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Principles For Conquest Judges 7x1x23

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Tom Myers

Principles for Conquest

Judges 7:1-23

Three things are necessary if we would know victory. 

FIRST -- God at times will test our faith (Judges 7:1–8)

A.  The first Testing (vv. 1–3).

Faith is like a toothbrush:  Everybody should have one and use it regularly, but it isn't safe to use somebody else’s.  

            1  Then Jerubbaal (that is, Gideon) and all the people who were with him, rose early and camped beside the spring of Harod; and the camp of Midian was on the north side of them by the hill of Moreh in the valley.

            2  The Lord said to Gideon, “The people who are with you are too many for Me to give Midian into their hands, for Israel would become boastful, saying, ‘My own power has delivered me.’

3     “Now therefore come, proclaim in the hearing of the people, saying, ‘Whoever is afraid and trembling, let him return and depart from Mount Gilead.’ ” So 22,000 people returned, but 10,000 remained.

            Gideon has an army of 32,000 and he says, "Please get quiet.  I have an announcement to make.  The Midianites are just on the other side of the hill.  And there are 135,000 (Judges 8:12) of them and only 32,000 of us.  They are mean, vicious and cruel.  They are numbered like the sand of the sea.  And they are getting ready to attack us.  Now if you are afraid, and you want to go home, you may leave now."

            And after a great stampede, Gideon brushes the dust off, he looks around and 22,000 soldiers have left.  His army that was 32,000 is now only 10,000 and do you know what?  God is not one bit concerned.  There is no panic in heaven. 

            Why did God want to get rid of over half of Gideon's army?  I'll tell you why.  Fear is contagious.  Fear spreads like lightening.  Fear infects others with fear. 

            We have seen that happen before.  Remember when the 12 spies were sent out to spy out the Promised Land?  The report of the 10 spies caused the whole congregation of Israel heart to faint. 

Deuteronomy 20:8

Then the officers shall speak further to the people and say, ‘Who is the man that is afraid and fainthearted? Let him depart and return to his house, so that he might not make his brothers’ hearts melt like his heart."

Numbers 13:32-14:1

            So they gave out to the sons of Israel a bad report of the land which they had spied out, saying, “The land through which we have gone, in spying it out, is a land that devours its inhabitants; and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great size.

            33 “There also we saw the Nephilim (the sons of Anak are part of the Nephilim); and we became like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.”

                14:1        Then all the congregations

                lifted up their voices and cried,     

                and the people wept that night.

Fear will fit you for failing, but it will never fit you for fighting.

Let me tell you what fear is:  fear is over estimating the strength of the enemy. 

           

I know that we have an enemy.  He is a real enemy.  He is a cruel enemy.  He is an enemy that rules over a vast kingdom of darkness.  But I want to tell you something.  Listen to me, the Bible says,

1 John 4:4

Greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.   

            A little boy came to his daddy one day and he said, "Daddy, how big is the devil??  And the dad said, "Well son, I don't know."  And the little boy said, "Is he bigger than I am?"  And his father said, "Yes, son he's much bigger than you?"  And the little boy became frightened.  Then he looked at his big, tall, muscular dad.  And with a smile on his face asked, "Daddy, is the devil bigger than you?"  And his father said, "Yes, son, the devil is much bigger than me."  And the little boy became frightened and he began to tremble.  And with trembling lips the little boy asked, "Daddy, is the devil bigger than Jesus?"  And his daddy said, "No son, Jesus is bigger and stronger and more powerful than the devil every day."  And a great big smile came across the boys face.

1 John 4:4

Greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.             

     

            I want you to know that if you have a spirit of fear, that God did not put it there.  If you live in fear, I want you to know that God is not the author of fear.  

            Do you know what the devil likes to do?  The devil likes to encamp around God's children and paralyze them with fear.

           

            There are some of you who could play an instrument with the praise team, but the icy fingers of fear have frozen you. 

           

            There are some of you that can teach, but fear paralyzes you. 

            There are some of you who ought to witness, but you don't witness, because fear numbs you and stuns you. 

            Fear has stopped the army of God to many times. 

I want to share with you; it is not a sin to have fear.  You see fear, is just another word for respect.  It's when you over respect the devil that you are useless to God. 

Habbakuk 3:16-19.

            Do you think Gideon is absent of fear?  

