Songs and Praise
   

 
 
 

Less 192 THE CALL OF GOD TO GIDEON

 
Judges 6:1-40;

Lesson 192 Senior Lessons

MEMORY VERSE:  "Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now here¬with, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it" (Malachi 3:10).

I The Wretched State of Sinners

Israel sinned; the Midianites conquered them and left them destitute, Judges 6:1-6; Psalm 106:41-43 The Children of Israel cried to God and He sent a prophet to remind them of their sins, Judges 6:7-10; Psalm 106:44; Hosea 5:15

II The Angel's Message to Gideon

As Gideon threshed wheat, the angel appeared with a message from God, Judges 6:11, 12 Gideon wondered at the divine call, Judges 6:13-16; Exodus 3:11; II Samuel 7:18-20; Jeremiah 1:6-9 The authority of the angel was attested by a sign, Judges 6:17-24; Leviticus 9:24; I Kings 18:38; II Chronicles 7:1

III Gideon's Destruction of Baal

The first command of God to Gideon was that idolatry be overthrown and an altar built for God, Judges 6:25-27; Matthew 6:24; II Co¬rinthians 6:15-17 The men of the city desired to put Gideon to death, Judges 6:28-30; Jeremiah 26:11; John 16:2; Acts 9:1, 2; 26:9-11 Gideon's father stood with Gideon against the men of the city, Judges 6:31, 32; II Timothy 4:16, 17 The Spirit of the Lord came upon Gideon as the Midianites gathered for war, Judges 6:33-35; 15:14-16; Ephesians 6:10-12

IV The Faithfulness of God

Gideon asked for a sign that he was called to lead Israel, Judges 6:36-38; Exodus 4:1-9 Gideon desired the second demonstration, and God granted the request, Judges 6:39, 40

NOTES

Day of Trouble

The man who sins must expect to reap the result of that sin. Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord, and almost immediately the protecting hand of the Lord was removed from their lives and lands. On this occasion God allowed the Midianites, a people who had once been subdued by the Children of Israel, to invade the land and put Israel in oppression. The conqueror was now the conquered. Sin had robbed the once proud army of Israel of its power and will to fight, until now they would rather flee than engage the enemy in combat. The dens of the mountains and caves became Israel's hiding places. The Midianites came in great hordes, like grasshoppers, and destroyed all the increase of the land until Israel was greatly impoverished and without sustenance.


'Call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me' (Psalm 50:15). Israel did call upon God, after seven years of cruel oppression by the Midianites. It seems strange that men wait so long to call upon the only One who can help them out of their trouble. God proved Himself ready and willing to answer the prayer of the people; however, before He sent a deliverer, He sent a prophet to remind the people of their sins and their need of repentance. No doubt the message of the prophet had its effect, because soon afterward the angel of God appeared to the man whom God had chosen to lead a victorious band against the enemy.

A Man of Valor

The angel of the Lord found Gideon threshing wheat by the wine¬press — the last place the Midianites would expect to find grain. 'The LORD is with thee, thou mighty man of valour,' was the salutation of the angel. Gideon answered, 'If the LORD be with us, why then is all this be-fallen us?' Gideon was similar in this respect to many people today — he failed to realize that God allowed this affliction for the express purpose of bringing the people back to Himself The Psalmist declared: 'It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes' (Psalm 119:71). The furnace of affliction often proves to be the great purifier of the metal in the lives of God's children.


When Gideon heard the call of God to deliver the Children of Israel out of the hands of the Midianites, he displayed the same trait that has marked most of God's human instruments. Gideon was truly humble. In answer to the declaration that he should save Israel, Gideon replied: '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). True humility is a wonderful working tool in the hands of God. It has been said that humble¬ness is the only ladder to honor in God's Kingdom. How many of God's great men have expressed their inability in one form or another when God called them to His work Moses said, 'Who am I?' when the Lord instructed him to go to Egypt and deliver the Children of Israel from the bondage of their oppressors. Moses continued to serve God in humility throughout his lifetime, so that the Bible declares: 'Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth' (Numbers 12:3). The example of Moses' life and work for God stands as a monument to this day. The prevailing need of the world today is a great many men who are willing to say, 'Who am I?' and are willing to let God use them as He wills

Gideon's Altar

As Gideon talked with the angel that brought the message from God, the truth gradually unfolded that this was no ordinary messenger. Gideon desired that the messenger would not depart until he had an opportunity to bring a present. The angel said that be would tarry. When the present was brought, the angel directed that it be placed there upon a rock. The angel touched the offering with the end of the staff that was in his hand, and fire rose up out of the rock and consumed the whole offering. The angel departed at the same time.

 

Gideon had heard much about the God of Israel, but this seems to be the first recorded personal contact that Gideon had had with God. His first reaction was that he must die. The conviction had no sooner entered his heart than the words of reassurance from Heaven settled in, a great calm upon his soul: 'Peace be unto thee; fear not: thou shalt not die.'

