Judges 7: Faith Is the Victory!
Did I not tell you that if you believed , you would see the glory of God? ( Jesus speaking to Martha at the tomb of Lazarus, John 11)
This is the opposite of the world view of I will believe it when I see it. See- cannot only mean physically seeing, but also being able to understand with your mind, intelligence and rational thinking. Notice what Jesus said you would see- the glory of God. I wonder how many churches are seeing and beholding the glory of God today? Are we even looking for the Glory of God?
For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world- our faith. ( I John 5:4)
Here is the bottom line: Christians are either overcome because of their unbelief; or overcomers because of their faith.
This story here in Judges 7 is a story of faith in action. It reveals some important principles about faith and we need to understand and apply these principles.
Now let us start this lesson reminding ourselves of these facts:
- Everything visible and physical is the result of something invisible and spiritual.
- Satans deception is that everything we see, hear, taste, touch, and smell is the real world.
- All things, visible and invisible in heaven and on earth were created by the Lord Jesus and for the Lord Jesus. ( Colossians 1; 16)
- The Lord Jesus disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross. ( Colossians 2: 15)
- Do not be afraid or discouraged because of the vast army. For the battle is not yours but the Lords ( 2 Chronicles 20)
The last verse is from the account we find in 2 Chronicles 20, when King Jehoshaphat finds himself surrounded by a vast army.
This story illustrates a simple but profound truth: The battle is the Lords. We are to turn things over to Him. Only then can we sing: To God be the glory, great things He has done!
God tests our faith for two reasons: first, to show us whether our faith is real or counterfeit; and second , to strengthen our faith for the tasks that lay before us.
Let us look at the story in 2 Chronicles 20 and find a very important key to victory. King Jehoshaphat finds himself surrounded by 3 armies whose intent is to invade Judah. Notice first thing he does: Alarmed, Jehoshaphat resolved to inquire of the Lord and he proclaimed a fast for all of Judah. The people of Judah came together to seek help from the lord; indeed, they came from every town in Judah to seek Him.
I really like the prayer of this king. He does not start out his prayer to God by asking God- how could you allow this to happen to us ( me)?
No, this king went to prayer: O, Lord, God of our fathers, are you not the God who is in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. Power and might are in your hand, and no one can withstand you. First things first, the king praises God for who He is.
Second, the king praises God for what He has done. Oh Our God , did you not drive out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel and give it forever to the descendants of Abraham? He reminds God of what He has done, which really is reminding himself and the people of what all God has done before.
Watch next what he prays: For we have no power to face this vast army attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you. He throws himself completely on Gods guidance. * This is key- complete surrender.
Then comes the answer to their prayers through Jahaziel as the Spirit of the Lord fell upon him: This is what the Lord says to you: Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours but the Lords. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you, O Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid and discouraged. Go out and face them tomorrow and the Lord will be with you. Jehoshaphat bowed with face the ground , and all the people of Judah fell down in worship before the Lord.
The next day they marched out to war with the choir leading them with praise. They put worship ahead of military strength. Worship is what gets Gods attention. Praise God from whom all blessings flow.
We must learn as Gideon is learning- the battle is the Lords. Make sure we turn it over to Him. God promised them they would not have to fight, but just take up their position and stand still. Have you taken up your position that is rightfully yours given to you by Almighty God. Are you standing firm on His Promises? The key to victory is to take up your position in Christ and stand firm and wait on Him. Believe His promises. Learn to use His weapons for they are mighty, but realize this truth- the greatest weapon is a surrendered life.
Truly, faith is the victory.
Without faith it is impossible to please God and those who come to Him, must believe that He is and a rewarder to those who diligently seek Him. ( Hebrews 11: 6) Notice the implications in this verse: Must believe He is who He says He is and can do what He says He can do. And also is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him- not just what they can get from Him.