Judges 7:9-11

B.  The second testing (vv. 4–8).

   4              Then the Lord said to Gideon, “The people are still too many; bring them down to the water and I will test them for you there. Therefore it shall be that he of whom I say to you, ‘This one shall go with you,’ he shall go with you; but everyone of whom I say to you, ‘This one shall not go with you,’ he shall not go.”

            5  So he brought the people down to the water. And the Lord said to Gideon, “You shall separate everyone who laps the water with his tongue as a dog laps, as well as everyone who kneels to drink.”

            6  Now the number of those who lapped, putting their hand to their mouth, was 300 men; but all the rest of the people kneeled to drink water.

            7  The Lord said to Gideon, “I will deliver you with the 300 men who lapped and will give the Midianites into your hands; so let all the other people go, each man to his home.”

            8  So the 300 men took the peoples provisions and their trumpets into their hands. And Gideon sent all the other men of Israel, each to his tent, but retained the 300 men; and the camp of Midian was below him in the valley.            

            All 10,000 soldiers drank from the stream,

9,700 of soldiers got down on their hand and feet put their noses and mouths into the water.  300 of the soldiers cupped the water in their hands and drank from the water.

            What is this all about?  It is very simple.  When you drink from a stream by cupping your hands it allows you to keep a watchful eye for the enemy. 

            Now listen to me carefully. The first group of soldiers left because they over estimated the strength of the enemy.  The second group of soldiers of were dismissed because they underestimated the strength of the enemy.

            It is just as dangers to underestimate the strength of the devil as it is to overestimate the strength of the devil.    

            Some people act so flippant about the devil.  They do battle against the devil half armed. 

Eph 6

            I want to tell you something, you had better be fully armed, don't underestimate the strength of the enemy.  If you’re careless - if you’re more concerned about your own comforts and your own needs, than serving the Lord Jesus Christ, you won't be much good for Immanuel Community Church or the kingdom of God.

            Certainty there are needs that we need to meet.  These men needed a drink of water.  I have legitimate needs and you have legitimate needs.  We have needs for food, water, friends, fellowship, rest, and recreation, health. 

            But when we are careless about these things, when these things become first in our life, and when we are not walking circumspectly, and when we are not sober, we are a push over for the devil. 

            Do you think the Bible says in vain?

1 PETER 5:8

Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

            If you want a church to grow, a church that can be used of God, then it will be a church that knows how to fight a spiritual battle.  It will be done with those who do not overestimate or underestimate the strength of the devil. 

FIRST -- God at times will test our faith.

SECOND -- God ALSO WILL encourage our faith (Judges. 7:9–15)

A.  God gave Gideon A promise (V.9)

            9  Now the same night it came about that the Lord said to him, “Arise, go down against the camp, for I have given it into your hands.

Are you LONELY?

ISAIAH 41:10 

                        10   ‘Do not fear, for I am with you;

Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God.

I will strengthen you, surely I will help you,

                Surely I will uphold you with My                                      righteous right hand.

                Has your heart been broken?

Psalm 147:3

                  3      He heals the brokenhearted

                And binds up their wounds.

         Has Someone Hurt You?

                  5      Trust in the Lord with all your heart

And do not lean on your own understanding.

                        6      In all your ways acknowledge Him,

                And He will make your paths                                               straight.

b.  God gave Gideon a sign. (10-15)

            10               “But if you are afraid to go down, go with Purah your servant down to the camp,

            11               and you will hear what they say; and afterward your hands will be strengthened that you may go down against the camp.” So he went with Purah his servant down to the outposts of the army that was in the camp.

            12               Now the Midianites and the Amalekites and all the sons of the east were lying in the valley as numerous as locusts; and their camels were without number, as numerous as the sand on the seashore.

            13               When Gideon came, behold, a man was relating a dream to his friend. And he said, “Behold, I had a dream; a loaf of barley bread was tumbling into the camp of Midian, and it came to the tent and struck it so that it fell, and turned it upside down so that the tent lay flat.”

            14               His friend replied, “This is nothing less than the sword of Gideon the son of Joash, a man of Israel; God has given Midian and all the camp into his hand.”

                15           When Gideon heard the account of the dream and its interpretation, he bowed in                                    

                worship. He returned to the camp of Israel and said, “Arise, for the     Lord has given the camp of                 Midian into your hands.

           

            Now what is this all about?  God is teaching Gideon a lesson that every Christian needs to be taught. 

The God who called you is the God who equips you. 

            What does the dream about a loaf of barley bread represent?  It represents Gideon life and it represents your life and it represents my life. 

