The heartset for heaven’s mandate
God’s number one criteria for using a man to achieve divine plan or heaven’s purpose at any point in time is this,
The state of the heart.
When the heart is thinking what heaven is thinking or ruminating over what the purpose and plan of God could be for his people, such heart is not far from receiving heaven’s mandate. And such was the heart of Gideon.
The Man, Gideon
Now the Angel of the LORD came and sat under the terebinth tree which was in Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, while his son Gideon threshed wheat in the winepress, in order to hide it from the Midianites. And the Angel of the LORD appeared to him, and said to him, “The LORD is with you, you mighty man of valor!” – Judges 6:11-12 NKJV
Heaven studies the heart and knows what it is we are truly passionate about.
Here, we see a man threshing wheat regardless of fear of the Midianites who have been oppressing Israel for seven years, not giving them a chance to plant and cultivate their own land. Israel was impoverished.
Nonetheless, this man had some courage to come out and be useful while others hide in caves and dens. It was at this point an angel of the Lord appeared to commission him as Israel’s deliverer.
The State of Gideon’s heart
We understand the state of Gideon’s heart by his reply to the angel of the Lord.
Judges 6:13 NKJV
Gideon said to Him, “O my lord, if the LORD is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all His miracles which our fathers told us about, saying, ‘Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt?’ But now the LORD has forsaken us and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites.”
He has been deeply pondering on the reason why God has forsaken his people without a deliverer. Not only so, but he also has been meditating on the supernatural power of God that has saved his people in time past and wished for a reoccurrence of such event in their present suffering.
Heaven peeked into this man’s heart before an angel was sent to him.
Gideon would be the deliverer because he has a burden for the Israel of God.
The Message of God to Gideon
Judges 6:14 NKJV
Then the LORD turned to him and said, “Go in this might of yours, and you shall save Israel from the hand of the Midianites. Have I not sent you?”
All that is needed to put an end to the treacherous activities of the enemy against the people of God, is a heart that carries heaven’s burden. Nothing else. Not our own strength or natural abilities, nor the clan we came from as Gideon thought. We may think ourselves not qualified for a divine rescue when it is based on some physical criterion. But the angel of the Lord said to him, “Go in this might of yours…”
Gideon’s heart in harmony with heaven was the might he needed for the battle.
God’s Presence Promised to Fearful Gideon
Judges 6:16, 19-21 NKJV
“And the LORD said to him, “Surely I will be with you, and you shall defeat the Midianites as one man.”
“So Gideon went in and prepared a young goat, and unleavened bread from an ephah of flour. The meat he put in a basket, and he put the broth in a pot; and he brought them out to Him under the terebinth tree and presented them. The Angel of God said to him, “Take the meat and the unleavened bread and lay them on this rock, and pour out the broth.” And he did so. Then the Angel of the LORD put out the end of the staff that was in His hand, and touched the meat and the unleavened bread; and fire rose out of the rock and consumed the meat and the unleavened bread. And the Angel of the LORD departed out of his sight.”
Heaven is ready to help to any length, those that are willing to do its mandate.
Gideon’s offering and sacrifice to the Lord’s messenger was a confirmation that he accepted His message.
Destruction of the Altar of Sin
Judges 6:25-27 NKJV
Now it came to pass the same night that the LORD said to him, “Take your father’s young bull, the second bull of seven years old, and tear down the altar of Baal that your father has, and cut down the wooden image that is beside it; and build an altar to the LORD your God on top of this rock in the proper arrangement, and take the second bull and offer a burnt sacrifice with the wood of the image which you shall cut down.” So Gideon took ten men from among his servants and did as the LORD had said to him. But because he feared his father’s household and the men of the city too much to do it by day, he did it by night.
Gideon’s obedience was implicit because he followed the message given to him. We should look well to get the message of God clearly, as that is what is counted as obedience.
The Lord did not give Gideon any specific time – day or night to destroy the altar of Baal. He chose to carry out his operation at night. The next morning, the inquiry was made concerning the broken altar, and it was reported that Gideon was the perpetrator. One or more of the ten men that were with him to carry out the operation must have said so to those who asked.
