Share This Episode
Truth for Life Alistair Begg Logo

Gideon: God’s Choice (Part 1 of 2)

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg
The Truth Network Radio
May 18, 2021 4:00 am

Gideon: God’s Choice (Part 1 of 2)

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg

On-Demand Podcasts NEW!

This broadcaster has 974 podcast archives available on-demand.

Broadcaster's Links

Keep up-to-date with this broadcaster on social media and their website.

May 18, 2021 4:00 am

With familiar Bible stories, we often assume we’ve already grasped the lesson—but we may be missing the point. Learn how to approach Gideon’s story from a fresh perspective as we study the book of Judges together on Truth For Life with Alistair Begg.


Wisdom for the Heart
Dr. Stephen Davey
The Truth Pulpit
Don Green
Clearview Today
Abidan Shah
The Truth Pulpit
Don Green
The Truth Pulpit
Don Green
The Christian Worldview
David Wheaton

When we read the story of the book of Judges.

It's easy to get caught up in the details might distract us from the lessons God is really teaching us so today on Truth for Life. Alistair Begg helps us gain a fresh perspective on what is a familiar story and shows us why the obvious choice is always God's choice. If the preoccupation. Judges chapter 6 is with police in the preoccupation of most people in Judges chapter 7 is about the way the people drank the water and if we are guilty of ignoring their context in chapter 6 and squeezing the fleece then many of us have also preached somewhat dreadful sermons on why it was that people lapse rather than knelt down to drink. It's really possible for us as we said yesterday that incoming two passages of Scripture with which we are familiar are very familiarity with the text prevents us from doing justice to the text and one of the things that I'm trying to teach myself the longer I go in pastoral ministry is the necessity of coming to the text with a spirit of agnosticism that is not with a spirit of unbelief, but with the spirit of I don't know what this means.

When we always come to the text, believing we know what it means, we tend then not to look at it with the eyes of faith not to look at it with the eyes of expectancy, but simply to look for the usual familiar themes which many of us have no one from our infancy and as a result. What we do is reiterate again the same kind of emphasis that we've had before and so can I encourage you as I seek to encourage myself to open our gates to Judges chapter 7 with the spirit of expectancy, rather than with the spirit which says all I know.

Judges 7. I've known it for a very long time.

Of all that the story of Gideon teaches as we said yesterday. It certainly is a vivid illustration to us of the fact in two Corinthians 4 that God says all those that are treasure the treasure of the gospel and of his grace has been put in old clay jars so that the transcendent power might be seen to belong to God and not two months. The story of Gideon as a reminder to us of the people that God chooses to use some of the most unlikely people at the most unlikely times. Ordinary people chosen for extraordinary tasks and the story contained in Judges 7 is certainly illustrative of the biblical principle where God speaking says your thoughts are not my thoughts, and neither are your ways my ways, and in the unfolding of the text we encounter something of the reality of the sovereign purpose of God in the unfolding of his dealings with his people and at the same time the absolute necessity of the submission of those who would Seraphim to his revealed purpose know the events in chapter 7 had been prepared for in the life of Gideon in the context that we noted yesterday, and particularly in the conversation, which had ensued between the angel, the manifestation of God himself and Gideon. For example, in the encounter in verse 15, where Gideon says to them, how can I save Israel.

My clan is the weakest in Benassi and I am the least in my family.

Reminder to us that Gideon was not the most obvious choice, but he was God's choice and it is not important that we are the most obvious choice that we were voted the individual most likely to succeed that we will regarded by a jury of our peers as the one with the most potential for influence or the greatest significance. I can remember. For example, is a student at theological College in London sitting amongst a group of people, many of whom had already done undergraduate degrees and were doing the theology degree which I was participating in as an undergraduate. They were doing as a postgraduate. It has to do with the British system of education.

Some of them had done engineering at Cambridge others on them had done history in various places and I was something of a junior in the event and I can remember vividly and I will mention the individual's name, less by some strange happenstance. Somebody would know him but I remember as on one occasion we went around the table discussing what we felt that God had in preparation for his remember saying that I felt that God would have me serve as a pastor and I remember the laugh that came from the other side of the table and the gentleman said ha ha ha you pastor.

