Worship X Day 15 The Eternal One: Digging Deeper

Digging Deeper Days

Finding the original intent of Scripture and making good application to our everyday lives as we become equipped to correctly handle the Word of Truth!

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The Questions

1) Who is Gideon and what has happened to him? (verse 7)

2) What did the Lord tell Gideon to do? (verses 8-15)

3) How did the Lord demonstrate His faithfulness to the Israelites? (verses 16-21)

Judges 7:7-21

7 The Lord said to Gideon, “I will deliver you with the three hundred men who lapped and hand the Midianites over to you. But everyone else is to go home.” 8 So Gideon sent all the Israelites to their tents but kept the three hundred troops, who took the provisions and their rams’ horns. The camp of Midian was below him in the valley. 9 That night the Lord said to him, “Get up and attack the camp, for I have handed it over to you. 10 But if you are afraid to attack the camp, go down with Purah your servant. 11 Listen to what they say, and then you will be encouraged to attack the camp.” So he went down with Purah his servant to the outpost of the troops who were in the camp. 12 Now the Midianites, Amalekites, and all the people of the east had settled down in the valley like a swarm of locusts, and their camels were as innumerable as the sand on the seashore. 13 When Gideon arrived, there was a man telling his friend about a dream. He said, “Listen, I had a dream: a loaf of barley bread came tumbling into the Midianite camp, struck a tent, and it fell. The loaf turned the tent upside down so that it collapsed.”14 His friend answered, “This is nothing less than the sword of Gideon son of Joash, the Israelite. God has handed the entire Midianite camp over to him.”15 When Gideon heard the account of the dream and its interpretation, he bowed in worship. He returned to Israel’s camp and said, “Get up, for the Lord has handed the Midianite camp over to you.” 16 Then he divided the three hundred men into three companies and gave each of the men a ram’s horn in one hand and an empty pitcher with a torch inside it in the other hand. 17 “Watch me,” he said to them, “and do what I do. When I come to the outpost of the camp, do as I do. 18 When I and everyone with me blow our rams’ horns, you are also to blow your rams’ horns all around the camp. Then you will say, ‘For the Lord and for Gideon!’”19 Gideon and the hundred men who were with him went to the outpost of the camp at the beginning of the middle watch after the sentries had been stationed. They blew their rams’ horns and broke the pitchers that were in their hands. 20 The three companies blew their rams’ horns and shattered their pitchers. They held their torches in their left hands and their rams’ horns to blow in their right hands, and they shouted, “A sword for the Lord and for Gideon!” 21 Each Israelite took his position around the camp, and the entire Midianite army began to run, and they cried out as they fled.

Original Intent

1) Who is Gideon and what has happened to him? (verse 7)
In His patience and mercy, the Lord provided a leader to deliver the stubborn and rebellious Israelites yet again. He sent a nameless prophet to tell Gideon, son of Joash, that he would be the one to lead the rescue of God’s people. In Judges 6, we learn that Gideon had destroyed the pagan idols of the people in an act of fearful but faithful obedience. At this point, the relationship between God and His people included a history of cyclical rebellion and regret. Deuteronomy informs us how God’s people were warned against idolatry, forsaking God’s laws, forgetting the covenant with God, neglecting the poor, befriending the enemies of God and becoming self-sufficient. The Lord repeatedly reminded them to carefully follow Him. (Deuteronomy 8) Sadly, after the death of their leader Joshua, the Israelites began serving the false gods Baal and the Ashtoreths (Judges 2:7-13), generating a necessary response from God to correct them using judges as His spokespersons. The Israelites repeatedly ignored God (Judges 2:16-19), and though there were periods of peace (Judges 5:31) they would again and again return to their evil ways (Judges 6:1). When God calls Gideon, the Israelites are suffering at the hands of their long-time adversaries, the Midianites. (Numbers 25:16-18) For seven years the people of Midian overwhelmed them. “Israel became poverty-stricken because of Midian, and the Israelites [again] cried out to the Lord.” (Judges 6:6) Revealing that he’s a man who wrestles with doubt, Gideon desires verification from God that the enemy’s defeat is certain. (Judges 6:36) God assures Gideon He will be faithful to His promise, and He grants Gideon’s request. (Judges 6:39-40) Gideon rallies an army (Judges 6:34-35) and, after whittling down his troops at God’s instruction, verse 7 tells us God confirms He will keep His promise to Gideon.

