Be Obedient

Key Verse: “The LORD looked upon him, and said, Go in this thy might, and thou shalt save Israel from the hand of the Midianites: have not I sent thee?”
—Judges 6:14

Selected Scripture:
Judges 6:11-14;

IN TYPICAL FASHION during Israel’s period of the Judges, when the Lord raised a judge to lead them back from idolatry, they would have peace under that judge. When that judge died, Israel would do evil in the sight of the Lord again. Thus, it happened after Deborah and Barak no longer were around, the Lord delivered Israel into the hand of Midian for seven years. (Judg. 6:1) The Midianites greatly outnumbered the Israelites and regularly raided them with devastating effect. The Israelites retreated into the hill country where they hid in caves and valleys. When the people cried unto the Lord he sent them a prophet to explain that lack of obedience caused their plight.

At the same time, the Lord started to prepare a judge to deliver them by sending an angel unto Gideon of Manasseh, who told him that he would be the one to save Israel from the Midianites. (Judg. 6:14) Gideon could not believe that he could do this. The angel then performed a miracle and disappeared. Gideon was instructed by the Lord to tear down the altar to Baal. Thus began Gideon’s obedience to the instructions of the Lord after he, being unsure of himself, sought verification of his mission.

When the Midianites came into the valley of Jezreel to oppress Israel again, the spirit of the Lord came upon Gideon and he gathered all of Manasseh, Asher, Zebulon, and Naphtali unto himself to deliver Israel. The Lord told Gideon that there were too many people, and that the victory might be interpreted by Israel as being made possible by their own strength. (Judg. 7:2) So Gideon was to tell those who were fearful and afraid that they should leave where they were assembled at Mt. Gilead and return to their homes. Out of thirty-two thousand men, twenty-two thousand returned to their homes, leaving only ten thousand.—Judg. 7:2,3

The Lord said there were still too many, and he provided a test involving drinking water from a stream. Those who took the water in their hands and drank, after examining the water while watching for a foe, were separated from those who stooped down and sucked the water directly from the stream. There were only three hundred who passed the test, and the others were sent back to their tents and homes. To gain more confidence, Gideon was told to spy on the Midianites with his servant, and the success of his battle was predicted.

This was all that Gideon needed; he returned to Gilead and divided his three hundred men into three companies and gave each a torch, an empty pitcher to cover the torch, and a trumpet. They circled the Midian Camp and, at Gideon’s signal, blew the trumpet, broke the pitcher revealing the torch, and shouted “the sword of the Lord, and of Gideon.” (Judg. 7:19-23) The effect on the Midian Camp was to throw them into total confusion, and they slew one another. The other ten thousand Israelites were called to pursue the remainder of the fleeing army being joined by Ephraim, completely vanquishing them.

The lesson of obedience must be learned by those who will be associated with Christ in the defeat and elimination of the present evil forces.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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