Gideon’s Army

Judges 7

by James Jacob Prasch


Now normally we teach this in Israel at the spring of Ein Harod, exactly where it took place.  If you can watch the DVD, it is much better, you can see the hill of Moray, you can see the actual springs, we actually drink from the springs or invite people to do so in the same exact spring.  We teach this on location in Israel every time we go to Israel.  It is one of the staples, one of the mainstay places we always visit.  We don’t do that just because we can go to the exact brook and see the exact things that Gideon saw at the foot of Mount Gilboa, we go there because it is so important to teaching for this particular time in church history.  As always, we interpret the Old Testament in light of the New Testament.  With this in view, before we look to Gideon’s Army in the book of Judges, turn with me, if you will please, to 2 Corinthians 4:6.


2 Corinthians 4:6-18  For God, who said, "Light shall shine out of darkness," is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. [Now, notice verse 7 particularly:]  But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the surpassing greatness of the power may be of God and not from ourselves; we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus' sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.  So death works in us, but life in you.  But having the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, "I believed, therefore I spoke," we also believe, therefore also we speak; knowing that He who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and will present us with you.  For all things are for your sakes, that the grace which is spreading to more and more people may cause the giving of thanks to abound to the glory of God.  Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day.  For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.


We read here about the idea of continual death.  We have died with Christ, we were born again, but we are called to pick up our cross and continue to die with Him.  The more of our old selves that dies with Christ daily, the more the life of Christ lives in us.  The key to life is death; he who gains his life shall loose it, that is what Paul is saying.  It is again a basic tenant of Christian walk, of Christians conduit of discipleship.  Death to the world, to sin and ultimately to self will or fallen self will to bring our will into conformity with the will of the Father.  This death will produce life, but this life will not only be for ourselves, even though we do it for Jesus, it will enable us to bring life to other people, again, very basic Christian teaching.  But it begins with this idea of the old creation or the old man, the old woman dying.  We have these biological bodies that are dying but at the same time these things are dying, there is a new creation that is being raised up.  With unsaved people, the older they get, the less they have to live for.  With unsaved people, the older they get, the less they have to live for, the less purpose they have to live.  For believers, the older they get the more they have to life for.  Remember, with unsaved people their endgame is the grave; where it ends for them, is where it begins for us.  Our troubles end where their trouble begins.  Our troubles end where their trouble begins, and of course, in 1st Corinthians Paul writes of this quoting from Hebrew prophets identifying death as an enemy.  Death is itself, biological death, is an enemy, but God mocks his enemies and the last enemy that God mocks is actually death itself.  “Oh death where is thy sting, oh grave where is thy victory.”  God mocks his enemies and death is mocked as an enemy of God and of man. 


Nonetheless, because we live in a fallen world and have an old nature, this death becomes a necessary evil that by this old man, this old woman, this old creation dying, this new one, empowered by Christ, comes to life.  That out of this darkness comes this light, but again, let us focus on verse 7.


“We have this treasure in earthen vessels that the surpassing greatness of power may be of God and not from ourselves.”  The treasure is in an earthen vessel.  The previous verse tells us that the light will shine out of it.  There has to be a death to the earthen vessel that life and light may come out of it.  Now one other feature I point out is verse 13:  The world and the devil will always have a counterfeit of a biblical truth.  In verse 13 we see:  “I believed, therefore I spoke.”  Existentialism, the basic existential confession of belief is “I think I am, therefore I am.”  Notice the world’s philosophy will always have an imitation or a counterfeit of a biblical truth. God alone can say “I am, I think I am, therefore I am.”  It’s not this deification of man.  However, something else happens.  “I believe, therefore I spoke.”  Well, if we are made in His image and likeness and we die with Christ, because we believe, therefore, we can also speak God’s word.  We can also speak God’s word because we believe, we can speak it.  Existentialists can say “I think I am, therefore I am.”  They can think all they want, they are not the “I am.”  In other words, this death to self, although it is a diminution of self, it does not decrease our power, it increases our power. 


