Raising Up Deliverers – Judges 14:1-10 – Week 10 – Rob Covell

Raising Up Deliverers

Judges 14:1-10

Week 10 RobCovell

Introduction:

In this Session, we will begin Judges 14, and study verses 1-10. Judges 14 reveals to us the damage and danger of inviting compromises into our lives. As we mentioned previously, Samson was called by God from the womb to be a great deliverer that would bring freedom Israel and bring glory and fame to God. We see the following movements in the text in this Session.

1 – We see the contrast between lust and love, obedience to God’s Law versus the self-will of the flesh.

2 – We see that grace and providence of God as He works providentially through our compromises and sin.

3 – We are open to spiritual attacks when we move out the protective boundaries that the LORD gives us in His Word.

4 – Small compromises lead to larger more destructive ones.

Judges 14:1-3

a) Verses 1-3 introduces us to the beginning of Samson’s compromises that eventually would rob him of his destiny to be a great Nazirite Judge and Deliverer of Israel. Samson was not motivated by godly desire by choosing a Philistine wife, but by the lust of the eyes. Samson’s desire or “love at first sight” was against the Law. See Exodus 34:17 – And when you choose some of their daughters as wives for your sons and those daughters prostitute themselves to their gods, they will lead your sons to do the same.

b) 2 Corinthians 6:14 – Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?

c) Timnah was approximately 3 miles from Samson’s hometown and was given to the tribe of Judah by Joshua in Joshua 15:57. The meaning of Timnah means “portion”. It is not right when the enemy occupies our portion, or that which belongs to God’s people.

d) Samson’s parent’s reply shows their concerns for the Law of God. There are several cultural references that will help us understand the text. The mention of “among your relatives” is a reference to the tribe of Dan. The mention of the “uncircumcised Philistines” is a reference to the Philistines not being part of the LORD’s Covenant with the people of Israel. Samson’s insistence on marrying the Philistine woman is also dishonoring to his father and mother and is a violation of Exodus 20:12 – “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the LORD your God is giving you. Samson’s reply to his father and mother was literally, “she is the straight way for me”. We should always be concerned when something looks right, but violates God’s commands in Scripture.

Judges 14:4

a) Verse 4 is interpreted one of 2 ways by theologians. 1 – This marriage was permitted by God, even though it is against His Law, God violates His own Law because He is sovereign and has the right to anything He wishes. 2 – God will work Providentially through the mistakes, sins and imperfections of His people; to accomplish as much glory as possible, in the midst of the failure. Romans 8:28

b) The one thing both sides of interpretation agree on, is that the LORD was looking for an opportunity to deliver Israel and dislodge Philistine dominance over the Israelites. When we look at the fruit of Samson’s encounter with the Philistine wife, Samson made very little progress in accomplishing this purpose.

c) My personal position is that God will work Providentially through the mistakes, sins and imperfections of His people; to accomplish as much glory as possible, in the midst of the failure. The LORD was not sanctioning this marriage nor was it His perfect will, but the LORD would work through it because Samson had a calling and destiny. Samson’s ability to co-labor with God regarding his calling and destiny, limited the amount of glory and fullness that was displayed in his life. Judges chapter 14 is a demonstration of the damage that compromising can bring to God’s children.

Judges 14:5

a) Samson, being a Nazirite was forbidden to eat grapes, their seeds, skins, their juice or drink wine. For Samson to be walking through the vineyards was to be walking in the place of temptation and compromise. See Numbers 6.

b) The lion attack was a manifestation of what was happening in the spiritual realm. When we leave the protective covering of God, we are open to attacks from the enemy. 1 Peter 5:8 – Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

Judges 14:6

a) The grace of God is revealed to us in verse 6. The LORD did not abandon Samson in his time of need, but protected him. This shows us that God is committed to us even when we are making wrong choices. This was Samson’s opportunity to learn the goodness and grace of God and make a correction. Later in Samson’s narrative, he takes the grace of God and anointing of the Spirit for granted and is defeated by his enemies.

b) Additionally, in verse 6, we see the danger of operating in the power of God without having intimate relationship with God. The power of God without the love of God is worthless. See 1 Corinthians 13:1-2.

c) Samson did not tell his father and mother because sin loves being hidden and shame is the invitation to hide in darkness. James 5:16 – Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

Judges 14:7

a) There are cultural customs that are hidden in the text. Samson was not talking with the woman alone. Verse 7 indicates that Samson, Manoah his father, his mother, the woman and her father discussed marriage arrangements and negotiated a bride price and the conditions of the betrothal.

b) Notice in the text, we keep seeing phases to the effect that “he liked her”, “he saw her”, and “get her”. Scripture shows us that this is a one-sided love affair on the part of Samson.

