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Mighty Warrior

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Introduction

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.

They were 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”.

one day the Angel of the Lord came and sat beneath the oak tree at Ophrah, on the farm of Joash the Abiezrite. Joash’s son, Gideon, had been threshing wheat by hand in the bottom of a grape press—a pit where grapes were pressed to make wine—for he was hiding from the Midianites. Judges 6:1

Threshing wheat

Threshing wheat is never done inside a wine press! When the grain is harvested it is beaten or livestock is walked over it to help separate the grains from the chaff. Normally, after that was done, people would use implements to toss the harvest into the air so that the wind could blow the chaff away and the heavier grain would fall to the ground to be collected. When I was in India, I saw people harvesting crops in the fields  and spread it over the road so that cars could run over it for the same reasons.

Gideon was threshing inside a pit. He was hiding—an abject failure just like all the other people. When you are a failure, most people often do not want to be seen.

Have you failed? I have! When I did, I wanted to slink out of sight and hide.

Those marauders came to steal, kill and destroy! Does anything sound familiar?

Have you ever had something lost or stolen from you—a dream or a vision of something; a family relationship; a career; a ministry; a marriage or relationship?

I have! 

I went from an executive technical manager in corporate Australia to unemployed overnight and found myself in a pit! God however had a plan that he was now working on to fulfill my ministry dream of decades and it is now being fulfilled. Our ministry literally reaches the world and I have barely started.

If you are in a pit, there could be a very good reason. I hope for your sake that it is not a self inflicted reason! If it is, get over it and get on with the job. Stop looking backwards at the past—what might have been; what you lost; what the devil stole from you, because if you do not you will be  in the bottom of that pit and perhaps stay there!

Suddenly

Gideon was hiding in that winepress threshing wheat—going about everyday life, when God stepped in. He has a nice habit of doing that.

He sent an angel. I’ve had angelic visitations and they are awesome, with the radical potential of changing your live—if you allow it to happen. The Angel suddenly appeared and said, “Hey! I’m with you!” (I paraphrase a little at times). If God is with you, or on your case, you can’t lose; so why do you worry? If God be for us, who can be against us? See Romans 8:31.

This man, who could be just like you or me; a man who was afraid of rabbits shadows; a man who was part of the Abrahamic covenant with God (as we are) was doing what one normally does in life when supernatural intervention arrives.

And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him and said to him, The Lord is with you, you mighty man of [fearless] courage. Judges 6:12.

Did you notice that the word Angel is capitalized? That is powerful. When this word is capitalized like that, it usually relates to Jesus! The Lord came to Gideon and immediately told him who he was—a mighty man of God. There was no condemnation; no criticism; no negative statement of any kind. God had already sent a prophet to tell them to repent. God called him a mighty warrior. You might think you have failed or that you have nothing anyone (including God) would want to be interested in , but He calls you a mighty warrior. Hey—that’s before you even think of starting anything! He already thinks you are a success.
What the Angel did was to define the man. The very first thing He told Gideon that he was a winner, or a mighty warrior.

What did he see?

What did He see in the man?

He did not see a failure, but a potential champion. You might not see yourself as anyone important, or have anything to contribute to the cause, but God does and you do not need any human abilities for that.

He is not looking at our ability, but our avail-ability and obedience. We have to see ourselves as we really are. I guess that you already have a collection of positive faith affirmations, like, “I am...” and  “I have...” etc. And, whilst they are good, they are useless if you do not apply them and put them to work.

One of the best affirmations you can have is to look in a mirror and tell the person staring at you that you like him or her.
Try it.

Question

After His greeting, Gideon immediately came back with a question, but I really think that it was a statement-

And Gideon said unto him, Oh my Lord, if the LORD be with us, why then is all this befallen us? and where be all his miracles which our fathers told us of, saying, Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt? but now the LORD hath forsaken us, and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites. Judges 6:13

I once thought that Gideon was complaining; having a kind of pity party; calling himself a nobody as he asked God in a negative way, “Why has all this happened?” I’ve had to rethink that because of the Lord’s reply. If it was negative and complaining, why would the Lord call it his might?

