Book of Judges Bible Study Outline
Judges Chapter Seven - Gideon and the Power of Weakness (Part 2)
by I Gordon
 ↩ We spend so much time weighing things up in the natural it's not funny. But God will use testing situations to bring us to the point of weakness... times when we can no longer rely on the natural. And then we see what God can do! While we are slow to learn, what an awesome thing it is to realize that there is someone with us who is totally and utterly independent from all natural circumstances!
 ↩ This verse in Judges 7:2 reminds me of Deut chapter 8. It is a very interesting chapter dealing with why God allowed trials of different types to occur when He led Israel through the wilderness. You would do well to read, think, and then read and think again. Especially think about Deut 8:2-3, 10-14, 15-17. If you find yourself in a current trial or test then always remember the last part of verse 16!
 ↩ Notice that there is no condemnation for those that are too fearful to fight. In our age, God still looks for people He can use. But at times, fear still prevents us from being used. God does not condemn us over this as He knows where we are at, but it is a missed opportunity to see God move and to grow in our faith. 22,000 of Gideon's men went home. There wasn't a word said against them. But what a testimony they missed out on which only the final 300 would have had. So don't let fear so rule that you miss seeing how God would like to move.
 ↩ I once heard Peter Thomas, Major Ian Thomas' son, speak concerning these two tests and he said (very hazy rough quote) 'God was looking for those that He could use. The first group disqualified themselves from the task (through fear), where as the majority of the second group God disqualified because they were not watchful and ready to be used.' I personally find this quite convicting...Do I disqualify myself, does God disqualify me, or am I able to be used? I know that I sometimes, because of fear, disqualify myself from being used by God.
 ↩ The note in my Bible is quite useful here. It says 'barley bread (rather than wheat bread) aptly represented the poor farmers of Israel, and tents the nomadic Midianites.' So the little poor common barley bread eaters, the Israelites, were about to destroy the entire Midian camp.' Well, it's semi-useful.
 ↩ For those interested, Charles Spurgeon says the following concerning this shout - 'Remember that the true war-cry of the Church is Gideon's watchword, 'The sword of the Lord, and of Gideon!' God must do it, it is his own work. But we are not to be idle; instrumentality is to be used - 'The sword of the Lord, and of Gideon!' If we only cry, 'The sword of the Lord!' we shall be guilty of an idle presumption; and if we shout, 'The sword of Gideon!' alone, we shall manifest idolatrous reliance on an arm of flesh: we must blend the two in practical harmony, 'The sword of the Lord, and of Gideon!' We can do nothing of ourselves, but we can do everything by the help of our God; let us, therefore, in his name determine to go out personally and serve with our flaming torch of holy example, and with our trumpet tones of earnest declaration and testimony, and God shall be with us, and Midian shall be put to confusion, and the Lord of hosts shall reign for ever and ever. '
 ↩ I kind of fear that I have made the whole problem with Midian sound quite exciting. In reality, it's not. Times of weakness and uncertainty are very difficult. As I began to prepare this study several weeks ago, my brother and sister in law were having their second child. Shortly after the birth it was found that the child had a very rare and potentially fatal blood condition. They were taken immediately by helicopter to a hospital in another city. As I prayed, I was thanking God for His love and kindness towards them, when I felt Him say to me 'that will be tested.' That kind of stopped my praying in its tracks. It's not that God is not loving and kind towards us, but there are times when He allows trials which could cause us to question His kindness. With the newly born little girl having frequent blood platelet transfusions (and some of those only just in time to save her from haemorrhaging) , it was found that complications from the birth process had caused pressure in the mother's intestines to increase to the point where the walls of the intestines ruptured in two places. The doctors told my brother that this was again extremely rare and in the cases he knew of, there was a 30 to 70% chance of death. Anyway, so it has been a long haul for them but 6 weeks later they were both able to leave hospital. The awesome thing however is that God was so faithful to them all during the entire difficulty. God has been good to them and my sister in law was able to testify in our church recently of God's faithfulness, which brought great encouragement and comfort to all those that listened. There is something really powerful when you testify (blow the trumpet of God) in the midst of the strife of Midian!
 ↩ We are called, like Gideon, to let this light shine. The presence of God in our lives should not be hidden but should be allowed to shine forth through our character and actions. Jesus said 'You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.'
 ↩ Just a quick note about Moses... Now Moses was a man who knew a little about trials and the like - especially in bringing Israel out of Egypt and through the wilderness. Now I was reading exodus the other day and it said that he testified to Gods goodness through these difficulties to his father in law Jethro. Here it is, Exodus 18:8-12 ' Moses told his father-in-law about everything the LORD had done to Pharaoh and the Egyptians for Israel's sake and about all the hardships they had met along the way and how the LORD had saved them . 9 Jethro was delighted to hear about all the good things the LORD had done for Israel in rescuing them from the hand of the Egyptians. 10 He said, ' Praise be to the LORD, who rescued you from the hand of the Egyptians and of Pharaoh, and who rescued the people from the hand of the Egyptians. 11 Now I know that the LORD is greater than all other gods, for he did this to those who had treated Israel arrogantly.' 12 Then Jethro, Moses' father-in-law, brought a burnt offering and other sacrifices to God , and Aaron came with all the elders of Israel to eat bread with Moses' father-in-law in the presence of God.'
Ok, so it is not such a quick note. But anyway, look at what Jethro's response was. In verse 9 it says that Jethro 'delighted'. Other versions say he had joy. Verse 10 shows that it brought praise for God from Jethro. Verse 11 shows that it strengthened Jethro's faith in the Lord and all that he could do. And finally in verse 12 it made Jethro want to offer something back to God because of His wonderful faithfulness. So shine your light and blow the trumpet! It brings joy, praise, and faith in those that hear. And it can make them desire to offer themselves back to God because of who He is!