Choosing an Army (Ps T L Mukumba) 31-May-2020
Title: Choosing an Army (Judges. 7:1-7) Before I explain on how God chooses his army, I would like to first say that Gideon was very sure that the Lord had called him. He had a conversation to verify his calling in Judges chapter 6. He was also sure of his mission. It should be noted Gideon was a farmer.
Midianites had held Israel in bondage for seven year. It was so terrible that people were hiding in caves. Israel had no strategy of how to come out, yet God had strategy. You might going through some stuff today and you don’t know how to come out of it I want to tell you that God have got a better strategy. The familiar and exciting account of Gideon’s wonderful victory over the Midianites is really a story of faith in action, and it reveals something important about faith. Faith will make you to see the invisible, and to choose the imperishable to do the impossible. God asked Gideon to reduce army that he was going with to fight against the Midianites. And the Lord said unto Gideon, “The people that are with thee are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel vaunt themselves against me, saying, Mine own hand hath saved me” (Judge 7:4). Gideon had gone with 32000 to men war but they were many to Lord because Israel was going to boast saying my own strength saved me. God wants us to be people faith. Whenever he is choosing an army of warriors, he looks at vision, purpose and faith.
Every army that God chooses is for the glory of His name not our names. It is also important to know that faith that cannot be tested cannot be trusted. Too often what people think is faith is really only a warm fuzzy feeling about faith or perhaps faith in faith. We can follow men and women of faith and share in their exploits, but we can’t succeed in our own personal lives by depending on somebody’s own faith. God wants his army to have faith. Hebrews 11:6 says, “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him”. Paul says in Ephesians 6:16, “Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked”.
When God asked Gideon to reduce his army he reduced it down to 10000. After 22000 soldiers went back home, the bibles says, Judges 7:4, “And the Lord said unto Gideon, The people are yet too many; bring them down unto the water, and I will try them for thee there: and it shall be, that of whom I say unto thee, This shall go with thee, the same shall go with thee; and of whomsoever I say unto thee, This shall not go with thee, the same shall not go”. After He had told Gideon how to select them only 300 were successful, Judges 11:6 says, “And the Lord said unto Gideon, By the three hundred men that lapped will I save you, and deliver the Midianites into thine hand: and let all the other people go every man unto his place”. Faith does not depend on how we feel, what we see or what happened. It is important to know that God tests our faith for at least two reasons. First to show us whether our faith is real or counterfeit and second to strengthen our faith for the tasks that He sets before us. God often puts through a valley for testing before allowing to reach the mountain peak of victory. The promises of God shine brightest in the furnace of affliction, and in in claiming those promises that we gain victory.
If Gideon’s faith had been in the size of the army then it could have been very weak by the time God was through with them. When He looked at the 300 men instead of 32000 men he could have said ‘Lord I am giving up’. In (2 Corinthians 12:10) Paul says, “… for when I am weak, then am I strong”. Less than one percent of the original 32000 ended up following Gideon to the battlefield. God told Gideon why he was reducing the army, He did not want the soldier to boast that they had won the victory over the Midianites.
Pride after the battle robs God of glory. How often we do that when the Lord has given us victory. Sometimes we forget to acknowledge the grace, mercies and compassions of the Lord. (Lamentation 3:22-23) It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. Faith brings glory to God because nobody can explain how it happened. In telling the fearful soldiers to return home, Gideon was obeying God’s instructions and the word. Deuteronomy 20:8, “… What man is there that is fearful and fainthearted? let him go and return unto his house, lest his brethren's heart faint as well as his heart”.
The fearful and trembling man God cannot use. Fear during the battle robs God’s soldiers of courage and power. It is easy for a rotten tomato orange to spoil the other oranges in the same package. Fear has a way of spreading, and one timid soldier can do more harm than a whole army of enemy soldiers. Fear and faith can’t live together very long in the heart, either will conquer faith and we will quit or faith will conquer fear and we will triumph.
More people ruin their chances because fear. And more leaders choose people because of what they see and ignore God’s instructions. God know every heart. When we choose people into leadership roles for the church (which is God’s army); it is important to be prayerful about it and to choose people of absolute faith and also choose according to God’s instructions to avoid disappointments and pride creeping in the way.
I believe the metaphorical significance of the people that were drinking water with their hands whilst watching were they were going is that they were principled men of vision, mission and faith. They were focused and resolute to their task in this battle and God wanted to work with these men of faith.
What constitutes a missionary call? How does God call men and women today? The angel of the Lord generally comes when a person is busy (Judge 6:11-12). History is full of this.
Deborah was an Ephramite housewife
Saul was searching for his father livestock
David was tending sheep
The disciples were fishing
Martin Luther king. Reformation leader was a busy Pastor and professor
Joseph was a faithful messenger
George Washington the first president of United States was a Farmer-surveyor
Abraham Lincoln the sixteenth President of United States was a country lawyer
God speaks to many people in different ways and surprises so much as He surprised the Jewish farmer – Gideon.