Judges 14:8-9

a) At the end of the betrothal period, Samson and his family go back to Timnah to have the wedding feast.

b) Notice that Samson returns to the place of previous compromises and then goes another step further and breaks his Nazirite vow because he touched something dead. Once we begin drifting towards sin, it is difficult to pull away. James 1:13-16 – “When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters.”

Judges 14:10

a) According to cultural norms, Samson’s father paid the bride price, and confirmed the details of the marriage covenant.

b) Verse 10 says that Samson “held a feast as was customary for young men”; The Hebrew means, “a drinking party”. We are not told in the text if Samson broke his Nazirite Vow by drinking alcohol, but Samson certainly placed himself in another compromising situation.

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Raising Up Deliverers – Judges 13:10-25 – Week 9 – Rob Covell

Raising Up Deliverers

Judges 13:10-25

Week 9

Rob Covell

Introduction:

In this Session, we will continue the narrative of Samson’s life and complete Judges 13. Samson teaches us the following spiritual truths through his life’s story.

1 – Prophetic promises and destinies are conditional.

2 – Compromise with sin limits how much of God’s promises we experience and attain.

3 – God is faithful to work with us even in our shortcomings and will receive the maximum amount of glory that He extract from our brokenness.

4 – We should never take the grace of the Holy Spirit on our lives for granted or grieve the Holy Spirit.

As we mentioned before, Samson (like the sun), had more prophetic promise and destiny than any other Judges in Israel’s history, with the possible exception of Samuel. However, Samson failed to fulfill his destiny to fullness because he could not transcend Israel’s culture of compromise.

Judges 13:10

a) In verse 9, we see one of the most comforting words in Scripture; “God heard”. Manoah (rest) had prayed in faith that the Angel of the LORD would return and confirm His promise to Manoah’s wife. Faith will always attract heaven’s attention.

b) As the LORD heard Manoah’s prayer, He responded and appeared to her. It is important to note that the LORD appears to her directly and not Manoah. This is significant, because it shows us that the LORD is interested in ministering directly to the needs of our hearts. Manoah did not have the cultural pain of not being able to conceive a child. See Deuteronomy 28:4.

c) In the last Session, we determined the identity of the Angel of the LORD as the pre-incarnate Jesus Christ. The Angel of the LORD – Earlier in Judges, Judges 2:1-5 and Judges 6:11-24, In this chapter, the Angel of the LORD is revealed as the pre-incarnate Jesus Christ in Judges 13:18 and Judges 13:22. Throughout the Old Testament, we see appearances of Jesus Christ before His incarnation. Theologians call these appearances Theophanies, Anthropomorphisms, or Christophanies.

d) At this point in the narrative Manoah and his wife are thinking that the man is prophet and not the Angel of the LORD. Notice how God often speaks to us in ways that we can relate to, and then later we have the revelation that it is really God who has been speaking to us.

Judges 13:11-12

a) In verses 11-12, we see that Manoah possessed faith in the Word of the LORD. In Verse 12, he declared “When Your words and fulfilled”. Hebrews 11:1 – Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

b) Manoah shows wisdom in his question to the LORD, in that he asks for confirmation of the promise that God gave his wife and wisdom for partnering with the promise.

c) In our English translations, we have varying thoughts implied in the texts. Let’s look at a few of them and then look at the Hebrew to see the deeper meaning. Judges 13:12 – NASB – Manoah said, “Now when your words come to pass, what shall be the boy’s mode of life and his vocation?” Judges 13:12 – NKJV – Manoah said, “Now let Your words come to pass! What will be the boy’s rule of life, and his work?” Judges 13:12 – ESV – And Manoah said, “Now when your words come true, what is to be the child’s manner of life, and what is his mission?” The translations vary because of 2 Hebrew words. Hebrew – Mode/Rule/Manner – mishpat – judgment, justice, ordinance. Hebrew – Work/Mission – ma`aseh – deed, work, deeds, works (of deliverance and judgment). The Hebrew reveals Manoah’s heart for his promised son; that this son would be a great deliverer/judge, who would execute divine will for Israel. Wise fathers ask God for His heart for their kids.

