gods of the people that were round about them, and bowed themselves unto them, and provoked the Lordto anger. And they forsook the Lord, and served Baal and Ashtaroth.
Israel had been led out of Egypt by Moses the servant of The LORD, then after Moses had died, Joshua had taken his place. Therefore they had leaders who taught them, and reminded them of the wonderful things GOD had done for them. It was on their minds and in their hearts continually. But then Joshua died in his old age and verse 10 says that there arose another generation after them that did not know The LORD and they did not know the works HE had done for Israel.
Isn't that so true of today's world? Especially here in America. There are so many people who do not know The LORD. They do not know how HE brought us to this land so that we could worship in freedom, how HE ordained this land as a refuge for people all over the world to come and be free. We have gotten away from teaching our children and reminding ourselves the good things GOD has done, and that is exactly what happened to Israel. Some parents had failed to bring their children up telling them about The LORD and making sure HIS Word was planted inside their hearts and minds...they had failed to make sure that they respected GOD and understand that everything was about HIM. I'm sure there were some parents who did a good job reminding their children but perhaps the children just would not listen and went about their own way. Whatever happened, this generation grew up and they did not know The LORD and the promise that their ancestors made to serve the LORD, trust and obey HIS commands and that is when they got into trouble.
We will get into trouble every time that we turn our backs on The LORD and think that we can just live our own way and do what is right in our own eyes. In face the last verse in the book of Judges says that in Israel everyone did what was right in their own eyes. (Judges 21:25)
Now in the book of Proverbs we learn what The Word of GOD says about this.
Proverbs 16:25 "There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death."
We cannot just follow our own hearts and do what feels right or seems right to us, here's why...
Jeremiah 17:9 "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?"
David understood this as well because he wrote...
Psalm 51:10 "Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me."
We MUST consult GOD'S WORD in order to know how to live and what to do. We have to rely on The HOLY SPIRIT leading and guiding us and we have to trust HIM and obey what HE says in order to have victorious lives over the enemy who is satan. Israel had failed to do this, and so has many in our world today and that is why we are in the turmoil that we are in. Oh if we would turn around and call out to GOD in repentance...HE would hear from Heaven and heal our land!
2 Chronicles 7:14 "If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."
If we are going to make sure the generation coming up behind us knows who The LORD GOD is, then we have to be deliberate in telling them. Not just once, but EVERYDAY, over and over again. We must speak The WORD of GOD into their lives and hearts and minds. We must tell them the great things that GOD has done, that HE sent HIS only begotten beloved SON to the world and in perfect obedience JESUS lived and then gave HIS life on the cross, beaten , abused, in shame and died so that we could have life and live with HIM forever and that on the third day HE arose with great power from the grave conquering death, hell and the grave so that we could live victorious and someday share in The Kingdom! We have to tell them that JESUS is The DOOR and that HE IS THE WAY THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE and that no one comes to The FATHER but through HIM! (John 3:16; John 14:6)
In order for us to be deliberate in telling our children about JESUS and who HE is we are going to have to show them by example and that means we have to be deliberate in living righteously before The LORD in order to have The Power of GOD and HIS anointing on our lives.
We have to live righteously on purpose!
Now we know that we are saved by Grace and that it is a free gift of GOD. GOD's Word is plain about that.
Ephesians 2:8-9 "For by GRACE are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of GOD. Not of works lest any man should boast."
However, if we are going to live victorious lives and have that power with GOD, we must trust and obey HIM and live a life that is pleasing to HIM. The Bible teaches that we are going to have to walk in the Spirit so that we will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh.
James 1:14-15 "But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then, when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death."
Galatians 5:15-16 "This I say then, Walk in The Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against The Spirit and The Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would."
