Read Judges 6 -- 7
Once more, the Israelites were enslaved; this time by the Midianites. The Israelites did evil in the sight of the Lord: and the Lord delivered them into the hand of Midian seven years. . . . And Israel was greatly impoverished. . . . And it came to pass, when the children of Israel cried to the Lord . . . That the Lord sent a prophet to the children of Israel (Judges 6:1,6-8). Before a judge could rise up to lead the forces of Israel against the enemy, the people needed to be reminded that they had rejected the Word of God. The answer to their prayers began with reproof through a prophet: Thus says the Lord God of Israel . . . I delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians, and out of the hand of all who oppressed you . . . and gave you their land . . . but you have not obeyed My voice (6:8-10). There was no word of comfort, only reproof. The people were left with the consciousness of their sins and with no hope of relief. The people needed to recognize that their miserable suffering was the direct result of their disregarding the Word of God.
It would appear that this unnamed prophet may have had only one convert: Gideon. He was ready to obey the Lord. At the time, Gideon was threshing wheat by the winepress, to hide it from the Midianites. And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him, and said to him, The Lord is with you, you mighty man of valor. . . . You shall save Israel from . . . the Midianites (6:11-12,14). Gideon was deeply conscious of his poverty and inability, and confessed: My family is poor . . . I am the least in my father's house (6:15).
And the Lord said to him, Surely I will be with you (6:16). Gideon was ready to worship the Lord and quickly prepared a kid, and unleavened cakes (as a sacrifice). . . . Then Gideon built an altar there to the Lord, and called it Jehovah-Shalom (6:19,24). But that was just the beginning! That night, the Lord said to Gideon, Take your father's young bull, even the second bull of seven years old, and throw down the altar of Baal that your father has, and cut down the grove (the symbol of idol worship) that is beside it: And build an altar to the Lord your God (6:25-26). What a challenge! After he offered the Sin Offering, Gideon was told to take the second bull, and offer a burnt sacrifice (6:26), symbolic of unconditional surrender to the Lord.
Strange, isn't it? We tend to think that the only people God can use are those who have influence in their communities. But, often these people are too busy, want to do it their way, or would rather compromise than lose their popularity. Gideon was truly a man of inexperience and uncertainty, but he was also one who would unconditionally obey the Lord and depend entirely upon Him, without fear of the opposition. For this reason, Gideon became a mighty man of valor (6:12) and the fifth judge of Israel. We too must get our eyes off of circumstances and fix our faith on the Word of God. God has chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the Kingdom which He has promised to them that love Him (James 2:5).
Christ Portrayed: As the Sword of the Lord (Judges 7:20). In the Apostle John's revelation of Jesus, out of His mouth went a sharp twoedged Sword (Rev. 1:16). We know that the Sword is the Word of God (Eph. 6:17) and that Jesus is the Word of God made flesh (John 1:14).
Word Studies: 6:24 Jehovah-Shalom means The Lord our Peace.
Government Official: Rep. Don Manzullo (IL) · Pray for Rick Hash and the Bible Pathway Radio Broadcasts on WOOW-AM, Greenville, NC · Country: Bosnia and Hercegovina (4 million) on the Balkan Peninsula in southeastern Europe · Major language: Serbo-Croatian · Little evangelism being done · 40% Muslim; 28% Serbian Orthodox; 14% Roman Catholic · Prayer Suggestion: Encourage others to praise the Lord throughout the day (Psalms 67:5).
Optional Reading: John 15
Memory Verse for the Week: Colossians 2:10