For instance, just to make an analogy, we are all products of what historians call the Post-war era.  I suppose people now, being born in the last ten years will be called products of the Post-Cold War era, but everyone in this room, with the possible exception of this young lady at the very end is a product of the post-war era.  In the post-war era everything changed in the world.  France and Britain were no longer world powers.  The colonial empires of Europe all collapsed, virtually.  Okay, America was left, Russia was left.  So all these countries in Europe did not matter anymore, except one, Great Britain.  Although Great Britain is not that big, it is only the size of Idaho, it has a lot of people in a small area but not nearly as many people as the United States, 50 million people all together, something like that, Great Britain still continues to have power and influence in the world because it was playing second fiddle to its American daughter.  Why did Britain continue to have power and influence when Italy, Spain, Germany and France, they were all has-beens.  Well, by coming under the umbrella of that which you were kindred, although Britain was no longer Great Britain, it still had a position in the world.  When America goes to Iraq it does not care what the French think, what does Britain think?  America does not have to ask anybody else, they don’t care about Europe, what does Britain think.  All we need is the British.  In other words, by aligning yourself with the main power, although your own power faces a diminution, as a result of it, your own power increases.  Britain would never be what it is if it was not aligned with the main power.  Well, we have to have this diminution.  We have to accept the fact that we must decrease that he may increase, but because of his increase, our power increases also.  We become more than we could ever be on our own.  We punch way above our weight.  That is what Gideon’s Army is about, we punch way above our weight because of whom we are in alliance with.  Now, that is what Paul is trying to explain here in 2nd Corinthians, the same principle. 


Now there is nothing of a particular interest in the Greek text linguistically that would be of any doctrinal or theological importance, of any major significance, but there is something in the underlying Hebrew thought of which Paul is writing and I will explain it:


If you have been with us to Israel, if you have been to Israel, you see that the earthenware vessels, they are red.  The earth in the Middle East, if it is not sand, it is a reddish clay from which these earthenware vessels that hold light are made.  The word red in Hebrew, is edom.  The word for earth is adamah, same root because of its color.  Adam, the first man, Adam from adamah, which means “made from the earth” which is red.  Anthropologists tell us that a lot of North American Indian tribes have a tradition that the first man was a red man.  They may have a point.  Esau was a red man and he settled in Southern Jordan where the mountains are red, edom, same word.  Edom, adamah, Adam.  A human is a ben Adam, literally, a son of Adam.  A ben Adam, “son of the red one.”  So, you see what Paul is talking about.  Gideon had lights inside these things but he covered one with the other and with the torches, what we call napiid in Hebrew, they had to smash it that the light would shine and so the natural man and natural woman, the old creation, has to be smashed that the light of Jesus will shine out, that is what Paul is saying. 


With this in view, turn with me please now, if you will, back to the story of Gideon in the book of Judges.  It meant a leader who would judge situations based on the Torah.  It meant a leader who would judge situations and make decisions on what to do based on the commandments or the principles of the Torah.  In the period of Judges, it is the period that precedes the kings.  You had the conquest under Joshua, then the period of Judges, followed by the period of kings and prophets.  The period of Judges was the form of government and organization that God originally intended for Israel, where Yahweh himself would be the monarch, Yahweh himself would be viewed as the king.  The tribes had their apportionment, they had their allotment according the apportionment of Joshua and there was no strong, central government or a need for a strong, central government except to deal with certain things.  It was very, very limited.  The idea of a small, central government was very, very limited.  The tribes would unite for things like national defense and they would unite for purposes of practicing their faith for the Pilgrim Feasts.  The Levites would be sure that all affairs to do with marriage, civil matters, public health, education, commerce, everything was practiced according to the Torah.  There was not a big centralized, central government or was there seen as a need for one.  They were to look to God as king.  Government was basically local and it was simply the Torah.  People said “Give us a King.”  This was never God’s idea other than the Messiah being a king.  Now something goes wrong.  This idea was the original idea of the establishment of the United States, when they had the articles of confederation.  It would be a confederation of states that were largely into subsidiarity and regional autonomy that only stick together for things like matters of dissent and things of that nature and commerce between them but there would be no big, central government saying anything.  Well, something went wrong and it has gone wrong until this day.  This is not a political argument; it is just showing the relationship of what the text means for us.  We have to understand what it meant for its own day to understand what it means for now. 


