Gideon: Man of Valor Part 4
And it was so, when Gideon heard the telling of the dream, and the interpretation thereof, that he worshiped, and returned into the host of Israel, and said, Arise; for the Lord hath delivered into your hand the host of Midian. And he divided the three hundred men into three companies, and he put a trumpet in every man's hand, with empty pitchers, and lamps within the pitchers. And he said unto them, Look on me, and do likewise:and, behold, when I come to the outside of the camp, it shall be that, as I do, so shall ye do. When I blow with a trumpet, I and all that are with me, then blow ye the trumpets also on every side of all the camp, and say, The sword of the Lord, and of Gideon.
So Gideon, and the hundred men that were with him, came unto the outside of the camp in the beginning of the middle watch; and they had but newly set the watch:and they blew the trumpets, and brake the pitchers that were in their hands. And the three companies blew the trumpets, and brake the pitchers, and held the lamps in their left hands, and the trumpets in their right hands to blow withal:and they cried, The sword of the Lord, and of Gideon. And they stood every man in his place round about the camp:and all the host ran, and cried, and fled. And the three hundred blew the trumpets, and the Lord set every man's sword against his fellow, even throughout all the host:and the host fled to Bethshittah in Zererath, and to the border of Abelmeholah, unto Tabbath. And the men of Israel gathered themselves together out of Naphtali, and out of Asher, and out of all Manasseh, and pursued after the Midianites.
And Gideon sent messengers throughout all mount Ephraim, saying, Come down against the Midianites, and take before them the waters unto Bethbarah and Jordan. Then all the men of Ephraim gathered themselves together, and took the waters unto Bethbarah and Jordan. And they took two princes of the Midianites, Oreb and Zeeb; and they slew Oreb upon the rock Oreb, and Zeeb they slew at the winepress of Zeeb, and pursued Midian, and brought the heads of Oreb and Zeeb to Gideon on the other side Jordan.
It is unquestionable that these pitchers would have been made from clay; therefore, we are given a scenario where the outer clay is hiding the inner light. Also, this passage speaks of trumpets and swords. Both of these instruments have repeated references in the scriptures to the Word of God.
When the flesh is removed, and the believer allows the light of God to shine and the word of God to lead, the victory becomes manifest.
There are many times that the word uses the idea of the "trumpet" associated with the voice of God.
And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud; so that all the people that was in the camp trembled.
1 Thessalonians 4:16
For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God:and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven:and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.
And the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of words; which voice they that heard entreated that the word should not be spoken to them any more:
In this passage, there seems to be a direct connection to the trumpet and the sword. We have already established the connection between the trumpet and the word. Certainly, there is a strong connection between the word and the sword:
For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations:and he shall rule them with a rod of iron:and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. (Undoubtedly, the sword in this passage is descriptive of His word).
Back to the thought of clay
The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying, Arise, and go down to the potter's house, and there I will cause thee to hear my words. Then I went down to the potter's house, and, behold, he wrought a work on the wheels. And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter:so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it. Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying, O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the Lord. Behold, as the clay is in the potter's hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel. At what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, and to pull down, and to destroy it; If that nation, against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them. And at what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it; If it do evil in my sight, that it obey not my voice, then I will repent of the good, wherewith I said I would benefit them.
Now therefore go to, speak to the men of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, saying, Thus saith the Lord; Behold, I frame evil against you, and devise a device against you:return ye now every one from his evil way, and make your ways and your doings good. And they said, There is no hope:but we will walk after our own devices, and we will every one do the imagination of his evil heart. Therefore thus saith the Lord; Ask ye now among the heathen, who hath heard such things:the virgin of Israel hath done a very horrible thing. Will a man leave the snow of Lebanon which cometh from the rock of the field? or shall the cold flowing waters that come from another place be forsaken? Because my people hath forgotten me, they have burned incense to vanity, and they have caused them to stumble in their ways from the ancient paths, to walk in paths, in a way not cast up; To make their land desolate, and a perpetual hissing; every one that passeth thereby shall be astonished, and wag his head. I will scatter them as with an east wind before the enemy; I will shew them the back, and not the face, in the day of their calamity.
In this long Jeremiah passage, clay is likened to God's people and the potter's wheel representing God's hand molding the human clay into its proper shape.
In addition, there is a common thread between the Judges passage we are studying and this Jeremiah passage. In both instances, God's people Israel are in rebellion and going the way of the world.
The Jeremiah passage portrays "marred" clay. It's out of shape, unwilling to be molded, and ultimately useless in the hands of the potter, resulting in the potter starting from scratch to prepare another vessel.