So we are going to have to be deliberate, walking in The Holy Spirit on purpose so that we can live effective lives and make sure that the generation behind us knows The LORD and HIS Mighty power. I do believe that the coming of The LORD for HIS bride is SOON, but that does not mean that we just sit down and give up, if anything it means that we work harder for HIM knowing that there are people who don't know HIM that are perishing daily. Speak GOD'S WORD over your own life, and in the lives of every child and person that you know young and old. You will be amazed at what fruit will grow if you just plant those seeds. GOD will give the increase! Praise HIM...HE IS WORTHY!
We read here in Judges chapter 6 that Israel had done evil in the sight of the LORD and GOD has delivered them over to the Midanites and are completely devastated by this people for seven years and then Israel called out in despair to their GOD for deliverance! We need to call out to GOD and He will deliver us day by day. I believe that with all my heart. Just because the majority of the world has gone crazy doesn't mean that we do too. It means that we rise up and be the very ones that GOD has called out to deliver HIS people. It's not easy but through JESUS CHRIST we are MORE THAN conquerors and we can do ALL things! (Romans 8:37; Philippians 4:13)
Remember GOD had called those Judges and empowered them to unify the people of GOD. The people had just gone their own ways and they were not longer in unity and the enemy did that on purpose to weaken them. If we are going to rise up and do what GOD has called us to do, we are going to have to come together and realize that we are one body. You matter. You are important to the body of Christ. We are all part of that body.
1 Corinthians 12:12-13 "For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is CHRIST. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many.
1 Corinthians 12:27 "Now ye are the body of CHRIST, and members in particular. GOD hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues."
Ephesians 5:23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as CHRIST is the head of the church: and HE is the Saviour of The Body."
There is power in unity. The body of Christ working together with One purpose, to being GLORY and HONOR to GOD and to life up the name of JESUS to a lost and sin sick, dying world! That does not mean that we all have to be the same, like the same things, listen to the same style of worship music, the same style preachers, teachers etc...there are big congregations, small ones, we are different races and genders and ages but we can all come together in unity and lift up the name of JESUS that is what we have been called to do in faith so that we can be effective in our time! I pray for this. We can have a revival that begins with you and me and pray that it gushes down on everyone around us causing that Holy Fire to spread in a way like never before. We don't have to just blend in with the world, looking like the world, talking like the world, dressing like the world...no we are a called out special people and we are to rise above all that and show JESUS to the world.
Matthew 5:14-16 "Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your FATHER which is in HEAVEN."
Let's rise up and come together and live righteously on purpose and proclaim the gospel and let's remember the GREAT things our GOD had done for us so that we fall in love with HIM everyday and we show HIS love and tell of HIS goodness to everyone around us so that we do not forget HIM and just go to our own ways falling into that pit that the enemy has waiting for us. THE LORD IS GOOD and HIS Mercy endures forever! Shout it from the roof tops, speak it over your life and the lives of your children and family, whisper it in the ears of infants...JESUS IS LORD and HE is mighty to save!
I thank GOD for each of you and I am so excited to see what The HOLY SPIRIT will teach us next week in this series. Please be in prayer for me that I will be open to GOD'S Voice so that I can bring about what HE would have me to to help you and everyone that will read and listen. I'm praying for each of you. Much love in Christ.
Dear Righteous, FATHER...
I come once again to YOU thanking You and praising YOU because YOU ARE ALMIGHTY! I thank YOU and praise YOU for Your great love and grace. Lord, thank YOU for YOUR word that we can read it and live by it and do what You have placed us here to do. Help us to finish well, to run this race before us and to use these lives to life up the name of JESUS to a world that does not know HIM. Help us come together in unity and understand out purpose is YOU. Help revival to break out in our hearts and let it begin with me. Thank YOU for Your goodness...let it continue to pass before us. Help us to trust, obey and love You as You would have us to. I ask that You bless each and every one that reads and help them to be lights in their generation to uplift YOUR name to everyone they meet. Thank You for providing for us and loving us and keeping us and for always being faithful. In Your blessed, precious name JESUS we ask and pray...Amen.
January 24, 2016