Gideon - Midweek Lenten Reflection

Gideon - Midweek Lenten Reflection

As part of our Lenten Midweek Reflection this year we are exploring the saints of the Old Testament.  These are people that God used to protect, shield, and save his people.  We will gather each Wednesday at 7pm for worship.

Lenten Midweek Reflection from February 20, 2013

Tonight and throughout this season of Lent we are going to be hearing the stories of how God has worked to save, to call, to protect and to care for his people. We know that God is the one who is revealed to us in Jesus Christ, the one who cares for and loves us. But God has always been that one, God has always been working for the good and the salvation of his children. Purposefully I have chosen people and stories that you may not be as familiar with – to help broaden our exposure to the breadth of how God has worked throughout time to save us. These stories are the history of our salvation.

So tonight we begin with the story of Gideon. To hear about Gideon we need to know what was going on at the time God chose Gideon to save Israel. Gideon lived in the time of the Judges. There was no king in Israel, the individual tribes of Israel ran their individual affairs but in times of crisis – when the country was threatened God would raise up a Judge a leader to help Israel through the crisis – usually a time of war – and to deliver and save the people from destruction.

In the time of Gideon, Israel was being invaded by the Midianites. The reason was that Israel had turned from God – they began to worship the false gods Baal and Ashera – and when they turned from God, God removed his hand of protection. So the Midianites would bring their army at the time of harvest and steal all the food and agricultural production of Israel – the story tells us that they were like locust upon the land – taking and stealing everything they could get their hands on. Thing had gotten so bad that the Israelites had taken living in caves and mountaintop fortifications so that they could protect themselves. Anything they produced had to be hidden away to keep it from being stolen and there was nothing that Israel could do about it.

But there was a faithful remnant in Israel, people who stayed true the one true God. They cried out asking for God to deliver them from the MIdianites, and to do this God chose Gideon. Here is the thing though, Gideon was nobody special. His tribe and family group was one of the smallest in all of Israel. He was not known as a great warrior or leader. But this is the person God chose. God used the man he chose to accomplish God’s purposes.
You may remember from the story that word went out in Israel that God had chosen a judge to lead them against the Midianites. And all of Israel came out to fight Midian. An army of 22,000 assembled. God said – this is too many. God said that if so large an army was to defeat the armies of Midian the Israelites would be tempted to say that their power and strength was what gave them the victory. God wanted them to understand that it was God and God alone who was delivering his people.

So Gideon told the army that anyone who was scared or fearful about fighting, should leave. With that 12,000 left for home. Leaving an army of 10,000 men.

God told Gideon this was too many, so he said to take all 10,000 down to the water to drink. God said for Gideon to keep only those who lapped the water up like a dog. God told him to get rid of all the ones who knelt down and drank by picking up the water with their hands. So there were 300 of these dog drinkers – and these 300 were the army that God gave to Gideon. With 300 men Gideon was to defeat the Midianites.

You might wonder if he was successful. Of course he was. What is miraculous is the weapons that God gave to the 300 man army of Gideon. Their weapons were a clay jar, a torch and a trumpet. IN the middle of the night Gideon’s army gathered around the Midianites Camp. At the same time they threw down their jars which made a great crashing sound. They blew their trumpets, and held high their torches. This sent the army of Midian into a panic. They began running to and fro trampling each other, fighting with each other not knowing who the real enemy was. In the ensuing panic the army of Midian literally defeated itself.

Those who were left began to flee and as they ran Gideon sent word to the rest of Israel to come and destroy the fleeing army – and that they did.

And with 300 men – and Gideon – God defeated the enemy of Israel and saved his people.

What we see in this story is that God doesn’t need to do things in the way that we think they have to be done – nor is God limited by what we think is possible. IN Gideon we see how God chose to save his people – and then did it.
The message for us is that this same God is at work in and around us. God’s will – will be done, God will work to move, to shelter, to protect, to deliver his people. It does not matter how big we are, what we bring to the table, or how competent we may feel to the task. What is important is not who we are but who God is. God who delivered a nation with an army of men so wild that they didn’t have the refinement to cup water into their hands. But God took what was unexpected and what the world thought was impossible and brought about deliverance for his people

The thing is that is what God does – time and time again. We see that at work here in this place in these little churches, if we had 300 we would feel like we were really doing something. But God uses us, God works here. And every now and then God will and does use us to shock this world. It doesn’t matter who we are – what matters is who our Father in heaven is. He is the one who brings hope, and life and salvation to us and to the entire world. Thanks be to God.

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