January 7, 2021
Rev. Daniel Poon
Gideon was the fifth judge in Israel. At first, when God raised him up, Gideon showed that he did not know God (chapter 6). In this chapter, God is teaching us how to win the battle.
1. V1-8 To Prepare the Team
V1, Gideon “and all the people who were with him rose early” – We need to have a team to fight in a battle. Here we also see the importance of morning prayer. When we see the weaknesses of fellow soldiers, we to remind them, otherwise they will not be able to overcome their weaknesses, but instead will set their minds on the needs of the flesh and cannot be live out their chosen identity. We must set our minds on the heart of our Heavenly Father.
V2, God spoke to the people through Gideon when those who followed Him came together to seek Him. In the same way, we come to morning prayer to help the whole team and our leaders to hear the word of God. God allowed COVID-19 to awaken Christians all over the world – We are now in a warring end time, so do not live for our own comfort and pleasure.
God prepared Gideon’s team and told Gideon that there were too many people following, and He would not give the Midianites into their hands, lest they become too proud. The team prepared by God first needs to be humble.
V3, At the beginning, 32,000 people got up to follow Gideon in the morning. But not all people could help him win, so in the morning Gideon proclaimed that whoever was fearful and afraid could turn and depart, so 22,000 people went back. Therefore, when we come to the morning prayer, we are not here to listen to the words of comfort and encouragement, but the words of setting apart for God, for His wants us to listen to His words. If you still care about your feelings only and cannot lay down yourself, then you can turn back, because you cannot fight and win. So only one-third of the people were left, which was a big challenge to Gideon the leader and the followers.
V4, God knows that the remaining 10,000 people were still too many, and they were not ready to fight. God asked Gideon to bring them to the water to test them. 10,000 people were crowded here. People who get up in the morning will be very thirsty and need to drink water. When 9700 people saw the water, they forgot about anyone else and knelt to drink as much as they wanted, not showing any vigilance. Such group of people in a team cannot be used by God. God told Gideon to separate these two groups of people – 9700 vs 300. God wants us to know that He chooses very few people. God wants people to see their weaknesses and His election, but we are afraid to let people see the truth, for the truth is hard and cruel. Only in this way can we see our own problems and hold on to God. These 9700 people were not afraid or timid, and they were willing to get up in the morning together, but God would not use them. We should not just let time pass but be willing to pay the price and lay down ourselves to win the battle, otherwise this is just a number in the eyes of God. God does not look at people the way we do. The 300 people chosen by God knew His needs. They did not indulge their lusts. What God wants is a watchful heart and readiness to fight. Those 9700 people might say, there is no enemy, why should we be alert? This is not the case. The enemy is always around us. No matter what you do, whether you sleep, work or play, do not let your guard down. God wants us to be alert and ready to fight, knowing that the enemy is by our side day and night. This is the time of battles; it is the end times. If in the end times a person still only cares about his own needs, God would not put him in a team for battle.
V8, it was not Gideon to prepare food, but these 300 people prepared the food by themselves. The trumpet is a communication tool for transmitting signals to each other – God wants us to be able to communicate with others. God wants us to prepare food and be able to communicate with others. Our food is the Rhema we receive in every morning prayer. God wants us to bring this food to fight. As for the trumpets – God wants us to be able to communicate with people, not only with Him and with ourselves. There are rules for blowing the trumpet. It is not just to make a sound. We also need to know how to blow the horn- which means to say the right words. Take your own provisions and trumpets to fight, such a team is what God wants. God also let Gideon and his followers see that this was the team that God prepared to fight and win, not just about willingness to follow. God wants those 300 people only. As Jesus said that many would follow, but few are elected. God wants the world to see that we do not fight with the sword and spear, for the battle is the LORD’s.
2. V9-18 To Prepare the Leaders
V9, after choosing 300 people, God prepared the leader. “…on the same night” -the leader would also arise at night, not just care about his own needs but be more alert than the congregation.
V10-11, God knows about our expressions, our response, and what we think when we hear our authority’s words. He said to Gideon, “if you are afraid to go down, go down to the camp with Purah your servant.” The name “Purah” means a branch, meaning that he was weak and unreliable. God wants Gideon not to rely on people. The people chosen by God should be ready to fight, so leaders should on rely on people. When God chooses us today, will we say, “Yes and Amen”?