Faith means more than just trusting God; it also means seeking God just to please Him. We do not trust God just to get Him to do things for us. We are to trust Him because it brings joy to His heart and glorifies Him when we, His children, rely on Him, seek Him to please Him. It also brings joy to us as we are doing what we were created to do- worship God and in worshipping Him,- glorify Him.
Observe how God literally and physically sifts Gideons faith and the faith of the army by sifting their numbers. They start out with 32,000 soldiers. However, we learn in Judges 8, the enemy numbers were 135,000! Adrian Rodgers used to say- a faith that cannot be tested, cannot be trusted. And often he would add- a faith that fizzles was flawed from the start. Sometimes our faith is in our faith, isnt it? Sometimes we rely on the faith of others. God tests our faith for two reasons:
- Show us our faith is real or counterfeit.
- To strengthen our faith for the tasks ahead.
God begins to sift Gideon and the army. First sift cuts 22,000 men from army when Gideon announces anyone who is afraid go home. Left with 10,000 men now the second sifting comes with a test which the soldiers did not know was a test. Sometimes God tests us in the ordinary experiences of life. The Lord told Gideon to send home those who lapped water like a dog. Gideons army is now down to 300 men.
But God has told us the reason for this: In order that Israel may not boast against Me that her own strength has saved her God is saying it must be all about Me.
Since without faith it is impossible to please God God encourages our faith.
Look what God has done for Gideon already: fire from the rock to consume his offering; the wet fleece, and the dry fleece.
God then does something else before the battle. To encourage Gideon , He sends Gideon down to overhear the men of the camp discussing a dream which is interpreted as God giving Gideon victory over their armies.
Watch what Gideon did in response: When Gideon heard the dream and its interpretation, he worshipped God. God was encouraging Gideon.
What is worship? And what does it mean to worship God in spirit and in truth?
The meaning of the NT Greek word for worship is most often translated to fall down before or bow down before. It is an internal response. Worship comes from the inside out and has two important parts. We must worship God in spirit and in truth.
- Spirit- We must be born again. Without the Holy Spirit residing within us we cannot respond to God in worship because we do not know Him. No one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. ( I Cor. 2) The Holy Spirit within us is the one who energizes worship. All true worship glorifies God.
- Worshipping in the spirit requires a mind centered on God and renewed by truth. Paul writes in Romans 12: .present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. And be not conformed by the world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind. God will keep in perfect peace the man whose mind is stedfast on Him. Our minds must be centered on God, not the things of the world.
A popular praise song by Michael W. Smith says it well: Im coming back to the heart of worship and its all about You, Jesus. I m sorry Lord for the thing Ive made it. When its all about You. Its all about You, Jesus.
What have we made out of worship of the Lord Jesus today? Is it all about Him? Or all about us? All about me and mine? All about my church? The very heart of worship is all about the Lord Jesus.
As a result of worship, God gave Gideon wisdom to prepare for the battle. We know from the first chapter of James, if we ask for wisdom, God will give us wisdom. But when we ask, we must believe and not doubt.
God gives Gideon courage to lead the army.
God then gives Gideon the opportunity to enlarge his army. Gideon has come a long way from the man hiding in the winepress trying to sift wheat.
God wants to make sure He receives the glory. At first when we hear this statement- our flesh reacts as if God is being prideful and egotistical. But remember the Lord Jesus was God in flesh and humbled himself even to death on the cross, a shameful death for the joy of procuring our salvation. He did the unthinkable- for the King of Glory died for us. The Westminster Catechism states this truth: The chief end of man is to bring glory to God and enjoy Him forever. We were created by Him and for Him. Do you know why God created you? He created you- so He could give Himself to you! And the only way we can enjoy Him is when we bring glory to Him is by trusting Him with all our heart. For without faith it is impossible to please God. And when we do worship Him in spirit and truth we bring glory to Him. And it is there in bringing glory to God- we find joy unspeakable for we are doing what we were created to do.
The church today has come to believe in large numbers havent they? We look for and hire the most gifted leaders, preachers and teachers we can find.