Judges 13:13-14

a) The Angel of the LORD confirms His word to Manoah and his wife. He reminds them that their breakthrough to receive the child of promise was obedience to His instructions. Favor from the LORD is preceded by our willingness to obey what He has told us.

b) We see another spiritual key for breakthrough in the text. 1 – Manoah’s wife needed to prepare herself to receive the promise. The Law of the Nazirite (Numbers 6) was extended to her first, and then to Samson. 2 – To obey God’s word was to prove faith in the promise. 3 – Parents either natural/spiritual build the foundation and set the tone for the promises of God for our sons and daughters.

Judges 13:15-18 a) Manoah most like believes that the man talking with him is a prophet sent to them by the LORD. Manoah offers him the cultural norm of hospitality. Job 6:14 – Anyone who withholds kindness from a friend forsakes the fear of the Almighty.

b) The Angel of the LORD directs Manoah to offer a sacrifice to the LORD. It is interesting to see this interplay between God, Manoah and his wife, because we see God making Himself available to them and honoring their hearts to shoe hospitality and honor. God is relating to them right where they are.

c) Manoah wants to continue to show honor to the “man/prophet” by knowing his name so that he can memorialize it when Samson is born. To know one’s name in the ancient world was to know them experientially. Hebrew – Name – shem – name, reputation, fame, glory, the Name of God, memorial or monument.

d) The Angel of the LORD answers in verse 18, “it is beyond understanding/wonderful”; Hebrew – beyond understanding/wonderful – pil’iy – wonderful, incomprehensible, extraordinary, secret. The Angel of the LORD gives Manoah more information about Himself by describing the nature of His Name. In a similar way, the more we experience the depths of God, the more we learn
about His Incomprehensible Person and wonderful nature and character.

Judges 13:19-21

a) Sacrifice in the Old Covenant is the expression of worship to God. Worship opens us up to encounters with God that expand our understanding of Him. In this encounter, Manoah and his wife realize that they have just interacted with the LORD.

b) They fell to their faces – Encounters with God always provoke us to humility and reverencing God.

Judges 13:22-23

a) What we believe to be true about God, colors how we see Him. Manoah saw God as judgment, and his wife saw God as good. Her estimation of God was based on the goodness she experienced interacting with God. 1 – The Angel of the LORD brought her an answer to prayer and a great promise. 2 – The Angel of the LORD invited them into the encounter, showing them acceptance. 3 – The Angel of the LORD gave them a revelation of Himself that would build their faith.

Judges 13:24-25

a) Verse 24 implies that Manoah’s wife obeyed the LORD’s instructions and received the promise and blessing from the LORD.

b) The Spirit of the LORD began to stir him – Hebrew – Stir – pa`am – to thrust, impel, push, beat persistently, to be disturbed. – We see that the anointing on Samson was heavy and glorious, and full of power.

c) Notice that in Judges 13, we have seen 2 Persons of the Trinity/Godhead in the Old Testament.

d) We have another Hebrew play on words in the text: Mahaneh Dan – Camp of Judges – Zorah – Hornet – Eshtaol – Humble Request/Entreaty – “The LORD stirred up Samson (like the sun), in the place of judges, and received power between the place of hornets/oppression, and the place humble requests”. This Hebrew play on words shows the type of powerful deliverance that Samson was supposed bring to Israel.

Raising Up Deliverers – Judges 13:1-9 – Week 8 – Rob Covell

Raising Up Deliverers

Judges 13:1-9

Week 8

Rob Covell

Introduction: In this Session, we will begin the narrative of Samson, in Judges 13. When we look at Samson’s life, we see a man with great prophetic destiny and grace on his life, who failed to fulfill his prophetic destiny because of the sin of compromise. Samson was a man who mirrored his times. Samson had high, highs and low, lows. The LORD does not desire us to conform to our times, but to transcend them.

Romans 12:2 – And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

When we consider prophetic destinies, we should understand that they are conditional. Samson’s life teaches us this truth, that we may possess great promises from God, but we are responsible for partnering with those promises.

