And he said unto him, If now I have found grace in thy sight, then shew me a sign that thou talkest with me.
Here I see that this mighty man of valour was determined to verify that he was acting upon God’s word. When we set out in a course of action, men, it’s a good idea to stop and double check, and even triple check that we’re standing on the Scriptures. Verify that I’m acting on the Word of God. When I make a decision, when I choose a course of action, when I set off in a direction, I want to be sure, I want to be absolutely sure that I am standing upon, resting upon, entrenched in the Word of God. Gideon says “You’ve given me a great job to do here and I’m not going to just set off on this on a whim. I have to know. I have to know 100% sure, certain that this is the Word of God. That this is God’s will.” In I Thessalonians 5:21. We are encouraged. “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.” Check it out, let’s go to the scriptures. Let’s make sure this is what God wants and where God is leading.
And it came to pass the same night, that the LORD said unto him, Take thy father’s young bullock, even the second bullock of seven years old, and throw down the altar of Baal that thy father hath, and cut down the grove that is by it:
Here I see that a mighty man of valour stood for truth even against his own family. Take the bullock, throw down the alter, your father’s alter. That wouldn’t be an easy thing to do. Stand against your own father; take an obvious and public stand for truth against your own family. But we know that is what God requires.
Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. 35 For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. 36 And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. 37 He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.
We’ve got to stand on God’s truth no matter what. No matter who it’s against, no matter who would stand against us, we must be willing to stand on truth. That is what a mighty man of valour does. Stands on truth.
Then Gideon took ten men of his servants, and did as the LORD had said unto him: and so it was, because he feared his father’s household, and the men of the city, that he could not do it by day, that he did it by night.
I’ve heard Gideon given a little bit of a hard time for this. “Mighty man of valour” was afraid of the men of the city and his father and so he couldn’t do it during the day, so he did it by night. I look at that in a little different perspective. If God told you, there’s church a block over from where you are at. Then God told you to go tear that church down. Go rent a bulldozer from plant hire over here and just go over there and raze that building to the ground. Just plough it down to nothing. When would you do it?
Sunday morning 10:00 while they trying to have their services? When there’s a bunch of people, the parking lot’s full, people are standing around the building watching you drive up in your bulldozer? Somebody would stop you. And I believe that is where Gideon’s fear lay. If I try to do this during the day, I’m not going to get it done. So he feared that he would not be able to do it during the day so he did it at night. Sometimes as Christians, we would try the day because we know someone would stop us, but we can make a big blustery stand, “Halt! See how righteous he was? How righteously indignant?” but we didn’t get anything accomplished. All we did is make a big show but God had given us a job to do but we didn’t actually get it done. We can do this sometimes in our witness, particularly on social media. We come wading into this ongoing debate on some subject and we just start throwing condemnation. We’re throwing fire and brimstone and then people are like “Well I’m not even going to talk to you.” And we sit back and think “See what I did? See how I stood for righteousness? See how I ran them off so that they would never listen to the Gospel ever again?” I’ve made a big show of how righteous I am and Gideon could have done that; showed up with his few servants, the bullock and a rope and roped onto that alter only to have the men of the city come and say “Stop it! You’re not going to do this. Get out of here.” And he would have made a big show but he wouldn’t have accomplished God’s purpose and God’s will. When we’re given a job by God; our job is to get it done, not to make a name for ourselves. Just get the job done and that’s what a mighty man of valour did.
But the Spirit of the LORD came upon Gideon, and he blew a trumpet; and Abiezer was gathered after him.
He had the spirit of God! When it comes to our work for the Lord; we need to be plugged into our power source.
But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
We need the Holy Spirit; we need the filling of the Holy Spirit. I won’t go into great detail on the difference between the filling of the Holy Spirit and indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Simply stated, I heard a preacher once define the difference as this, “At salvation, we are indwelled by the Holy Spirit and we get all of Him.” We get all the Holy Spirit we’re ever going to get. “At the filling of the Holy Spirit, that’s when the Holy Spirit gets all of us.”
