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Copyr. 1997, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.

LESSON 6 - A FEW GOOD PEOPLE

INTRODUCTION: LETS REVIEW. LAST WEEK WE LEARNED THAT THE MIDIANITE
NOMADS HAD BEEN OPPRESSING ISRAEL.  AFTER GIDEON TOOK A STAND FOR
GOD, ALL OF A SUDDEN THE MIDIANITE/AMALEKITE ALLIED FORCES CROSSED
THE JORDAN (AGAIN) AND SHOWED UP IN ISRAEL'S "BACK YARD."
     GIDEON BLEW THE TRUMPET CALLING SOME OF THE TRIBES TO BATTLE,
AND THEN HE STARTED GETTING COLD FEET AND ASKED GOD FOR "SIGNS"
THAT HE WAS DOING THE RIGHT THING.
     OUR STORY TODAY PICKS UP FROM THERE. LETS GET INTO IT!
     

I. THE ODDS

     A. READ JUDGES 7:1-3. LETS RUN THROUGH THE NUMBERS HERE.

          1. HOW MANY MEN DID GIDEON HAVE AT THE BEGINNING? (32K,
          22K (WHO LEFT) AND 10K (WHO STAYED)

          2. DID GIDEON HAVE MORE MEN THAN THE MIDIANITE/AMALEKITE
          ALLIES? (NO WAY! JUDGES 7:12 DESCRIBES THEM AS "THICK AS
          LOCUSTS" AND, IF THAT IS NOT PRECISE ENOUGH, JUDGES 8:10
          REVEALS THERE WERE 135K "SWORDSMEN.")

     B. LETS LOOK AT THIS USING OUR NORMAL COMMON SENSE. HOW DO YOU
     LIKE THE ODDS WHEN THE ARMIES FIRST SHOWED UP? 32K TO 135K?
     (THE MIDIANTES ONLY HAD AN "EXTRA" 100K MEN OR ODDS OF 4 TO 1)
     
          1. WHAT DID GIDEON'S MEN THINK OF THOSE ODDS? (2/3's OF
          THEM THOUGHT THIS WAS A BAD IDEA AND WERE "TREMBLING WITH
          FEAR." (JUDGES 7:3))

          2. THOSE OF YOU WHO WERE ON BOARD FOR OUR STUDY LAST WEEK
          OF JUDGES 6, HOW WOULD YOU RATE THE COURAGE AND
          DETERMINATION OF GIDEON? (THE GUY IS RELUCTANT, AND VERY
          WORRIED ABOUT THIS.)

          3. SO YOU HAVE 4 TO 1 ODDS, BUT 2/3RDS OF THE "1" ARE 
          SHAKING WITH FEAR AND THEIR LEADER IS NOT TOO CERTAIN
          THIS IS A GOOD IDEA. 

     C. SO GOD ENTERS THE PICTURE WITH A PRE-BATTLE PROPOSAL. WHAT
     IS IT? (JUDGES 7:3 LET THE 2/3RDS WHO ARE SHAKING LEAVE THE
     CAMP.)

     D. SO NOW THE ODDS ARE ARE 13.5 TO 1.

     E. THREE QUESTIONS: 

          1. IF YOU WERE GIDEON, WHAT WOULD YOU THINK OF THIS PRE-
          BATTLE ADVICE?

          2. DO YOU THINK GIDEON MIGHT HAVE HAD HIS HAND UP SAYING,
          I THINK I'LL LEAVE WITH THE SHAKING CROWD?

          3. WHAT WAS GOD'S REASON FOR SUGGESTING THIS PRE-BATTLE
          PROPOSAL? (v.2. "I CAN'T WIN WITH THIS MANY." "IN ORDER
          THAT ISRAEL NOT BOAST ... THAT HER OWN STRENGTH HAS SAVED
          HER.")

     F. WHENEVER GOD REVEALS HIS THINKING ABOUT WHAT APPEARS TO BE
     RIDICULOUS ADVICE, I THINK WE NEED TO STOP AND CONSIDER IT.

          1. WHAT LESSONS DO YOU FIND IN THIS FOR:

               a. CHURCH GROWTH? (BIGGER MAY NOT ALWAYS BE BETTER)

               b. AN IMPORTANT PROJECT THAT YOU CANNOT GET OFF THE
               GROUND BECAUSE OF LACK OF FUNDS OR HELPERS?
               (PERHAPS PRAYING FOR MORE MONEY OR MORE PEOPLE IS
               NOT THE ANSWER. EGW WRITES IN P&P, p. 550 "GOD CAN
               DELIVER BY FEW AS WELL AS BY MANY. HE IS HONORED
               NOT SO MUCH BY THE GREAT NUMBERS AS BY THE
               CHARACTER OF THOSE WHO SERVE HIM.")

               c. THE IMPORTANCE TO GOD OF GIVING GOD THE CREDIT
               FOR BLESSINGS AND VICTORIES, BOTH 

                    (1) IN OUR OWN MINDS, AND
                    (2) WHEN SPEAKING WITH OTHERS? 