2) What did the Lord tell Gideon to do? (
verses 8-15)
Gideon started with an army over 30,000 strong, but the Lord steadily insisted on making it smaller. (Judges 7:2) Finally, He declared the army a suitable size to accomplish His work in His way. Gideon responded with obedience as he waited for God’s next instruction. At first, it appears he may have gained some confidence in God’s plan to deliver them. He sends the masses of soldiers back to their tents, keeping only 300 men. (verse 8) That night, God gives the signal to Gideon. “Get up and attack the camp, for I have handed it over to you!” (verse 9) Thankfully, God knew Gideon’s need for assurance and provided an opportunity to hear for himself how it will come to pass. God demonstrated patience and grace in verses 10-11 as He provided Gideon with a plan to boost his confidence regarding the next phase. As Gideon and his assistant sneak near enough to the Midianite camp to overhear their chatter, it becomes clear that God’s instruction was timely. “When Gideon arrived …” at just the right moment, some men were talking about him! (verse 13) Coincidence? Most certainly not! This strange but significant dream was interpreted on the spot by the dreamer’s friend. And Gideon knew the dream was from the Lord. (verse 15) Commentators tell us that barley bread was a staple food of the poverty-stricken Israelites under Midian’s oppression. (studylight.org) Both Gideon and the Midianite soldiers would have been quite familiar with the significance of this illustration. As they are speaking, it becomes obvious the soldiers had heard of Gideon and his God. Gideon could return to camp with courage that victory was as good as done! With confidence he repeated what the Lord had said to him, “Get up, for the Lord has handed the Midianite camp over to you!” (verse 15)

3) How did the Lord demonstrate His faithfulness to the Israelites? (verses 16-21)
Gideon had moved from fear to faith, and was a ready warrior with God on his side. He would lead Israel into victory by example, of heart and action. Fearful Gideon had turned courageous because of His God, “Watch me and what I do!” (verse 17), he told his army in preparation to fight. Gideon again divides up the army, not to reduce the size, but to strategically divide and prepare to conquer. The 300 men would become three groups spread out around the Midianite camp. With torches in their hands and rams’ horns tied around their necks; they were ready to follow Gideon’s battle instruction. (verse 18) I wonder if Gideon recalled the story of Joshua we read about in Joshua 6; I’d like to think he did! We can only imagine the scene in the middle of the night, when it was dark and still, a loud and unexpected sound interrupted the peace of the camp. (Judges 7:19) As chaos ensued, the Midianites turned on each other and ran away screaming. (verse 21) They were terrified, believing they were being attacked by a massive army. We read in verse 22 that it was the Lord who caused the presence of the three widely separated groups of soldiers to give the Midianites the impression that a very large Israelite army was out there in the dark. Gideon led the army, but the Lord won the battle.

Everyday Application

1) Who is Gideon and what has happened to him? (verse 7)
In the same way He used other people who hesitated to trust Him, like Moses in Exodus 4:10-13, God chose Gideon despite his fear. Yet, Gideon’s humanity reveals much more about God’s faithfulness than it does about Gideon’s struggle with faith. Gideon’s request regarding the fleece (Judges 6:36) indicated his fear and lack of faith to fully proceed without evidence. Though unnecessary, God still grants the request! In honoring that request, Gideon’s fear was exposed and God’s kindness was exhibited. I’ve often said that humans will human and God will God. This is what is absolutely glorious about the God of Gideon. We too serve a God who knows our weaknesses and allows our questions. He is mightier than we could ever imagine, while also more merciful than we will completely comprehend. Jesus became human to show us who God is and what He is like. (Hebrews 4:16) Gideon looked for fleece as proof of promise; we look at Jesus and know that every promise God has made is confirmed in the Lord Jesus Christ! (2 Corinthians 1:19-20)