I am convinced that, despite his personal weaknesses, Gideon had something going for him. He might not have yet fully realized what he had, but it was a yearning—a craving or desire and he voiced it. Allow me some liberty to paraphrase again.

He firstly called the Angel Lord and rightly so and then said something like, “I’ve heard of what God did when He brought us out of Egypt. I know of the miracles He performed for us. I remember the stories of how Joshua led us into the Promised Land.

If He did all those things before, can’t He do them again?”

Before I was born again, I often looked at what was called “The Stations of the Cross” that were a series of portraits of various stages relating to Easter. I would look at them and cry and I remember asking in my own tinpot way then that if God never changes and His word never changes, why have things changed so much today? Where are those apostles and prophets of the bible? They should still be here. Why aren’t we witnessing the same miracles Jesus performed if He is still the same?
I did not know any theology. I was not interested in homiletics, hermeneutics, apologetics, exegesis, liturgy and the like—I just wanted to see the things I saw in the bible continue happening.
I took what I read in the bible at face value and never tried to explain it away as modern theology does. The Lord answered me one day! He said that nothing has changed—only people and their man made religious ideas.

Does this make sense?

I think this was Gideon’s cry and the Lord called that his might.

Three elements

The Lord told this man who was hiding in a vat that he was a mighty warrior. To progress from a failure to a champion requires the three elements Gideon had- 

  1. God defined him. The first thing the Angel did was to tell Gideon that he was a mighty warrior. Yes, even whilst he was hiding inside that pit 
  2. God told him what he would do. “You will deliver a whole nation”
  3. God defined what he had. I think it was his longing to see the Elohim of Aḇraham, of Yitsḥaq, and of Ya‘aqoḇ amongst His people as of the days of old.

We cannot remain in the state of defeat and failure. I need not elaborate more on that. We have to get out of the hole and move forward if we want to succeed in life, so there are three kinds of people involved.

  1. Those who remain in the hole. Some people seem to like being there. I do not understand why. They are in failure
  2. Those who get out of the hole. They are no longer in failure but in a state of survival. They are just barely making it. Some people remain here too. They never progress any further than hanging in there. Some Christians wish that Jesus would come back to rescue them from this evil world, but we are to overcome in this evil world and let the light of God shine in the darkness. They are in what I call the “White Knuckle Brigade” (hanging in there) but we are not to hang in there—we are to do what God told Adam—which to us is now ruling and reigning in life by Christ Jesus
  3. Those who have gotten out of the hole and passed through the survival mode and are the thriving mode.

We are not supposed to stay in the place of survival. We can however look at where we came from, but not regress. Survivors pray for God to help them, but thrivers ask God to let them help others. Survivors ask God to bless them, whilst thrivers ask God to allow them to be the one to bring the blessing. Survivors are constantly seeking relief and provision. Thrivers do not ask God to bless them. They ask God to permit them to bless others. Survivors keep asking God to give them stuff, but thrivers want to give stuff to others. Thrivers pray, “Let me be the one you choose to answer their prayer”

We cannot remain in the pit, but sometimes we have to pass through the surviving stage on our way to the place where we thrive. Sometimes we need to know where we have been and where we came from, remembering our roots, but don’t dwell there. Whilst in that survival mode, we can learn things.  It is where we can see God moving in our lives and give us a testimony of what He did for us so that we can honestly say that we have been there...done that and came out the other side.

I came from failure to survival mode, but I was never going to stay there. Something was driving me. I could not see any light at the end of the tunnel in the natural after my secular career disappeared, but it led me to where I am now. I had a vision.

God reminded me of my ministry call and vision and He has done what the Angel did to Gideon...for me!

He can do that for you too!

I cleaned toilets to pay rent for a one bedroom unit and eat.