Of course, growing up in New York, or in Pennsylvania, we all know about slavery and all that stuff, and secession was unconstitutional and what they did to the soul brothers was terrible in the American South and all that stuff.  They went away from God’s law.  Something happened in America where people wanted a big federal, central government instead of the way it was in the beginning, so to this day you have a problem.  The original Constitution, for instance said, that “Congress shall make no law concerning the establishment of a religion.”  That is all it said.  Now, today, with this big central, federal government, instead of a confederal government what do you have?  You cannot have the 10 Commandments in the state judiciary building in Alabama because the American Civil Liberties Union said it is unconstitutional and the United States Supreme Court is now the “Supreme Being.”  Same idea, give us a king, instead of God’s law we look to man.  Well, this all goes back to the issue you see in the period of Judges.  God did not want this kind of superimposed government.  He wanted it “These are my laws, abide by my laws, you only need an association of states.”  Well, this gets into the church.  People today, they want a denominational hierarchy; they want a general superindendent.  They want an archbishop, they want a pope, they want to institutionalize something, even though Jesus never came to form an institution.  The Torah did not come to establish a monarchy.  The Constitution never established the kind of government we have today where the Federal Government can order the 10 Commandments out of a court building and outlaw prayer in the schools.  That was never something that was ever to be.  Well, it is the same idea. What was the same?  Jesus never came to establish an institution.  All you had was a fellowship of fellowships, that is all.  A fellowship of fellowships that had common belief.  When Christians, when congregations have common beliefs they have the unity of the Spirit.  What you will find is the same thing you will find in ecclesiastical polity, you will find the church government, the same thing you find in human history, in civil polity.  Once a movement of churches begins to fragment doctrinally, theologically and spiritually, they have lost the unity of the Spirit.  It is not “One faith, one baptism,” that is all we need.  They try to compensate for their lack of true unity by getting an ecclesiological unity, by denominationalizing, by getting a hierarchy, by institutionalizing.  They try to hold the church together with things like property trusts, pension funds for ministers, do you understand?  Now to understand these things we have to go back to the time of Judges.


Remember, the Founding Fathers of America were in part, not totally, but in part, governed by biblical principles in their thinking.  The Puritans who establish parliamentary government in England were in part, governed by biblical principles in their thinking of establishing parliamentary government in Britain.  So you had this in Britain; you had this in America.  Well, to understand what has happened to the Christian world, you have to understand what happened to the Jewish world, it is the same principle.  If you want to understand what has happened to the church, look what happened to the Jews.  1 Corinthians 10, Romans 15:4, “These things were written for our instruction.” “Whatever was written in former times…  To understand what has happened to the Christian democracies or the Christian nations and to understand what has happened to the Christian Church, we are told in 1st Corinthians 10 and in Romans 15 you have to go back to understand the Old Testament, so when we look at the period of Judges, we have to do so with these things in mind. 


When the people deviated from the Torah, they inevitably went into idolatry.  When you go away from the Word of God, certain things are going to become incipient, immorality and compromise.  Not that everybody goes into immorality and idolatry at once, but once you begin to compromise with it, once it gets its foot in the door, once the devil gets a toe in the door, he will get the foot in and once he gets the foot in, he is getting in.  There is no stopping him.  There is no stopping it!  That is all it takes.  The people began turning to idolatry, to other gods.  Now, whenever you have idolatry, sexual immorality will always follow.  We have to understand the nature of this in biblical thought.  When Israel went into idolatry, God called the idolatry adultery.  “Daughter of Zion you have played the harlot…” things like that in Hosea, same as the Church is the bride of Christ, Israel was to be God’s woman, as it were.  God calls idolatry adultery.  Well, whenever you see this idolatry, you are going to have sexual immorality.  The things the pagan nations were doing, the Amorites, the Canaanites, God’s people begin going the same way, then the human sacrifice, they begin killing kids.  Well, it is the same thing now.  You’ve got churches ordaining homosexuals and lesbians.  You’ve got 48 million fetuses aborted, killing the kids, you’ve got mass accepting of homosexuality.  We follow the same patterns you see in the society that you see in the book of Judges.  Now, what was ironic here, in the book of Judges, is something that we see the same today.  The people could not understand why they were being invaded by heathen.  Whenever a society turns from the Word of God they turn from the God of the Word, they will get invaded.  And so, it is in the story of Gideon that we see something later developed by Joel.  Remember the opposition he faced first were the backsliders among his own people who are compromising with the worship of other gods.  He could not worry about the Amorites and the Midianites until he first dealt with the issue of his own people, his own brethren who were worshipping their gods. 


