This week's lesson will help us to understand that the battle is really not ours but GOD'S. We will see the importance of moving when GOD says move, and standing still when HE says to stand still. We will understand the importance of trusting HIM and obeying what HE tells us to do when HE tells us to do it even though it may not make sense to us. HE is GOD, HE knows all, sees all, ,and HE is worthy to be praised...because of who HE is! I pray you will be blessed and greatly encouraged in JESUS name. :)
Then his companion answered and said, “This is nothing else but the sword of Gideon the son of Joash, a man of Israel! Into his hand God has delivered Midian and the whole camp.” And so it was, when Gideon heard the telling of the dream and its interpretation, that he worshiped. He returned to the camp of Israel, and said, “Arise, for the Lord has delivered the camp of Midian into your hand.”
Handout: Gideon (Part 3) (Victorious in Battle)
When we ended last week's lesson, we learned that Gideon was up on the hill side and the Midianites were down in valley. There were 32,000 men with Gideon and about 135,000 men in the enemy camp. The army of Israel was outnumbered 4 to 1 but The LORD told Gideon that there were too many for HIM to give them the victory because HE did not want Israel to puff up in pride and think that they had won the battle themselves. The LORD instructed Gideon to tell every man who was fearful to go back home and 22,000 men left. The LORD however, told Gideon, it's still too many. HE then instructed Gideon to have the men to get a drink of water and the men who took the water in their hands and lapped like a dog to keep and the ones who just knelt down and drank from the stream to send home and so Gideon was left with 300 men, that is a ratio of about 1 man with Gideon and 450 men of the enemy. The odds were definitely stacked against them, and that is when The LORD said...now you're ready. :)
Judges 7:9-15 " It happened on the same night that the Lord said to him, “Arise, go down against the camp, for I have delivered it into your hand. But if you are afraid to go down, go down to the camp with Purah your servant, and you shall hear what they say; and afterward your hands shall be strengthened to go down against the camp.” Then he went down with Purah his servant to the outpost of the armed men who were in the camp. Now the Midianites and Amalekites, all the people of the East, were lying in the valley as numerous as locusts; and their camels were without number, as the sand by the seashore in multitude. And when Gideon had come, there was a man telling a dream to his companion. He said, “I have had a dream: To my surprise, a loaf of barley bread tumbled into the camp of Midian; it came to a tent and struck it so that it fell and overturned, and the tent collapsed.”
I love how long suffering The LORD is with Gideon in this story and how HE is with us. In Judges chapter 6 when we first learned of Gideon, The LORD had told him to go up against enemy, the Midianites and Gideon had some excuses of why he shouldn't be the one, then he continued to ask for signs from GOD and Th LORD was so patient with him and indulged Gideon because HE understood that Gideon was timid and afraid. Just the fact that you are born again, still alive on the planet shows the longsuffering of GOD. I think of all the times when GOD has been so patient with me even though HE tells me not to be afraid...still like Gideon sometimes that fear is there...GOD is so good.
The LORD tells Gideon one night, ok it's time...but if you are afraid go down and secretly listen to what they are saying. So Gideon went down and he heard some men talking and they were afraid. Now it's interesting that when we first meet Gideon, he was hiding in the wine press threshing wheat. He was insecure, scared, and timid. The LORD has not only in a short time promoted Gideon in the land of Israel, but GOD has also gone before Gideon and struck fear in the enemy. How else would they have known who Gideon was?
Beloved know today that when GOD calls you out, when HE sends you into a battle, a trial, HE will go before you, HE will guard behind you, HE will be on all sides, above and beneath you holding you up by HIS mighty hand and you will conqueror if you continue to trust and obey HIM! Praise The LORD...You are not alone...You are a winner either way! Hallelujah!!!
So Gideon hears what the enemy is saying about him and understands that they are afraid and then he is ready to go.
Isn't it interesting as well that Gideon had to hear what the enemy said about him in order for him to feel confident enough to go into the battle? The LORD had called Gideon a mighty warrior, HE had told Gideon that the victory would be his...yet it took hearing what the enemy said about him for Gideon to have that confidence. Aren't we the same?
What if we as soldiers in The Army of The LORD marched into battle believing what GOD says about us? What if we knew about GOD what the enemy knows. See, many times we tend to focus on our weakness not understanding and focusing on GOD'S Strength and power and so we are afraid and we go into a trial or temptation or a battle afraid and it makes all the difference of the outcome!