I cleaned out chicken farms in the middle of the night to survive because I was “too qualified” to get a job due to my qualifications and  experience. Here I was, a man with a bachelor degree, a man who signed off on multi-million dollar projects, managing a staff of  240-250 people, a man who had appeared on Christian satellite T.V. and met some of the generals of the faith, who had worked on World Expo ’88 in Brisbane, now broke and unable to get a job and forced to go on the dole.

I was in that hole I described, but refused to stay there and climbed out, because God had a plan and I wanted in on it.

Like Job, I lost everything, but refused to stay in that place of surviving, because of a word from God and He has now turned it all around. Like Job, God has restored more than I lost with interest and that is just the beginning. I am now in the position whereby I am asking God to give me the privilege of being a blessing to others. If I came out of failure, visited survival and am now living in the land of thrive, you can do that too.

I want you to know that you can go from failure to survival and from survival to thriving.

It is easy to complain in the pit and just as easy to complain in survival mode, but when surviving, the objective is to learn the ways of God and apply them—not complain. We should remember that we were in that middle position, because it is whilst we were there, we obtained our university degree in the School of the Spirit. We know we were there, but we are never to camp there.

Who am I?

The Angel had defined who Gideon was, where he was, what he had and what he was going to do and now Gideon asked a valid question. I once thought this was also negative, but on reflection, it makes real sense. He said-
And he said unto him, Oh my Lord, wherewith shall I save Israel? behold, my family is poor in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father's house. Judges 6:15

He recognized his position and status. I liken this to the question Mary posed when the angel told her that she was to be the mother of Jesus. “How?” She did not question it as Zachariah did. I once asked the Lord why Zachariah was struck dumb when he asked the angel “How?”, but Mary was not. He told me that the tone of their questions was different. The man was a priest and should have known better. He questioned God, whereas Mary accepted what God said and asked how it would happen. She heard what God said via that angel, received it, accepted it, but knowing the implications, asked him how it would happen. Gideon did likewise.

It was a valid question that the Lord answered, “I will be with you” He added, “You will be victorious, because I chose you and I sent you.” That’s all we really need to succeed.

The ability comes with the call.

I once angered the Lord when I was studying for my doctorate.

There is nothing wrong with such education. I encourage it, but it depends on who is teaching what and what value we place on it. I had framed certificates and diplomas of which I was somewhat proud. They were acceptable and legitimate, but the Lord told me to get rid of them. I took them out of their frames and was about to discard them, when He told me, “Burn them” and explained the reason. I was placing more trust in my achievements and qualifications than I was in the anointing that came with His call on my life.

He said that they were good and acceptable—but not for me then! I have since then resumed more studies. In fact, I am probably learning more truth now at my present age than I did then. Notice that I said truth (or revelation)!

He then asked me a question, “What would you prefer? Would you like Me to teach you? Would you like Me to give you revelation, or would you prefer to rely on your own resources and abilities? I want to teach you.”

I saw what he was getting at and have never looked back since I made the change. A pastor friend in Africa wrote to me recently to thank me for the teachings I share and I told him it was a gift from God that came because I saw what James said, believed it,wanted it...and applied it-
If any of you is deficient in wisdom, let him ask of the giving God [Who gives] to everyone liberally and ungrudgingly, without reproaching or faultfinding, and it will be given him.
Only it must be in faith that he asks with no wavering (no hesitating, no doubting). For the one who wavers (hesitates, doubts) is like the billowing surge out at sea that is blown hither and thither and tossed by the wind. James 1:5-6 

The church needs a good dose of Godly wisdom, rather than depending on natural intellectually based theology and worldly controlled education systems. See what Paul said about this in 1 Corinthians chapters 1, 2 and 3. I will say it again, the ability comes with the call. It is the anointing of the Holy Spirit we need. Everything else is either an added bonus or a hindrance, depending on the application.

