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The people of Israel forgot about God and the way He had always helped them. So, God stepped back and left them on their own. This was not a good thing, because their enemies came in and overpowered them. The enemies were called the Midianites. The Midianites would wait until the crops were harvested then swoop down on the countryside and carried off all the grain and ripe grapes and olives. The Midianites rode in with men from fierce desert tribes on camels and stole the sheep and cattle and even the donkeys. The Israelites hid in caves and in hiding places in the hills until their enemies left. Without God to watch over them, they were afraid. Afraid and hungry. Their enemies hardly left enough to keep them alive. Yet, when the enemy was gone, the Israelites would come out of hiding and replanted each time thinking, MAYBE they won't come back again. Maybe this time, we can harvest our crops and have enough to eat. After seven years, they finally got wise and called on God to help them. This is how the story of Gideon begins. Gideon came out of hiding. He waited until no one was around. Then, he took grain that he had hidden in a hollowed out rock where grapes were usually pressed when the grapes were ready to pick. What a good hiding spot. He has just finished beating the grains off the stalks of wheat so it could be used to make flour for making bread and for other meals when he was surprised by the appearance of a stranger. "God is with you, BRAVE and MIGHTY MAN," the stranger said. "God is sending you with all your strength to rescue the people of Israel from the Midianites." "God can't mean me," thought Gideon. He must mean someone else! "How can I rescue Israel?" asked Gideon. "I am the weakest of my family. God can't mean me! How can I rescue Israel?" "With MY help," said the stranger. "I will be with you, and you will crush all of your enemies as if you were fighting one man." "God can't mean me," thought Gideon, then he thought someone must be playing a trick on him. So he tried to stall until he could find a way to see if God really DID mean him. "Please wait right there, while I get you some food," said Gideon. Maybe he thought that if the stranger ate like a normal man - that he would be a normal man, someone playing a trick on him. Gideon hurried off and returned carrying a basket with meat and fresh bread in it and a jug with broth to drink. "Put the meat and bread on this rock," the stranger told him, "And pour the liquid broth over it." Gideon did as he was told, but still thought, "God can't mean me!" Then the strange touched his staff to the food, and a flame shot up from the rock and burned up the food. "That's not how a normal person would eat," thought Gideon, and he knew that the stranger was really a messenger from God. But even as the messenger disappeared, Gideon couldn't help but think, "God can't mean me! Maybe he wants me to tell someone else to help him." "God, if YOU have chosen ME to rescue Israel, please give me a sign!" He prayed. "Tonight, I will put a fleece of wool in the place where we thresh wheat. If the wool is wet with dew tomorrow morning and the ground is dry, I shall know that you have really called me! The next morning, Gideon picked up the fleece. It was so wet that he wrung a bowl of water from it. Yet the ground around it and under it was dry. "God CAN'T mean me!" thought Gideon again. "Please don't be angry, God," he prayed. "Show me once more time that you really do want my help and that you want to use ME to lead Israel. This time, God, I will put the fleece on the floor. When I get up in the morning, if the floor is wet and the fleece is dry, I will REALLY know that you really want to use me." Then, he thought, "God CAN'T mean ME!!!!" But God DID mean him! In the morning, the Fleece was dry, but the ground was WET!
