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The Hornet’s Nest – Part 1 (Part B)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston
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December 15, 2020 6:00 am

The Hornet’s Nest – Part 1 (Part B)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston

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December 15, 2020 6:00 am

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

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He doesn't say, Gideon, I can't believe you asked this question.

You want to know why? He doesn't do that. He just looks forward. I love those words of Paul, forgetting those things which are behind, reaching forward to those things which are ahead. He says, I press towards the mark for the prize, for the high calling of God. And that calling is high. And it's high that it comes from God. And it's high that if you can't get it, you can't get it. But it's the pursuit of righteousness that makes us a threat to hell.

Otherwise, again, what would get done? He says, but now Yahweh has forsaken us. You're wrong. You're wrong. You're wrong.

You're wrong. God 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.

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, 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 was 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.

Well, 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. Tozer has a book, Men Who Met God. And I don't recall if Gideon is one of them, because there are more than Tozer 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 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, you know, great words of any language, why? God is notorious for sidestepping that question.

It's too involved. And God said, you know what 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. But he's bummed by this whole thing. His life is a mess. He's ashamed of himself. He's hiding the fear.

What if they find me? Isaiah had to deal with this years later with the people. Behold, Yahweh's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save, nor his ear heavy, that it cannot hear. And then he goes on to say, your sins have separated you. But he wasn't talking about the act of sin. He was talking about the immersion in sin. That God was, you know, you and you are immersed in sin, that's what's all over you. You're covered by that, not God. The sinner is covered by God. That's why we love those verses that tell us, you know, that there is no temptation that has overtaken you except such as is common to man.

But God is faithful. We'll not allow you to be tempted beyond that which you're able to bear, but with the temptation will make the way of escape that you may be able to bear it. Because I could not bear my sin if I didn't know he would forgive me.

There's no way I could bear temptation if I say, oh, I'm tempted, I'm done. There's no forgiveness for me now. God says I've made a way of escape. The Jews in Isaiah's day, they weren't interested in God. They were into idolatry. Not all of them, but the ones that he was preaching that word to, we have to point that out because you could read Isaiah 59 verses 1 and 2 and come away feeling, oh, that's me. My sins have separated me from God. That's why Jesus says Paul to the Ephesians, the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin. Well, that's John.

I want one from Ephesians and I can't recall it, so I'll just pass for now. Either way, if I'm such a man of valor, why am I hiding? Why am I so defeated? Christians ask this all the time. We get in a hurt locker.

Why? And God is notorious for not answering the question, just life marches on. You know that song. His truth is marching on. The cogs, they grind the grist. I mean, they just keep rolling. No matter what's happening outside, the mill is working, God is doing what he is doing, and it is up to us to wait and to work while we're waiting on our faith.

And where are all his miracles, which our fathers told us about, saying, did not Yahweh bring us up out from Egypt? Of course, God is going to counter this with, well, where's my obedience? You know the child that gets upset at the parent for the parent being the parent? I'm saying, you have no right to be the parent. I'm the child.

You should give me whatever I want. If I don't like it, if I protest, you have to bow down to me. Then we laugh at that, and you kind of just get sick of it too. But that's what people do with God.

You have no right to let me go through this. So God works past Gideon's one-sided understanding. He just works past it. He doesn't rebuke him. He just says, Gideon, you're dumb. He doesn't do that. He doesn't say, Gideon, I can't believe you asked this question.

You want to know why? He doesn't do that. He just looks forward. I love those words of Paul, forgetting those things which are behind, reaching forward to those things which are ahead. He says, I press towards the mark for the prize, for the high calling of God.

And that calling is high. And it's high that it comes from God, and it's high that you can't get it. But it's the pursuit of righteousness that makes us a threat to hell.

Otherwise, again, what would get done? He says, but now Yahweh has forsaken us. You're wrong, and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites.

Yeah, the consequence of disobedience, as I've said. So here's a guy whose theology is all backwards, and God's calling him into ministry for him, because he's going to fix it. Gideon will look back at that day, and he's the one tells us a story. There was not a scribe sitting there, uh-huh, and then what happened? He preserves this story for us.

And I don't like how, again, commentators just trash him by the time we get to the end. We'll cover that when we get there, but for now, he's a hero of the Bible. He shows up in Hebrews chapter 11 as one of the great characters of faith. Verse 14, and the Lord turned and said, Go in this might of yours, and you shall save Israel from the hand of the Midianites.

Have I not sent you? So he answers Gideon's question in an unexpected way with a call to action. He just says, go in this strength. Yeah, see that fire in your belly?

Do something with that. You've been thinking about this, haven't you, Gideon? See, the key is verse 12 of Judges 6. And Yahweh, the angel of Yahweh, appeared to him and said to him, Yahweh is with you. That's the key. The pronouncing him as a man of valor, that is the key.

It means he's already taken all of this under consideration, and he's going forward nonetheless. He does it with us all the time. Everybody that serves in the church does not deserve to serve. That's me included. None of us deserve this.

It is not our right to serve it until God makes it our right. And he does that by just calling us and saying, I want you to do this. I want you to do that. I'll be with you, but I'm so miserable. I know, so does everybody else.

I hope not. All right, back to this. Verse, I love when he says, So the Lord turned to him and said. Again, Gideon telling the story is sort of, they're conversing with each other. It's like, you know, the Lord is pacing a little bit of something, and he turns to him and he says, And you shall save Israel from the hand of the many of your knights, have I not sent you? That is a direct order. He said, Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, I get it, Gideon.

