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The Giant of Overwhelming Odds - Part A

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November 8, 2022 5:00 am

The Giant of Overwhelming Odds - Part A

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig

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November 8, 2022 5:00 am

We who are Christians are surrounded. More people seem to be against us than those who are for us. In the message "The Giant of Overwhelming Odds," Skip shares how you can navigate life when the odds are stacked against you.

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There are always more faithless people than there are faithful people. But sometimes we know that, and on top of that, we have family issues and health issues and economy issues. And it all piles up and we feel overwhelmed. And I love David's prayer in Psalm 61, when my heart is overwhelmed, lead me to the rock that is higher than I. Anxiety and stress run rampant in the world.

We feel their burden almost on a daily basis. Today on Connect with Skip Hiting, Skip shares how faith empowers you to stand strong against overwhelming odds. Now, we want to tell you about a resource that encourages dads everywhere to step up and fulfill their God-given calling. Your gift to this teaching program has helped us grow, and we want to do more in 2023.

This month, with your gift to $50 or more, you'll receive a download or DVD of a new Critical Issues video hosted by Skip. Where's Dad? The problems are clear. Team crime, drug abuse, youth suicide, abortion, and a host of others. The question is, where's Dad? Where's the man of the household when their boys are making life decisions about their treatment of women, their worldview, and their morals?

Why are legions of energetic teens channeling their time towards self-destructive and socially destructive behavior? And where's Dad to guide them, to correct them, to be in relationship with them? We realize that single-parent families are not exclusively a male issue. Fathers who do not take responsibility for their children are the critical problem. Where's Dad looks at the problem of missing fathers in the home, tells stories of people who have been impacted by this plague, and looks at the possibilities of reconciliation at any age or stage of life. Get your DVD or download of the full-length video, Where's Dad, hosted by Skip Heitzig and featuring Josh McDowell. Receive your copy of Where's Dad when you help us expand Skip's teaching with your donation of $50 or more.

Call 1-800-922-1888 or go to connectwithskip.com to get your copy of Where's Dad. Okay, we're in Judges Chapter 7 as we join Skip Heitzig for today's study. So there's this Amish family and they went to the city for the very first time in their lives and they ended up at a mall. So they were completely overwhelmed by the sights, the sounds, the crowds, the stores, the lights, and they in the mall came to an elevator. And they watched as the elevator doors opened and an elderly woman stepped in and doors closed and it went up and went down. And then when it came back down, the doors opened and this young beautiful woman stepped up. And so the little boy said, Papa, what is that?

And he said, never mind, son, just go get your mama quick. I don't know what you feel like or how you react when you are feeling overwhelmed by something. But chances are you've used that word in the past year, year and a half, two years. With the events that have occurred in our world, you have perhaps felt overwhelmed.

That's the word a lot of people have used. One news source said people are feeling more stressed, anxious and overwhelmed than ever before. And one of the reasons why it feels or seems overwhelming to us is we start thinking, well, we didn't see that one coming. We didn't see coronavirus like shutting down the world and the economic freefall and, you know, if that happened, what else could happen?

What does the future hold for us? In ancient times, when they drew maps out, the map makers, the cartographers, they would draw what they knew. And so they would draw the land masses and the lines for the countries.

That's what they knew. But when they were writing down or drawing what they didn't know, they would, at the edge of the map, simply write these words, beyond here, there be dragons. And to use our own little analogy, we might say beyond here, there be giants. We don't know what the future holds, but we know that God's got to cover.

And I want to talk to you about that today. We have been studying standing up to giants. We began with the giant of conformity and we saw how the Daniel didn't bend, that he refused to indulge himself in the delicacies of the king.

He didn't conform to the culture. We looked at the giant of silence, how John the Baptist stood up and spoke up against the abuse of hypocrisy of King Herod, Herod Antipas. We looked at the giant of apathy, how Nehemiah had a pretty cushy job and he decided that he would leave his comfort zone and be involved in God's work. We looked at the giant of fear, how David took on the whole Philistine army and in particular that intimidating NBA guy named Goliath. We looked at the giant of self and we saw that Esther put her life on the line to save the Jewish people with the words, if I perish, I perish. Today, we want to look at another giant and I'm calling this the giant of overwhelming odds. What do you do?

How do you act? How do you calibrate when the odds just seem overwhelming when the news that comes to you is just so devastating, so intimidating. Let me just sort of set it up and I'm going to give you the numbers of the army and I'm going to I'm going to count on you to remember these fact.