Gideon found a greater Measure of peace with God in that very hour, for we read that Gideon built an altar there unto the Lord: The name that he gave to that altar is very significant, 'Jehovah-shalom,' which means 'the Lord is peace.' God was calling Gideon forth to the fiercest warfare, yet Gideon erected an altar which meant that 'the Lord is peace.' Is it not the peace of God through our Lord Jesus Christ that prepares a man to fight 'the good fight of faith'? To be able to stand against the wiles of the devil, against the rulers of darkness, against spiritual wicked¬ness in high places, it, is absolutely necessary to have a personal knowledge, through an experience with God, that the Lord is peace. God has that experience for all who realize their need of it and will come to Him in earnest prayer.

Destruction of Baal

The first instructions for action that God gave to Gideon were that the altar of Baal and the grove beside it be thrown down, and that an altar be built unto God. This was no small assignment, for the whole city worshiped Baal. Gideon did not parley with God about the command, but the same night he took ten men of his servants and did as the Lord had said unto him Here is another secret of truly successful service to God — to do what He commands as soon as possible. To parley with God or to delay obedience to His command will, in almost every instance, make the assignment difficult to perform. If we do what God asks when He calls, His grace will be on hand to bring the work to a successful conclusion.


Gideon did this work at night because he feared the inhabitants of the city, but he did not fear them to the extent that he did- not do the work at all. There is a vast difference. The enemy of men's souls will try to instill fear in the hearts of God's soldiers at the beginning of some special call in the Gospel, to the degree that they will give up God's work and go back into their old ways. Let us make some sorties for God, even though we do fear the result. Our persistence to duty will wear down the most tenacious emissary of Satan. By the time Gideon had finished with the Midianites, there was no fear in his heart. God's promise is, 'Perfect love casteth out fear' (I John 4:18). By the time the Lord has perfected His love in our heart, all the fear of men or their opinions will be gone

Taking a Stand

Since the dawn of history, the children of God have been persecuted by the children of the world. Gideon soon found this to be true in his case. When the men of the city arose the next morning after the altar of Baal had been destroyed, they were greatly disturbed. It did not take them long to determine who had done this work. The man who serves God is marked by the world, even though his experience with God is not of very long standing. The men of the city decided that Gideon should die immediately for his action against their idol.


A definite stand for God will influence others to stand with you. Gideon's father took his stand on the side of his son, against the men of the city. 'Will ye plead for Baal? will ye save him? ...if he be a god, let him plead for himself, because one hath cast down his altar' (Judges 6:31). Joash had never seen Baal do any good. Apparently now he was ready to trust in the God of Israel to see what He would do. The standing together of these two men had a remarkable effect, for when Gideon blew the trumpet to gather the men of Israel into an army, the men of Abiezer, Gideon's home country, were gathered after him.

Gideon's Fleece

Gideon asked for a sign, not as the wicked and adulterous generation of Jesus' day sought for signs, but Gideon asked that his faith might be confirmed and made stronger in the Lord. Gideon was but a newly appointed leader, and the army that was gathered with him were raw re¬cruits. The Midianites lay in the valley like grasshoppers for multitude. There was no wonder, then, that Gideon felt his need for more faith in God.


God answered Gideon's prayer, as He will answer every honest seeker after Him. Gideon placed a fleece of wool upon the ground and prayed that the fleece be wet with dew during the night, but that the ground might remain dry all around the fleece. If the Lord would fulfill this request, then Gideon would know that God designed to deliver Israel by, his hand. The Lord performed the request exactly as Gideon asked for it — the ground was dry all around, but Gideon wrung a bowlful of water out of the fleece. No doubt the tempter was on hand to tell Gideon that this was a natural occurrence, that a fleece of wool would naturally draw the moisture from the air during the night.

Two Answers

The second night Gideon reversed the sign and asked that God would allow the fleece to remain dry and that the ground all around would be wet with dew. To take any doubt out of Gideon's mind about his call to deliver Israel out of the Midianites' hand, God condescended to answer the second petition. When Gideon arose the next morning the fleece was dry, but the ground was wet with dew. Direct revelation was needed in many instances during those early days of God's dealings with men.


Today we enjoy the full light of the Gospel, as it has been unfolded through our Lord Jesus Christ in redemption and sanctification; and for those who seek Him, the Holy Ghost has been given to lead into all truth. 'When he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you' (John 16:13, 14). However, even today God often answers prayer in some particular way to assure His people that their request has been granted. He still loves to be proved by His people that He might show Himself strong in their behalf, Do we have problems today? Let us bring them to the Lord in sincere prayer with a 'Thy will be done,' and watch Him work it out.

QUESTIONS

1 In what way was Israel's plight particularly grievous at this time?
2 How long did it take Israel to realize that there was a way of escape?
3 To whom did the angel of the Lord appear? and what was the salu¬tation?
4 How did the Lord know what kind of man Gideon was?
5 What was Gideon's reaction when he realized that he had been talking to an angel of the Lord?
6 What was the first task that God assigned to Gideon? How soon did he perform this task?
7 What kind of reception did this work receive from the men of the city?
8 In what two ways did Gideon ask for proof that God had chosen him to lead Israel against the Midianites?

 
   
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