Leaders prepared by God must have courage. When leaders cannot hear God’s words, they will listen to people’s words. Gideon had to enter the enemy’s camp, and he had to listen to others to have the courage. This is a sad thing. He did not listen when God spoke to him for the first time, but he did when he entered the enemy’s place, where it was easy to be found and caught by the enemy. The reason leaders fall is because they do not listen or believe God. When our authority speaks to us, are we willing to listen?
V15-16, when Gideon had the courage, he was different. When he had heard the enemy’s words, he began to worship God. We need to ask God to forgive us for our unbelief and stubbornness, and ask God to help His chosen leaders all to be hearers and doers of the word. When God speaks us, we should worship and be grateful. When our authority speaks to us, we listen. In this way, we can face enemies “as the sand by the seashore in multitude”.
The 300 people did not have any swords or spears but empty pitchers, for the battle is not about weapons but about commitment, trust, and following God. Are we willing? When our authority tells us to do this, will we say no because we do not think empty bottles are enough to fight, and that we must use swords and shields to fight? We have already concluded in our hearts that we cannot do. Though we may say we will follow, but we do not follow in our heart. We still take our old self to align and cross. If we do so, we will eventually fall and be injured, and we will be discarded on the side of the river, not to be chosen by God.
We are a soldier today, and our fight does not rely on people’s encouragement, but on God alone. If our eyes are on people, we will fall easily.
3. V19-25 To Arise and Gather
We need to arise and will do whatever God and our leaders tell us to do. Gideon and the others travelled through cities and villages to gather the 22,700 people. When God’s army won the battle, God wanted the 22,700 people to come down and fight. Do we – the chosen people – exercise our influence by rising and gathering those who have not been chosen to fight? Having only 300 people is not always the best. These 300 people following Gideon were not only fighting, but to gather the 22,700 people back to fight and win together. This is the battle that God wants to win.
It is easy for us to use the way of the world in the kingdom of God. However, in the kingdom of God, especially in this age of battles, God wants us to lay down what we want and follow God wholeheartedly. When we are completely humble, we can triumph.
We ask for God’s help so we see that we cannot fight and win on our own. Let us come to God with a humble heart, knowing that everything is God’s grace. Help us not rely on our own thinking and strength, but solely on God. In 2020, the pandemic has shown us that we are fighting in the last days. The new year awakens us. We must be like the warriors of Gideon. Not only are we not afraid, but we also set our minds on the needs of God and have a vigilant heart every day. To meet God in the morning prayer and get the food sufficient for each day. Help us to be vigilant at night also. No matter where we are, we will treasure our chosen identity and not give up God’s election, so that we are willing to fight for God’s kingdom and destiny. When we are weak, we can encourage one another. Never give up on following the leader God has given us. When we are willing to follow and gather, God will give us the victory!
士师记 7 – 如何争战得胜
V1, “他和一切跟随的人早晨起来”- 要争战，就要有团队。在这里我们也看到早上起来晨祷的重要性。我们看见伙伴软弱的时候，要提醒他们，不然就不能战胜软弱，反而体贴肉体的需要，不能成为被拣选的。我们要体贴天父的心。
V8，不是基甸预备食物，而是这300人要自己预备食物。号角是彼此传递信号的交流工具，神要我们能够与别人沟通。神要我们预备食物并且能够与人沟通。食物是每天晨祷得来的Rhema，神要我们带着这样的食物去争战。有号角，神要我们能够与人沟通，不是只与神沟通、只与自己沟通，而是能够与人沟通。吹号角是有法则的，不是随便发声，我们要懂得吹号角 – 就是讲对的话。所以耶稣说，跟从的很多，但是选上的少。要自己带食物、带号角去争战。这样的团队是神所要的。神又让基甸和跟从的人看见，这就是神所预备争战得胜的团队，不是心里愿意跟就可以了，神要的是那3百个人。神要世人看见，人争战不是在乎刀剑，而在乎耶和华。
V10-11, 当听到权柄跟我们讲话的时候，我们的表情、心如何回应，心里怎么想的，神都知道。“你若害怕，就带着你的仆人普拉下去。”仆人普拉的意思是一根树枝，他是弱不经风的，神要基甸不要倚靠人。神拣选的人是预备好去争战的，所以领袖更不能倚靠人。今天神拣选我们的时候，我们是否会说Yes and Amen？
三、V19-25 要起来 要召聚