Judges 7: 9 – 11, “During that night the LORD said to Gideon, “Get up, go down against the camp, because I am going to give it into your hands. If you are afraid to attack, go down to the camp with your servant Purah and listen to what they are saying. Afterward, you will be encouraged to attack the camp.” So he and Purah his servant went down to the outposts of the camp.”
Gideon’s army was less than 1 percent of its original size after the shifting took place, when God cut the majority of troops from the team through the leadership of Gideon. Gideon is resting at night, and God interrupts his rest with urgent orders to respond to divinely urgent news. Gideon is commanded to get up because God was going to give him victory if he would attack immediately. Knowing Gideon’s heart, God sees Gideon’s fear, and responds to it with encouragement. Although faith is the opposite of fear at times we need to be navigated from one point to the other on the vehicle of encouragement. God told Gideon if you are too afraid to attack right now then spy on your enemies and eavesdrop on their conversation, you will be encouraged by what you hear. What could they possible hear from the enemy that would give them encouragement?
In sports competition I would love it if the opposing team would begin to fight against themselves, or when they would somehow lose heart. A divided team can’t stand, and a team that has no heart because it is gripped by fear has crippled themselves before engaging in the battle. At this point both armies were fearful of one another, but God was about to rip the fear from Gideon’s heart and encourage him, thus replacing fear with faith. Gideon and Purah (most likely his armor-bearer) eavesdrop on the enemies camp and, “Gideon arrived just as a man was telling a friend his dream. “I had a dream,” he was saying. “A round loaf of barley bread came tumbling into the Midianite camp. It struck the tent with such force that the tent overturned and collapsed.” His friend responded, “This can be nothing other than the sword of Gideon son of Joash, the Israelite. God has given the Midianites and the whole camp into his hands.” No doubt this dream came from God to their enemies, as the fear of Gideon’s sword ransacked their minds, gripping them with fear, discouragement, and defeat, before the battle was even engaged. I believe it was at this point that Gideon finally believed God. There are some great truth here for God’s present day soldiers, you and me.
1. God’s Word is timely. We are bound by the realm of time, and God is not. God told Gideon to go now to either battle or eavesdrop and Gideon obeyed. Our enemies are defeated already, but we need to listen to God’s Word to be reminded of that truth. Jesus said in John 8:31 – 32, “If you…continue in my Lord…the truth will set you free.” God’s Word brings freedom if we apply it. Are you a hearer of God’s Word and a doer of God’s Word?
2. God’s Word is encouraging. We’ve all been discouraged. Gideon’s army was decreased yet the battle was still on the horizon. Both armies were gripped with fear, but God cares for his people, and meets our discouragement with encouragement, fighting fear with faith. Are you discouraged today, I’ve been there many times, go to God’s Word but you need not go alone.
3. God’s Word brings partnership. Gideon was commanded to go with Purah, his confidant, his close trustworthy partner. I can picture them smiling with huge grins at each other and being able to encourage one another. Now there were two people bringing encouragement back to the camp together. We need a close partner, who is yours? Do you encourage each other? Battles are here, more are coming, but God’s Word is timely, encouraging, and brings partnership. God is victorious, let us act by faith upon his Word by being obedient to Him, regardless of the fear that grips our hearts. Go to God’s Word and allow it to silence the fear that grips you.
Until the nets are filled…Blessings, Pastor Phil <><