God Defends Gideon
Judges 6:29-31 NKJV
So they said to one another, “Who has done this thing?” And when they had inquired and asked, they said, “Gideon the son of Joash has done this thing.” Then the men of the city said to Joash, “Bring out your son, that he may die, because he has torn down the altar of Baal, and because he has cut down the wooden image that was beside it.” But Joash said to all who stood against him, “Would you plead for Baal? Would you save him? Let the one who would plead for him be put to death by morning! If he is a god, let him plead for himself, because his altar has been torn down!”
God will always protect and defend his messenger from hurt. Gideon’s father spoke the mind of God indeed.
“Let the one who would plead for him (Baal) be put to death by morning! If he is a god, let him plead for himself, because his altar has been torn down”
Joash, Gideon’s father should have been his son’s first opposer. But it is no surprise seeing those who we think will be the first attacker rising to our defense. This is because God is the sponsor. He commands his words into their mouth and they spit it out.
The reply of Gideon’s father to the threats of the people against his son strengthened the faith of Gideon. And Joash, Gideon’s father called him from that day — Jerubbaal. Let Baal plead for himself.
We don’t need to fear the temples, altars, or image of the enemy because they are just as the Psalmist described them.
“Their idols are silver and gold, The work of men’s hands. They have mouths, but they do not speak; Eyes they have, but they do not see; They have ears, but they do not hear; Noses they have, but they do not smell; They have hands, but they do not handle; Feet they have, but they do not walk; Nor do they mutter through their throat.” — Psalm 115:4-7 NKJV
The enemies are silent before God.
Judges 6:33-35 NKJV
“Then all the Midianites and Amalekites, the people of the East, gathered together; and they crossed over and encamped in the Valley of Jezreel. But the Spirit of the LORD came upon Gideon; then he blew the trumpet, and the Abiezrites gathered behind him. And he sent messengers throughout all Manasseh, who also gathered behind him. He also sent messengers to Asher, Zebulun, and Naphtali; and they came up to meet them.”
It is worthy of note that before God released Gideon to fight against his enemies, he first destroyed the altar of sin in the camp of Israel. That was the number one enemy to be destroyed.
Before God can give other enemies into our hands, the enemy within us must first be destroyed. (Ref. Achan vs Ai in Joshua 7:1,12-26). As new testament believers, we cannot overcome the enemy if there is one within us in form of an altar, image, or anything we consider more precious to divine order.
Victory Assured to Fearful Gideon
Judges 6:36-40 NKJV
“So Gideon said to God, “If You will save Israel by my hand as You have said- look, I shall put a fleece of wool on the threshing floor; if there is dew on the fleece only, and it is dry on all the ground, then I shall know that You will save Israel by my hand, as You have said.” And it was so. When he rose early the next morning and squeezed the fleece together, he wrung the dew out of the fleece, a bowlful of water. Then Gideon said to God, “Do not be angry with me, but let me speak just once more: Let me test, I pray, just once more with the fleece; let it now be dry only on the fleece, but on all the ground let there be dew.” And God did so that night. It was dry on the fleece only, but there was dew on all the ground.”
As I study the Bible and saw accounts of men who ever asked help from God, I just see a God who is waiting to help men with all the answers they need, even if it has to be with signs.
God is too faithful.
God Led Gideon Courageously to Victory
Judges 7:1 NKJV
Then Jerubbaal (that is, Gideon) and all the people who were with him rose early and encamped beside the well of Harod, so that the camp of the Midianites was on the north side of them by the hill of Moreh in the valley.”
The beginning of our conquest over the enemies of God would be in our first step of faith. We cannot see victory until we begin the process that leads to victory.
