I love football. I always have. I used to be a Brown’s fan, mistake. You know how many times my brother would call me and say, “I am so confident that the Browns are going to be great next year, they got this new quarterback. I am so confident the Browns are going to be great this next year they have this new defensive coordinator. I am so confident that the Browns are going to be great this next year they have this new head coach.” The Browns have had 19 quarterbacks since 1999.
Do you know how many super bowls they have been to?
Do you know how many winning seasons they have had?
This shows me that we cannot put our trust in the___________________(intentional pause) quarterback, can we? You thought I was going to say we cannot put our trust in the Browns, ha, ha…
Our faith cannot be in the quarterback, at least for the Browns. They have tried so many times.
Okay, let me go another route. When players are inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame there is a bronze bust made of them. Do you know how long those are supposed to last?
Someone guess, how long?
I tried to get one for the weekend to show, but they would not let me.
40,000 years. If someone is a really good quarterback such as Otto Graham or Ben Roethlisberger and they are in the Hall of Fame there is a bronze bust made that is supposed to last 40,000 years. That is longer than it has been since the Browns have won a super bowl.
So, can I put my faith in a bronze bust? What do you think? Someone answer yes or no???
Why? Someone say something? 40,000 years and this means I was a good athlete… What do you think?
We are going to look at Gideon and I want to show you that God worked through Gideon. The Lord was with Gideon. This is why he is listed in Hebrews 11:32.
Listen to the theme and application:
The Lord was with Gideon and the Lord IS with us.
Gideon was weak but the Lord is strong.
Let’s read Hebrews 11:32:
And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson and Jephthah, about David and Samuel and the prophets…
Now turn to Judges 6:11-12:
The angel of the Lord came and sat down under the oak in Ophrah that belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, where his son Gideon was threshing wheat in a winepress to keep it from the Midianites. 12 When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.”
Now let’s talk about this. My point is that the Lord was with Gideon and the Lord is with us.
- First let me summarize what God did through Gideon
- God calls Gideon at this time. In the next verse (24), Gideon tests the Lord, this is not recommended. Gideon had weak faith and he admits that.
- In chapter 6:25-34 Gideon destroys an alter to Baal.
- In 6:36-40: Gideon tests the Lord once again.
- Then we come to chapter 7:
- There was a threat in the Midianite army and they had an army of 135,000 men:
- Gideon starts out with thirty-two thousand, not impossible odds, but thirty-two thousand against a hundred and thirty-five thousand, not real good odds.
- God pares down Gideon’s men from 32,000 to 300
- Those are not good odds against a hundred and thirty-five thousand.
- Now, of course, all military strategy is out the window, at this point, because there is no military strategy by which the three hundred men can defeat a hundred and thirty-five thousand soldiers.
- Gideon is now at the mercy of God. God has pared down his men to only three hundred so God is going to have to indicate what the strategy is as to how these three hundred men are going to defeat a hundred and thirty-five thousand Medianites.
- God gives him strange instruction in the seventh chapter of Judges. (Judges 7)
- He tells him to get pitchers,
- Pitchers used to pour water,
- trumpets and torches, usually these trumpets which are shofars would only be used by the commander, but in this case everyone had one.
- Gideon is to go find the Medianite army. Now in history, no one has fought a battle with torches, pitchers and trumpets.
- You might have a torch if you want to protect yourself at night, but that’s not how you fight a battle. It is in an absurd battle strategy, humanly speaking.
- Gideon didn’t argue because his faith was so strong and he understood the odds and he understood the potential for death was a hundred percent on a human level.
- They split into three groups. Gideon took his hundred and a couple of other hundreds. They got in the circles of the hills where the Medianites were and they lit their torches. And at the appropriate time of the announcement, they smashed the pitchers which made noise and revealed the torches and the trumpets began to blow and the Medianites went into panic, probably assuming that for every torch there was an entire division of troops when it was just one guy with a pitcher and a torch and a trumpet.
- The Medianites panicked. The Medianites rolled out of their bunks, or off their pads on the ground, and massacred each other. In an absolute slaughter, thinking they were fighting these massive hoards of Jewish troops who had descended upon them.
