Gideon (Part 2)
Faithful in the Wine Press
This week we will continue our study in the book of Judges about a man named Gideon. We will see how Gideon was faithful even when the circumstances around him made his life and his work more difficult. I pray that we can apply this to our own lives and learn to live above our emotions and to be faithful even in the hard times. GOD is faithful and HE will meet you and I where we are and call us by our name...the name in which HE has for us.
Teacher's Guide: Gideon
Handout : Gideon (Faithful in the Wine Press)
Last week we started our study and we leaned that Israel had been in bondage and oppressed by the Midianites for 7 years because they had done evil in the sight of The LORD. We learned that after GOD had sent Moses to rescue them out of the slavery of Egypt, a generation grew up that did not know The LORD or the mighty works of HIS hands. We saw that our world is much the same and if we are going to live in victory, we are going to have to live righteously deliberately and to teach our children to do so...everyday. We saw how GOD in HIS Rich Mercy and Grace heard the cries of HIS people when they called out to HIM even after they had sinned over and over and HE would raise up an individual, a judge who was called by GOD, then empowered by GOD, to unite the people of GOD, so that they could stand against the enemies of GOD. You and I have been called to do the same. We are one body of Christ...the Church and JESUS is the Head. Oh how wonderful HE is...I praise HIS name today...the sweetest name I know!
Now today as we look at this story in history, I would have you apply it to your own heart and ask yourself if the enemy is oppressing you in any way. If so, then what is he using to keep you in bondage? Now the Midianites were descendants of Abraham through his first born son Ishmael...that means that they were relatives to Israel. It was the last people they would have expected to cause them so much devastation. Yet it happened. year after year they Midianites would swoop in after the Israelites had done all the hard work to plant and care for their crops and then harvest it and they would just take it over, take everything for themselves, year after year till the people of Israel just started to expect it. They were living in fear. Every harvest time, after the hard work had been completed they would hide and try to keep out of sight so that the enemy would not just take everything, yet here they came, year after year. Their relatives...perhaps you are going through something similar...Who or what is your Midianite? Perhaps you are trying so hard financially to get your head above water only for something to happen unexpected and you are in the hole again, maybe an addiction that you thought you had the victory over and suddenly it's rearing it's ugly head again in your life and you can't overcome it...Maybe it's that person that you walked down the isle with, you never dreamed they would betray you as they have and wreak havoc on your heart and your life over and over as they have, or that child that you rocked to sleep in your arms...you never dreamed that they would grow up and disgrace you and dishonor you they way that they have. That sister or brother that betrayed you, or that parent that did something to you that you never dreamed...whatever the betrayal, it hurts and it can hold our hearts, our minds, our souls captive if we are not careful and we will live in the shadow of that pain and that fear forever if we do not allow JESUS to come in and do HIS work. We will shy away from life, trying to run away or hide from the pain and that is exactly what Gideon was doing.
Judges 6:11-16 "11 And there came an angel of the Lord, and sat under an oak which was in Ophrah, that pertained unto Joash the Abiezrite: and his son Gideon threshed wheat by the winepress, to hide it from the Midianites. 12 And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him, and said unto him, The Lord is with thee, thou mighty man of valour. 13 And Gideon said unto him, Oh my Lord, if the Lord be with us, why then isT all this befallen us? and where be all his miracles which our fathers told us of, saying, Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt? but now the Lord hath forsaken us, and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites. 14 And the Lord looked upon him, and said, Go in this thy might, and thou shalt save Israel from the hand of the Midianites: have not I sent thee. 15 And he said unto him, Oh my Lord, wherewith shall I save Israel? behold, my family is poor in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father's house. 16 And the Lord said unto him, Surely I will be with thee, and thou shalt smite the Midianites as one man."
The first thing we see about Gideon is that he is hiding in the wine press. He is a man who is fearful, insecure, and timid.
Verse 15 tells us this...Gideon says in other words how am I going to save Israel, my family is poor and I am the least in my father's house. Don't you know that while Gideon is hiding in the wine press, every noise that he hears makes him cower down ready for another attack of the enemy coming to steal what GOD has blessed him with, what he has worked so hard for. See normally wheat was threshed, not in a wine press, but on a threshing floor. A threshing floor would normally have been up on a higher hill or mountain where the chaff could easily be carried away by the wind...but here, Gideon is in the direct opposite location. He is in the wine press. Now a wine press was usually a pit or a cut out in a rock hidden away, dark, a bit damp. This was the best environment to press grapes...but certainly not for threshing wheat. He was in hiding trying to do his work and get the wheat that would sustain him and his family. Now in this wine press, under this oak tree, Gideon had a divine appointment! The LORD was coming to call him out. Judges 6:11 says And there came an angel of The LORD. That word angel, it wasn't just any angel. It was the preincarnate JESUS CHRIST. It's called theophany where GOD came in human form so that humanity could see Him, touch Him, Hear Him audibly...this happened at different times in the Old Testament. Notice in verse 14 after Gideon is doubting, that it says..."And The LORD looked upon him"...(Judges 6:14) This brings us to our first point...