Optimized Process

A valid request

Gideon then made a valid request.
Gideon said to Him, If now I have found favor in Your sight, then show me a sign that it is You Who talks with me.
Do not leave here, I pray You, until I return to You and bring my offering and set it before You. And He said, I will wait until you return. Judges 6:17-18 

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.”
When Gideon had followed these instructions, the Angel touched the meat and bread with his staff, and fire flamed up from the rock and consumed them! And suddenly the Angel was gone! Judges 6:20-21

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 where verse one states-
The Lord says, People who never before inquired about me are now seeking me out. Nations who never before searched for me are finding me

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 verses 2 to 4-
I spread out my hands all day long to a rebellious people who live in a way that is not good,  who follow their own inclinations; a people who provoke me to my face all the time, sacrificing in gardens and burning incense on bricks. 
They sit among the graves and spend the night in caverns; they eat pig meat and their pots hold soup made from disgusting things.

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. 
That night the LORD said to Gideon, “Take the second bull from your father’s herd, the one that is seven years old. Pull down your father’s altar to Baal, and cut down the Asherah pole standing beside it.
Then build an altar to the LORD your God here on this hilltop sanctuary, laying the stones carefully. Sacrifice the bull as a burnt offering on the altar, using as fuel the wood of the Asherah pole you cut down.” Judges 6:25-26
 

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?
Sometimes we pray about something that has already been answered! Once the Lord made it clear that He wanted us to move, we stopped praying for direction. We just went ahead and did it.

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!

What was God seeking?

Then Jerub-Baal (that is, Gideon) and all the people who were with him got up early and set up camp at Harod Spring. There was a camp of Midianites to the north of them in the valley near the hill of Moreh. The Lord said to Gideon, “You have too many people with you for Me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel glorify themselves over Me, saying, ‘Our own power saved us.’ So now, call out so the people can hear, ‘Whoever is afraid or anxious may turn back and leave Mount Gilead.’ ” So twenty-two thousand from among the people turned back, and ten thousand were left. 
But the Lord said to Gideon, “There are still too many people. Bring them down to the water, and I will test them for you there. When I say to you, ‘This one will go with you,’ he will go with you. Everyone about whom I will say, ‘This one will not go with you,’ will not go.” 
So he brought the people down to the water, and the Lord said to Gideon, “You shall set apart by himself everyone who laps the water with his tongue like dogs; likewise, everyone who kneels down to drink.” The number of those who lapped, putting their hands to their mouths, was three hundred. The rest of the people had knelt to drink water. 
The Lord said to Gideon, “With three hundred men who lapped to drink, I will save you and give the Midianites into your hands. All the rest of the people should go home.” Judges 7:1-7

Those 22,000 men left for legitimate reasons according to Hebrew Law, so there was no slur on them in any way. Their choices were legitimate and perfectly acceptable. There were still too many (10,000 all-told) and God did not want them because of various reasons, the main one was that they just were not prepared. If you look at the picture to the left,  3 men were not on the alert. They saw nothing but the water and buried their heads in their own needs. Their weapons were laying on the ground and if the enemy rushed out of hiding at them, they were disadvantaged. The man in the middle drank the same water, answered the same call, was dedicated, committed and alert and he still had his weapons ready for action. He and the other 299 were prepared and ready for action.

One lesson I see that might apply to us is what Paul said-
Now I, Paul, who am lowly in presence among you but bold toward you while absent, appeal to you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ. I beg you that when I am present, I might not have to be bold with that confidence by which I intend to be bold against some, who think of us as if we walked according to the flesh. For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds, casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is complete. 

Do you look at things from the outward appearance? If any man trusts that he is Christ’s, let him consider again that, as he is Christ’s, even so are we Christ’s. For even if I should boast somewhat more of our authority, which the Lord has given us for edification and not for your destruction, I shall not be ashamed, lest I appear to frighten you by my letters. “For his letters,” they say, “are weighty and powerful, but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible.” Let such a person consider this: that as we are in word by letters when we are absent, we will also be in deed when we are present. 

