The writer of this great chapter on faith is running out of time and space, but even if he cannot mention their deeds, he must name check them. So six people, along with the prophets, are therefore included before the close of the chapter and we shall consider the first on the list, namely Gideon.
For seven years God has been using the Midianites to oppress his people. Eventually they – “cried out to the Lord for help” (Judges 6 v 6) and the familiar cycle began all over again – SIN leading to SERVITUDE resulting in SUPPLICATION followed by SALVATION. This time deliverance would come via the hand of Gideon, the 5th of the Judges, but a most unlikely choice who was more wimp than warrior!
Challenge – Unlikely a candidate as you are, is God calling you to do something significant for him?
Against enormous odds Gideon and his 300 men routed the Midianite army and the people were so grateful that they offered him the chance to rule over them and establish a dynasty. Being aware that Israel’s ruler was the Lord, and that there was a “no vacancy” sign in the window, Gideon politely declined.
But it would seem that this was nothing more than diplomatic rhetoric, because it soon became apparent that both lip and life were out of sync, and that Gideon was attempting to create a vacancy. He made a golden idol, located it in a shrine in his home town, and encouraged the Israelites to worship it. He also began to behave like a king, accepting the purple robes of the now deceased Midianite kings; maintaining a harem; and audaciously calling one of his son’s Abimelech, which means “My father is king.” Gideon had changed; success had gone to his head and had become a snare to him.
Challenge – Are you so successful in your chosen field that God is getting pushed out and no longer rules over you?
But what does Gideon teach us about faith?
His was a very up and down faith, characterised by peaks (the demolition of his father’s pagan altar; his great victory over the Midianites) and troughs (his feelings of inadequacy; his continual demand for signs; his struggle with the issue of kingship.)
Most of us will be able to identify with such faith, because ours tends to be more roller coaster than continuous upward curve! But how can we stabilise it so that it is more on an even keel? By responding in three ways to the promises of God:-
1 – Accept God’s Promises.
Focus on his promises instead of on your circumstances and accept them as if they are spoken to you in this generation (Joshua 1 v 9.)
2 – Abide in God’s Promises.
Spend quality time in God’s Word internalising it, so that you will make right and wise decisions based on faith (John 15 v 7.)
C – Act on God’s Promises.
Knowledge must lead to obedience, where you step out of the boat and walk by faith (John 13 v 17.)
Theme: ”The snare of success!”
Reading: Hebrews 11 v 32 & Judges 8 v 22 – 27
Preacher: Chris Hughes
Led by: Nathan Gordon