I’ve seen it illustrated, you could take an empty glass and I fill it with stones and I say is the glass full? And our first response would be yes but then I come back and I pour sand in and I can pour a cup of sand, was the glass full of stones? No. Is it full now I can ask? And someone might say yes, now it’s full, but then I can bring a half a cup of water and still pour it in and then I can ask, is the cup full of water? And the answer is obviously no! because so much space was already taken with stones and sand that it is not full of water, to truly fill the glass with water I must first empty out the stones and sand. That is how being filled with the Holy Spirit works. If I’m going to be filled with the Holy Spirit, I have to empty everything else out. I can’t be full of self and pride and arrogance and sin and distractions if I want to be filled with the Holy Spirit. I have to remove everything else to allow him to have everything and if we want the power of God, that’s what we need. We need Him to have all of us.
And he sent messengers throughout all Manasseh; who also was gathered after him: and he sent messengers unto Asher, and unto Zebulun, and unto Naphtali; and they came up to meet them. 36 And Gideon said unto God, If thou wilt save Israel by mine hand, as thou hast said, 37 Behold, I will put a fleece of wool in the floor; and if the dew be on the fleece only, and it be dry upon all the earth beside, then shall I know that thou wilt save Israel by mine hand, as thou hast said. 38 And it was so: for he rose up early on the morrow, and thrust the fleece together, and wringed the dew out of the fleece, a bowl full of water. 39 And Gideon said unto God, Let not thine anger be hot against me, and I will speak but this once: let me prove, I pray thee, but this once with the fleece; let it now be dry only upon the fleece, and upon all the ground let there be dew. 40 And God did so that night: for it was dry upon the fleece only, and there was dew on all the ground.
God has called Gideon and given him a job to do and verified it with a sign. And then the Holy Spirit comes upon Gideon and he blows the trumpet and he gathers the troops and now Gideon is still questioning. And again I’ve heard people go both ways with this one. A lot of people like the idea of putting out a fleece you know; “I want to be sure this is God’s will so I put out the fleece.” Other people say, “Come on Gideon God’s already told you what he wants you to do, what’s your problem? Just go do it.” What I see here is the responsibility of leadership. See, sometime before, we don’t know if it was days, weeks or months, God had come to Gideon and said “I’m going to use you to deliver the nation of Israel.” Then later, God called, brings His Spirit upon him and now Gideon gathers an army and they’ve come and now he’s looking out and he sees these thirty thousand men. That changes things.
If you’re a husband, you know that things changed when you got married. Decisions became weightier, you know as a single guy, “Hey, let’s take off on a road trip this weekend, let’s just drive as far as we can, get halfway through the weekend turn around and come back. Let’s just do it.” And you do it. You know “Let’s go watch the rugby match up in Joburg.” It’s like “But we don’t have any money.” “Ah don’t worry about it, we’ll hitchhike, we’ll sleep on the side of the road, we’ll do whatever we have to. We have enough money for the game tickets so let’s make it happen.” And you go. Once you get married, you don’t make decisions like that anymore. You now must count the cost. You understand now there are people that you’re responsible for and then children come into the mix and it’s like “Wow, I better be sure about this.” There’s a lot hanging in the balance.
When a man becomes the pastor of a church. Spiritual decisions when it was “What do I believe about this?” and it was just me, “Flip a coin. Okay that sounds good, we’ll ride it until something changes, what’s the worst that can happen, I get three months down the road and I’ve got to change.” You start leading an entire church of people, you start to feel that weight. “This question comes up, I better get it right.” And I believe that is where Gideon is now. He sees thirty thousand men going up against an army we know to be at least one hundred and thirty five thousand. “These men are going to follow me. I better be sure.” But we also see a tremendous blessing here. I see here that God understood his doubts and met the need. God understands the doubts I’m going to have related to leadership and God will work with me and God can give me the assurance and God can give me the strength and God can give me the knowledge and confidence that I need.