Gideon worshiped before the battle, not after the battle. Now he may have worshiped after the battle, probably did.
Praise God we won. But before the battle, he was a worshipper before he was a warrior. You see, worship reorients you when you're in a battle.
Life is full of battles, so how can you be prepared for them? Today on Connect with Skip Hyting, Skip shares how worship can help you face and break through every obstacle in life. But first, did you know that Skip shares important updates and biblical encouragement on social media? Just follow him on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to get the latest from him and this ministry that's at Skip Hyting at Skip H-E-I-T-Z-I-G. Now we're in Judges chapter 7 as we dive into our study with Skip Hyting. Listen to these words, one man shall chase a thousand and two will put ten thousand to flight.
How's that for math? According to God's math, all Gideon needed then was 27 men to fight 135,000 Midianites. All of that to say this, don't be surprised if God starts trimming your resources, starts tearing down your strength. And you say, man, I'm not as strong as I used to.
I'm feeling weaker and weaker and weaker. Paul the Apostle thought that. He had a thorn in the flesh, 2 Corinthians chapter 12. He prayed to God about it and God came to him and said, my strength is made perfect in your weakness. My strength is made perfect in your weakness. Listen, man's extremity is God's opportunity. That was a good place for an amen right there.
That's good. Man's extremity is God's opportunity. God likes when you're weak because you lean into him. You lean into him. You trust him. When you've got the resources, the strength, the bigness, you don't do that. When you have none of that, you lean into him. So God's math is unusual.
Here's a third. People's fear is transmissible. People's fear gets passed on.
It's like coronavirus. Others get it. People's fear is transmissible.
I'm going to add to that. People's fear or faith is transmissible. Look at verse three.
Now, therefore, this is God talking to Gideon. You've got too many. Now, therefore, proclaim in the hearing of the people, saying, whoever is fearful and afraid, let him turn and depart at once from Mount Gilead.
Okay, stop. He's already outnumbered. How many are in his army? 32,000. This number keeps changing. 32,000. How many are in the enemy's army?
Okay, 32 to 135. So he's already outnumbered. And then God says, whoever's scared, make the announcement. Any of you in my army afraid to go to war?
Go home. And Gideon is expecting, nobody's leaving. They know what they signed up for. They're in this army to fight.
Nobody's scared here. Let's finish verse three. And 22,000 of the people returned and 10,000 remain.
Wow. Two thirds just walked out on Gideon. They just bailed.
They dropped their weapons. See ya. I'm going home. Bye. I'm scared.
See ya. Just like that. So he was already outnumbered. Four to one.
Now, there are only 10,000 people left. Here's what you may not know. What God called Gideon to do with this was standard operating military procedure in the Old Testament. That was when God gave the law to Moses, he said, when the people go to war, there are four exemptions.
I'm going to list four reasons why they don't have to go to war and fight. This is Deuteronomy chapter 20. What man is there who has built a new house and has not dedicated it? Let him go home. Be frustrating to plan and build and save and have a house. And then you get drafted to go to war and you can't enjoy it. So God says, go home, enjoy your house. That's number one. Number two, what man is there who has planted a vineyard and not eaten of it?
Again, very frustrating. You plant, you fertilize, you water, it grows up. You got the grapes, but you can't enjoy it because there's a war. God says, no, you stay home and enjoy the vineyard. Third exemption.
What man is there who is betrothed to a woman and has not married her? You got the wedding announcements. Everybody's coming.
You're all happy. And then you have to go fight. God says, no, let him stay and get married and enjoy. Here's the fourth exemption. Listen to this one. What man is there who is fearful and faint hearted? Let him go and return to his house, lest the heart of his brethren faint like his heart. You know why God said that? Because fear is contagious. Fear is contagious. One timid soldier can do more damage than a whole bunch of enemies. I mean, imagine if the battle begins and in the middle of the battle, 22,000 people leave. If 22,000 people leave, everybody's gone. It would be mass panic. It would be crowd panic.