and he was still afraid of the Midianites. So. It was better to tear down a statue than to fight an army. "I had a terrible dream." So. And. "People need to know that I am giving them the victory. and he tore down the altar to Baal and cut down the trees that had been planted around it." he called to his 300 soldiers. GOD DID MEAN HIM! God meant to use Gideon to do His work." they shouted. "Tell the men to go for a drink from the spring and watch them drink. so their light would NOT shine. But God told Gideon that he had TOO MANY MEN. "I dreamed that a loaf of barley bread rolled down the hillside and knocked into my tent and knocked it flat. Tell any soldiers who are afraid to go home. God told Gideon to use these men in his army. Large numbers of men will not win the battle for you. "Go with your servant to the enemy camp. his hundred men blew a rousing blast on their trumpets. Gideon's bravery made his father act brave. "I am the ONE TRUE GOD! Thou shalt have NO other gods before ME!" He knew he would have to obey God. and No one did anything to Gideon. He was worried about having to fight. Then. "With these 300 men." said God. "God DOES mean ME!" Thirty-two thousand men volun- Still." said God. . Most of the enemy was asleep." Gideon was no longer afraid. let HIM punish my son . His dad said. The men lighted their torches and put them into the jars. Yeah! Let Baal punish Gideon if Baal is real. Then. "If any of you are afraid to fight in battle. The three groups divided so one was on each side of the Midianite army. and listen to what the Midianites are saying. But God didn't tell him to fight a battle. other people became brave and stood up to the crown. in the middle of the night." said the other guard. Gideon remembered God's words that. go home to your families now.Then. Gideon worried about the odds. Gideon thought. "If you feel afraid. "God can't mean me!" And he became afraid again. There were only 300 of them left. That made all the men of Israel brave enough to join Gideon in fighting the Midianites. Gideon watched a few who knelt down and cupped their hands together and scooped up the water." said one soldier. God didn't tell him that he had to act brave about it. He is going to attack us and win. Guess what? Baal was NOT real. and the guards did NOT see or hear the three hundred men when they arrived. I will give you a great victory over the Midianites. "Bring out your son." The men obeyed Gideon.it doesn't stay a secret for long. even though Giddeon had been afraid. why should you punish my son? If your statue of Baal is really a god. Each man was given a torch of oiled wood and a clay jar and a trumpet made of ram's horn. everyone knew who to blame. Most of the men laid down in their heavy armor and lapped up the water like dogs. Gideon must have thought.an idol the pagan people worshipped and to build a strong altar to the one true God. He divided them into three groups of 100 each. Then. when Gideon gave the signal. He was able to hide in a place where he could hear the guards talking to one another." Twenty-two thousand men left! "The army is STILL too large.IF he can! Then. "That little loaf stands for Gideon. "We are going to kill him for what he has done. There were 120. he asked God what he was supposed to do." God told him. he and his servants built an altar to the real God. Very shortly. At once the other two groups blew their all around the Midianite camp. They came the next morning to the home of Gideon's family. in the night. and so they would not get blown out." But. God told him to tear down an altar to Baal . teered to join Gideon. Thy were outnumbered four to one. Gideon got ten of his servants to help him. All the men trusted Gideon because he spoke for God. But." Gideon called the men together and said. he had done what God had asked him to do. when ten people know a secret . "Get up. The men were told to do exactly what his group did." "I know what that means. the leader of the Israelites. No one will blame you. Gideon sneaked over to the enemy camp.000 of the enemy.
