There was a generation of people who had seen God move in supernatural ways, delivering His people from slavery, opened an ocean, provided water from a solid rock and food in a desert for 40 years, had seen the mountain shake and quake and the fire of God descend as they heard the trumpet blasts on Sinai, but despite all those supernatural events, never entered the Land of Promise.
That generation died and another generation crossed Jordan in flood time as the waters opened for them, saw the huge walls of Jericho fall before them and entered the Land of Promise.
As the years went by, God’s own covenant people had all but forgotten Him, except for a faithful few and now they were in desperate plight. They were living in hiding places in the mountains, caves and strongholds. Whenever they planted crops, the enemy would swoop in and steal or destroy their crops. They took their livestock and stripped the land bare.
They were in big trouble and living in abject failure.
This is not God’s plan. It never was and it never will be what He wants.
Jesus did not come to earth to be born of a woman to become human; to preach and teach about the Kingdom of God, die a horrible death on a Roman cross, be raised by the power of God, demonstrate with infallible proofs that He is Lord of all and send the Holy Spirit to us so that we could live as failures.
He has a much higher purpose for us.
We are destined to be winners, not failures. We are destined to overcome and we are destined to reveal His glory on the earth.
I will be sharing some truths with you that reveal God’s will to take us from failures, through seasons of surviving until we enter into the position of thriving. Our focal point is on a man called Gideon and we find his story in Judges chapter six.
Then the people of Israel began once again to worship other gods, and once again the Lord let their enemies harass them. This time it was by the people of Midian, for seven years. The Midianites were so cruel that the Israelis took to the mountains, living in caves and dens. When they planted their seed, marauders from Midian, Amalek, and other neighboring nations came and destroyed their crops and plundered the countryside as far away as Gaza, leaving nothing to eat and taking away all their sheep, oxen, and donkeys. These enemy hordes arrived on droves of camels too numerous to count and stayed until the land was completely stripped and devastated. So Israel was reduced to abject poverty because of the Midianites. Then at last the people of Israel began to cry out to the Lord for help. Judges 6:1-7
Isn’t it interesting that people can go on so long that their lives are wrecked but they keep hanging on to their old ways and never repent and call on God in until they are really impoverished and on their knees. When things are going well, who needs God? Wait until they are in big trouble and it seems that turning to God is the last recourse. These were the seed of Abraham and they were living in defeat! They had forgotten God, so he gave them what they wanted, “Leave us alone. Let us do out own thing”.
Gideon then made a valid request.
Gideon asked the Angel to wait whilst he prepared a meal.
Such a task takes time!
Gideon did not have a microwave and instant TV snacks. He had to prepare a kid, bake some bread and cook the meal like a stew or soup—whilst God waited for him. We often say that we are waiting on God. I think the reverse is the truth. He is waiting for us. He has already done all He can and provided all that is necessary. We have to appropriate it.
What the Angel did and said next is important.
The Angel said to him, “Place the meat and the bread upon that rock over there, and pour the broth over it.”
The broth that is referred to is the juice, scum or fatty parts that are stewed out of meat when cooked, floats to the top of the water and usually skimmed away.
Why would the Angel tell Gideon to pour it out?
There are only two times that broth is seen in scripture—here and in Isaiah 65:1 that states-
We are witnessing a move of God on the earth when nations (people) are seeking God out, even in the most adverse of situations and finding Him! I believe that we ain’t seen nothing yet and that the best is yet to come. Get ready, get ready, get ready, but we have to be in the right place with God. The false has to go! Look now at Isaiah 65:2-4-
God said that He had kept opening his arms towards His covenant people, only to have them reject His overtures. They offered sacrifice and worship any way they pleased and insulted God. We know of course that pork is not kosher to Jews, for He had forbidden them to eat it, but they did more than simply eat it—they copied what the heathen did. The heathen burned incense in the high places, worshipped at asherah poles and consumed the fatty broth that emanated from the meat offered in sacrifice to false gods.