It's an impossibility and it was supposed to be funny and we all laughed.

My hair was down to my shoulders. I wore platform so choose.

I had used by trousers that had a 35 insincerity leg. Now I buy them at 31 1/2 marriages shrunk me in some senses but also I no longer where the platform so choose, but I can remember thinking yes I am a very unlikely prospect. And maybe this guy is right and some of us are tempted to believe those comments some of us arrive at a conference like this, surrounded by notebooks and smiling faces and hopes and dreams and schemes and we say to ourselves.

You know I am not the most obvious choice for this. That's not the issue, brother. It is whether you're God's choice, and if you're God's choice then hell can stand against you.

Now, as a leader of the people. Given this immense challenge.

Gideon presumably in light of the challenge that was before him was reviewing his organization.

In light of what they were called to do verse 12 of that chapter 7 describes the extent of the host against them. The Midianites, the Amalekites and all the other Eastern peoples had settled in the valley think as locusts, their camels could no more be counted than the sand on the seashore. He has been encountered in the phrase God is with you, you mighty warrior. We've had the dialogue that ensues from that and now as he recognizes the military challenge that is before him, he sets out to review his troops and to consider whether he is able to secure victory with the group that is gathered before him, he has were told some 52,000 people. And in verse two and following here of chapter 7 God gives to him direction the Lord said to Gideon, you have to many men for me to deliver Midian into their hands and then he explains in order that Israel may not boast against me become self-reliant boast that our own strength has saved her. God is well aware of the pride that exists in the hearts of men and women whereby we would seek to take glory to ourselves and deny the glory to God. And so God is concerned to remove the majority of the troops in order to make it unmistakably clear that the power belongs to God and not to men. God wasn't concerned to avoid defeat, but he was concerned to ensure that they knew the source of their victory and he recognized that if they proceeded on the basis in which they found themselves in the great temptation for them would be to become self-reliant and to say well it really makes sense and we did a wonderful job. We should notice in passing that God does not give the owner of service to those who will not give to God the honor of success may appear that were very successful.

But God has a payday coming and on that day when we stand before him, it will become apparent with her what we were building with had to do with gold and silver and precious stones or whether it was actually wound a and stubble and he is the one with the register and he is the one who will call us to an account. Therefore, it is strangely possible for us to be apparently influential and successful and yet on that day of reckoning to discover that all of our proud boasts in all of our affirmations and all about numbers and all of our significance and apparent success amounted to just trash from the economy of heaven very vulnerable place in which to find ourselves. That's why more gain is made in our lives through disappointment. Through failure through difficulty and through tears that is made through success and through laughter and that in seeking to shun trials. We miss blessings and in seeking to gather around us the rudiments that would regard us as aptly ready to face the challenges we miss the ability to be useful in the challenge as he determines that is God to radically prune the numbers showing that when he employees men and women people in his service, he's not indebted to us for our service but we are indebted to him forever giving us the opportunity to serve him.

We got ourselves in a bad position when we have that little party for ourselves on our own self pity party. The sort of Elijah under the broom tree deal going. I am the only one left. I am the only one who cares about anything. I am the most significant thing around here and everyone else is a bag of whatever it is, God says, and I'll tell you what's that amazing thing.

The amazing thing is not that your serving me the amazing thing is that I would use a clown like you in my service.

After all, who do you think you are you strong nor you mighty know you're really bright, no, so why would I use you some mystery. That's right now you're starting to think so much of contemporary evangelicalism begins with man in the Bible always begins with God and his glory, and then man and his need and manage his significant other reduction, which is before us takes place in two stages. First of all, we are told in verse three that he is to announce to the people. Anyone who trembles with fear turn back and leave Mount Gilead should be no surprise if you know your Bible in Deuteronomy and chapter 20 the people of God were given directions as to going out toward you may remember that the officers were to say to the people in the Army. For example, is anybody around here build a new house and not dedicated it if you put your hand up you got to go home. In case you died in battle and someone else dedicated your house for you and also you the officers as the group is anyone got engaged recently as anyone become pledged to a woman and not married her.