          2. DO YOU THINK THAT GIDEON WAS PRAYING FOR GOD TO HELP
          HIM, AND GET HIM OUT OF THE TOUGH SITUATION HE WAS IN?
          (OF COURSE!)

               a. FROM MAN'S POINT OF VIEW, WAS "GOD'S HELP," 
               IN THIS INSTANCE WAS MAKING THE SITUATION WORSE
               INSTEAD OF BETTER?

          3. IN OUR DAY-TO-DAY PROBLEMS AND TRIALS, WE DO NOT 
          NORMALLY HAVE SUCH SPECIFIC ADVICE AND DIRECTION FROM GOD
          AS GIDEON HAD HERE.  WE CERTAINLY DO NOT HAVE GOD
          EXPLAINING IN DETAIL THE REASONS WHY CERTAIN THINGS ARE
          HAPPENING.

               a. DOES THIS SHOW THAT GOD WILL DELIBERATELY "TAKE
               US TO THE WALL" (THE EDGE OF THE PRECIPICE)
               SOMETIMES BEFORE HE RESCUES US? (I CAN HARDLY SEE
               ANY OTHER LESSON HERE.)

     G. LETS READ ON. JUDGES 7:4-8. GOD SAYS, 13.5 TO 1 ODDS ARE
     NOT BAD ENOUGH! LETS MAKE IT 450 TO 1! LETS MAKE IT TRULY
     IMPOSSIBLE!

     H. I PREFER NOT TO TAKE THE TIME TO DISCUSS THIS NOW, BUT I
     WANT YOU TO THINK ABOUT THIS IN THE AFTERNOON. (I'M GOING ON
     A WALK WITH FRANK, MAYBE YOU WOULD LIKE TO COME ALONG AND WE
     CAN DISCUSS THIS.) VERNON MCGEE SUGGESTS THAT THIS "DRINKING
     TEST" TELLS US A LOT ABOUT GOD'S ELECTION, OR WHAT SOME MIGHT
     CALL "PREDESTINATION." FOR EXAMPLE, EPHESIANS 1:11 SAYS THAT
     "IN HIM WE WERE CHOSEN, HAVING BEEN PREDESTINED ACCORDING TO
     THE PLAN OF HIM WHO WORKS OUT EVERYTHING IN CONFORMITY WITH
     THE PURPOSE OF HIS WILL."

          1. GOD CHOSE 300 OUT OF 10K.
          2. GOD CHOSE THEM BASED UPON "THE PLAN OF HIM WHO WORKS
          OUT EVERYTHING IN CONFORMITY WITH HIS WILL."
          3. BUT, DID GOD REALLY CHOOSE THEM? OR DID THE MEN 
          CHOOSE?

     I. NOW FRIENDS, WHAT DO YOU THINK GIDEON IS SAYING TO HIMSELF?
     (I NEED ANOTHER SIGN!)

     J. READ JUDGES 7:9-11.  THIS SHOWS US THAT GIDEON WAS AFRAID
     TO ATTACK.

          1. WHAT DOES IT SHOW US ABOUT GOD? (THAT HE IS CONCERNED
          ABOUT US AND ABOUT OUR CALMING OUR FEARS. (THERE IS A
          POPULAR CHRISTIAN SONG THAT SAYS, "SOMETIMES HE CALMS THE
          STORM AND SOMETIMES HE CALMS HIS CHILD.")

     K. LETS CONTINUE BY READING vv.12-15. WOULD YOU LIKE YOUR ARMY
     TO BE COMPARED TO A LOAF OF BREAD?
     
          1. WHY NOT CAUSE A DREAM THAT HAD A MILITARY JUGGERNAUT
          MOW OVER THE TENTS?
          
          2. "TENTS" WAS A GOOD REPRESENTATION FOR THE MIDIANITES.

          3. WHAT DO YOU THINK GOD HAD IN MIND BY CHOOSING THIS 
          SYMBOLISM? (BARLEY BREAD WAS THE FOOD OF THE POOR. A LOAF
          OF BREAD WOULD NOT NORMALLY KNOCK DOWN A TENT. I THINK
          ALL OF THIS ENCOURAGED GIDEON -- GAVE HIM A BETTER
          INSIGHT INTO GOD'S MIND. THAT GOD HAD SOMETHING UNIQUE
          AND IMPOSSIBLE IN MIND!)