I'm going to test you during this message. So the Israelite army under a guy by the name of Gideon in Chapter 7 of Judges, the Israelite army has 32,000 men. The enemy army, the Midianites has 135,000 men.

So he is outnumbered four to one. So how many people are in Israel's army? No, 32,000. 32,000, we'll get this, don't worry, by the end you will have this memory. 32,000. How many are in the enemy's camp?

135,000. So that's what we're up against. Gideon is facing not a giant, but a giant army. He is outnumbered, which is precisely the position we find ourselves in as believers today. We are always outnumbered.

You know that, right? That is our MO. That's how we operate.

That's our modus operandi. We're always outnumbered. There's always more unbelievers than there are believers. There are always more faith less people than there are faithful people.

But sometimes we know that and on top of that we have family issues and health issues and economy issues and it all piles up and we feel overwhelmed. And I love David's prayer in Psalm 61, when my heart is overwhelmed, lead me to the rock that is higher than I. I want to show you how to get to that rock. I want to show you five keys to standing strong when the odds are against you, when the circumstances seem overwhelming. Here's what's great about this story. What's great about this story is it's not just a story of a man with a small army against a big army.

It's a story of a weak man who leads a small army against a big army. He's a man of very frail faith. He's learning. He's growing in his faith.

He's learning to trust God. Chapter seven of Judges is a battle scene. The enemy has come into the land. There's a coalition of tribal nations, Midianites, Amalekites, people from the east. They all band together.

They come in and they invade the land of Israel. So I want to show you those five keys to standing strong. Here's the first key. Your faith is gradual. That is, you have faith in God, but that faith grows and God doesn't expect you to get all A's on the first day of class for a test or a class that may take a year for you to sit in. Your faith and the journey of your faith is gradual.

So look at verse one, Judges seven verse one. Then get this name. Don't name this. Don't ever name your child this name. Jerubahl or the Hebrew pronunciation Jerubahl. Jerubahl.

I'm not going to even pronounce it that way. We're Americans, so we're going to say Jerubahl. So then Jerubahl, that is Gideon.

I'll explain that in a moment. Jerubahl, that is Gideon and all the people who were with him rose early and in camp beside the well of her road so that the camp of the Midianites was on the north side of them by the Hill of Moray in the valley. What I want you to notice is the very first name we get for Gideon in chapter seven is in Gideon. It's a name with pagan ties. It's a nickname that his dad who at one time was a pagan worshiper he worshiped like God the God of Israel and this God named Baal. It was a nickname that his dad gave him and it's there to remind us that Gideon though he's going to be used by God.

Had the influence of paganism from his dad in the past. Now, if you know your Bible, you know that Gideon is not just an Old Testament hero, but he makes it all the way into the New Testament. Do you know what book he's in in the New Testament? Book of Hebrews. So the writer of Hebrews gives the Hall of Fame, the Hall of Fame of Faith, and he lists all these faithful examples and he says, and time would fail me to tell you about Gideon and Beric and Samson and Jephthah. So he begins not with faith, but he ends up in the Hall of Faith. You know how Gideon started? How Jeru Baal started? Fearful. That's how he began his journey of faith. He believed in God, but he was so timid.

Let me explain. When God calls him in chapter six, it says that he was threshing wheat at the wine press. Now, we would just read that through and not maybe understand the background of why that is important. Nobody threshed wheat at a wine press because the wine press is down in the valley. The place you thresh wheat, the threshing floor is on the top of the mountain. And the reason you do that is because the afternoon breezes carried the chaff away. So you take a pitchfork full of your grain, throw it in the air. The wind blows the chaff away. The grain falls on the rock. That's where you thresh wheat.

He's not doing that. It says he threshed wheat in the wine press. Listen to this in order to hide from the Midianites. Does that sound like a man of faith? No, it sounds like a man of fear.

A man of fear. So it's funny when the angel of the Lord shows up while he's throwing that stuff in the air. And he says, hey, what's up?

That's kind of a paraphrase. And he says, you mighty man of valor. And I'm guessing Gideon is like looking around going, is there somebody else here that I don't see? Who's he talking to? He's talking to the man who would become a mighty man of valor but was not at that moment.

He began very fearful. Okay, forward a little bit more in Chapter 6. In Chapter 6, God comes to Gideon and says, Gideon, your dad has a statue in his backyard of Baal. I want you to cut it down.