If you guys put up their hands. He said okay go home because you might die in the battle and someone else will marry her and you don't want that to happen. The guy said you bet your life I don't I'm out of here and they were gone and then the officer shall at this is Deuteronomy 20 verse eight. Then the officer shall at this is an interesting one can kind of understand that you got it close on your house therefore you better go back and do it.

Are you going to go and finish things off with his girl that you been hoping to marry. But then it says is any man afraid her fainthearted let him go home so that his brothers will not become disheartened to his tremendous wisdom and that is you know you getting your elders meeting to your deacons meeting to go through this rhyming item. We should do this stuff anybody got something to deal with with your house while you just call your preoccupying your girlfriend go all and is anybody chicken you go home as well. Now now were starting to resonate okay fine you just come from some of those meetings.

Oh, I don't think so. We've never done it that way before.

All I heard of somebody over there and they tried it was a disaster just just saps the jolly life out of you. 12 men, 12 men when this client came in 10 came back at the same experience when the same place on the same fruit so the same giants and 10 of them were fainthearted. Instead, it can be done to guys Joshua and Caleb stood up and said let's do it. You gotta get rid of the tannin move forward with her to not because the tumor special is just because the two are trusting they may be the most unlikely to attend may be the guys with wisdom they may be, the guys with acumen and maybe the guys with business background, then maybe the guys with strategic planning experience and the only to your left with some old guys been around for 110 years and some novices. It wasn't even wet behind his ears, and the truth & I think we can definitely do it and so you immediately got a choice do I go with the tannin shut the thing down, or do I go with her to go over the two. Every time send the other 10 home. Send them all say that if I send them home. They may send me home. Find global memo got up on the morning will figure out what we're going to do from there.

I have the fearful shut the thing down. Amazing. You read the minute books of church leadership.

Mr. Rodney Ford to reduce my wanted to minute his disapproval and his extreme concern over the outlandish gesture be all blah blah blah blah blah goodbye for to use my thank you, why were they to go home. They were to go home because they would have a detrimental effect on the battle get these guys out of here will meet people in the battle going on. We can do this that's interesting to me. I think you picked up on the fact that I think is interesting and that's why here. That's why here.

There's this is an outlandish this is in accord with the principles that are previously been laid down so Gideon here we going to reduce the numbers. Can you imagine, of course, how that goes. He's looking at 32,000 same day. I wonder if I got enough here in light of all these camels we can't even count the camels let alone the people we can count the humps, let alone the number of people that have been writing on the back of East and the Lord says is what we going to do, ask the folks say to them you know if anybody's fearful or trembling with fear, they can turn back and leave Mount Gilead know the matter-of-fact response. Here in verse 3B in this sentence is in pain is incredible. So 22,000 men laughed again.

Imagine enforceable while I'm sure 32,000 is enough. The Lord says let's just give anybody that wants to leave a chance to leave so we got the guy who's told you're the mighty man you know you are God's men were going to tear this place apart. Okay, I'm not sure we've got enough God says don't worry about enough. Let's try and pair it down. Just ask anybody wants to go home to go home so he stands up and I don't how he was feeling will find out in heaven, but he said you know the word of the Lord is of any of your afraid of the prospect that you should just leave and he stands and he watches and two thirds of the Army splits you may have expected a few of the guys that didn't like him to leave. This is a mass exodus. I want to spiritualize this or anything but I was hungry young man yesterday and he said you not been there 12 months and I'm in a blown out half the congregation.

I said we may have to blow the other half before you can even get started. It's not unusual in Scotland after preacher church empty before you can preach at full because you never preacher full with these people in their psoriatic get on it to get out. You don't want him halfway set of cheerio are welcome but it's not.

We don't know we want absolute clarity.