            Now let me tell you something about barley bread.  Barley bread is the cheapest and the poorest of all the breads.  It was the bread that the very poor of the poor eat.  And it characterizes Gideon life and our life. 

            Do you know what God delights to do?  God delights to take the no bodies and use them.  And here is just a loaf of barley bread that tumbled onto a tent and the entire tent collapsed and all the enemy is turned into confusion. 

            Now look in your Bibles at Judges 6:14-15.  God is approaching Gideon for the first time for service.

JUDGES 6:14-15

            14               The Lord looked at him and said, “Go in this your strength and deliver Israel from the hand of Midian. Have I not sent you?”   Watch Gideon's reaction.

                15           He said to Him, “O Lord, how shall I deliver Israel? Behold, my    family is the least in Manasseh,                                                 and I am the youngest in my father's house."   

            And what is Gideon's saying?  God, you are asking the wrong person.  I'm not qualified.  You can't use me.  Why, out of all the kids in my family I'm the runt of the litter. 

            I think God just smiled and said to Himself, "I've called you Gideon and I will equip you. 

1 CORINTHIANS 2:26-29

            26               For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble;

            27               but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong,

            28               and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are,

                29           so that no man may boast before God.        

            Do you see what God was doing?  God was giving glory to himself.  So God took a nobody general and a nothing army and defeated the Midinates and God got the glory.

            Do you understand that?  This barley loaf, just pure, course, cheap bread represents God taking a little nobody and doing something very wonderful.

            Don't you insult God by saying, "God can't use you."

            God can use you the way you are.  God can use you with what you have.  You may be just a little barley bread, but in the hands of God you're somebody.

1 CORINTHIANS 1:27

            27               God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong.

The God who called you is the God who equips you.

            You know what I like about the grace of God?  The grace of God humbles you with out debasing you.  And it exhausts you with inflating you.

ILL 5433

            I believe the enemies of Gideon were sitting in their tents terrified, quaking with fear.  For they knew something that the army of Gideon did not know. 

            I believe that the army of Satan is in dread right now - that Christians will awaken to their God given authority over the powers of darkness. 

FIRST -- God at times will test our faith.

SECOND -- God will also encourage our faith.

THIRD -- THE RESULT OF GOD'S TESTING AND GOD'S ENCOURAGING IS:

A.  IT LEADS YOU TO WORSHIP.

JUDGES 7:15A

15           When Gideon heard the account of the dream and its interpretation, he bowed in worship...

            Isn't that what you want to do?  That's what God wants you to do. 

  1. IT LEADS YOU TO VICTORY. (vv15b-23)

            Did you notice the weapons that Gideon's army used?

            Can you imagine going to war with trumpets, clay jars and lamps?  But that was God's way. 

            I want you to notice that the lights did not shine until the clay jars were broken. 

            At the precise moment, when the picture was broken, then the light shown.  What is this all about?  Is God just doing a little Mickey Mouse stunt?

            You see that clay jar also represents your life.  When your life is broken, God's light then shines through.  Did you know that all Christians have God's light shining in them?  Did you know that? 

 

2 CORINTHIANS 4:6-7

            6  For God, who said, “Light shall shine out of darkness,” is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.

                7              But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the                                      power will be of God and not from ourselves.

            We just need to learn how to let the light that is in us, to shine out of us.  Do you know how to do that?  It's by becoming a broken vessel. 

         Men like to throw away broken things, but God never uses anything until first of all He breaks it.

 

2 CORINTHIANS 4:8-10

            8  we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing;

            9  persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed;

                10           always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be                                 manifested in our body.

            I can preach without power.  And you may be able to sing without power.  And you may be able to teach without power.  Your teaching may be articulate and accurate.  But there will be no power until the vessel is broken. 

ILLUSTRATION -- young seminary student

            Something very wonderful happens when we are broken and I want you to notice what it is in Judges 7:20-22.

JUDGES 7:20-22

            20               When the three companies blew the trumpets and broke the pitchers, they held the torches in their left hands and the trumpets in their right hands for blowing, and cried, “A sword for the Lord and for Gideon!”

            21               Each stood in his place around the camp; and all the army ran, crying out as they fled.

         22     When they blew 300 trumpets, the Lord set the sword of one against another even throughout the whole army; and the army fled as far as Beth-shittah toward Zererah, as far as the edge of Abel-meholah, by Tabbath.

 

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