Jezebel, a woman whose name you may have heard of, wanted to remove all trace of God from society. This is happening today. In some countries, reading a bible in public is banned as is prayer. reference to God is removed from our educational institutes. That spirit is indeed alive and very active today. It has infiltrated parts of what is called the church, so it is a serious matter. She commanded that these asherah poles (statues or columns with carvings of false deities engraved on them) be erected everywhere. She made sure that everywhere the people went, they would see one and would eventually exchange their loyalty to God and worship of the one true God for substitutes. Is this not happening in society today? Are we not seeing the spirit of Jezebel in many churches today? For example, we believe that life is precious and the sanctity of life is a Godly thing we hold dear, but an Anglican woman priest attended the opening of a new abortion clinic in America and “blessed” it. The church “blessed” murder? Perhaps you may now see why I am so critical of what is called the church.
God wanted no part of that devilish junk and commanded Gideon to lay the meat and bread on the rock! Who is the Rock?
He told us that we are to eat His flesh, did He not? Didn’t He tell us that He is the bread of life?
God had chosen and raised up a deliverer for His people, founded on the Rock and that Rock was Christ. God would not and will not accept anything other than the truth, or anything that has ever the smell of falsehood or idolatry. We are coming to the time when a demarkation line will be drawn; when the separation of wheat from tares (something I will discuss elsewhere)and when the genuine Blood washed believer will be gathered home, but before that happens, you and I must be properly prepared for His return. The days of playing church have to come to a close. Is any of this making sense?
Gideon was commanded to present his legitimate offering, that was a type of Jesus, on the rock (another type of Jesus) but not the false...that soupy broth. That had to be poured out. When Gideon did that, the Angel reached out with His staff (a symbol of authority and a symbol of leadership, identification and shepherding) and touched it with the tip. Flames came and consumed the flesh and the bread—but not the rock!
The rock remained untouched! Wow!
All this time, Gideon had an inkling that he was dealing with no mere “ordinary angel”. One is enough! I’ve seen angels! Oh, my! It is awesome. We could have seen some without knowing it because of Hebrews 13:2, but did you realize that you and I could be classed as an angel or angelos, because this word means a messenger. If God has despatched you on a particular assignment (and it has to be God doing it) you come into this category. Think about it. Think of the implications to us; how we measure up; what we do; the way we conduct ourselves; the way we speak and dress; our good behavior, manners and courtesy. After all, we are supposed to be ambassadors for Christ.
When Gideon really saw “The Angel” (we can see without seeing), He fell out and could not understand why he was not consumed and called that place yhwh shālôm Jehovah is peace. The Angel assured him that all was well and said ‘Fear Not” and “Peace”. I could talk much more on this peace and God’s presence. It is amazing.
God had already defined the man; told Him what he would do and told him what he had, but there was something else to do.
The spirit of Jezebel had infiltrated the camp and those asherah poles had been erected to condition people into accepting false gods and idolatry. Before we can expect to see God moving again, whatever is false has to go. Regardless of what it is, it cannot remain. God told Gideon to remove all hindrances of every kind before He would take one step.
He told Gideon not just to cut it down but destroy it.
Any gardener will tell you how they can spend all day in pulling weeds up and no sooner finish when those pesky things have grown back. If you grab hold of one and yank it out, the smallest part remaining behind will regrow, so drastic measures have to be employed to totally eradicate them. The bible tells me that even the tiniest amount of yeast will cause a much larger amount of dough to rise. A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump (of dough)! See 1 Corinthians 5:6 and Galatians 5:9.
The lesson to learn is that in order to win and be totally free, we cannot afford any of the past; any remnant of failure; any old habit, sin or mindset remain, or it will return. Don’t just pick it up and discard it—destroy the thing. What you compromise on, you will lose anyhow and probably everything else. It is an irrevocable spiritual law. God told Gideon to cut it down; cut it out like one cuts out a cancer before it spreads through the entire body, grind it up, chop it to pieces and burn it! This ensured that it could not return without a trace (just like our sins did when we were born again).
God told Gideon that the thing the devil used could be the thing that provided fuel for their winter fires and wood stoves!
OK, Gideon was still shedding some stuff and he was still a little fearful when he did what God asked him at night—but he did it!
Some folk never do what God asks them and then wonder why their blessing does not always seem to be fully manifest; why problems keep coming; why they always seem to be struggling. The remedy is to do what God asked you to do.