1. JESUS CHRIST will come to you, wherever you are.
Psalm 139:7-8 "Whither shall I go from Thy Spirit or where shall I flee from Your presence? If I ascend up into Heaven, You are there: If I make my bed in hell, behold You are there."
That comforts me, that The LORD will come to my situation, that He cares what I'm going through and He cares about what you are going through as well. He delights to deliver you, and to let you be a part of that deliverance! The LORD could have just winked His eye and wiped out the Midianites...He didn't need anyone...but He is so amazing...He wanted Gideon to be a part of it! s the same in our lives...GOD is able to deliver us with just a thought, a word, a gesture...but He wants relationship with us and allows us to go on the journey and to be a part of the miracle! What an awesome GOD we serve! Gideon was hiding from the enemy but The LORD knew exactly where he was and came down to him and called Gideon by the name that He had destined for him. He calls Gideon Mighty Man of Valour or Mighty Warrior. Gideon, hiding in the wine press, insecure, timid, fearful, The LORD is calling him a Might Man of Valour! That is so wonderful. GOD calls us by what He can make us, instead of what we are at the present moment! He speaks it into being...just like He created the world into being...how powerful the Word of GOD is! When He speaks, it happens...Praise The LORD!
Beloved, know that wherever you are, no matter what you have done, when you cry out to The LORD, He will come to where you are. He knows that we cannot reach HIM, so HE comes to us in our time of darkness, difficulty, crisis, pain and heartbreak. He comes to us in our grief, in our disappointments, in our fear and insecurity, He comes, and calls us by the name He has for us! Dear one there is no place that He cannot reach, no soul that He cannot save, no situation from which He cannot deliver you. He is The Amazing GOD and He delights to rescue you and allow you to be part of the miracle! Praise HIS name. Won't you trust HIM today and call out to HIM and see the mighty things He will do in your life and through you! He will not reject you, He will not turn you away no matter who you are or what you've done or what has happened to you...nothing can make Him not love you nor reject you when you cry out to Him.
John 6:37-38 "All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.
2 Peter 3:9 "The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance."
Now I stated before that wheat was normally threshed on a threshing floor, a flat area, the wheat was beaten out with a tool of wood or iron and then later thrown up so that the wind would carry away the chaff which was no good, and the nutrient rich portion would fall back down and then gathered up. Gideon is in the wine press where this is not possible...the circumstances has made his job much more difficult and less convenient, but he is still doing it! He would much rather have been able to do his job in a more effective, less difficult way, but his circumstances do not allow for that. He had some choices, he could give up and just think forget it, what's the point, the Midianites are just going to take everything anyway and why work so hard for nothing, or he could do exactly what he did. Gideon did not give up his work, he continued to do it even thought it was hard, inconvenient, and more difficult where he was...He was faithful in the wine press.
Perhaps that is the character that The LORD was looking for when He searched for someone to rise up and deliver Israel. Someone who did not give up every time life was hard. Even though Gideon was hiding, he was in the exact place that GOD would meet him and strengthen him to do what he had been born for!
2. The LORD will turn trials, difficulty, and pain into blessing when we remain faithful!
Dear one, if you find yourself oppressed by the enemy, and you are in a situation that makes life more difficult, that makes your life, your job harder...do not give up...know that The LORD has a reason for this time in your life. He wants to meet you where you are and raise you up. Everything in your life is either GOD arranged or GOD allowed. God will use trials, crisis, pain for good in our lives. He can use those things to bring us into the calling He has on us. Stay faithful in the wine press and trust Him! If you need to cry, then cry. If you need to scream then do it, but plant your feet and purpose in your heart that you are not going to give up just because life is painful or difficult and keep calling on GOD...HE WILL DELIVER YOU and He will use that thing that the enemy meant for evil...for your good and His glory! Trust HIM! HE has proven who HE is and what HE can do over and over, and HE is the same GOD today...He does not change...HE is all powerful and He will turn your pain and hardship into blessing...stay faithful in the wine press, GOD will ALWAYS do the right thing.
Romans 8:28 "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love GOD, to them who are the called according to His purpose."