2) What did the Lord tell Gideon to do? (verses 8-15)
In a way, Gideon didn’t really have a difficult task ahead of him. God would do the hard work! For the most part, Gideon just needed to show up with a few men and some unusual items. I love this scene because we can so clearly see ourselves in Gideon’s response. Before Gideon even began, God supplied a promise (Judges 6:23-24) and evidence (Judges 6:39-40) of His faithfulness. Even with this confident evidence, Gideon chooses God’s option to “see for himself” once again that it would happen as God said it would. (verse 10) Sweet Sister, I have spent way too many hours asking God for just one more sign. There would be resounding victory for Gideon, but the bigger lesson we cannot miss is the demonstration of God’s character. I so get it, friend. It is really hard to be human, isn’t it? But I’ve read too many of the stories in Scripture, and I’ve walked through enough of my own challenging seasons to know for certain the God we serve is not going to leave us. We may not receive direct promises that the answer we seek is fast and sure, but we do have the assurance that God is a steady, immovable Rock to Whom we can tie our anchor as we face life’s storms. We will not drown! Despair, darkness, and death are not our final condition. Just like Gideon overheard what God would do and was encouraged, Jesus is our evidence of victory to come. He came in order to weep with us as we navigate our fears (John 11:32-44), and show us that victory is ours because of Him! (Hebrews 12:1-3)

3) How did the Lord demonstrate His faithfulness to the Israelites? (verses 16-21)
The Book of Judges has many stories about the people of God and their failures and triumphs. But more than anything, it is a testament to God’s faithfulness. There has never been a day when people haven’t failed to perfectly obey God. And there has never been a day when God hasn’t kept His promise. He is always faithful. Even “if we are faithless, He remains faithful.” (2 Timothy 2:11-12). Just as in Gideon’s victory, it is always God who is working out the victory for us. Sometimes we can’t see how He is working, and we often become impatient or discouraged in the waiting. But, Sister, He is always doing something! Yes, we will have days where we fret and fear. If we’re honest, we would be right there with Gideon needing more proof. Still, I have come to confidently know that it’s the eternal God Who holds me fast. It is His grip that keeps me. It is that grip that lifts me out of the bed on mornings I feel overwhelmed, and His grip that gives me hope that a better day is coming when He will prove His final victory. “He will also strengthen you to the end, so that you will be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful; you were called by Him into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” (1 Corinthians 1:8-9

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Digging Deeper is for Everyone!

1) Take this passage (or any other passage).
2) Read it, and the verses around it,
several times
3) Write down your questions
as you think of them.
4) Ask specific culture related questions and be ready to dig around for your answers. Google them, use www.studylight.org, or look them up in a study Bible and read the footnotes (click on the little letters next to a word and it will show you
other related verses!). (www.esvbible.org)
5) Check your applications with other trusted Christians that you are in community with and embrace the fullness of God
in your everyday!

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Why Dig Deeper?

Finding the original meaning is a huge deal when we study Scripture and can make all the difference in our understanding as we apply God’s truths to our everyday lives.

In our modern-day relationships, we want people to understand our original intention as we communicate; how much more so between God and humanity?!

Here’s a little bit more on why we take Digging Deeper so seriously.

Study Tools

We love getting help while we study and www.studylight.org is one of many excellent resources, providing the original Hebrew (Old Testament) or Greek (New Testament) with an English translation.

Want to know more about a specific word in a verse? Click on “Strong’s Interlinear Bible” then click the word you’d like to study. Discover “origin”, “definition” and hear the original pronunciation – That Is Awesome!

Want more background? Click “Study Tools”, then pick a few commentaries to read their scholarly approach, keeping in mind that just because a commentary says it, doesn’t mean it’s true. (just like the internet :-))

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