Our "clay" flesh is marred by the fall. There is a bend in us to go a way in opposition to God. As we're told in the book of Galatians: For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh:and these are contrary the one to the other:so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. Galatians 5:17
There is a war ensuing between that part of man fallen in Adam and that part of man born again in Christ.
Lesson 9: when the clay is moved out of the way, the light and Word engage the fight
When the flesh is in the way, in this passage, known as clay, the light of God is prevented from performing its function in our lives and through our lives.
The flesh, tainted with sin, attempts to pull us in a direction opposing God. It caters to our wants and sets us up for deception, darkness, and defeat from our enemy.
God's kingdom operates in light. Jesus is the light that came into the world and the darkness couldn't apprehend the light. While some translations say, "Couldn't comprehend the light," which would mean the darkness couldn't understand the light. Most scholars believe the right translation is, "The darkness couldn't apprehend the light," which means that the darkness couldn't overpower the light of God, which is Jesus. In reality, there is probably truth in both: the darkness neither understands, nor can it overcome the light (John 1:5).
But you must understand that when we, as the children of God, allow our flesh to dictate us towards darkness, we are choosing to operate in a realm opposite God's kingdom: John 3:19-21
And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.
Driven by flesh, we obscure God's light in the midst of our circumstances, allowing the enemy to turn his foothold into a stronghold.
If you want to be right with God, you must let your fleshly clay be broken so that the light of God can replace the darkness.
In the story we are reading the clay was broken and the light was revealed: And the three companies blew the trumpets, and brake the pitchers, and held the lamps in their left hands
When man's flesh is broken, God's light, presence, and word are released, and the enemy is driven into confusion... the Lord set every man's sword against his fellow, even throughout all the host.
Lesson 10: when we move out of the way and turn the battle over to God, He causes confusion in the enemy’s camp.
As previously mentioned, God operates in the realm of truth; whereas, His enemy dwells in darkness. In the darkness, the enemy has the upper hand, but when the light of God is allowed to shine in its proper place, the enemy's camp is brought down in confusion.
In this passage, the enemy are the Midianites, but in our lives, they are the forces of evil, attempting to hold us under the sway of their bondage; they convince our flesh to not "come clean." In other words, "I don't have to bring this to the light. I can just hold onto it and do what I want; after all, its not really that bad.
I wish I could warn people and they would listen. Sadly, most think you're a "gone off the deep end" fanatic when you start trying to convince people that a "little leaven spoils the whole lump."
God desires truth on the inward parts: Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me. Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom. Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Psalms 51:5-7
The idea in this Psalm is that David has sinned with Bathsheeba, he has had her husband, who had been faithful to his kingdom killed, the baby has died, and Nathan the prophet has let him know that God has been watching the whole time. Essentially, David hasn't gotten away with anything.
The cry from the Psalm is written from the heart of a penitent man in whom sin has taken its course and convinced him he was wrong.
What a loving God we serve who would provide us with such great examples of well meaning people that loved Him, yet failed Him. Furthermore, to know that He provides these truths all for the purpose of convincing us His way is right, and our way leads to destruction; this truth fuels my heart with more desire to get it right on the front end rather than with much sorrow and heartache on the latter end.
Sadly, most of us are more like David. My dad used to tell me, "Your just like your 'old man' boy, hard headed and stubborn, refusing to learn from my mistakes, you have enrolled yourself in the school of 'hard knocks'."
David in this Psalm is on the back end of the school of 'hard knocks'—he’s about to “graduate.” He has had time to consider his decisions and the path he chose. He probably remembers vividly his decision to stay behind while the other kings of the other nations had gone off to war, remembering even more the day he saw innocent, beautiful Bathsheeba on the rooftop. How she must have looked so young, pure, and innocent.
She, just as David, was being led like a lamb to the slaughter. Who would have ever imagined she would have become pregnant? Who would have ever imagined that David, a man after God's own heart, would sink to such lows and have her husband killed?
But the Psalm is written by a man who is not pretending that everything is alright and that its not that 'big a deal'. Instead, he is baring his heart to God and coming clean because he knows that all the lies and deceptions he was holding onto were driving him further into darkness and further away from the truth of God.
It's time to stop the lies. It's time to come clean! Who cares what others may think. It only matters what God thinks!
I can remember my own life how I had been bound for so long as a Christian. It didn't start with immediate bondage. At first, it was just a little "sip -o- sin."