Trust HIM :)
3. The LORD is calling YOU!
Judges 6:11-14 "11 And there came an angel of the Lord, and sat under an oak which was in Ophrah, that pertained unto Joash the Abiezrite: and his son Gideon threshed wheat by the winepress, to hide it from the Midianites. 12 And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him, and said unto him, The Lord is with thee, thou mighty man of valour. 13 And Gideon said unto him, Oh my Lord, if the Lord be with us, why then isT all this befallen us? and where be all his miracles which our fathers told us of, saying, Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt? but now the Lord hath forsaken us, and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites. 14 And the Lord looked upon him, and said, Go in this thy might, and thou shalt save Israel from the hand of the Midianites: have not I sent thee.
Notice here that The LORD tells Gideon The LORD is with you (thee). Then Gideon in his insecurity says, well if GOD is with US, then why has this happened to US, he goes on and on, and uses the word "us" about 6 times there in those few sentences. Now it shows that Gideon wasn't only thinking of himself but everyone which was a good thing and maybe another reason why he was called for this service, but notice what The LORD does. After Gideon is saying us, us, us, the scripture says in verse 14, and I love this! The LORD looked at Gideon and says Go, I am sending YOU. Do you see how personal The LORD was with Gideon. It makes me cry just thinking about HIS eyes, HIS gaze upon Gideon and how scary that must have been to Gideon but how wonderful too! The LORD had come, He had appeared, and now He was looking directly at Gideon, calling him by his name. It was personal, it was intimate....don't you imagine The LORD'S eyes pierced into his very soul! Don't you want that? I do...as scary as it is most times when The LORD calls us out how wonderful it is to be favored and chosen by HIM. For HIS eyes to be on you, saying look, I know this is hard, but do not look at your circumstances and do not rely on everyone else...it's not about "us" this is about you and me....I'm sending YOU!
Will you go? Is The LORD calling you out? Is HIS eyes on You? Change starts with you and me...this was a national crisis for Israel, it had gone on for seven years, it was time for change and it started with Gideon. Our world today is in chaos. Economies crashing, people dying, corrupt governments, murder, violence, abuse, hatred, that is not GOD'S plan, it never was. Our nations are crumbling because people have made the same mistake as Israel had during the time of Gideon, we are doing what is right in our own eyes instead of consulting GOD about what we are to do.
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 Heave, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."
I want to go when He says go and do what He says to do, will you go? It starts here with me, there with you. The LORD is with you mighty warrior.
Lastly, I love that even though Gideon started out insecure, fearful, and timid...he had courage and faith in GOD and he stepped out on faith and did what GOD had called him to do...Gideon started out shaky...but he finished well!
Gideon is named in Hebrews 11, the Hall of Faith...yes, Gideon is listed there! It says that It would take too long to recount the stories of the faith of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and all the prophets. It says that By faith these people overthrew kingdoms, ruled with justice, and received what God had promised them. They shut the mouths of lions, quenched the flames of fire, and escaped death by the edge of the sword. Their weakness was turned to strength. They became strong in battle and put whole armies to flight.
By faith...Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see. Through their faith, the people in days of old earned a good reputation. The Bible says that without faith it is impossible to please GOD. (Read Hebrews 11)
All the people listed here had faith in common...they were normal human beings, with weaknesses, insecurities, and flaws, but GOD called them and by faith they acted on what HE said...and you and I can do the same! Gideon had NO idea what GOD was about to do in his life and through his life...he had no clue that he could and would be such a mighty warrior, he had never done that before. He had no idea he would go down in history listed in this hall of faith! What an honor, and God will honor you and I when we honor HIM! He will be gloried through our lives when we step out by faith just as Gideon did.
Whatever GOD is calling you to do, yes it might be scary, you may feel very insecure, but know that if you will obey and trust HIM and step out on faith, HE will accomplish it through you and you will see how Mighty HE is and that HE is the one behind it all! He will take you places and do things through you that you NEVER even imagined and you call fall down at HIS feet in worship knowing that it was not by your own strength...but by HIS POWERFUL MIGHT! Praise The LORD. You can do all things through Christ who gives you strength. (Philippians 4:13)
Remember: GOD does not always call the qualified...but HE does ALWAYS qualify the called. :)
Will You Go? The LORD is with You...Mighty Warrior! :)
Dear Righteous, Father...
I come to You once again in awe of who You are...YOU are GOD and YOU are all powerful...Father I thank and praise YOU that you saved me by Your amazing grace, that You pulled me out of the pit of sin and place my feet on The solid foundation. LORD I thank You for what you did in Gideon's life and I praise You for what You have done in my life and in the lives of all those who trust in YOU. I'm asking today that You help us to have courage and to not rely on our own understanding of things, to not rely on our own strength but to rely and have faith in YOU. Help us not to focus on our circumstances but instead to focus on You and Your Might. Thank You for providing for us and caring for us and thank You for qualifying us to do everything You have called us to do. Help us always depend upon You and to praise You and bring glory to You through every second that we live because You are worthy...It's in Your sweet name JESUS, that I pray and ask these things...Amen.