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The Hornet’s Nest – Part 1 (Part A)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston
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December 14, 2020 6:00 am

The Hornet’s Nest – Part 1 (Part A)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston

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December 14, 2020 6:00 am

Pastor Rick teaches from the Book of Judges (Judges 6:1-24)

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This was not what God wanted for them. They had a right to this land, a God-given right, but it was forfeited. Israel was to be militant in the land, driving out with the sword all the pagans and all their practices. And in its place they were to bring righteousness, the Ten Commandments, and the law of Moses, people of Israel. The gospel of God, the Ark of the Covenant, the brazen altar, all these things were supposed to replace the child's sacrifice, abortion of that day. The Hornet's Nest, that's what I've entitled this study.

I hope we get the whole chapter. It was metaphorically the men, or the people, that were now in the Promised Land, were like hornets in their nests, the wicked ones, the ones that were into idolatry, and then the people that were in the Promised Land. The hornets in their nests, the wicked ones, the ones that were into idolatry, and then there were the hordes that were coming into the land, stripping the grain fields, and the pasture lands with their animals, their livestock. And to get them out, you have to kick the hornet's nest.

It was not going to be easy. And so God, of course, is going to raise up Gideon to deal with this very thing, and he's going to start out in his hometown. That's where he will kick the hornet's nest, right there in his beloved village. He'd have to trust God to do this. He'd have to learn to trust God. One thing I really like about Gideon is he was honest with himself. If he didn't believe, he'd tell God he didn't believe. He didn't trust enough to move forward.

And you have to admire that. I do tire of so many commentators ganging up on Gideon. He's such a coward. He's so faithless.

He puts you in his spot. And let's see how you do. If you looked out the window and you saw half a million people in your neck of the woods, what would you do? And to add to that, most of the people, of your people that were there already, they're idolaters. Your own family, your father is an idolater. So before we begin bashing Gideon, maybe we can set that on the side and get some lessons out of his life.

There are so many of them. This is why it's such a difficult study to give in such a short period of time. Verse 1, then the children of Israel did evil in the sight of Yahweh, so Yahweh delivered them into the hand of Midian for seven years. After the leadership of Ahniel, we read about that in earlier chapters, the courage of Ehud. Then there was of course that valor of Shamgar and the victory of Deborah and Barak.

The cycle of apostasy returns. They had 40 years of peace because they lined back up with God. Then they got out of line with God and He allowed judgment. Look at Judges 5, verse 31, so the land had rest for 40 years.

And then we read here in verse 1 of chapter 6, then the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord. They did that by abandoning Him. 40 years, over 40 years passed since Deborah and Barak, and they knew of the victories.

It just wasn't good enough for so many of them. Now a more formidable foe, adversary than Jabin and Sisera that were met with in chapter 5. Now this new enemy, these pirates coming into the land, the Midianites, the Arabs and others, they were menacing the Jewish people. As I mentioned, stripping the land of not only the pasture lands for the Jews' livestock, but also their harvest. They'd just steal it, just take it. This threatened their survival.

I mean, we get a little nervous, we see a run on goods, you know, milk and bread and other things, people begin to hoard and take. Imagine if it was peoples again that were against you, your enemies, just marching right in, just taking everything. It says here in verse 1, so Yahweh delivered them into the hand of Midian for seven years. They'd become comfortable ignoring God. Now before we say, oh those Jews and their cycle of apostasy. What about churches? What about Christians? How many Christians are comfortable, at least Christians in name perhaps only, or professing Christians, how many of them are comfortable with now ignoring God? I'm a Christian, but they ignore everything He says and become quite indignant if you point it out to them. The Jews were following the imaginary gods, lumping the true God in with the fake ones.

And we see Christians doing the same things, or again professed Christians. Midian, the descendants of Abraham through Keturah after Sarah. They were distant relatives but of no benefit to the Jews.

They were a problem all the way through. It was incidentally Midianites who bought Joseph and then brought Joseph into Egypt. Of course Moses had to deal with them and their resistance in the wilderness, but Moses also married a Midianite. And then of course Balaam was hired to curse Israel. So they are in the adversary column.