     L. VERSE 15 SHOWS US TWO GREAT THINGS. FIRST, GIDEON
     WORSHIPPED THE LORD FOR THIS ENCOURAGING SIGN, AND SECOND, HIS
     FEAR WAS APPARENTLY PAST AND HE RALLIED THE TROOPS FOR THE
     VICTORY.

     M. NOW, LETS GET INTO THE ACTUAL "BATTLE PLAN." READ vv. 16-
     18.
          1. YOU KNOW THE PHRASE, "YOU ARE ALL TALK AND NO ACTION."
          I'M BEGINNING TO WONDER IF THAT IS THE PATTERN FOR
          CHRISTIAN WARFARE!

          2. WHAT PARALLEL DO YOU SEE WITH JOSHUA AND THE ATTACK ON
          JERICHO? (TRUMPETS AND SHOUTING)

          3. WHAT ABOUT THE COLLECTION OF BATTLE WEAPONS THAT 
          GIDEON PASSED OUT IN v. 16. WHAT WOULD YOU THINK ABOUT
          THAT IF YOU WERE ONE OF THE SOLDIERS?  

               a. YOU ALREADY ARE CONCERNED ABOUT THE ODDS. NOW 
               THEY GIVE YOU A TRUMPET AND AN EMPTY JAR AND A
               TORCH!

               b. WHAT IS THE LESSON HERE? (I SEE SEVERAL:
               
                    (1) GOD WORKS BY HIS POWER AND NOT BY MAN'S 
                    MIGHT; 
                    
                    (2) WE NEED TO BE FAITHFUL EVEN IF GOD'S 
                    METHODS SEEM ILLOGICAL; 
                    
                    (3) A "BAD PLAN" WITH FAITH, IS BETTER THAN A
                    GREAT PLAN WITHOUT GOD'S POWER; AND,
                    
                    (4) GOD DOES THE HEAVY LIFTING!  CAN YOU 
                    IMAGINE WHAT THE 32K WOULD HAVE THOUGHT IF
                    GIDEON HAD TOLD THEM THEY WOULD NOT ACTUALLY
                    HAVE TO FIGHT (AT LEAST NOT INITIALLY)? THE
                    KEY IS OUR FAITHFULNESS, AND NOT OUR
                    "SUCCESS." LET GOD TAKE CARE OF THE SUCCESS.) 

     N. LETS READ WHAT HAPPENS IN THE BATTLE. READ JUDGES 7:19-24.

          1. SECOND WATCH = 10pm.

          2. HOW COULD THE MIDIANITES AND AMALEKITES TURN ON EACH
          OTHER? (SINCE THEY WERE A BUNCH OF LOOSELY ORGANIZED
          BEDOUIN TRIBES (NO KING OR LEADER IS MENTIONED IN THE
          BIBLE), IT SEEMS THAT THIS CONFUSION AND SELF-INFLICTED
          BATTLE DAMAGE IS EASY TO UNDERSTAND.)
          

     O. SO TRUMPETS, JARS AND TORCHES WITH THE POWER OF GOD WIN!

     P. HAS GOD USED A SIMPLE OR ILLOGICAL THING TO DO GREAT THINGS
     IN YOUR LIFE? (EITHER YOUR SPIRITUAL LIFE OR YOUR WORK LIFE)

     Q. IF WANT TO DISCUSS THE COMPLAINT OF EPHRAIM AND HOW GIDEON
     HANDLED IT, READ JUDGES 7:25-8:3. (KEEP IN MIND JUDGES 12:1-6)

     R. READ JUDGES 8:4, 10-12, 18-21.

          1. WHAT IS THE SIGNIFICANCE (v.4) OF GIDEON CROSSING THE
          JORDAN? (A)HE WAS CHASING THE MIDIANITES INTO THEIR OWN
          TERRITORY, AND I DOUBT THEY EXPECTED THIS. B) HE STILL
          HAS ONLY 300 MEN WITH HIM AND THEY NO LONGER HAVE THE
          ELEMENT OF SURPRISE IF THE MIDIANITES TURN ON THEM.)

          2. WHY WAS GIDEON GOING TO HAVE HIS SON KILL THE TWO 
          MIDIANITE KINGS? (DISGRACE TO BE KILLED BY A BOY)

     S. GOD GIVES HIS PEOPLE A COMPLETE VICTORY THROUGH HIS POWER
     AND THEIR WILLINGNESS TO TRUST HIM.

II. NEXT WEEK: JUDGES 8 AND 9. WATCH OUT FOR THE LESSON ON FLYING
MILLSTONES! STUDY!