So he gets rid of the Baal, he gets rid of the Asherah, and low and behold, because somebody finally has the guts, although he did not have the guts but God gave him the guts to blow the trumpet, to take a stand, to demolish the Asherah and the alter of Baal, other people begin joining themselves to him, do you see that?  There are some very bad churches today but there are some good people in them.  There are some very bad Bible colleges and seminaries today but there are some decent people in them.  There are some very bad denominations today but there are some good people in them.  They are waiting for somebody to blow a trumpet, to take a stand, to do what needs to be done.  But remember, the first opponent will be the backsliders and compromisers in our own midst, just like the story of the Maccabees with Menelaus.  They are waiting for somebody to blow the trumpet, to draw the line, to say “This is what needs to be done.”  But, we all have an old nature and Gideon was no exception.  “What do I do now, I’ve gone this far, there is no turning back.  Oh, Lord, I hope you are with me.”  He puts out a fleece!  He is always looking for another confirmation.  Well, how much like us was he and how much are we like him?  You get yourself up to your neck, up to your eyeballs and you want the Lord to keep confirming he is with you.  We all have doubts, questions, insecurities, when everybody is saying you are wrong, you want to make sure you are right.  “Why do I think I am right; is it because I am right or is it just spiritual pride?  Is it just religious pride?  Are all these guys really, really wrong and I am the one who is right?  Maybe I have a pride problem.  Maybe I am suppressing the Holy Spirit.  Is there something I am not seeing?”  These things naturally go through your head.  Now, ultimately you stand on the Word of God and the Holy Spirit shows us but maybe it is good to ask ourselves those questions.  Maybe it is good to have these things challenged because we will be acting in our own strength.  There is a bit of wimp in all of us, not just in Gideon with his fleece.  I think that reflects something that is found, to some degree, in every one of us, at least those who are willing to take a stand.  You want to be sure you are right.  You want to be sure God is with you.  You are going against everything and you are going into a big fight.  We are outnumbered.  Let us look.


Now, once he does this, his name is changed to Jerubbaal


Judges 7:1-25 Then Jerubbaal (that is, Gideon) and all the people who were with him, rose early and camped beside the spring of Harod; and the camp of Midian was on the north side of them by the hill of Moreh in the valley.  [This is towards the eastern access of the Valley of Jezreel, the Valley of Armageddon, if you will.  In back of them and above would have been Mount Gilboa, Har Gilboa and opposite them would have been the Hill of Moreh where the Midianites were.  In the period of Judges it did not mean all the time that all the country was occupied; there tended to be sections, certain tribal areas were, others were not.  The judgments could have been regional.  The sin could have been regional.]


And the LORD said to Gideon, "The people who are with you are too many for Me to give Midian into their hands, lest Israel become boastful, saying, 'My own power has delivered me.'  "Now therefore come, proclaim in the hearing of the people, saying, 'Whoever is afraid and trembling, let him return and depart from Mount Gilead.'" So 22,000 people returned, but 10,000 remained. 


We have the numbers game.  The whole mega-church concept is based on a numbers game.  Understand why sociologically.  The last time there was a real revival in America was among the hippies, my generation, and we brought this mentality with us into the church.  We drove Lyndon Johnson out of the White House, we had a hand in driving Nixon out of the White House, we had a hand in ending segregation in the American South.  We were the generation that forced society to change; in some ways for the better, but in many other ways for the worse.  But it was numbers, we had the youth, we had the numbers.  “You’re sending us to fight in Vietnam but we do not have the right to vote.  You want to have a draft but not give us suffrage; we are not going to put up with this anymore.  Take a walk, we will burn our draft cards.  We’ve got the numbers, what are you going to do about it.”  This was the mentality.  This comes into the church.  “We have large numbers of Christians; we can have the Religious Right and end abortion.”  They had the religious right and Reagan appointed pro-abortion judges to the Supreme Court.  They did not change anything.  There is too many!  Man looks for quantity, God looks for quality.  Jesus only had about 500 followers and only about 120 of those were diehards, as far as we can tell from the scriptures, but that is all he needed.  The 12, the 70, the 120, the 500 that was all he needed.  If you were going into a war, who would you rather have?  Would you rather have 300 Navy Seals or 15,000 Girl Scouts?  I know who I would rather have.  He had too many.  “Whoever is afraid and trembling, let him return.”  “I don’t want to be controversial.”  But they are worshipping Baal, they are worshiping Asherah, but they are praying to Mary.  “I don’t want to be controversial.”  OUT!  Loser, take a walk!  Now he is down to 10,000.