Gaining Confidence in God — by trusting
Judges 7:2-7 NKJV
And the LORD said to Gideon, “The people who are with you are too many for Me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel claim glory for itself against Me, saying, ‘My own hand has saved me.’ Now therefore, proclaim in the hearing of the people, saying, ‘Whoever is fearful and afraid, let him turn and depart at once from Mount Gilead.'” And twenty-two thousand of the people returned, and ten thousand remained. But the LORD said to Gideon, “The people are still too many; bring them down to the water, and I will test them for you there. Then it will be, that of whom I say to you, ‘This one shall go with you,’ the same shall go with you; and of whomever I say to you, ‘This one shall not go with you,’ the same shall not go.” So he brought the people down to the water. And the LORD said to Gideon, “Everyone who laps from the water with his tongue, as a dog laps, you shall set apart by himself; likewise everyone who gets down on his knees to drink.” And the number of those who lapped, putting their hand to their mouth, was three hundred men; but all the rest of the people got down on their knees to drink water. Then the LORD said to Gideon, “By the three hundred men who lapped I will save you, and deliver the Midianites into your hand. Let all the other people go, every man to his place.”
Our confidence must be built on God, not men, regardless of our fears.
The focus will no longer be God’s if all we are surrounded with are men of war. It is God that fights for us, so we should trust less in the arms of flesh. God was mindful of building Gideon’s confidence in Him and not in the multitude of the soldiers. At the same time, He knew Gideon’s faith will not carry him if there were no physical encouragement around him, so God permitted only three hundred out of the thirty-two thousand men of war. Left for God, he can deliver the multitudes of the Midianites into the hands of Gideon as one man, according to his word. (Ref: Judges 6:16)
Gaining Confidence in God — by hearing
Judges 7:9-14 NKJV
It happened on the same night that the LORD said to him, “Arise, go down against the camp, for I have delivered it into your hand. But if you are afraid to go down, go down to the camp with Purah your servant, and you shall hear what they say; and afterward your hands shall be strengthened to go down against the camp.” Then he went down with Purah his servant to the outpost of the armed men who were in the camp. Now the Midianites and Amalekites, all the people of the East, were lying in the valley as numerous as locusts; and their camels were without number, as the sand by the seashore in multitude. And when Gideon had come, there was a man telling a dream to his companion. He said, “I have had a dream: To my surprise, a loaf of barley bread tumbled into the camp of Midian; it came to a tent and struck it so that it fell and overturned, and the tent collapsed.” Then his companion answered and said, “This is nothing else but the sword of Gideon the son of Joash, a man of Israel! Into his hand God has delivered Midian and the whole camp.”
The first and ultimate confidence is that which originates from the heart. Believing and trusting God for his word. Secondly, God needed Gideon to also hear with his natural senses to solidify the trust in the heart. This is God leading fearful Gideon to a courageous victory.
Gideon’s Conquest over the Enemy
Judges 7:15-18 NKJV
And so it was, when Gideon heard the telling of the dream and its interpretation, that he worshiped. He returned to the camp of Israel, and said, “Arise, for the LORD has delivered the camp of Midian into your hand.” Then he divided the three hundred men into three companies, and he put a trumpet into every man’s hand, with empty pitchers, and torches inside the pitchers. And he said to them, “Look at me and do likewise; watch, and when I come to the edge of the camp you shall do as I do: When I blow the trumpet, I and all who are with me, then you also blow the trumpets on every side of the whole camp, and say, ‘The sword of the LORD and of Gideon!'”
With no physical sword, spear, or arrow, the enemies of God were confounded because a spiritual sword was already drawn out against them.
“When I blow the trumpet, I and all who are with me, then you also blow the trumpets on every side of the whole camp, and say, ‘The sword of the LORD and of Gideon!'” – Judges 7:18 NKJV
Finally, it came to pass. The Midianites were given into the hands of Gideon according to the word of God.
That is the sword of the Lord. The Word of God!
All we need to overcome the battles of life is this Sword. The word of God.
Are you there? Are you fearful?
A little fear in the heart cannot stop God if the heart carries a burden for heaven’s mandate.
In life, many things will oppose us or present themselves as major threats, but with our hearts fixed on God, our attentiveness to his leading, and courageously following through, we will see the promised victory.
Ephesians 6:17 NKJV
“And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God”
Born in the Western part of Nigeria, is a teacher of God’s word and a promoter of purposeful living. She is on a mission to bring humanity closer to God through her inspired God-centered teachings, and help Christians live their lives in full for God’s glory