We see this in stadiums when there's some threat that happens and people try to rush out and they trample others because of it. John Wesley wrote, give me 100 men who fear nothing but sin and love nothing but God and I will shake the gates of hell. I don't need a lot. I can shake the gates of hell with just 100 faithful people.
That's all I need. You see, a few people with faith is better than a lot of people without faith. You want a lean, mean fighting machine. G. Campbell Morgan, I'm going to throw this up, said, the trouble today is that the fearful and trembling man insists on remaining in the army. A decrease that sifts the ranks of the church of men who fear and tremble is a great, a gracious, and a glorious gain.
You see, and here's why. When you feel overwhelmed, you know, it's different than feeling stressful. We all get stressed. There's a number of things that cause stress in our lives. Could be our job, could be our family relationship with the faith.
Relationship with a friend, our health. We're stressed. But when you have one, two, three, four, five, several things piling up and you start feeling overwhelmed, that's like stress on steroids. And when you're feeling overwhelmed, you don't need people around you filled with fear. You need people around you filled with faith. They're the ones that are going to carry you through. And you need not only fearless people, you need people who are alert. They're watching. They got your back. They're ready for action.
I want you, want you to see that in verse four. The Lord said to Gideon, okay, you got 10,000 now. So how many were in the army? 32,000. How many were in the enemy's army?
Yeah, come on. Group participation. 135,000. Now how many are in the army? 10,000. 135,000.
Their odds haven't changed, but the odds toward Gideon's defeat go way up. Okay. So I lost my place. Verse eight. The Lord said to Gideon, the people who are still too many, bring them down to the water and I will test them for you there. Then it will be that of whom I say to you, this one shall go with you. The same shall go with you. And whoever I say to you, this one shall not go.
The same shall not go. So he brought the people down to the water. And the Lord said to Gideon, everyone who laps from the water with his tongue, like a dog laps, you shall set apart by himself. Likewise, everyone who gets down on his knees to drink and the number of those who lapped putting their hands to their mouth was 300 men. But all the rest of the people got down on their knees to drink water. And the Lord said to Gideon, by the 300 men who lapped, I will save you and deliver the Midianites into your hand. Let all the other people go every man to his place. So the people took provisions and their trumpets in their hands. And he sent away all the rest of Israel, every man to his tent and retained those 300 men.
Now the camp of Midian was below him in the valley. We read this and I go, this is weird. What does drinking water have to do with fighting a battle? Well, the way a man would drink a water would drink water in those days would tell an awful lot about the man. If on one hand, he bows all the way down, gets on all fours, and here's the stream of water and he just bows down like this, drinks water. What's he looking at?
Dust the water, right? He is predisposed. He is vulnerable. He is not able to act quickly, right? Because he is just into drinking the water, self-gratification.
But if somebody bows down slightly and takes water in his hands and brings it up to his mouth and laughs it, he still has eyes out. He's less vulnerable. He's on the alert. He has his priorities right. There's a sense of urgency about it.
I think that's behind this little test. Listen, some people take unnecessary time with necessary things. You got to do it.
You got to drink. Everybody has to do it. But some people take unnecessary time with necessary things. There's no sense of urgency about their lives.
There's no sense of priority. And you need people around you in a battle that have a sense of vigilance, right? Peter said, be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary, the devil, walks around like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.
Get friends on your side like that. Fearless people, watchful people. Fear is transmissible.
Here's the fourth. Enemy's words may be helpful. Your enemy's words may be helpful. Now, normally, I wouldn't say this, and you wouldn't expect a pastor to say, go listen to your enemies. You would think the pastor says, don't listen to your enemies. You know, they don't trust God. Don't listen to what they have to say. You need to just listen to words of faith, etc. But in some cases, it's actually helpful for you to listen to your enemies, because what they say, what they reveal will be encouraging to your heart.
I want you to see that. Look at verse nine. It happened on the same night that the Lord said to him, arise, go down against the camp, for I have delivered it into your hands.