Then the LORD said to Gideon, "The people are still too many.”  [Now, do you understand, they are outnumbered, massively outnumbered by the Midianites and Amorites, just across the Jezreel Valley on the north side.] “Bring them down to the water and I will test them for you there.”  [Notice, “I will test them for you.”  When God tests us, it is not so he will know who is suitable, who is faithful, he already knows.  He wants us to know and when the test comes, there are going to be people who you never would have expected will stand and there are going to be people who thought were solid that are going to cave in.  Now again, if they could have got the victory by the numbers, pride would have taken over. “We did this! We did this!  We did this!”  But when it is with a small number, “God did this.”  God did this.] 


Again, the founders of America were men who did believe in God, at least they believed the Bible.  I don’t say they were all born again, many of them were not.  Many were Freemasons and things like this, some of them like Benjamin Franklin were definitely not Christians and Thomas Paine was anti-Christian in the Biblical sense.  Thomas Jefferson was a Deist, I am not saying otherwise, but they all believed in God and they all believed in the teachings of the Bible.  The most incredible victory in American military history is said by military historians to usually be the Battle of New Orleans in 1814, Andrew Jackson.  He had rag-tag people, he had a civilian militia, he had a very small army, a rag-tag militia and he had Indians and he had pirates that he promised amnesty for their crimes if they would fight with him.  The British had the army that conquered Washington and burned the White House and they came down by ship to New Orleans, to Shamanee a few miles from New Orleans.  These were die-hard.  The finest army in the world at that time were the British.  These were they guys who’d fought Napoleon and all that stuff.  These guys meant business.  You know, we are going back to the age of the Duke of Wellington and all this stuff, these were Top Guns, going up against Andrew Jackson.  Well, the British lost 2500; the Americans lost 13.  Jackson said “This is the hand of God.”  They could not explain it strategically.  They could not explain it in military terms.  It defied logic.  This was the hand of God. 


In Israel in the Six-day War, that was the hand of God but then when they got proud, they begin to give themselves the glory instead of God the glory.  It is not going to be that way.  Just think of a small nation surrounded by armies 10 times its size, armed to the teeth by the Soviets and they kicked their teeth down their throat in six days.  It completely humiliated the Soviet Union.  It not only humiliated Islam, it humiliated the Soviet Union, in six days!  That was the hand of God.  He wants the glory.  He gives the victory through the few, not the many, just like with the Maccabees.  Let us look.


“The people are still too many.  Bring them down to the water and I will test them for you there.”  [Bring the 10,000 down.]  Therefore it shall be that one of whom I say to you, 'This one shall go with you,' he shall go with you; but everyone of whom I say to you, 'This one shall not go with you,' he shall not go."  So he brought the people down to the water. And the LORD said to Gideon, "You shall separate everyone who laps the water with his tongue, as a dog laps, as well as everyone who kneels to drink."  Now the number of those who lapped, putting their hand to their mouth, [notice, it was not an animal imitation, it was just that they lay prostrate; they were desperate to get the water.  They used their hand as a cup.  “Putting their hand to their mouth was 300 men; but all the rest of the people kneeled to drink water.”    


Now again, this kind of water is what we call in Israel mayim hayim, living water.  The water in Israel, as it occurs naturally, it is either stagnant or it is mayim hayim, mayim raalii or mayim hayim, living water.  It can sustain life.  One of the things that the Israelis do, or people do, they look for mollusks or things like this, signs of marine life in the water to tell if it is living water or if it is not.  John 7:38-39, the living water is a picture of the Holy Spirit, isn’t it?  Ezekiel 47, the Holy Spirit in figure. 


And the LORD said to Gideon, "I will deliver you with the 300 men who lapped and will give the Midianites into your hands; so let all the other people go, each man to his home."  So the 300 men took the people's provisions and their trumpets into their hands. And Gideon sent all the other men of Israel, each to his tent, but retained the 300 men; and the camp of Midian was below him in the valley.  Now the same night it came about that the LORD said to him, "Arise, go down against the camp, for I have given it into your hands. 


Just like in the story of David and Goliath; the victory is always in the valley, not on the mountain.  These guys want to have a Praise-A-Thon and bang on tambourines and sing victory songs up on the mountain while the mosques are going up all over the place, while the Mormons and Jehovah’s Witness are growing all over the place, while homosexuality is taking everything over, these guys want to have a Praise-A-Thon, they do not want to go into the valley.  It is much easier to watch TBN, bang on a tambourine and act like a clown than go to war.  No, first defeat Midian, then they can bang on the tambourine, then we will have something to celebrate. 