1 Timothy 1:18 – This command I entrust to you, Timothy, my son, in accordance with the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you fight the good fight,

1 Timothy 4:14 – Do not neglect the spiritual gift within you, which was bestowed on you through prophetic utterance with the laying on of hands by the (elders) presbytery.

a) Prophecies help us wage war against everything that stands in the way of destiny.

b) Prophecies give us direction and help us keep the course.

c) Prophecies are often tied to our spiritual gifts, talents and graces, and prophecies should be taken seriously and not neglected.

d) These verses point to the truth that though God encourages us with prophecies, we have the responsibility to respond to them, active faith, and live out to our calls.

Before we move on, let’s clarify some guidelines regarding prophecy and destiny.

1 Corinthians 14:3 – But the one who prophesies speaks to people for their strengthening, encouraging and comfort.

a) Prophecies should confirm what the Lord is already saying to us.

b) Prophecies should line up with our basic personalities and abilities.

c) Prophecies water the seed of God in us, and empower faith to action.

d) Prophecies that guide our life paths are not discouraging, negative, or cause fear.

e) Always judge a directional prophetic word that does not resonate with what God has already been speaking to you.

Judges 13:1

a) Throughout Judges we see the cycle of Israel being obedient to God for a season, and then eventually backsliding from the LORD, then they are oppressed by their enemies, then they cry out for a Deliverer, and then they experience peace, and it all starts over again. Israel was reaping the consequences of what they were sowing. See Deuteronomy 28.

b) 1 Corinthians 10:11 – These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the culmination of the ages has come. The good news is that none of us ever have to live a cycle that parallels Israel, through our knowledge of the Scriptures, and our experiential knowledge of God.

c) Notice the 40-year time period mentioned in the text. 40 is the number of testing, and trials.

Judges 13:2-3

a) Zorah was approximately 14 miles from Jerusalem in the territory of Dan. Zorah means “hornet”, Dan means “judges”. The man’s name was Manoah, which means “rest”. Samson’s name means, “like the sun”. We see a Hebrew play on words in the text; “In a place of hornets comes a judge, and from rest, comes one like the sun”.

b) Manoah’s wife was barren. In Hebrew culture, a married childless woman was considered less-than and not blessed by God. See Deuteronomy 7:13 and Deuteronomy 28:11.

c) In impossible times, the LORD shows up with a promise that we can live from. The LORD promises Manoah’s wife a child of promise.

d) The Angel of the LORD – Earlier in Judges, Judges 2:1-5 and Judges 6:11-24, we see the Angel of the LORD is a pre-incarnate appearing of Jesus Christ (theophany). In this chapter, the Angel of the LORD is the pre-incarnate Jesus Christ. We can see this is true by looking at Judges 13:18 and Judges 13:22. Throughout the Old Testament, we see appearances of Jesus Christ before His incarnation.

Judges 13:4-5

a) The Angel of the LORD gives Manoah’s wife a prophetic promise with a condition. Samson was going to be a Nazirite from the womb. It is interesting to consider than she needed to prepare in order to receive from the LORD. Here we see the spiritual symbolism of preparing our hearts from which proceeds a holiness in our lives, that leads to breakthrough.

b) Nazirite – Numbers 6:1-21. 1 – No wine, grapes, raisins, or alcohol. This is symbolic of not living in the “wine of the world, or the false joy that comes from the indulgence of the flesh, but living from the joy that God gives. 2 – No razor/cutting the hair – This is voluntary humility that shows the Nazirite is living from the beauty of the heart, and not outward appearances of vanity and the pride of life. 3 – No touching the dead – This is symbolic of living from the life that God gives and not partnering with sins that lead to death. The Nazirite was a prophetic picture of the New Covenant believer in Jesus Christ.

c) Samson had a tremendous calling and destiny on his life that mirrored the
greatness of Israel’s calling and destiny as the people of God.

Judges 13:6-7

a) Manoah’s wife shared the encounter with him, and the prophetic promise that the LORD gave her.

b) Notice her description of the Angel of the LORD, “looked like an angel of God, very awesome”. The Hebrew text describes the Angel in the following terms: mar’eh mar’eh mal’ak ‘elohiym meh·ōde’ yare’ – “like a vision, dream, appearance, or phenomenon, an angel of God, that invokes exceedingly reverence, fear, respect and honor”.

c) Her description of the Angel of the LORD gives us more insight into the identity of the Angel of the LORD as being a theophany of Jesus Christ. One can see why she did not ask His Name. To know one’s name in ancient Hebrew culture, was to know everything that the name represented, or the true personality behind the name.