What if we went into battle believing Philippians 4:13 that we can do all things through CHRIST who gives us strength? What if we went into battle believing Isaiah 54:17 that no weapon formed against us would prosper, or Romans 8:37:38 that we are MORE than conquerors through CHRIST JESUS and that NOTHING can separate us from the love of The LORD...and Romans 8:28 that all things work together for good for we who love GOD and are the called according to HIS purpose? What if we went into battle believing 1 Peter 2:9 that we are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood before The LORD, and 2 Corinthians 6:17 that we are set apart especially for GOD! What if?
See the enemy can do lots of damage at times, but ONLY if allowed by GOD...for a purpose...satan is on a leash Hallelujah! Remember all the things he did to Job? He had to ask permission first...and GOD would not allow him to touch Job's life. Even if the devil was allowed to try make us miserable every day of our lives...still he can't take away the promises of God from us. God promises us peace in Philippians 4.
Philippians 4:6-7 "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to GOD; and the peace of GOD, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through CHRIST JESUS."
That is just one promise! There are so many more. The enemy knows this, and he knows that you are more than a conqueror and that this life is only for a short time and that one day he will never be able to cause you trouble or pain ever again! Eternity is coming...this life is just a whisper, a breath! We do not have to live in fear...our GOD, our FATHER is taking care of us. Praise The LORD!!!
The battle is not yours or mine, it is The LORDS! The LORD is a Mighty Warrior...The LORD is HIS name! (Exodus 15:3) The LORD is fighting for you. He will give the enemy over into your hands when you stay humble, obedient, and trust in HIM. Hallelujah go into your battle knowing who you are in CHRIST and confident that HE is fighting that battle for you!
How to be victorious in battle.
1. Enter the battle in worship and praise to GOD
The Bible says in Judges 7 verse 15,
Judges 7:15 "And it was so, when Gideon heard the telling of the dream, and the interpretation thereof, that he worshipped, and returned into the host of Israel, and said, Arise; for the Lord hath delivered into your hand the host of Midian."
The first thing Gideon did was worship The LORD. He worshiped even before he won the battle and we need to do the same. We worship GOD yes for all HE has done, but also because HE deserves all praise because of who HE is! We worship HIM in the good times we worship in the bad times, we praise HIM when we are happy and even when we are sad. In the sunshine in the rain, in times of joy and in times of pain we Worship GOD our FATHER because HE is Almighty and All Powerful...Praise HIS name.
Psalm 100:4-5 "Enter into HIS gates with thanksgiving and into HIS courts with praise; be thankful unto HIM and bless HIS name. For The LORD is good, HIS mercy is everlasting and HIS truth endureth to all generations."
Now after Gideon worshiped he returned to the host of Israel and told them to get up it was time to go into battle. The second thing we must do in order to be victorious in battle is:
2. Go in GOD'S Timing
Judges 7:16-19 "16 And he divided the three hundred men into three companies, and he put a trumpet in every man's hand, with empty pitchers, and lamps within the pitchers. 17 And he said unto them, Look on me, and do likewise: and, behold, when I come to the outside of the camp, it shall be that, as I do, so shall ye do. 18 When I blow with a trumpet, I and all that are with me, then blow ye the trumpets also on every side of all the camp, and say, The sword of the Lord, and of Gideon. 19 So Gideon, and the hundred men that were with him, came unto the outside of the camp in the beginning of the middle watch; and they had but newly set the watch: and they blew the trumpets, and brake the pitchers that were in their hands."
Let's take a look at this battle strategy for a moment, it would appear strange to anyone going into battle. They are already outnumbered 450 to 1 with their little group of 300 men, and now Gideon is thinning them down even further. He set them in 3 groups of 100 and told them that they are going to surround this enemy camp of 135,000 men AND oh yeah...they are not going to have many weapons. HUH? Instead of more weapons he gave them each a trumpet or ram's horn, a clay pitcher, and a torch inside the pitcher.
Sometimes God has a battle strategy that makes no sense whatsoever to us, and HE gives us weapons that make no sense to us but if we will trust HIM...we will see in the end that it was THE BEST!
The Scripture tells us that at the beginning of the middle watch is when Israel struck. Now that would have been around midnight. The darkest hour of the night, when the ones who were leaving the watch were very tired, and the ones coming into the watch were coming out of the deepest sleep of the night. The perfect time!