Now the same night it came about that the LORD said to him, "Arise, go down against the camp, for I have given it into your hands. 


A fascinating book that I read once when I was in Hong Kong is “The Art of War” by Sun Tzu, a Chinese military philosopher.  Well, with all due respect to Sun Tzu, I’ve yet to find anything in that book about military strategy that was not in the Bible before it was in Sun Tzu.  “Make them think there are many of you when there are few.”  But also, Sun Tzu said “The outcome of a battle is determined before it is fought.”  “I have given them into your hands.”  The outcome of a battle is determined before it is fought, said Sun Tzu.  No, Sun Tzu said it second, he is only echoing, reiterating something you will read in the Bible.  If the battle is the Lord’s, the outcome is already determined.  If the battle is not the Lord’s, don’t get into the fight to begin with. 


"But if you are afraid to go down, go with Purah your servant down to the camp, and you will hear what they say; and afterward your hands will be strengthened that you may go down against the camp." So he went with Purah his servant down to the outposts of the army that was in the camp. 


Notice again with Gideon, there is some aspect of his old nature that is always there.  Yeah, he is the strong guy; he is the tough guy, he is the leader but there is always some aspect of his old nature that is always there.  If you are afraid—he has got to show guts and bravery in front of everyone.  People are not going to follow a leader when they think he is afraid, but God knows what we are really like.  Send some spies into the camp.  Again, Sun Tzu, “One spy is worth a thousand soldiers.”  No, no, that is Gideon.  Sun Tzu was not the first one to say that. 


I like to visit American Civil War battle parks; they are interesting and there is a lot to be learned from secular history.  I went to Antietam and if the Union General, McClellan, had not had bad intelligence from Alan Pinkerton, the detective who was in charge of his Intelligence, like the Pinkerton Agency, same, he founded it—if he did not have such bad intelligence, he would have continued the attack at Antietam and the Civil War would have been over at Antietam.  There would have been no Second Battle of Bull Run, there would have been no Gettysburg, there would have been no Vicksburg, and the war would have been over at that point.  The whole Civil War would have ended at Antietam had McClellan had better intelligence.  Pinkerton was telling him that he was outnumbered 2:1 by the Confederates and that was not the case at all.  That was simply not the case.  Well, Sun Tzu understood this.  One spy is worth a thousand soldiers, you get it from the Bible.  Know what your enemy is thinking. 


So, he sends some spies down into the camp and what happens?  He sends them into the camp.


"But if you are afraid to go down, go with Purah your servant down to the camp, and you will hear what they say; and afterward your hands will be strengthened that you may go down against the camp." So he went with Purah his servant down to the outposts of the army that was in the camp.  [Now what is says in Hebrew is the extremity of the battle array; he did not actually go into the heart of the camp.  He went to the periphery of the battle line.  And it continues.]


Now the Midianites and the Amalekites and all the sons of the east were lying in the valley as numerous as locusts; [again, Joel 2, Revelation 9 begins with the story of Gideon] and their camels were without number, as numerous as the sand on the seashore. [Just like the decendents of Abraham.  Now using that phrase would have shocked a Jew because God promised Abraham his descendents would be the same, as numerous as the sands on the seashore.  It was a Hebrew idiom for absolutely massive.] 


When Gideon came, behold, a man was relating a dream to his friend. And he said, "Behold, I had a dream; a loaf of barley bread was tumbling into the camp of Midian, and it came to the tent and struck it so that it fell, and turned it upside down so that the tent lay flat." And his friend answered and said, "This is nothing less than the sword of Gideon the son of Joash, a man of Israel; God has given Midian and all the camp into his hand."  And it came about when Gideon heard the account of the dream and its interpretation, he bowed in worship. He returned to the camp of Israel and said, "Arise, for the LORD has given the camp of Midian into your hands." 