They are not friendlies or allies, they are enemies. And at this time, these desert tribes, of the desert tribes, Midian was the principal aggressor. They were wild, they were nomadic and wandering, and they were pirates of the desert. Verse 2, And the hand of Midian prevailed against Israel because of the Midianites, and the children of Israel made for themselves the dens, the caves, and the strongholds which are in the mountains. Well again, when the harvest season came, so would the hordes.

And this would force the Jews into hiding. They were outnumbered, they were outgunned. They did not have the Lord with them because they didn't want him with them. They wanted the fake gods of the land that they lived in.

They really, this was a shameful thing. This was not what God wanted for them. They had a right to this land, a God-given right, but it was forfeited. Israel was to be militant in the land, driving out with the sword all the pagans and all their practices.

And in its place they were to bring righteousness, the Ten Commandments, and the law of Moses, the people of God, the Ark of the Covenant, the brazen altar. All these things were supposed to replace the child sacrifice, abortion of that day. It's not even right to call it abortion. It's baby murder and nothing short of that. Of course, they excuse it. Well, they're not really a child yet.

Yeah, you'll be regretting that in hell if you don't turn from your wicked way. The rights of a woman. What about the right of God? What about the right of the child? What about the right of decency? The rich are supposed to be militant by doing just what I'm trying to do now, lay it out, tell the truth about the wickedness that is in the land. And in this country, still we enjoy the freedom to tell the truth. Right now, as a rule, the worst that happens is people frown at you.

Yeah, there's some physical resistance from time to time. But overall, we are free to preach the gospel. We're supposed to be militant against lies when confronted, when faced with these things. It says here in verse 2, And the hand of Midian prevailed against Israel. So they embraced the pagan gods and it did not benefit them. And the pagan people didn't then receive them. Oh, you're one of us now.

We love you. They were still hated, chased out of their own fields, chased out of their own homes and towns and villages into the hills, the strongholds, the caves, wherever they could survive, eked by, reduced again to a life of cowardice or else they would die. So God, knowing this is spiritual, as it always is, every conflict between people is a spiritual deal. God is going to send a prophet to begin to stir the people and move their hearts back to him so that he can begin to deliver them. And that's what the book of Judges is about, deliverance. In Judges, God raises up the judges. But when we get to Kings and Chronicles and Samuel, God raises up the prophets to work with the people. Verse 3, so it was whenever Israel had sown, Midianites would come up, also Amalekites, and the people of the east would come up against them.

So here are the three groups, the dominant groups of invaders, Midianites, Amalekites, and the Arabs of the east. The world is not governed by chance. It wasn't that, oh, look at that.

It's just a fluke. Israel had bowed down to the heathen gods and now they would suffer the tyranny of the people of the heathen gods. Verse 4, and they would encamp against them and destroy the produce of the earth as far as Gaza and leave no sustenance for Israel, neither sheep nor ox nor donkey. The animals couldn't eat.

They stripped it all. They came like a tsunami, you know, this steady flow in, this unstoppable flow. Verse 4, again, with these nomadic hordes coming in, they came up from the Gulf of Aqaba and just worked their way north and then east, and they went as far as Gaza. That means they traversed the promised land from east to west in all of the most fertile regions, stripping the land. Verse 5, they would come up with the livestock and their tents coming in as numerous as locusts. Both they and their camels were without number and they would enter the land to destroy it.

Again, centered on the breadbasket of the land where the farmers were. Over 135 armed men, not counting the women and children that also came with them, the goods that they sent back to their hometowns, so they had their convoys working as they stripped the land. What chance was Gideon going to have by the time we get to chapter 7 with 32,000 men against 135,000?

He's going to have every chance in the world because he's going to have the blessings from heaven. This fifth verse is the first mention in the Bible of camels being used for warfare, in warfare, camel warfare. The cavalry, the camel cavalry, get a patch, the camel cavalry. And so to meet this, God is going to raise up a farmer.

Makes sense. Farmers were the ones being targeted by these hordes and God's going to raise up a farmer and not a warrior to defeat them. He'll be a warrior by the time it's done, verse 6. So Israel was greatly impoverished because of the Midianites and the children of Israel cried out to Yahweh. Yeah, the pressure's on. Their survival is at stake. They're starving. Verse 6, and it came to pass when the children of Israel cried out to Yahweh because of the Midianites that Yahweh sent a prophet to the children of Israel and said to them, Thus says Yahweh God of Israel, I brought you up from Egypt and brought you out of the house of bondage and I delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians and out of the hand of all who oppressed you and drove them out before you and gave you their land.