Judges 13:8

a) Manoah prays in faith because he believes his wife’s testimony. We see the wisdom of this man asking to be instructed/taught by the LORD. Psalm 25:4 – Show me your ways, LORD, teach me your paths.

Judges 13:9

a) “God heard Manoah” – Hebrew – heard – shama` – to hear, to listen, to perceive, to pay attention to. Faith enables the LORD to respond. It is wonderful to know that the LORD hears the prayers of the His people and responds to the requests of their hearts. Psalm 34:17 – The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. John 14:13 – And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.

Raising Up Deliverers – Judges 7:16-25 – Week 7 – Rob Covell

Raising Up Deliverers

Judges 7:16-25

Week 7

Rob Covell

Introduction:

In this Session, we will complete the narrative of Gideon’s battle as we end Judges chapter 7. Gideon’s narrative continues through Judges 8, but for the sake of time, we will complete Judges 7 and move onto Samson in Judges 13. As we conclude Judges 7, we will see following movements in the text.

1 – Spirit-Led strategies for defeating enemies proceeds from worship

2 – The LORD fights our battles as we obey Him and confusion is the fruit of rebellion

3 – The breakthrough of a few empowers many to victory

Judges 7:16

a) Gideon begins to move by Spirit-filled revelation. Judges 6:34, says that the Spirit of the LORD came on Gideon. Hebrew – came on – labash – to dress, wear, clothe, to put on clothing, to be fully clothed, array, to wear – Strong’s H3847.

b) Verse 16, does not show us that Gideon received a directive from the LORD. However, verse 16 shows us that as Gideon was encouraged and worshipped the LORD, the Holy Spirit released the revelation for the strategy that the LORD wanted use to begin the defeat of the Midianite Coalition. As we travel through the narrative, we see the strategy progress as Gideon partners with the LORD and Gideon’s men follow the pattern. Notice the 3 symbolism in the text. 300, divided into 3, symbolizing the victorious breakthrough that is coming.

c) Notice the progression of Gideon’s faith. He went from hiding, to needing to have his faith built through a process, and now Gideon is moving in Spirit-Led revelation. The progression of Gideon’s faith is much like our own faith journeys as we walk with the LORD and build trust and courage unto obedience.

Judges 7:17-18

a) Gideon’s Spirit-filled/led leadership is an example to his men. As we walk through life, in a lifestyle of being obedient trust and courageous faith, we become examples to the ones around us. Jesus said. “follow me” 20 times in the Gospels. That is the invitation to learn His ways through the journey of life.

b) 1 Corinthians 1:11 – Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ. – As we follow Jesus, we begin to model the way of discipleship, that others can follow. Godly leadership, is leadership that seeks to follow Jesus as close as possible.

c) We can see the strategy begin to unfold in the text. Gideon will have the other two groups surround the Midianite camp and follow his actions. We should commend the 300 men with Gideon, because they are walking in the same faith level that Gideon is walking in. In this we see the power of unity.

d) The Shofar – sounds the call to assemble to worship God, sounds a warning and is the call to war. e) The war cry, “For the LORD and for Gideon” – The Midianites we already terrified by Gideon and God. See Judges 7:14. Gideon’s war cry was not revealing pride in Gideon’s heart, but revealing truth to the enemy that the LORD partners with His people to deliver them from their enemies. This is a basic pattern of spiritual warfare.

Judges 7:19-21

a) The strategy that the LORD is working through Gideon teaches us that God is very intentional in His ways. The Spirit directed Gideon to attack in the “middle watch”, which is just after midnight. If the attacked during the first watch, then many would not have been asleep. If the attacked at the third watch, then many maybe awake. Attacking just after the second watch guaranteed that many would have been in a deep sleep, or many would be exhausted from not sleeping.

b) The sudden blowing of shofars all around the camp, the sound of the smashing clay jars, and the illuminating light, and the battle cry that proceeds from revelation, would have been quite the shock to a tired and surprised enemy.

c) We see spiritual symbolism in the text. 1 – the trumpets represent the Gospel proclamation. The trumpets were held with the right-hand symbolizing power and authority 2 – The jars and torches held with the left-hand symbolize the people of God. Being weak with mortality, but full of light, and the light is revealed as our hard shell of pride and sin is broken off. See 2 Corinthians 4:7. 3 – The sword of the LORD represents the freshly spoken/rhema word of God in our mouths that scatters evil supernatural powers and principalities. See 2 Corinthians 10:4-5. d) Notice that each man “held his position”. This speaks of standing firm in our faith and not moving from the call of God on our lives. See Ephesians 6:10-13.