The next morning. and this terrible enemy ran from the camp in every direction possible. Gideon and his courageous 300 men chased the escapees and cut off their retreat. But. Gideon asked for a sign. Israel then had quietness for 40 years for the remainder of Gideon's life. THE LORD GOD! Israel lived in peace for forty years after that! Dr. the Israelites again “Did evil in the sight of the Lord.” The next morning he squeezed out of the fleece a bowlful of water. Into this grim situation came an angel of God to deliver a message to a man named Gideon. and they began kicking and biting and stampeding over the Midianites. for I am a youth. “If the Lord is with us. then build an altar for the Lord and offer a sacrifice with the wood from the grove. First.000 remaining. That night. mentioned in the Hall of Fame of Faith in Hebrews 11.” (Jeremiah 1:6) Gideon said to the angel. do not fear. The angel said. “Show me a sign that it is You who talk with me. Dr. “O my Lord.” (6:15) Yet the angel assured him that the Lord was with him and that he would overcome the Midianites. you shall not die. For this. And the Angel of the Lord departed out of his sight. let it now be dry only on the fleece. nor shall my son rule over you. Next. but they did not need to strike a blow. IL. how can I save Israel? Indeed my clan is the weakest in Manasseh. Gideon's response is much like that of Moses in Exodus 3:11: “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh. Joash. knocking down tents and stepping on the sleeping soldiers. and I am the least in my father's house. defended his son's actions and made the men stand down.mikelockett. why then has all this happened to us?” (6:13) When the angel tells Gideon that he is going to save Israel from the Midianites. with each torch hidden inside the jar.” (8:23) His desire was for the Israelites to turn to God.” (6:37-40) God did what he had asked. but he refused. the men of the city found out and were ready to kill Gideon. but rather the glorification of God. The soldiers woke from their sleep in all of the confusion and began to hit out at anyone close to them. every man blew his trumpet and broke his jar. With God's help. the Midianites were defeated. but then God spoke to him. At that moment.com After 40 years of peace brought by Deborah's victory over Canaan. Gideon and his men stood around the camp yelling and shouting. to hide it from the Midianites. intending to show hospitality.” Gideon brought a meat offering. Gideon put a fleece of wool on the threshing floor and said to God “If there is dew on the fleece only. Mike Lockett is an educator. confirming that His presence was with Gideon. God began revealing instructions to Gideon. 22. When the Israelite men were assembled. . The angel held out his staff and touched the meat and bread “And fire rose out of the rock and consumed the meat and the unleavened bread. but on all the ground let there be dew. Gideon gave each man a trumpet. Gideon sent messengers to some of the Israelites to stand with him against the Midianites. then I shall know that You will save Israel by my hand.” and were attacked by the Midianites and Amalekites. Gideon was secretly threshing wheat. he was to tear down the altar of Baal.com in order to book him for a storytelling program or young authors program or to inquire about purchasing his books and CDs. God told Gideon that there were too many. instead of giving God the glory. the Midianites came in and destroyed the crops. their true King. Gideon's father. but the angel had him put it on a rock and pour the broth over it." they shouted. I cannot speak. Lockett has given more than 3000 programs across the USA and as far away as eastern Asia. and cut down the grove of the goddess Asherah by it. “Ah. bringing him ever closer to the deliverance of Israel. When the Israelites planted. They attacked each other in the camp. They surrounded the enemy camp. you mighty man of valor!” (Judges 6:12) Gideon's response was very modern. Contact Mike by writing to Mike@mikelockett. God had Gideon further test their readiness and thinned the army down to 300 men. So He ordered Gideon to send home every man who was afraid. storyteller and children's author from Normal. The confused Midianites turned on one another. Asking God for a confirming sign of His presence and favor. Understandably. “Peace be with you. Gideon and his men shattered their clay jars on the ground making a mighty crash and let the full light of their torches light up the darkness. But Gideon told them there was only one true king.” (6:21) Gideon's response was one of fear. He did not seek self-glorification. Gideon is in the superstar circle. God was there to help every step of the way. More stories and information about storytelling can be found at www. Once the Israelites were delivered from the oppression of the Midianites. At Gideon's signal.” (6:23) From this point on. that they would claim the victory as their own.000 men returned home. The screaming of the men and the crashing sounds and the sudden appearance of lights all around them spooked the camels. The people wanted to make Gideo their King. For his valiant obedience and heart of humility. the Lord shall rule over you. Gideon took ten of his servants and did what the Lord commanded. “I will not rule over you. God did mean Gideon. a torch and a clay jar. Then he said to God. Immediately. they begged Gideon to be their king. unleavened bread and broth in a pot. and it is dry on all the ground. and that I should bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?” Like Jeremiah when he said. leaving only 10. The victory was the Lord's. Lord God! Behold."A Sword for the Lord and Giedon. Gideon was a true hero. “Let me test just once more with the fleece. Israel was 'greatly impoverished' by the Midianites and driven to live and hide in dens and caves in the mountains. “The Lord is with you. with the survivors fleeing the camp.
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