Now that all necessary preparations were made and deliverance time was at hand, the enemy reared its ugly head. Have you noticed that it often seems the enemy gets stirred up just before or just after a breakthrough? Gideon had already received his assignment, had been told who he was and told what he had, but he still had uncertainties. Nevertheless, Gideon rose to the situation. You can have a call but never accept it. You can have numerous prophecies over your life and scriptural confirmations thereof, but never act on them. What happens next is up to you! The human will is always a part of the equation. So is the human “won’t”.
I’ve told you before how we had desired to relocate to South Australia. We knew that this was what God wanted and we waited...and waited...and waited. We told Him if we were given the finances to move, we would go, but we still waited, but He had already told us to go. One day, He spoke to both of us independently, but simultaneously and told us to read Deuteronomy chapter one. We did and that was the catalyst we needed. He had been telling us that if we did not make that move, we would never progress, rather go backwards. The instant we made a deliberate decision to make the move, funds flooded in. As I said earlier, we are not waiting on God—He is waiting for us! Whatever it is that God tells you to do, please do it. It can save you much heartache, frustration, disappointment and loss.
Gideon acted and then when the occasion arose (the enemy arrived) he was ready, but not yet equipped until the anointing came on him. Please never try anything without that anointing.
Then all the Midianites and the Amalekites and the children of the east were gathered together, and went over, and pitched in the valley of Jezreel. But the Spirit of the LORD came upon Gideon, and he blew a trumpet; and Abiezer was gathered after him. Judges 6:33-34
There is a sound in the church today that is calling God’s people to assembly. It is not yet the time for the trump we all want to hear to sound and we go home—it is the call to assembly, telling God’s people (who listen) to action—to arms—to enter into what He has started to do. There is a call going through the Church to the pastors to start doing what Jesus told us to do. He preached; He taught and He healed the sick. The healing ministry is being largely ignored today. When was the last time you visited a church and witnessed healing and the evident presence of God? The very things that are often being ignored are precisely what people seek and need and are an intrinsic part of the ministry of Jesus and His Church, but I have great news! An awakening is happening in the church and they are coming back! 32,300 men answered the call, but only a handful qualified! Not all who name the name of Jesus will answer His call.
Many are called but few are chosen.
Gideon had now received his assignment, been told who he was and what he had, had assembled an army, but he still had a few problems and wanted more confirmation. This is where he put out the fleeces (verses 36-40).
Please remember that this was under Old Testament conditions. The Holy Spirit had not yet come to guide, teach, lead and do the things Jesus said He would do. Gideon needed to make sure he was on track and I accept that. If you read more of what happened, you will see that he laid fleeces out before the Lord to determine certain things—but he had already been told the answers. You can see this in verses 33-40. I often wonder at God’s patience when we keep asking, asking Him for answers that He has already given us. There have been times when I have asked Him certain things and His reply was, “I’ve already told you.”
Why are we like that? Is it because we do not believe Him or is it because we weren’t listening in the first place?
Don’t do what Gideon did! We don’t have to toss a coin or try 2 out of three times etc to determine God’s will. Don’t insult the word of God and the Holy Spirit. Those days are gone. It was acceptable for him then, but not now; not since Jesus came.
32,300 men answered the call, but they were not qualified for ministry. Jesus told us that many are called, but not all are chosen in Matthew 24:14 when He was speaking about end time events where the parable of the marriage of the king’s son is found. He said that a man was there who was not wearing the wedding garment. This man was there because he had been invited and had accepted the invitation, but he did not follow protocol. He was legitimately there but he was not prepared! The custom of the day was to give each guest a wedding garment or outer garment to wear, but this man was not wearing it. I say again, that the man was there legitimately, but was not fully prepared. We could say that he was saved, but never took it on any more. He got to heaven OK, but was sitting right at the back with dim lighting and poor service. I hope you get the picture. Many are called (Klētos ), but few are Ekletos (favored or choice ones). Whole tribes were called by Gideon and 32,300 replied, but only a few select ones who were appropriately equipped or prepared were the choice ones.
I don’t know about you, but I want to sit at the head table at the wedding supper of the Lamb, up front near Him than stuck in the back, only just scraping through the door!
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