Judges 7:22

a) As the army moved in obedience to the strategy of the LORD, a supernatural confusion from the LORD broke out in the Midianite. The Midianites being rebellious trespassers into Israel’s Covenant land inheritance, shows us that the fruit of rebellion against the LORD is confusion. We see this play many times in the Scriptures. See Exodus 14:24, Joshua 10:10, and 1 Samuel 14:20.

b) The Midianite coalition flees the valley and moves as far away as possible in fear.

Judges 7:23-25

a) As Gideon received the initial breakthrough in battle, the other tribes were empowered to pursue their enemies. This shows us that the breakthrough of a few, empower widespread faith, courage and victory that extends to others.

b) The text shows the scale of the deliverance. Reference the map on the screen. When the LORD does something, He accomplishes them with greatness in scale and power. We should have an expectation of great things, impossibilities made possible and mass amounts of freedom from Him.

c) It is interesting to note that Gideon’s initial victory empowered the other tribes, notably Ephraim, to a bigger victory. Ephraim captured the 2 leading princes of Midian, Oreb and Zeeb. Oreb means “raven”, and Zeeb means “wolf”. Ravens steal and wolves attack and kill. We see more spiritual symbolism in the text, that when God’s people partner with Him, obey His ways for the pattern of their lives, the they will be victorious over the demonic forces that seek to steal, kill and destroy. See John 10:10.

Raising Up Deliverers – Judges 7:1-15 – Week 6 – Rob Covell

Raising Up Deliverers

Judges 7:1-15

Week 6

Rob Covell

Introduction: In this Session, we will begin Judges 7 and explore the chapter to verse 15, and progress through Gideon’s narrative. In verses 1-15, we see the following movements in the text.

1 – Pride and fear disqualify those who wish to do great exploits for God.

2 – The Lord always is ready to encourage the growth of faith in those who are authentically partnered with Him.

3 – The LORD moves providentially behind the backdrop of life and works His will.

4 – Dreams that come from God build faith.

5 – War cries proceed from worship.

The narrative of Gideon’s life focuses our attention to the process of being Fathered by God. We see the LORD intimately involved in every movement in Gideon’s life, always relating to Gideon from prophetic destiny and promises that build faith and trust in the LORD through relationship.

Judges 7:1-2

a) As we progress in the narrative of Gideon, we see the overarching and repetitive theme of the LORD working with Gideon to build up his faith. We see the LORD repeatedly Father Gideon into faith. The purpose for building faith, is to build trust, so that we may hear and respond to God’s Word in our lives.

b) When we consider the size of the armies Israel and Midian, we see overwhelming odds. The Midianite army was 135,000 strong (see Judges 8:10). The Israelite army numbered 32,000, who had come to meet Gideon at the spring of Harod.

c) Notice that even with these odds, approximately 4:1, that Israel was tempted to give glory to themselves and not to the LORD. The LORD can only use the humble. 2 Samuel 22:28 – You save the humble, but your eyes are on the haughty to bring them low.

d) Gideon is invited into a realm of greater trust in God. Gideon is being proved as a leader, and his submission to the LORD is being tested. Greater levels of authority flow from our hearts being aligned with humility towards the LORD and our ability to trust Him. Gideon was being asked to trust God for the impossible. Ephesians 3:20 – Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,

Judges 7:3

a) The 22,000 who left because the trembled with fear. We see that overwhelming fear disqualifies from victories that the LORD intends for us. 1 John 4:18 – There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with
punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

b) Fear is an indicator that we are wrestling with the goodness of God and believing a lie about the LORD. If we are overcome by fear in the face of the enemy, then we are not believing truth about God.

c) The text shows us that there are 2 things that disqualify Christians for great exploits with God. 1 – Self-absorbed pride. 2 – Fear. Both of these things are birthed from not trusting God. One flows from an independent spirit, the later flows from not having experiential knowledge of God.

