Sermon Judges 6 -8
Who is your king?
Who reigns over your life?
Who is in control?
Who is in control?
We live in a democratic nation so some may thing we have our government as rulers over us…
Keep this in mind as we look at Judges 6-8
In our passage today so many have looked at it and deduced from the passage some moral to live by.
What a great guy Gideon was so faithful, so powerful, a great leader, a wise leader.
But so many have missed then what God is saying.
As you read through the story, and a great true story it is, something you’d expect Hollywood would do on the big screen.. what are the significant verses?
There are some and they are crucial.
Let’s recoup the story…
They go off to battle and there’s this interesting bit about whittling down Gideon’s army to a mere 300 men. What’s this ? Any General who knows battles doesn’t down size his army to attack the enemy but that’s exactly what God did to Gideon? Why?
Well he sends them down into the camp of Midian with each carrying a clay pot with a lit torch in each pot, and a “trumpet” the Jewish shofar that is the trumpet used to signal a battle. And when the signal comes they break their pots and the lit torches become evident and they blow their trumpets.
With the torch in one hand and a trumpet in the other they shout “A Sword for the Lord and for Gideon.”
Not really a comforting way to go into battle, armed merely with a torch and a trumpet! Not even a sword in their hand! Judges 7:20
And when the Midian army ran out of their tents the Lord caused the men of the camp to turn on each other with their swords” 7:23
They win the battle, and then the Israelites try to make Gideon the king 8:22-23 But Gideon refused.
He says “the Lord will rule over you” 8:23.
What does all this mean? It’s all about 7:2 “you have too many men for me! To deliver Midian into their hands.” This is God speaking here!
God is their deliverer.
Already in 7:4 God tells Gideon he has too many men and God will not allow them to declare after the battle that they won it in their own strength.
Some think that Gideon Is shown as a very wise man, - he wins the battle with a really smart move, he placated the Ephraimites in chapter 8:1 Here’s diplomacy at it’s best the world says. Here’s how you get the best outcomes in a bad situation. Butter them up, don’t antagonize. Build up their ego. Speak a quiet word.
Hang on a minute, what was the smart move he did in the battle with the camp of Midian you ask?
Well in the ANE battle it was common for there to be in every group of 100 a man with a torch and a trumpet to signal the battle cry.
So with 300 mean you get sleepy soldiers running out of their tents and seeing the lights and the commotion and they think there’s 300,000 or even 600,000 [ do the maths one torch per hundred, one shofar per 100 ] troops in camp killing them so in a frenzy they lash out. Now there’s a really smart battle move – but it wasn’t Gideon’s master stroke but the Lord God’s!
Yet that’s not the point. It’s not about how wise Gideon is.
Rather look at the chapter in context.
Israel have not listened to God 6:7-10.
And so in a sense God has brought as a consequence, judgment upon them in the form of the Midianites. 6:1-3 …. But together declares the Lord we will beat the Midianites 6:16.
Yet God raises up a deliverer. Gideon.
And still the people after this great success at battle want to make him, Gideon! king!
All because they are looking at the success first of all in human terms, with purely human eyes. See the boasting in verse ..
Yet the very point of God diminishing the numbers of fighting men were so that they could not boast – that they would have to acknowledge it was God who had saved them – He was their king.
And this has a long history.
God said he would lead his people he would win the land. Back with Moses in Deut 17:14-20 he had prophesied that a king would rule over them.
After all a nation in those days was led by a king. It wasn’t a democracy like some countries today. No, it was to Abraham that God had promised to make of him a great nation. And a nation needs a king doesn’t it?
So the expectation was there. But like many truths, this expectation was miss-focused by man. They thought they’d put in place a king. And so here they want Gideon as king.
But what wasn’t acknowledged was that in asking for a king they were rejecting God as King over them.
This expectation was again and again pushed up by Israel. A bit like continually bringing up the notion of Australia a republic …. If you Don’t pass it first vote, just keep raising it.
It’s a theme that continues till 1 Sam 8 where Saul is installed as their king because they want to be like the nations.
That says something doesn’t it? We want to be like everybody around us.