I want you to kill it, cut down the statue, burn it, get rid of it. What's interesting is that the name Gideon literally means hacker or hewer or one who cuts something down. So God comes to Gideon in this journey of faith and he says, Gideon, it's time for you to live up to your name. Go cut down that cult object that your dad has been worshiping. Now, why would God require that of him? Because he's about to lead an army, that's why. Before you can ever lead publicly, you got to work on things privately.

You got to start in your own backyard. So he starts in his dad's own backyard. But even cutting down the statue, he wouldn't do it during the day. He did it at night secretly. So this is Chapter 6, verse 27, because he feared his father's household and the men of the city too much to do it by day.

He did it at night. You can say, well, that's just practical, maybe, but he's still scared. He started out scared and God calls him to do something. He does it, but he's still timid. Now we come to Chapter 7 and Chapter 7, he's going to lead this army. He's going to do these great exploits. We're told in Chapter 6, verse 34, the Spirit of the Lord came upon him.

So that's a good thing. He's got the Holy Spirit. He's empowered by God to do this, but even filled with the Spirit, he's still scared.

He's still timid. He's still fearful because he says, you got to show me a sign. I need a sign that you're in this. So God gives him not one sign, not two signs, three signs. Sign number one, fire comes out of a rock and consumes the sacrifice.

It's a pretty good sign. Sign number two, he takes an animal hide, a fleece, puts it out. The next morning, there's dew on the fleece, but there's no dew anywhere else in the land. That's the second sign. Gideon didn't know if that was just a fluke of nature, so he wanted God to repeat it, but reversed it, so he gives him a third sign. There's no dew the next day on the fleece, but there's dew everywhere else, three signs. So he believes, he acts, he's called upon to lead an army, but all the way along, he's still scared and God has to confirm it.

Here's what I want you to see. Hunting giants is a progressive skill. It's a progressive skill.

You learn how to do it, and you learn how to do it gradually over time. Gideon started out fearful before he ever became faithful. I hope that encourages you.

He started out fearful before he ever became faithful. In Psalm 144, verse one, we read this, blessed be the Lord who trains my hands for war and my fingers for battle. You're in a learning process. You're in school. God is teaching you through your life, through the trials, through the difficulties in this journey of faith, how to hunt giants.

You're a work in progress. And here's what I mean. You believe in God, but sometimes you're afraid. You trust, but I have a little bit of fear and trepidation here in this area. Right? Is that true about you?

Yeah, it's true for most of us. It's like the guy in the New Testament who brought his son to Jesus, who was demon possessed. He said, please heal my son. Jesus said, all things are possible to him who believes. And the man said back to Jesus, Lord, I believe, but help my unbelief. I trust you, but I'm scared.

That's Gideon. That's the journey of faith. We're all on it. You are in process. Long before I ever stood, before heads of state and rulers with the gospel, I stood in my classroom. I stood with my family.

I had to make a stand with my friends and at work. And God knows that you are in this process. And he cuts you a lot of slack. He doesn't condemn you.

He understands. I love the Bible verse that says, God knows our frame and remembers that we are dust. God knows what you're made out of. He doesn't have high expectations for dust.

Right? It's like, okay, you know, not to put you down, not to put me down. I don't expect a lot out of dirt. I know what you're made out of.

You're human and it's only natural for humans to trust, but have a little bit of fear mixed in with it. So I love also Hebrews chapter four, Jesus has called our great high priest who sympathizes with our weaknesses. So here is the gradual growing of Gideon's faith. By the way, why does God test our faith?

And he does. He's testing Gideon's faith. Every little increment here, he's testing his faith, testing, testing, testing.

Why does God test our faith? Any takers on that? That's good. So I'm hearing some good answers.

Let me give you two of them. Number one, God tests your faith not so he can find out what kind of faith you have. It's not like God's saying, gosh, I got to find this out. He knows already going into it how much faith you have or don't have, but you don't. So the test is to reveal to you the level of your faith.

Number two, God tests your faith and I heard it shouted out so it will grow. So I go into the gym. The only way for those muscles to grow is for you to put some resistance on them.

And when that resistance, those weights are added and the muscle breaks down, it's going to build back up. And so the trials, the hardship, the testing of your faith is what builds you up. God tests your faith, a faith that can't be tested is a faith that can't be trusted. So your faith is gradual. Second key, God's math is unusual. We would even say God does weird math.