Judges 7:4

a) Now Gideon was left with 10,000 men and the LORD invites Gideon into yet another level of trust. Notice that Gideon is hearing and responding to the LORD in a deeply relational way.

b) Gideon is trusting the strategy of the LORD in delivering the people from the power of Midian (strife). Many times, the strategies of the LORD do not make sense in the natural realm, because the strategies of God orbit around faith, trust and relationship. Isaiah 55:8-9 – “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Judges 7:5-8

a) One of the most important things we can learn from Gideon, is that he responded and acted on everything that the Lord had spoken to him. As Gideon partners with God, the LORD continues to build his faith, so that he would be able to trust God in an increasing measure.

b) Even with 32,000 Gideon was outmatched by the Midianite coalition approximately 4:1. Now the LORD had separated out 300 men, and the odds were approximately 400:1. The trust level between the LORD and Gideon was increasing. Notice in verse 7, that the LORD continues to promise Gideon that he will have victory.

c) In the separation of the 300 from the 10,000, we see the Providence of God in full view. Judges 7:4 tells us that the LORD will “thin them out for you”. In the text, we see men making freewill decisions, and the LORD working in the midst of each person’s decisions on how to drink water from the spring. Romans 8:28 – And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

d) The choice of drinking style, either to “cup” the hands and drink, or to get face down and drink, may speak about the condition of the heart of each man. It is more disciplined to drink with cupped hands, than to drink face down in the stream. The faith level that Gideon had attained was the same faith level required of the 300 men. Notice the 300 symbolism – 3 – the number of breakthrough, new beginnings, or resurrection. 10 – is the number of the authoritative Word of God. The 300-number symbolism shows us that Gideon will have a breakthrough and a new beginning for Israel because the LORD had promised it to the 10×10 power.

e) Notice that Gideon occupied the high ground, symbolizing his authority in God, contrasted to the Midianite coalition who occupied the valley, symbolizing their coming defeat and their trespass into the promised land of Israel.

Judges 7:9-12

a) In verse 9, the LORD consistently and continually speaks to Gideon and promises him victory. Throughout the narrative of Gideon’s life, we see the LORD gracefully Fathering Gideon and encouraging him into the greatness that the LORD is calling him into.

b) The LORD is always ready to encourage His sons and daughters to move in great faith. The LORD addresses Gideon’s fear in attacking the Midianite/Amalekite coalition camped in the valley. The LORD does not condemn Gideon’s fear, but invites him into courageous trust. Gideon, who was facing 400:1 odds, would naturally need additional encouragement.

c) Gideon (Hewer) and Purah (Bough) go the camp to hear what is being said about them in the enemy’s camp. If Christians really understood the spiritual power and authority that they possess, and the fear that comes from the enemy’s camp concerning them, they would be encouraged to be bolder. Purah was Gideon’s armor bearer.

Judges 7:13-14

a) The LORD is working providentially to encourage Gideon through the Midianite soldier’s dream. Ecclesiastes 5:3 – A dream comes when there are many cares, and many words mark the speech of a fool.

b) The interpretation of the dream was accurate and interesting. The man who interpreted the dream associated Gideon with the round barley loaf of bread because barley was the food of the poor, and Israel was being impoverished by the Midianites. Barley was also the food of horses. Some Scripture references that we can use as proof texts are as follow: 2 Kings 4:42, and 1 Kings 4:28.

c) The tent symbolized the Midianite coalition; tents are temporary and transient dwellings, symbolizing that the Midianites had no real lasting authority to continue to subject Israel.

d) The man who interpreted the dream attributed it to the LORD. God can be a source of dreams and in fact Scripture teaches us that dreams are one of God’s primary modes of communication to people. One of the principles of dream interpretation is to focus on the symbols and not on the volume of details.

Judges 7:15

a) The interpretation of the dream encouraged Gideon to the place of worship. Worship is the fruit of gratefulness, knowledge of God, trust, intimacy/encounter, and love for God. Worship flows from the experiential knowledge of the goodness of God.

b) From the place of worship, Gideon raised the war cry, mobilized the army God provided, and began wage war by revelation.