- It would be pretty hard to believe God in that setting unless you had a supernatural faith in a supernatural God.
- That is chapter seven. If you read chapter 8 Gideon began to rely on himself and ends up a mess. In fact, if you read chapter 9 Gideon has a legacy as a terrible father.
- But in this case, Gideon trusts the Lord. Look at the verse again: Judges 6:12: When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.”
- Mighty warrior! In chapter 7 Gideon wins the battle with 300 men and the men did not have to lift a sword. It was the Lord who fought the battle.
- This whole account through chapter seven shows that it is not about us. God was showing that our trust must be in Him.
- We are not alone, the Lord is with us as well.
- Turn to Matthew 1:23: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”(which means “God with us”).
- Now, turn to Matthew 3:11: John the Baptist is talking and he says: “I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.
- The Lord is with us today through the Holy Spirit.
- The Lord is with us today through the church.
- The Lord is with us today through His Word, the Bible.
- Trust Him.
- Reed Lessing tells the story of a Native American ritual for training young braves:
“On the night of a boy’s thirteenth birthday, he was placed in a dense forest to spend the entire night alone. Until then he had never been away from the security of his family and tribe. But on this night he was blindfolded and taken miles away. When he took off the blindfold, he was in the middle of thick woods. By himself. All night long. Terrifying! How out of his element the young brave must have felt. How very un-BRAVE, in fact.
Every time a twig snapped, he probably visualized a wild animal ready to pounce. Every time an animal howled, he imagined a wolf leaping out of the darkness. Every time the wind blew, he wondered what more sinister sound it masked. No doubt it was a terrifying night for many.
After what must have seemed like an eternity, the first rays of sunlight entered the interior of the forest. Looking around, the boy saw flowers, trees, and the outline of the path. Then, to his utter astonishment, he beheld the figure of a man standing just a few feet away, armed with a bow and arrow. It was the boy’s father. He had been there all night long. It is a lesson in bravery … in independence. But it is an important lesson in DEPENDENCE as well. Tribe and family matter. You aren’t alone, even when you are most lonely.“
- Sometimes we cannot see God or feel that He is with us, but He is.
- In 2 Cor. 12:7-10: Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh,a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
- Let’s apply this, where is our trust?
- Is our trust in our bank account? Notice that God did not have Gideon raise funds to win the battle.
- Is our trust in a large group of friends? Notice that the army came down from 32,000 to 300 and God won the battle.
- Is our trust in our house? Is our trust in our possessions?
- These things don’t work, our trust must be in God.
- God is with us and when we are weak He is strong.
I have a refrigerator box up here and I want to see if you can see me if I get into it.
[get in the box]
Sometimes we are get in these boxes in life. Sometimes we do things that make us get into the boxes and sometimes things just happen.
Sometimes we mess up and we are “boxed in.” Sometimes we have unfortunate circumstances happen to us.
Sometimes we have an affair and we are stuck in the affair, we are boxed in.
Sometimes we start looking at pornography and we can’t break the addiction.
Other times we get into addictive habits of spending and our budget is a mess and that harms relationships as well.
Maybe we didn’t choose the situation we are in. Maybe we are a caregiver and we are absolutely overwhelmed. We cannot care for our self because we are always caring for someone else.
Maybe we are trying to recover from a job loss or the death of a loved one.
We are boxed in and we cannot get out of the box.
We try pushing but it doesn’t work. Maybe one of the Browns Quarterbacks will help, or maybe the bronze bust of a hall of fame recipient. I don’t think so. Maybe money will get me out of the situation, but not all of them. We try praying harder… I am a firm believer in prayer, but I think God has another solution.
[at that point a few of our church people come up and cut me out of the box]
God is present in His church.
God may want you to accept help from a pastor, a counselor, a Christian friend.
God was present with Gideon. God is present in you and in us.
God created us to be with him. (Genesis 1-2)
Our sin separated us from God. (Genesis 3)
Sins cannot be removed by good deeds (Gen 4-Mal 4)
Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. (Matthew – Luke)
Everyone who trusts in him alone has eternal life. (John – Jude)
Life that’s eternal means we will be with Jesus forever. (Revelation 22:5)