If the battle is the Lord’s, the victory is assured.  Now God can even give unsaved people dreams and interpretations, when it is his purpose.  Let us look:


And he divided the 300 men into three companies, [100 each, obviously] and he put trumpets and empty pitchers into the hands of all of them, with torches inside the pitchers.  [Notice, you had earthenware vessels with lights in them.  The peed was inside the earthenware vessel] And he said to them, "Look at me, and do likewise. And behold, when I come to the outskirts of the camp, do as I do.  "When I and all who are with me blow the trumpet, then you also blow the trumpets all around the camp, and say, 'For the LORD and for Gideon.'"  [Notice, for the Lord first, then for Gideon.]  So Gideon and the hundred men who were with him came to the outskirts of the camp at the beginning of the middle watch, when they had just posted the watch; and they blew the trumpets and smashed the pitchers that were in their hands.  When the three companies blew the trumpets and broke the pitchers, they held the torches in their left hands and the trumpets in their right hands for blowing, and cried, "A sword for the LORD and for Gideon!"  And each stood in his place around the camp; and all the army ran, crying out as they fled.  And when they blew 300 trumpets, the LORD set the sword of one against another even throughout the whole army; and the army fled as far as Beth-shittah [which is a kibbutz today] toward Zererah, as far as the edge of Abel-meholah, by Tabbath. [If you come with us to Israel we show you these places.]  And the men of Israel were summoned from Naphtali and Asher and all Manasseh, and they pursued Midian. 


Notice what it says “A loaf of bread crushes the tent of Midian.” A loaf of bread?  A loaf of bread bulldozes the mosque.  A loaf of bread bulldozes the Roman Catholic Church.  A loaf of bread bulldozes Freemasonry.  A loaf of bread bulldozes a Mormon temple.  But you have to have a light inside an earthenware vessel that you are willing to smash to make it happen.  Their swords turn against each other. 


Again, we are no longer led by Godly men.  Just look at it!  Sunni Moslems hate Christians, Shiite Moslems hate Christians.  Sunni Moslems hate Jews, Shiite Moslems hate Jews.  Now if you understood this biblically, if Sunni Moslems and Shiite Moslems want to exterminate each other in Iraq, the logical thing to do is to pass out the popcorn and enjoy the show, instead of putting American lives on the line to stop your enemies from killing each other, but this is what happens when your leaders are no longer Godly men guided by Godly principles.  These principles are God’s principles.  They work, they are true.  They are as true today as they were in biblical times.  Let them kill each other.  That is not a political statement; it is simply a principle of scripture.  One of the ways God works is he turns the enemy’s swords against each other.  The fundamentalist Mormons hate the mainstream Mormons, let them fight.  Let them damage each other’s credibility in the public specter.  The conservatives, so-called conservatives in the Catholic Church are fighting the liberal ones.  Let them fight.  Let them do it!  It is supposed to be that way; that is God’s judgment on our enemies.  Why should he risk the lives of his own troops when he can let the enemies kill each other?  Let them kill each other, then we go in and mop up, that is the Biblical strategy.  Get them to kill each other, and then we mop up. 


Black September 1970, the Jordanians exterminated between 12,000 and 15,000 of Arafat’s people in 18 days.  Let them kill each other, and then we mop up.  That is the biblical strategy but unfortunately, we no longer have leaders who understand biblical strategy.  They do not care about the Bible anymore.  They care about the price of a barrel of oil or some other such thing but they do not care about the things God says we should care about.  Let us look.  Confusion comes to the enemy.  Then when the 300 rout the enemy the men from Naphtali, Asher and Manasseh come and pursue Midian. 


And Gideon sent messengers throughout all the hill country of Ephraim, saying, "Come down against Midian and take the waters before them, as far as Beth-barah and the Jordan." So all the men of Ephraim were summoned, and they took the waters as far as Beth-barah and the Jordan. And they captured the two leaders of Midian, Oreb and Zeeb, and they killed Oreb at the rock of Oreb, and they killed Zeeb at the wine press of Zeeb, [which means wool] while they pursued Midian; and they brought the heads of Oreb and Zeeb to Gideon from across the Jordan.


Now, look at Chapter 8:1. I love this:


Judges 8:1-10 Then the men of Ephraim said to him, "What is this thing you have done to us, not calling us when you went to fight against Midian?" And they contended with him vigorously.


Notice, they will argue vigorously but they will not fight the enemy vigorously.  They all want to jump on the bandwagon!  They all want a piece of the action.  They all want to share in the glory.  When God really moves, everybody will try to get into the revival.  Well, what if it is not a real revival?  They were all trying to jump onto Pensacola and Toronto—they were trying to jump onto counterfeits, understand?  Well, the reason they jump on is they just want a piece of the action.  They had nothing to do with the victory; they just want a piece of the action.  “What do you mean, what did we do, what did you do when Asherah was standing there, bow down to it?  What did you do when the altar of Baal was in the midst of God’s people, sacrifice on it?”