For we dare not count or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves. They who measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another are not wise. But we will not boast beyond measure, but within the boundaries which God has appointed us, which reach even you. For we are not overextending ourselves as though we did not reach you, since we have come to you, preaching the gospel of Christ. We are not boasting of things beyond our measure in other men’s labors. But we have hope that when your faith is increased, our region shall be greatly enlarged by you, to preach the gospel in the regions beyond you and not to boast in another man’s accomplishments. But, “Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord.”For it is not he who commends himself who is approved, but he whom the Lord commends. 2 Corinthians 10:1-18. See also 1 Corinthians, the first three chapters.

So now Gideon had his army. He was now ready for victory, but to achieve it, required a few more elements and I will liken them to Paul’s letter. Although the battle is the Lord’s, we have a real part to play, because nothing happens by chance or accident.

This is where many budding preachers fail and this is where many Christians do not live in the fulness of the blessing that is available. They have no self discipline. They do not formulate a plan. They drift along in life with the thought that God is in charge. No He is not! He gave authority to Adam and He regained it at Calvary and gave it to the Church!  

 For example, look at Luke 9:1 and Acts 1:8. Jesus gave us delegated authority to act in His Name and the clout to back it up! Mark stated that they (the disciples) went forth and preached everywhere—and that the Lord went with them and confirmed the words they said with the signs following. If they never did it, He never did it, but in the doing, there has to be planning. A friend of mine is a ships captain. He does not up anchor and sail out somewhere without making plans. I expect he checks the tides and the weather conditions; fills the fuel and water tanks, stocks up with food and carefully plots his course if he wants to reach his destination and return home safely. Course corrections may have to be occasionally applied on the journey, but he prepares himself for the journey. 

In like manner, God expects us to make appropriate plans to implement His plans and we work together in this. Gideon thus made plans for his crusade!

He divided the three hundred men into three combat units. He gave all of them ram’s horn trumpets, empty jars, and torches within the jars. 
He said to them, “Look at me and do likewise. Watch, and when I come to the perimeter of the camp, do as I do. When I and all who are with me blow the horn, then you will blow the horns all around the camp and shout, ‘For the Lord and for Gideon.’ ” Judges 7:16-18

Let us look at this closely.

  1. He organized his men into clearly defined groups. This speaks of order and requires discipline. I am not talking of the dictatorial styles of leadership often prevalent in churches, but one in which the leadership earns the respect of the people. Here, everyone knows where they stand and what they do. In the past, we were told to find our ministry gift and move into it, but when people tried, they were shot down in flames. Sometimes we need to put people in their places of course, but not by manipulation, domination and control.
    Many believers seem to drift without any purpose. These men had purpose, vision and organizational structure.
    There is to be organization and structure in the church; let the deacons deak, the elders eld and the pastors past.
    Moses and Joshua had organization and structure. The church has it. The five ascension gift ministries of Ephesians 4 and Romans 12 etc have it.


     
  2. He equipped and trained his men. This ensured that everyone was trained the same way with the same items. Imagine sending an army into battle today throwing  a 9mm Glock pistol, a .22 gauge rifle, a .38 Smith and Wesson revolver, a 12 gauge shotgun, a .45 Sig Sauer pistol, spears and bows (without arrows?) and an assortment of different gauge rounds of ammunition at them and telling them to go out there without training. “There’s the enemy, so go out and fight”. That’s crazy, but I see this often happening in churches. You know what happens then. Am I right?
    Equate this with modern day ministry in any way you like and go for a drive around some churches. We represent royalty; the King of kings and the Lord of lords and He deserves the best.
    Bill Winston trains everyone including the doorkeepers and the men in the parking lot. Every time we drive up, they guide us to a parking position, open the doors for us, carry our belongings to the front entrance, pass us onto someone at the door who takes us to the minister’s entrance and then the head usher takes us to our assigned seat. That church runs like a Swiss watch. What does your church do?