We'll pause there. That's not the end of his message. Now, he's not bringing deliverance to these Jews in a single day.

It's going to be a bit of a process, but he starts it with sending a prophet because it's a spiritual war. The nation wanted freedom from the enemy without being dedicated to God. That's why God sends the prophet because that has to be dealt with and we meet people like that, you know, they want to call on the pastor, they want the church praying for them, they just don't want to repent and get right with God. They want God to bless them and change their lives and help them, but they do not want to worship him. They do not want to be changed from the inside out. They want the outside changed and that's that. Leave me alone.

Bless me, get out of my face. And so, before sending the deliverer, he sends the prophet to deliver the message. Before God rescues the people, he's going to rebuke the people because they need this.

There's no hope without it. No deliverance without a word from God to the guilty who said to them, thus says the Lord God of Israel, verse 8. This was vital, vital step that God takes, this nameless prophet to correct them, not to chase out the Midianites. If somebody could have said, we don't need a prophet, we don't need a Bible study.

What we need is, and then of course in their case, they needed armies, battalions, regiments, divisions is what they needed to drive out these hordes. He does not come, this prophet, to rally the troops, at least visibly, spiritually, that is in motion. Because God's not interested in just one nation fighting another nation because that's what nations do. He wants his people centered on him. And he's not promising a speedy delivery. He's not comforting their poor little hearts either. He's rebuking them, brings this message of mercy through obedience.

No balm, no ointment to soothe them, just conviction in about 85 English words. That's his sermon. I'm sure many a Christian says, we wish all sermons were just 85 words.

Well, to answer that, you look at the churches that do have their 85-word sermons and you see how they are and I don't think you could stand before a holy and righteous God and applaud such a thing. Just give me just a little pinch of God's word. That's all I want, just a pinch of God's word.

Don't give me a gallon or a 50-gallon drum of it. As Peter said, Lord, just pour it on me. That's the attitude God wants. In verse 10, also I said to you, I am Yahweh your God. Do not fear the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But you've not obeyed my voice.

There it is. Is this how you treat me? What have I done to you?

Remember, that was Micah's message to the people. What have I ever done to you to deserve this kind of a treatment? Oh, that gets me. What makes people bite the hand that feeds them? Stupidity, that's what does it. It starts out with spiritual stupidity and then it just becomes stupid.

Ingrates, tone it down a little bit. I act like I'm the one that's got all my stuff together all the time. I do sometimes, I hope you do too. Sometimes we can get it together or else nothing would work.

Spiritual blindness plays a mean role in the life of people and it starts out, as soon as they're able to form thoughts, thoughts, little babies and they grow up to be these adults. They believe some lie and they like it. May we be very careful about that. You question yourself, you say what do, if I have something against somebody, is it valid? Am I handling it the right way? Or am I self-righteous and smug and just loving to hate them?

I hope not. So God says, you've not obeyed my voice and he has done nothing to deserve this. In fact, the fake gods were treating the people worse except according to their carnality. So what they suffered was his judgment and his judgment was not his first choice. It's not God's perfect will that he judged the people. He had sent this messenger to say, I delivered you from bondage.

Why am I having to deal with you like this? But they have not obeyed. Blunt, plain, simple message. To this day it is preached by the righteous just like that. Obey. Again, in less than 85 English words, obey.

Or maybe 85 exactly. My voice, that is of course the voice of the Lord. They had to see their sin before they could enjoy his salvation.

They had to own it. This prophet is a forerunner of Gideon. They don't know Gideon's coming. They don't know what God's going to do. But the prophet showing up, this nameless prophet is a big help.

It's a turning point. Verse 11, Now the angel of Yahweh came and sat under the terebinth tree, which was in Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, while his son Gideon thrashed wheat in the winepress in order to hide it from the Midianites. Not a good picture. The angel of the Lord, that's the good picture. This is Jesus Christ. This is a Christophany, it's an appearance of God in human form in the Old Testament.