When I first got saved, God had spoken clearly that it was a sin to drink, and for a while, I listened. But as time moved forward, and I saw passages like: "a little wine for the belly," I began to convince myself that things were different now; after all, I was a nurse practitioner and eating at the table with doctors, surely this was perfectly fine. I mean I'm not going to get drunk-- it's just one glass of wine.
Who really wants one glass of wine? Oh, I know, "the connoisseur,"you say. He tips his little finger, sips, swishes, and only swallows a remnant. Well, that's what he does at the tasting, but don't tell me that he never drinks more than one glass, two glasses, three glasses...
Truthfully, people like the way a "buzz" feels to their flesh. And there I was when one glass turned to several. How long did this deception last? I will say this, "It took heartache and heartbreak for me to be convinced.
After my sister's tragic death, I sunk to new lows as a Christian; instead, of running to Jesus, I was in a barroom for the first time in twelve years. By this time, the wine had become beer.
"Shut up! Don't judge me because my sin doesn't look like yours. You can't prove to me from the Bible this is wrong." I would have said as I wiped my mouth with my sleeve.
I stumbled to the bathroom, and in the midst of the stench of urine, God spoke to my heart and convinced me of my sin.
About three weeks later, I was in the car with a guy from church. We were talking about our walks with God. I was on fire at this point because the light of God had destroyed the yoke of bondage, which had previously held me fast.
I can remember as though it were yesterday when God spoke to my spirit and said, "Tell him what I did for you in that barroom. He needs to hear it."
My initial reaction was to shoo away the voice of God because people don't want to let the 'cat out of the bag.' But I could feel the Spirit of God rising up in me, encouraging me to trust Him, almost as if to say, "You're unsure because you've been living and hiding in darkness for so long that you don't know what walking in my light looks like. Trust me and watch what I'll do next."
I can remember as I started to talk that I became more passionate with every word. What was previously shrouded in darkness and fear was beginning to be replaced with the light and confidence of God; whereas, when I started the story, I was timid and feeling as though someone may look down on me, by the time I was done, I was preaching with fervor my miraculous testimony about how God showed up when I least deserved it and delivered me out of the hand of my enemy.
Where is the person you ask? He no longer goes to church. His Facebook page shows him partying. He was a real worshiper of God too. He would cry in the presence of God. I always loved worshiping with Him because he loved God so much.
I realize now that God wanted me to share the testimony for me and him. He used it to strengthen my faith and as a warning or word of correction to my friend. If you're reading this, you know who you are. I miss you, God misses you. He longs for you to seek His face as you used to. He wants you to know you haven't gone too far. He died for you, so come back to Him!
I said all this to make the point that we have to quit hiding in darkness. Bring "it" to the light! Let it be dealt with at the cross.
Lyrics to a Charles Wesley hymn:
The light of God diffused a quickening ray, when I woke, my dungeon, it flamed with light.
My chains fell off; my heart was free; I rose went forth and followed thee.
Amazing love, how can it be that thou my God should die for me? Amazing love, how can it be that thou my God would die for me?
If you really want the freedom of God to show up in your darkness, you will have to expose the light and let God cut the head off the thing!
And they took two princes of the Midianites, Oreb and Zeeb...they slew Oreb upon the rock Oreb, and Zeeb they slew at the winepress of Zeeb...brought the heads of Oreb and Zeeb to Gideon on the other side Jordan
h6158. ערב ‘oreb; or עורב ‘owreb; from 6150; a raven (from its dusky hue):— raven.
AV (10)- raven 10;
The raven bird is associated with darkness. In the definition, the words "dusky hue" are used, which further strengthen this point.
h2062. זאב z ’eb; the same as 2061; Zeeb, a Midianitish prince:— Zeeb.
AV (6)- Zeeb 6; Zeeb ="wolf"
one of the two princes of Midian mentioned
Lesson 11: come out from under the cloud of darkness and let God cut the head off the thing!
How interesting that these two princes of Midian had names corresponding to: raven-- darkness, and a wolf-- a predator that stalks and devours in the darkness.
The entirety of this teaching has emphasized the importance of allowing the flesh to be broken so that the light of God can shine in the midst of the darkness, causing confusion in the enemy's camp, and bringing victory to God's people-- that means you Christian!
The last point emphasizes the same point, but emphasizes it with finality-- remove the head! We must allow God to deal with the root of these issues and allow the cross, that instrument of death, to put these spiritual struggles in the grave.
Whether relationships, addictions, or worldly desires, you must cut your ties to these strongholds. If you allow them to stay alive, they will creep and prowl again, stealthily in the darkness and result in destruction to your walk.