In other words, strike by night. But if you are afraid to go down, go down to the camp with Pura, your servant. Now, the fact that he goes down to the camp with Pura, his servant, indicates that he was afraid.
He's still fearful. And you shall hear what they say, and afterwards your hand shall be strengthened to go down against the camp. Then he went down with Pura, his servant, to the outpost of the armed men who were in the camp. So get the scene.
He's being real sneaky here. Takes Pura. Let's go. Tiptoe. We're going to the camp of the Midianites. I don't know why, but God said, if I'm scared, I should go do this, and I'm really scared. So let's just go down.
Come on, come on. So they go down. Verse 12. The Midianites and the Amalekites, all the people of the east were lying in the valley as numerous as locusts.
I mean, there's 135,000 of them. And their camels were without number as the sand by the seashore and multitude. And when Gideon had come there, had come, there was a man telling a dream to his companion.
And he said, I've had a dream. To my surprise, a loaf of barley bread tumbled into the camp of Midian, and it came to a tent and struck it so that it fell and overturned and the tent collapsed. Then his companion answered and said, this is nothing else, but the sword of Gideon, the son of Joash, a man of Israel. Into his hand, God has delivered Midian and the whole camp. Now God just gave Gideon another sign.
Another sign. He got fire out of a rock, the fleece thing, the fleece thing again. Now he just sneaks into the camp and he happens to hear a conversation spoken out loud about a dream. You know, I had this weird dream last night.
Yeah, I just woke him up just now, man. There's this piece of bread. The slope of bread came tumbling down, destroyed the tent. What's up with that? You guys say, well, I'll tell you exactly what's up with that. That is a prophecy saying that we're about to get wiped out by this guy named Gideon. And Gideon just happens to hear that and be there at that time.
This is where I'm going with this. So often you and I are afraid to engage with unbelievers. We're intimidated by them. Let's say they're agnostic atheists. Maybe they're real smart.
They're clever and their arguments are very articulate. We're afraid to engage with unbelievers because we're afraid of what they might say. We're afraid we won't be able to stand up to their arguments. We're afraid to answer the questions that they have coming. We're afraid we're not going to be able to penetrate their defenses, but listen to them. Sometimes when you listen to them, they will betray their true feelings. They will reveal to you that God has been working on their hearts and it will encourage you. I can't tell you how many times this has happened to me.
I'm just going to give you a couple examples. Number one, when I was in my college training, it was a UCLA program. I was at San Bernardino County Medical Center where there was a radiology internship.
I worked there every day. So I'm going to work and I noticed this one guy. He was in orderly.
He would pick up patients and bring them down to the wards from the wards down to the true radiology. I noticed him and I'd say hi to him. I didn't know much about him, but come to find out he claimed to be a Satan worshiper. I don't know if he really was a Satan worshiper, but he claimed it and I don't know if he just wanted to scare little kids or scare me, kind of look at me.
So I'd wave at him and come to find out also he lived right across the street from my apartment. One day in an afternoon, knock on my door. I open the door.
It's Satan worshiper guy. And he kind of comes and his eyes are shifting a little bit. He goes, it's going to sound really weird.
I work with you. I notice he'll go, yeah, I've seen you at the hospital. He goes, well, I've seen you too and I've watched you with people. And I don't know how to put this, but it's like you glow. I said, what?
Come again? I what? Well, it's like you have a glow. I'm like, okay, I work in radiology. Maybe I should go look in the mirror and maybe I have radioactive poisoning or something. I didn't notice any glow, but he said, no, I didn't notice you.
You have something about you. I invited him in my house because it was such a weird thing. And it's just as he was talking about and I listened to him and listened to his, his arguments and his rebuttals to things. It just, he just, I could see God has been working on his heart. And I said, would you like to receive Jesus Christ as savior?