Go. That's what it comes down to. I want to be the kind of Christian. When God says, you just sit right there until I call for you. Because he will call. Verse 15, So he said to him, O Lord, how can I save Israel?

Indeed, my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least of my father's house. Now, is he trying to weasel out of this, or is he just telling the truth? I think he's just telling the truth. I would not want someone to send me on an assignment that I felt unqualified for. I know what happens when people try to do a dangerous work and they're not ready. They get themselves and others hurt.

At least they break up equipment. This farmer was no warrior. What did he know about valor?

He's hiding in the wine press. Every Christian should love a Gideon in their own heart, in this rightful sense. If the story just ended, if the Lord said, You know what?

On second thought, you're right. You're no man of valor. Never mind, I'll get somebody else. That would have been a tragedy.

Gideon did not have a blind, baseless, unqualified pride with all emotion. Yes! Yes! You want me to do it?

I'm there! That will get smacked out of you if you're going to serve with integrity. And you will still serve effectively, but you just may not be as outwardly excited. You learn to say, You know what? I'm going to store up this excitement for when I get to heaven.

And, you know, Mary hid all these things in her heart. What does that mean? We've got to live the life to find out what that means. You store things in your heart. You don't zip. I'm saying anything.

But I see something happening here. Moses and Jeremiah, there were others, they had reservations about entering ministry. I love to quote Moses.

Go find someone else. That's what he told God. How can you not love that honesty? I mean, what did he know about serving God? Well, he knew. He tried. He tried it his way.

He couldn't even bury a man in the wilderness in a desert without getting caught. Indeed, my clan is the weakest in Manasseh. That's a standard answer. That's understandable. There are people who look for this high criteria. Where are your credentials, Gideon? What university did you go to? Where's your sheepskin? I don't have any. In fact, I flunked out. All I can do is, you know how hard it is to thrash this wheat without the animals?

I'm doing it, you know, it's like I'm using a bow saw on a log instead of a chain saw. David was considered the least in his father's house and boom, look what happened to David. I don't know how a man of God cannot love David.

He's just too real. He's not in some ivory tower somewhere writing poetry. Nothing wrong with poetry. Well, he did write poetry, actually. The Psalms without music are just poems. We lost the beat and God in his wisdom knew that had to happen because I don't like that song. You know how we are.

Just play ten songs we like one and a half maybe. It's a stroke of genius. I was just reading Psalms this morning in my devotion time just saying that. You know, I wonder what the beat to this was. I probably wouldn't have liked it.

But it's so much richer with just the words. It makes me think. Anyhow, am I, he says here in verse 15 at the bottom, and I am the least in my father's house. Now, he might mean he's the youngest or and or. I'm an outcast because my dad worships bow and I don't. Everybody else goes running after bow, but I don't. So I'm the proverbial, you know, redheaded stepchild as it used to be said in the industry that I worked when you felt like you would be getting the short end of the stick.

It's very picturesque. Verse 16, and Yahweh said to him, surely I will be with you and you shall defeat the Midianites as one man. Whoa, man. Can you imagine God telling you that? But well, anyway, the key, the Lord said to him, that's the key and goes along with verse 12. As though numbers don't count to God. They do to us and they're supposed to count to us. And if we stop counting the numbers, we get in trouble. We leave that to God.

We have to, Jesus gave the parable. You know, you've got to count the cost. Don't just go rushing off into things because you've got a good idea. You've got to think it through. The sons of this world, they think it through. I think about Christians in certain places, just missions for example.

You look at how much they struggle. You can't help but say there's got to be a better way to this. Going off, I'm just having my thoughts today thinking about, you know, I would like to help somebody rethink missions. I think we could have some military tactics that would have proven effective if the Lord would bless it. That would be a little bit better than just rushing into some things. Anyway, there's a lot of missions that doesn't work, just flat out.

Some do, some do not. Verse 17, I know it's probably the thought of 20 or 30 people hitting the floor in shock because we want things to work, just doesn't mean they will work. Life is too loaded with reality. That's why we want to escape it.

That's why we like entertainment. In fact, watch this dance. Verse 17, And he said to him, If now I have found favor in your sight, then show me a sign that it is you who talk to me. I love this man. He doesn't have Bibles like we did. He doesn't have the, you know, the just shall live by faith, you know, the Jews request a sign that no sign shall be given. He doesn't have all that. He's just working. He's heard the stories that God delivers his people. He doesn't see the deliverance. And now he's being called to fight the Midianites? Ah, you're going to have to show me a little bit more than that.

What is he supposed to say? Okay. So, be careful that we do not rush into something and find ourselves caught in disasters, unqualified souls giving a bad testimony. It happens often.

Moses did not ask for a sign. He got them. I can't do that. You know, God, I'll put your hand in your robe. He pulls out his leprous.

You put your rod on the ground. It turns into, you know, God was, you know, working with his people. 2 Corinthians, Paul says, not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God. Now, that does not mean that if you are mindful of your insufficiency, that God is going to automatically now bless you because you have fulfilled the awareness of insufficiency. It doesn't work that way. You can be mindful that you are insufficient and just be insufficient. 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. Thank you.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-01-14 20:32:01 / 2024-01-14 20:42:02 / 10

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