God is showing us- He does not need large numbers or gifted leaders.
His strength is made perfect in weakness.
When the church begins to depend on bigness big buildings, big crowds, big budgets, their faith can be misplaced. And without faith, it is impossible to please God.
When we and/or preachers and teachers begin to depend on our education, skill, and experience rather than God, then God will not give us victory that we might boast of our own strength.
Jesus told Paul (2 Corinthians 12) my grace is sufficient and my strength is made perfect in weakness.
We should boast of our weakness, not our strengths.
We must be careful not to begin to praise the gifted preacher, speaker, teacher, leader lest we begin to trust in men or anything else besides the Lord.
Notice that both Gideon and King Jehoshaphat and the people of Judah worshipped God before going into battle. They glorified God with their faith in Him. Worship gets Gods attention.
In 2 Chronicles 20 the instructions of the Lord given through Jahaziel were : Take up your positions, stand firm and see the deliverance of the Lord.
- Your position: Exalted position. Raised up from the dead with Christ and seated with Him in heavenly places. ( Ephesians 2: 6)
- Blessed with every spiritual blessing in Christ Jesus ( Ephesians 1)
- Equipped with mighty, divine weapons for the pulling down of strongholds and taking captive thoughts which are against Christ Jesus. ( 2 Cor. 10)
- Greater is He who is in you- than he who is in the world.
- Gods gives us greater grace- greater than our sin. He gives grace to the humble- strength to the weak, and wisdom to the foolish. His grace is greater than our sins and self-efforts.
- I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
- I have the whole armor of God to protect me in the battle.
We need to know how to handle the Word of God for it is alive and powerful. It is life giving, life sustaining and life changing.
It is by the Word of God, the Sword of the Spirit we defeat temptations of the world, the flesh and the devil for His Word is hid in our hearts that we might not sin against Him
God welcomes our testing of His promises. He says: Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse that there might be food in my house. Test me in this , says the Lord Almighty and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing , that you will not have room enough for it. ( Malachi 3)
The story of Gideon is a story of triumph in weakness.
The glory is Gods- the privilege is ours.
Did you notice how God made his first sift in the size of the army based on fear. All those who were afraid and trembled, Gideon said you can leave. 22,000 of the 32,000 left immediately.
Why do you think that was the first and largest cut in forces? Because fear is contagious. It can spread like wildfire and discourage the determination of others. Of the 12 spies who went out to scout the Promised Land- 10 of the 12 spies said they could not possibly drive out the enemy they were too big. The majority opinion swayed the tribes and they spent the next 40 years wandering in the wilderness.
What the stories in Judges keep reminding us of is the things which stand opposed to us are not as strong as they often appear. Appearances can be deceiving. Things are not what they seem.
You know what else I like about the story of Gideon: Gideon keeps needing reassurance and Our Lord keeps reassuring him as He does for us also.
Sometimes we are challenged by God to step out in faith that goes beyond our natural abilities. Like Gideon we need Gods reassurance. We find it in His Word. For faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.
Faith will drive fear out of the boat- but if our faith is in anything besides God and His Word- we will sink as surely as Peter did in waves of Galilee when he took his eyes off of Jesus.
We must trust and obey for there is no other way. Obey God and leave the circumstances to Him.
Could God be doing to us, West Jackson Baptist, what He did to Gideon? Could He be downsizing us so He can receive the glory? Is God as Gina remarked- is God- Gideonizing us?
Do you believe God is Who He says He is?
Do you believe God can do what He says He can do?
Do you believe you are who God says you are- a mighty warrior?
Do you believe you can do what God says you can do- for you can do ALL THINGS THROUGH CHRIST?
Is His Word active and alive in your life?
Then we should bow down before Him and worship Him in spirit and truth.
Im coming back to the heart of worship and its all about you, Lord.Copyright © 2010 Linda Benthal
Last modified: 08/12/14