You standstill you going get as far away from irresponsible. We don't all stand around on the outside going. I don't think you should've waited just take off. Get your get your stuff and leave surveys get 10,000 left is a dramatic reduction.

I would hundred 10,000 and then the Lord said to Gideon Hume.

Imagine what he's like war what's coming now could have imagined that there are still too many.

Remember this is not some kind of anti-anti-church growth sermon. Although I do wanted to go on record that I am well capable of such a sermon. If the first stage of the reduction is related to the morale of the Army, which it clearly appears to be, then what of this second stage of the reduction. What is this about when we get it down by another 9700 now as he is at this point we get into difficulties and is at this point that we start to get to know clever with our conjecture and we get into the lap or is versus the kneelers and we this is where we impress the people with all the thing about kneeling down and lapping in why the guy was looking while he was lapping or kneeling.

While he was not looking at all this came a step and frankly, we don't have a clue what were talking about the foggiest idea in the world.

What were about because it doesn't say you see and most of the most of the sermons in your preached on this have to do with somehow or another that this was a test looking for only be alert and all the dreamy and the careless were to go so we would just keep the alert ones and the alert ones were not those who were kneeling down we tell the people because of your kneeling down. You couldn't be looking how we know that is is is you.

This is another way to kneel down but usually that's it. But if you were lapping with the like. This, then you could be looking and so that's it. Well, all one of the ways if you thought about the fight that they might have been lapping the mind of the lion completely horizontal. In other words, these guys are clueless. I mean if you're looking for 300.

You don't want.

Here they are the way we preach the passage we can have that because these are going to be the ones who are looking because God wouldn't want ones that are looking would he, yes, you might because if he wanted to make it absolutely clear that the reason for the victory was because of him. Then the most unlikely 300 would join with the most unlikely individual in order that God may be glorified in the other the people around might see how in the world to take place. God's now I just want to say this to you in passing.

And when when we find ourselves asking why the lapping why lapping was the sign of a better soldier were on the wrong track died and were missing the whole point. And since you know you know grandfather George. He always told us about the loppers seaward me were not agnostic enough income to the pricing we just assume that so we preach it sensible man you've every right to disagree with me but think this out.

Surely the object was to reduce Gideon's army to a force not all that particular kind but a force of a particular number. The issue is not the kind of people that were left. The issue was the number of people that were left.

It wasn't that Gideon was trying to put together a small commando unit 300 of the best and the brightest, God is not in need of 300 crack troops. You see, he's not in need of the special and the strong and the loppers rather than the kneelers in the alert rather than the on alert goodness gracious, just look at your congregation. Look at your choir fear and other God is a sense of humor. Just look at the choir.

These people not people there in the choir. They always send me letters I all I'm saying is the average wire is a sort of microcosm of the congregation you look at those people you got a sort of small cross-section of the bigger group and you say, are we really going to turn the world upside down with this answer is it's highly on likely God says I like it when it's that way we will learn more about Gideon's story tomorrow in part two of this message. This is Truth for Life with Alister Greg. If you listen regularly to our program, you know, we carefully select and recommend books to supplement the daily teaching our current selection is geared for preschoolers and early elementary age children. It's a brand-new book titled the God contest. This is a beautiful hardcover book that tells the exciting story of your largest challenge to the prophets of bail to see who is the real God bail or Yahweh.

The author presents the storyline as a jumping off point for you to be able to talk with your children about the importance of trusting in the one true God. The book the God contest ends with the question, prompting your children to consider what they believe by asking what will you decide. Don't miss the opportunities that this book the God contest provides for you to be able to talk with young children about God, and to share the gospel.

Requester copy today when you give through our mobile app or a Truth for or call 888588788 about the pain. Thanks for joining us heard it said there is strength in numbers.

Tomorrow will hear how Gideon showed us that reliance on God defies human logic for military success. Bible teaching of Alister Rick is furnished by Truth for Life Learning is for Living

Get The Truth Mobile App and Listen to your Favorite Station Anytime