And he goes, I would like that. And I got to pray with him to receive Christ that afternoon. That's one. Number two, I worked in another hospital with a gal who worked at the front desk and she knew I was a Christian and she didn't believe what I believed. And she brought evidence and papers and articles to work and wanted to show me that I was wrong and she was right. And, and this went on for days and weeks. And, and one day, one evening I walked her out in the parking lot, the St. Joseph hospital in orange.
I walked her out to the parking lot, to her car, and she still has her papers. And she's saying this and saying that. And I stopped in the parking lot and I said, Linda, throw in the towel. She was what I said, stop, you're fighting God. I have a hunch that all of this wrangling that you are doing is because you are convicted by God and you know that you need to receive Christ.
Am I right, Linda? And I did not expect what happened next. She broke down weeping. She broke down weeping and she stood with me in the parking lot and prayed to receive Christ.
To this day, she and her family are still walking with the Lord. So when those things happen, they build up your faith. Sometimes you need to listen to your enemies to find out what God is doing in their lives.
And then fifth, and finally, we only have a couple minutes to finish this off. Fifth, our worship is essential. Look at verse 15.
It closes out the paragraph. So it was when Gideon heard the telling of the dream and its interpretation that he worshiped. You're going, well, yeah, he just had four signs from God.
Yeah, but follow me here. He heard the telling of the dream and its interpretation. He worshiped. He returned to the camp of Israel and said, arise for the Lord has delivered the camp of Midian into your hands.
Here's what I want you to notice. Gideon worshiped before the battle. Not after the battle. Now he may have worshiped after the battle.
Probably did. Praise God we won. But before the battle, he was a worshipper before he was a warrior. You see, worship reorients you when you're in a battle. It recalibrates your spiritual GPS, so to speak.
It adjusts your compass. It reaffirms your purpose. So there's a great passage in Romans chapter eight.
I know you know it. Paul said, in all these things, we are in all these things, we are more than conquerors. In all these things, we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. Yeah, there's one thing to be a conqueror. What is it to be more than a conqueror? And you know, more than conquerors.
There's three words in English. In Greek, it's one word, and it means the best translation is you'll be a hyper conqueror. In all these things, we are hyper conquerors. We are super conquerors. Well, what's the difference between a conqueror and a hyper conqueror, super conqueror? To be a conqueror is to rejoice when the battle is over. To be more than a conqueror is to rejoice before the battle starts.
And that's Gideon. He goes, boys, the Lord has given the enemy into our hands. Let's march down. That's how you stand when you face overwhelming odds. That's how you stand up to devastating news.
Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States. I talk about overwhelming times, the Civil War. He said, I have been driven many times to my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go. Yeah, there's nowhere else to go. There's no plan B.
It's plan A all the way. It's trust God, trust God, trust God. And so he paused and he worshiped.
He'd been praying, and now he worships all of that deep prayer life. You've heard the name John Knox, the great reformer of Scotland. John Knox is a pretty fiery preacher. He got in the face of Mary, Queen of Scots, many times, just sort of said it.
Well, like it was, you need to repent of your sins on and on and on. So there was a debate between the Mary, Queen of Scots said, she said, I fear the prayers of John Knox more than I fear all the armies of Europe. It's quite a statement in it. I fear the prayers of John Knox more than I fear all the armies of Europe.
The Midianites should have been afraid of the prayers of Gideon because he's the guy who took the battle. So as you map out your future, as you look ahead and you are tempted to say, I don't know what the future holds. It's been such a bad year and a couple of years. Granted, granted. It's okay. It's okay. You're fearful.
You're learning. We're all getting our faith feet on. But know this, God's got you covered. God's got you covered in the old times when they made maps, cartographers, I tell you this already, the beyond here, there'll be dragons, right? So as you look at your future and map it out, instead of saying beyond here, there'll be dragons. How about beyond here?
Lady, the everlasting arms of God who holds you right where he wants you. That concludes Skip Heitzig's message from the series Hunting Giants. Right now, we want to share about a great resource that encourages fathers across the nation 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 of $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.
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