But he said to them, "What have I done now in comparison with you? Is not the gleaning of the grapes of Ephraim better than the vintage of Abiezer?  "God has given the leaders of Midian, Oreb and Zeeb into your hands; and what was I able to do in comparison with you?" Then their anger toward him subsided when he said that.  Then Gideon and the 300 men who were with him came to the Jordan and crossed over, weary yet pursuing. [Notice, they were weary yet pursuing] And he said to the men of Succoth, "Please give loaves of bread to the people who are following me, for they are weary, and I am pursuing Zebah and Zalmunna, the kings of Midian."  And the leaders of Succoth said, "Are the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna already in your hands, that we should give bread to your army?"  And Gideon said, "All right, when the LORD has given Zebah and Zalmunna into my hand, then I will thrash your bodies with the thorns of the wilderness and with briers."


Can you imagine? They did not even want to dig into their own pockets and help those who were fighting for them.  “First, finish them off and then we will pay you.”  What kind of an attitude is this?  Keep your money, we don’t need it!  You will be dealt with later.  It would be the same today.


And he went up from there to Penuel, and spoke similarly to them; and the men of Penuel answered him just as the men of Succoth had answered.  So he spoke also to the men of Penuel, saying, "When I return safely, I will tear down this tower." Now Zebah and Zalmunna were in Karkor, and their armies with them, about 15,000 men, all who were left of the entire army of the sons of the east; for the fallen were 120,000 swordsmen.


And Gideon finishes them off and so forth.


Judges 8:16 And he took the elders of the city, and thorns of the wilderness and briers, and he disciplined the men of Succoth with them.  And he tore down the tower of Penuel and killed the men of the city.  Then he said to Zebah and Zalmunna, "What kind of men were they whom you killed at Tabor?" And they said, "They were like you, each one resembling the son of a king."   And he said, "They were my brothers, the sons of my mother. As the LORD lives, if only you had let them live, I would not kill you." 


It goes on like this, a big mess.  Notice, the battle begins, not with Midian or the Amorites, the battle begins with the backslidden, phony brother and the battle ends, not with the Amorites or with Midian.  The battle ends with the loser, backslidden brethren.  Islam would not be making these kinds of gains in America if we had a Christian president, or at least a president who was guided by Christian principles.  The ecumenical movement would not be making these kinds of gains if we had men of integrity in our pulpits instead of Televangelists.  Midian was only there because of the sin of God’s own people.  That is the reason we are facing these issues today.  Things are no different, no different.  But you know, we cannot do anything about Midian.  We cannot do anything about the Amorites until we first tear down the altar and the Asherah that our own brethren are going along with.  That has got to come first.  Until we deal with the phony, losing backsliders and compromisers in our own ranks, there can be no victory over Islam, or Mormonism, or militant homosexuality, none!  We should take them out and flog them with thorns, not literally, but the same principle applies, same idea.  What is it going to take, how is it going to stop, who is going to do it? 


They put the torches inside the earthenware vessels.  Their lights were in the earthenware vessels and for the lights to shine, the earthenware vessels had to be smashed, for God said light shall shine out of the darkness. 


“We have the treasure in earthen vessels that the surpassing greatness of the power may be of God, not from ourselves.  We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed.  We are perplexed!” 


I am perplexed.  How can Christians go along with this junk!  How can Pat Robertson have a Mormon addressing his seminary graduation?  How can a so-called Christian president put a Koran in the White House and put out a postage stamp celebrating Ramadan, a demonic, pagan festival?  How can they put graven images in Evangelical churches and light incense before them and bow down to them, how?


We are afflicted in every way, crushed? No, just afflicted.  Despairing?  No, just perplexed.  Persecuted, but not forsaken.  Struck down, but not destroyed.  Always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our body.  We are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus’ sake that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our mortal flesh.  We have this treasure in earthen vessels.  We have the light in the vase, it has to be smashed that the light will shine.  The enemy will be defeated.  Life comes from death, death to self.  The victory comes by the few, not by the great.  That is the way it was for Gideon and that is the way it is for us today, this day, right here. 


God Bless.