     
  3. Gideon told his men to watch him and follow his example. Leaders...lead. People follow. People need good leadership that can lead by example. No one can tell anyone else to do what they say and expect results if they are not living the life themselves. Good leaders know their ministry calling or office and stay in that. When they try to step outside their office, people know it! Do not try to be a pastor if God has called you to be an evangelist or vice-versa. Jesse Duplantis does not pastor the church he built, because he knows and admits that he is not a pastor. Kenneth Copeland does not pastor EMIC—his son in law George Pearsons does.
    People go to George for pastoral leadership because they follow his example and he in turn follows Kenneth’s example.

    This brings me to an important point. The leader must be qualified—by God to that position and not be self-appointed or put there by man. I relate to Bill Winston for my leadership.

     
  4. He employed a strategy. He told them to look at him and do what he did and sent that out to surround the camp.
    There was a plan and a strategy employed to make that plan work

     
  5. He told them their purpose. They were doing it for the Lord and in turn for him. Loyalty was invoked. Unity was required. Imagine the outcome if some of those men decided to do their own thing and try it another way, or left?

His strategy was amazingly simple. It essentially involved surrounding the enemy camp at night and striking when the new guard arrived. They were not yet accustomed to the darkness and probably nervous as they could not distinguish individual shapes or noises, not settled down and I wold not be surprised if they were not really happy to be on duty at that time. 

When he and his men were in position, he led—by example, running down into the camp with his light inside the vessel and blowing his trumpet and then yelling, For the Lord and for Gideon”. They all did likewise and the enemy was routed.

Take a look at their hands. They were not able to hold their swords in them. They did not depend on natural abilities and resources. 

Paul tells us that we have a heavenly treasure hidden in earthen vessels. In 2 Corinthians 4:4, he said that the god of this world has blinded the minds of people so that they cannot see the truth. He admonished us to allow our light to shine so that they could see and he said that if we do not—if the gospel is hid, then they will never be saved.

But if our good news is veiled, it is veiled from those who are on the way to destruction:
Because the god of this world has made blind the minds of those who have not faith, so that the light of the good news of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, might not be shining on them.
For our preaching is not about ourselves, but about Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your servants through Jesus.

Seeing that it is God who said, Let light be shining out of the dark, who has put in our hearts the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
But we have this wealth in vessels of earth, so that it may be seen that the power comes not from us but from God; 2 Corinthians 4:3-7 

He told us that we should earnestly covet the best gifts (speaking of the Gifts of the Spirit) in 1 Corinthians, chapters  12 to 14 and explained that they are to be motivated by love, but look at this-

And if the bugler doesn’t sound a clear call, how will the soldiers know they are being called to battle? 1 Corinthians 14:8

The Lord wants His church back! He wants a church that is motivated by love and a church that has real effect, preaching the whole counsel of God.

To do this, the hard outer shells of our own personal lives and the religious church shells be broken so that His light can shine in the darkness.

A great awakening has started, bringing this all back and I am so pleased to see it starting.

The men’s battle cry was “For the Lord.”

They could not use natural weapons. Equate this with intellectual talents and abilities, debate and arguments that I  mentioned earlier.
...(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)
Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.

2 Corinthians 10:4-6 

The bible tells me that when Gideon and his men ran into that camp, the Lord caused the enemy to fight itself. Every man started fighting each other and God’s men never lifted a natural weapon.

I’m tired of being sick and tired. I am tired of putting up with less than God’s best. I have drawn the line and want the enemy to restore all that he stole from me and from God’s people with interest and he has, because the word of God says so in Proverbs 6:31. I am sure you are also.

Are you fed up with being kicked around in life and feel that you are under an oppression of some kind, of being told what you can and can’t do (I’m not inciting rebellion) and of working hard only to be cheated of your full rights? 

Israel was! They repented then and cried out for God’s deliverance and He raised up a man who had been in failure, walked through the valley of just barely making it to enter the land of thriving to become a mighty warrior.

If Gideon did it, you can do it too. This is your right and inheritance, because a greater champion than Gideon called Jesus fought the battle for you and won.