Judges 7:20-22 "20 And the three companies blew the trumpets, and brake the pitchers, and held the lamps in their left hands, and the trumpets in their right hands to blow withal: and they cried, The sword of the Lord, and of Gideon. 21 And they stood every man in his place round about the camp; and all the host ran, and cried, and fled. 22 And the three hundred blew the trumpets, and the Lord set every man's sword against his fellow, even throughout all the host: and the host fled to Bethshittah in Zererath, and to the border of Abelmeholah, unto Tabbath."
Now picture it, imagine you are one of the enemy soldiers, and you are afraid anyway because The LORD has struck fear in your heart about Gideon, you are exhausted and it's very dark and suddenly you hear the sound of 300 trumpets, and 300 breaking pitchers and you look up and there are torches surrounding the whole camp! You hear the shout..."The sword of The LORD and of Gideon!!!!" That would be a terrifying sight. The Scripture tells us that they were so afraid and terrified, so caught off guard and confused that the enemy ran, they cried, and they fled! Now this was the enemy who for seven years had come in and taken over everything that Israel had worked for, they had come in year after year and devastated them...but now they are running for their lives and killing each other in the confusion! Why...what changed?
The change was that The LORD was fighting the battle!!! Sometimes we can be in a place, and it seems we have fought for years with only defeat, but when we begin to cry out to GOD and ask HIM to deliver us and fight that battle for us, and we begin to trust and obey...That's when things change! We are no match for our enemy alone, but our enemy is no match for our GOD! Never go into battle alone...wait upon The LORD and go with THE VICTOR! Praise You JESUS.
The third thing we must do to have victory in battle is:
3. Stand in the place GOD has assigned for you.
Judges 7:21 "And they stood every man in his place round about the camp; and all the host ran, and cried, and fled."
Earlier we imagined what it was like for the enemy...now I want you to imagine what it was like to be one of the 300 men in Gideon's army. You have been thinned down to 300, now you have been thinned even more in a group of 100, then even more when you are told that you have to stretch out around this HUGE host of the enemy. It's the darkest hour of the night, you are standing there with your ram's horn trumpet, and your clay pitcher with a torch inside. Your group is stretched so thin that you can't even see the person on your left or your right...it feels as if you are out there all alone. What if someone in your group got scared and left? What if they all left and it's only you?
That scenario has great potential for fear doesn't it? Yet The Scripture tells us that EVERY MAN Stood in his place! The LORD had chosen each individual man because HE knew that they would be faithful in their place. That they would stand their ground and not run. That means that every spot, every man was important. We don't know the names of all the 300 men, but they were VERY important. What if some of them decided to go home? It would have put much strain on the already outnumbered group. They all needed to be there to surround the camp.
Dear One, the enemy will try to get in your mind and make you think that you are insignificant and small and that your part does not matter, but it does! GOD has ordained you and HE planned you and your life and where HE would place you. You may not see it now but you matter and you are important to HIS Kingdom Plan. STAND YOUR GROUND! Even when it's dark, even when you feel you are alone and under equipped, STAND and see the salvation of The LORD!
I have a back injury, and on the right side of my back, there is a disc in my spine that is not where it's supposed to be, so at times it presses on the nerve and it causes me pain sometimes. At times it limits me walking, and moving and it limits what I can do. It's just a Very small part of my body, yet it effects my whole body.
We are part of the body of CHRIST...and when we are not standing in the position that GOD has placed us in, the whole body suffers. Do not give up, do not run, and do not leave the calling GOD has on your life. Understand that you are important and that HE has placed you here for such a time as this! You are loved and you matter. Stand your ground and you will see the enemy run, cry, and flee before your eyes and you will fall down and worship before the battle, during the battle, and after the battle because you will see that The LORD GOD has fought for you and You are MORE than a conqueror through CHRIST JESUS who loves you so much! Fear Not!
Thank You for Your Word...Your written and spoken Word. Thank You for showing us these examples of Your mighty power and that You will do the same for us! Help us to trust You and to go when You say go, and move when You say move and to stand when You say to stand. Help us to be confident in who we are through JESUS and help us to believe what You say about us. Help us to trust, obey and praise You in the way that You would have us to. Thank You for fighting our battles for us and delivering us from the hands of our enemy the devil and his demons. YOU ARE GOD and YOU ARE WORTHY to be praised. Help each one today who is in battle to stand and proclaim with faith, boldness, and strength that You are GOD and there is none like YOU! Help us remember that the joy of The LORD is our strength...in the Mighty, precious name of Your SON JESUS we pray...Amen.