In ancient days Jehovah, the Almighty God of Israel, allowed several nations to test His people's allegiance. Overcoming these nations would be an impossible task for Israel, if she fought in her own strength or even if she sought help from unbelieving allies. The only way that Israel could win its battles was - if God was with her. Without His presence, Israel would never be able to stand, let alone defeat her opponents. But with the Holy One of Israel on her side, no enemy - however powerful - could even hope to overcome Israel. If, however, Israel forsook the Almighty and broke His law, the Almighty said - over and over again - that He would withdraw His holy presence and Israel's defeat by her enemies would be inevitable. Most of the Old Testament books of the Bible tell of these facts over and over again.
|Judges 3:||1: Now these are the nations which the
LORD left, to prove Israel by them, even as many of Israel
as had not known all the wars of Canaan; |
2: Only that the generations of the children of Israel might know, to teach them war, at the least such as before knew nothing thereof;
3: Namely, five lords of the Philistines, and all the Canaanites, and the Sidonians, and the Hivites that dwelt in mount Lebanon, from mount Baal-hermon unto the entering in of Hamath.
4: And they were to prove Israel by them, to know whether they would hearken unto the commandments of the LORD, which he commanded their fathers by the hand of Moses.
Most of us have never fought in a literal war. To be sure we have lived through a world war, and some of us through two world wars, but most of us have not been on the actual battlefield - in the front line! So what can we learn from these Bible accounts of battles? Why were they recorded? Are they merely historical records, or do they have lessons for us in this century? The answer is: they contain vital lessons which are applicable to all believers in all ages.
2. ISRAEL'S SIN / HARRASSMENT
When we study Scripture we learn that every time Israel blatantly broke Yahweh's commandments the Most High handed Israel over to her enemies.
|Judges 6:||1: And the children of Israel did
evil in the sight of the LORD: and the LORD delivered them into
the hand of Midian seven years. |
2: And the hand of Midian prevailed against Israel: and because of the Midianites the children of Israel made them the dens which are in the mountains, and caves, and strong holds.
3: And so it was, when Israel had sown, that the Midianites came up, and the Amalekites, and the children of the east, even they came up against them;
4: And they encamped against them, and destroyed the increase of the earth, till thou come unto Gaza, and left no sustenance for Israel, neither sheep, nor ox, nor ass.
5: For they came up with their cattle and their tents, and they came as grasshoppers for multitude; for both they and their camels were without number: and they entered into the land to destroy it.
6: And Israel was greatly impoverished because of the Midianites; and the children of Israel cried unto the LORD.
|Judges 10:||7: And the anger of the LORD was hot
against Israel, and he sold them into the hands of the Philistines,
and into the hands of the children of Ammon.|
3. PROPHETIC EXPLANATION
But the Almighty is a merciful God. Every time Israel repented of her sins, cried unto the Lord and returned to the pathway of faithful obedience, the LORD delivered His people from their enemies.
|Judges 6:|| 7: And it came to pass, when the
children of Israel cried unto the LORD because of the Midianites,
8: That the LORD sent a prophet unto the children of Israel, which said unto them, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, I brought you up from Egypt, and brought you forth out of the house of bondage;
9: And I delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians, and out of the hand of all that oppressed you, and drave them out from before you, and gave you their land;
10: And I said unto you, I am the LORD your God; fear not the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but ye have not obeyed my voice.
Gideon was a man who had no idea that he could be a mighty warrior and judge. Consider our introduction to this amazing man of valour.
|Judges 6:||12: ... The Lord is with thee, thou mighty
man of valour!?
|Judges 6:||14: And the Lord looked upon him and said: Go in this thy might
Gideon's astonishment at this amazing salutation and command is understandable: we would probably have echoed his feelings.
And he said unto him, Oh my Lord, wherewith shall I save Israel? behold, my family is poor in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father's house.
How can I do this? I am poor and of no importance. I just do not have what's needed to fight the enemy.
6. I WILL BE WITH THEE
Notice how God dismissed these apparent disadvantages with this wonderful promise.
|Judges 6:||16: And the LORD said unto him, Surely I will be with thee|
In other words He said, Gideon you are wrong in
your assessment as to what is needed for victory because:
And that, dear friends, is all that we need for victory: the Almighty's presence in our lives. You may read the Bible from cover to cover and you will not find a greater promise than Yahweh and His Son's promise to BE WITH US.
|Matthew 28:||19: Go ye therefore, and teach all nations,
baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and
of the Holy Ghost: |
20: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
7. FIRST THINGS FIRST
True though the foregoing facts may be, victory can never be achieved until certain mandatory conditions are met. They are:
|Judges 6:|| 25: And it came to pass the same night,
that the LORD said unto him
throw down the altar
of Baal that thy father hath, and cut down the grove that is by
26: And build an altar unto the LORD thy God upon the top of this rock, in the ordered place, and take the second bullock, and offer a burnt sacrifice with the wood of the grove which thou shalt cut down.
8. THE SWORD OF GIDEON
Even by human standards, the sword of Gideon was very weak. He didn't have money, power, influence or military training. Besides he was of little or no importance in Israel. Or so he thought. The fact was that he did have faith in God. When asked to 'cut down the altar of Baal' he obeyed. Thus his faith and obedience made him a mighty man of valour! He also offered up an acceptable sacrifice to God, a kid and unleavened cakes, both symbolic of the Saviour's sacrifice and life. I repeat, Giden's sword was faith and obedience. And that my dear friends, is all that is needed in this day of unbelief and blatant sin.
9. THE SWORD OF THE LORD
The sword of the Lord, as we would expect, is infinitely powerful. No enemy can stand before it. Concerning the Sword of the Spirit the Apostle Paul gives us this advice in Ephesians 6:17.
And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword
of the Spirit, which is the WORD OF GOD.
Currently there are over 100 translations of the English Bible available; all claiming to be the Word of God, the Sword of the Spirit! This is one of the greatest tragedies of our time. See our article Bible Versions if you want to identify the Sword of the Spirit. Impossible things are accomplished if we remember the mandatory requirements for victory:
10. THE BATTLE
Without a doubt this was one of the most amazing battles ever witnessed. Notice I didn't say 'ever fought' because Gideon's army didn't really do much physical fighting. They merely believed, let their light shine and sounded forth their trumpets. They then stood still and witnessed God win an amazing victory. And yet in one important sense they did fight a battle. They fought and overcame enemies within:
|Isaiah 58:||1: Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet (shofar) and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.|
Today we face a similar situation on the spiritual
battlefield. We face many enemies. Are we ready for the spiritual
battle? Or will we turn back like the first volunteers who presented
themselves to Gideon?
|Psalm 78:||9: The children of Ephraim, being armed, and carrying bows, turned back in the day of battle.|
In your own life, victory on an amazing scale is possible. But it depends on you. Think about it.