He does it way differently than we do. So there's Midianites and there's Israelites. How many people are in the Israelite army? 32,000, how many in the enemy's army? 135,000. 135,000.

You got the number down now, 32 to 135, four to one odds. By the way, Midianites were like Bedouin tribal peoples in ancient times. I don't know if you know this or not, but Midian was one of Abraham's sons.

You're going, I don't remember that. There was Isaac and there was Ishmael, but yeah, that was his first wife, Sarah. After she died, he got married again to Keturah and had a whole bunch of kids. One of them was named Midian. He goes down into the Sinai desert in Northern Saudi Arabia and that's his area. By the way, Jethro, the father-in-law of Moses was a Midianite priest.

So they have ties way back. At this time they have invaded the land and they've been camped around. They're stealing their crops, they're terrorizing them, and there are way more of them than there are of God's people.

So it already seems impossible, 32,000 to 135,000. Now look at verse two, the Lord said to Gideon, the people who are with you are too many. Uh, hello?

Because that's not what I was thinking. Yeah, God, I wanted to talk to you about the size of my army because I'm outnumbered four to one. And I was just about to say I have too few and what did you just say? The people who are with you are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hands lest Israel claim glory for itself against me saying my own hand has saved me. How many of you think Gideon was shocked when God said that?

Yeah, I do. I think he was pretty shocked. Did you know that we rarely think that size, bigness of size, is a hindrance to the work of God? Most Christian, most Christian organizations, most churches don't see size as a hindrance.

They see that as a good thing. They see the hindrance as things being small, not big, but when things are large and resources are abundant and there's lots of people, it's often harder to trust God. What we trust in is our resources. Those resources may be from God, but it doesn't take much faith when the cupboards are full and the money's in and the crowds are there. And sometimes churches are wowed by size and statistics and they think they're strong because they're big. That's a misconception.

I want to throw up on the screen what Gary Inwick wrote, just a little portion. He says, you cannot be too small for God to use, but you can be too big. That is why, as you look around, you will see God working in a powerful way in the lives of some very weak people.

Well, I hope that encourages you. Because if you're thinking, man, I just feel so weak, perfect, you are a great candidate for God to use. Do you know that? God has chosen the foolish things of this world, the weak things of this world, to confound the mighty and the wise. Size can hinder the work of God. Now, why, wait a minute, I have 32,000, they have 135,000. You're telling me I have too many?

Did you notice how God wrote that or put that, how He spoke it? The people who are with you are too many, what's the next two words? For me. Too many for me. I know they're not too many for you, Gideon. You think you need 10 times more.

Too many for me. That's Skip Heitig with a message from the series, Hunting Giants. Now, we want to tell you about an opportunity you have to take your knowledge of God's word to a deeper level. If you're ready to study God's word beyond going to church and personal Bible study, you're ready for Calvary College. Take your learning and your life's purpose to the next level with an education in biblical studies.

Registration for the 2023 spring term starts October 3rd. Classes happen onsite at Calvary Church Albuquerque and online. Classes like spiritual foundations, personal evangelism, theology too and church history too. Classes book specific courses like Daniel, Romans, Acts, 1 Corinthians and Revelation. Calvary College partners with Veritas International University and Calvary Chapel University so you can earn an accredited undergraduate or graduate degree or simply increase your knowledge of God and His word.

Your application for the 2023 spring term is available now and classes start January 9th. Apply today at calvarychurchcollege.com. There are many things we encounter in life that can cause us to fear, but God gives us courage to face those challenges and through Him we can be victorious. That's why we share these messages, to encourage you in your faith so you can follow where God leads you. And when you support this ministry, you not only do the same for others, but you keep these teachings you love available to you as well. Just call 800-922-1888 to give a gift today. That's 800-922-1888 or visit connectwithskiff.com slash donate. That's connectwithskiff.com slash donate. Thank you.

Tune in tomorrow as Skip Heitzig shares how worship can help you face and break through every obstacle in life. Make a connection. Make a connection now. Make a connection now. Make a connection now. Make a connection now. Make a connection at the foot of the cross and cast all burdens on His word. Make a connection. Make a connection. Connect with Skip Heitzig is a presentation of connection communications connecting you to God's never-changing truth in ever-changing times.
Whisper: small.en / 2022-11-08 07:13:09 / 2022-11-08 07:18:56 / 6

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