And maybe at some point through Judges we can lay it out why we are sure of that, we who believe it. But this Gideon is now on the scene. And more words are given about Gideon than any of the other judges in the book of Judges. About a hundred verses, whereas Samson gets about 96, 95 verses. He is Gideon, a man who met God in the Bible.

A.W. Tozier has a book, Men Who Met God, and I don't recall if Gideon is one of them because they're more than Tozier laid out, it was not his goal to exhaust the list. But here's a man who met God and then he will eventually stop fearing men. By the time we get to the end of Gideon, he is a full grown warrior.

And again, I get tired of reading commentators who gang up on him and he's such a coward. He is careful, he is wise, we'll see some of that in a moment. Verse 12, well go back to verse 11 again. The angel of the Lord, again that is Christ, and he comes and he sits under the tree.

What kind of an entrance is that? Why doesn't he just walk up to Gideon? Gideon, I'm here. But he's just kind of, you know, he goes and sits under the tree.

And the angel of the Lord appeared to him and said to him, Yahweh is with you, you mighty man of valor. I don't know if he shouts it across, you know, maybe Gideon's not that far, he's close to the tree because he's hiding. He's supposed to be thrashing wheat on the thrashing fields which would be elevated where the breeze can come through, blow the husk off the grain.

And the animals could, you know, trample it to shake up the, break the husk off of the grain and they would make noise, those animals, that would draw attention, plus you being in higher elevation and the Midian knights would say, Oh look, he's over there thrashing the wheat, let's wait for him to do all the work, then we go steal it. So he's hiding. And he's got shame doing this.

The wine presses were not elevated, they were, you know, in shady places and they, you know, shady in the sense of the trees were around them. And here he is, verse 12, And the angel of Yahweh appeared to him and said to him, Yahweh is with you, you mighty man of valor. You could, the flesh would say, he's lying. Gideon is not a mighty man of valor, and Gideon knows this. So, is it a lie?

Of course not. God is looking beyond the man in his present state. He did this with Simon Peter. Christ looked at Peter and said, I see beyond you and your sin. I see who you're going to be. I see your capabilities, the capacity to hold the Holy Spirit.

I see what you are becoming because of your involvement with me. God still does it the same way, identical to this day. He looks at us, he sees beyond the junk. And if he didn't, nobody would be called.

You would be called a lot of things, but you wouldn't be called of the Lord and effective. This was the case with Aaron, with Paul, with Rahab. When God saw Rahab, he knew she was a harlot. He saved her soul nonetheless. He saved you and he saved me. He knew what he was getting. He was dying for sinners. Dying for people that do not belong in heaven, in that state. And he changed it all so that we can get in.

He opened the door, but you still have got to have the blood. In verse 13, Gideon said to him, Oh my Lord, if Yahweh is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all his mercies, which our fathers told us about, saying did not Yahweh bring us up from Egypt, but now Yahweh has forsaken us and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites? Gideon said to him, Oh my Lord, if the Lord is with us, why?

One of the great words of any language, why? God is notorious for sidestepping that question. It's too involved. God said, you know what, this is really involved, but you need to get enough of it to understand. To Gideon, it looked as though God no longer cared for his people.

Oh, he cared for our fathers, he did miracles for them, but he doesn't care for us. Well, of course the answer is found in verse 1 for the Bible student, but Gideon didn't have Judges, chapter 6, verse 1. We go back to verse 1, Then the children of Israel did evil in the sight of Yahweh, so Yahweh delivered them into the hand of the Midianites for seven years. That's your answer, Gideon. Your people are in sin.

Gideon belonged to the remnant that was not part of the idolaters. Thanks for tuning in to Cross Reference Radio for this study in the book of Judges. Cross Reference Radio is the teaching ministry of Pastor Rick Gaston of Calvary Chapel in Mechanicsville, Virginia. If you'd like more information about this ministry, we invite you to visit our website, crossreferenceradio.com. You'll find additional teachings from Pastor Rick available there, and we encourage you to subscribe to our podcast. By doing so, you'll be notified of each new edition of Cross Reference Radio. You can search for Cross Reference Radio on your favorite podcast app, or just follow the links at crossreferenceradio.com. That's all the time we have for today. Join us next time to continue learning more from the book of Judges, right here on Cross Reference Radio.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-01-15 03:43:51 / 2024-01-15 03:53:37 / 10

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