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Judges 7. Gideon, part 20: Reducing the army. Fear and carelessness cannot perform in God's war.

JUDGES-7-170321
length: 65:37 - taught on Mar, 21 2017
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Title: Judges 7. Gideon, part 20: Reducing the army. Fear and carelessness cannot perform in God's war.      

 

Announcements:

 

The reduction of the army.

 

Thirty-two thousand came out but not all of them came out with faith in Jehovah, in fact, most of them lack faith and courage after the many years of idolatry, which made their spirits selfish and weak, and the seven years of fierce oppression, which left them timid and afraid. Maybe some came out because others were coming out and so came out of peer pressure. Maybe some came out in sincerity, but could not find their own faith in Jehovah. Most of them are afraid and another great many of them are immature.

 

JDG 7:1 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.

 

 

The spring of Harod bubbles out at the foot of Mount Gilboa. The Beth Shean Pass runs between the Hill of Moreh on the north and Mount Gilboa on the south, connecting the Jezreel Valley to the Jordan Valley.

 

pic: looking at Mt. Gilboa in the south from the Hill of Moreh in the north. The armies would not have been hard to see nor hard to scout.

We might imagine the Midianites being somewhat nervous when they discovered 32,000 Israelites camped on the other side of the valley, but when their scouts report that all but 300 of them have retreated, they rest in ease. God knows how to dupe the enemy and give him a false confidence.

 

JDG 7:2 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.'

 

God performs His deeds in a manner that removes any consideration that man could have accomplished them on his own.

 

JDG 7:3 "Now therefore come, proclaim in the hearing of the people, saying, 'Whoever is afraid and trembling, let him return and depart from Mount Gilead [scribal error: Gilboa].'" So 22,000 people returned, but 10,000 remained.

 

Gideon tested God twice and now God will test him twice. It has to be Gideon's choice to send these men home. In keeping with the Law, DEU 20:8, he makes the declaration.

 

The people were to know this before they came out.

 

DEU 20:1 "When you go out to battle against your enemies and see horses and chariots and people more numerous than you [pretty much every battle], do not be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, who brought you up from the land of Egypt, is with you.

 

DEU 20:2 Now it shall come about that when you are approaching the battle, the priest shall come near and speak to the people.

 

DEU 20:3 And he shall say to them, 'Hear, O Israel, you are approaching the battle against your enemies today. Do not be fainthearted. Do not be afraid, or panic, or tremble before them,

 

DEU 20:4 for the Lord your God is the one who goes with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you.'

 

DEU 20:5 "The officers also shall speak to the people, saying, 'Who is the man that has built a new house and has not dedicated it? Let him depart and return to his house, lest he die in the battle and another man dedicate it.

 

DEU 20:6 'And who is the man that has planted a vineyard and has not begun to use its fruit? Let him depart and return to his house, lest he die in the battle and another man begin to use its fruit.

 

DEU 20:7 'And who is the man that is engaged to a woman and has not married her? Let him depart and return to his house, lest he die in the battle and another man marry her.'

 

Any man who had built a new house and had not yet consecrated it, which means that he had not yet entered it to live in it, or had planted a vineyard and not yet eaten any of the fruit of it, or was betrothed to a wife and had not yet married her-that such persons might not die before they had enjoyed the fruits of what they had done.

 

These conditions were not only for the health of the population, but more so that all the people would enjoy the blessings of the land before they put their lives at stake in battle.

 

DEU 24:5 "When a man takes a new wife, he shall not go out with the army, nor be charged with any duty; he shall be free at home one year and shall give happiness to his wife whom he has taken."

 

DEU 20:8 "Then the officers shall speak further to the people, and they shall say, 'Who is the man that is afraid and fainthearted? Let him depart and return to his house, so that he might not make his brothers' hearts melt like his heart.'

 

Fear is contagious. Every sin has a certain contagious quality.

 

1CO 15:33-34

Do not be deceived: "Bad company corrupts good morals." Become sober-minded as you ought, and stop sinning; for some have no knowledge of God.

 

PRO 13:20

He who walks with wise men will be wise,

But the companion of fools will suffer harm.

 

We must not fight the good fight of faith in fear or in occupation with ourselves.

 

HEB 12:15

See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled;

 

2PE 2:2-3

And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned; and in their greed they will exploit you with false words

 

DEU 20:17-18

But you shall utterly destroy them, … in order that they may not teach you to do according to all their detestable things which they have done for their gods, so that you would sin against the Lord your God.

 

What was the main reason for God demanding that Israel drive out the other nations and not live with them and intermarry with them? They would be corrupted.

 

JDG 7:2 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.'

 

JDG 7:3 "Now therefore come, proclaim in the hearing of the people, saying, 'Whoever is afraid and trembling, let him return and depart from Mount Gilead [scribal error: Gilboa].'" So 22,000 people returned, but 10,000 remained.

 

JDG 7:4 Then 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. Therefore it shall be that he 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."

 

JDG 7:5 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."

 

JDG 7:6 Now the number of those who lapped, putting their hand to their mouth, was 300 men; but all the rest of the people kneeled to drink water.

 

The test in verses 5 and 6 is not always understood. The second clause, "everyone who kneels to drink," explains the first clause, "everyone who laps the water with his tongue." These are not two different groups, but one group. When these men go down to the stream to drink, they will have to get down on their knees since it is not possible to drink any other way. The issue is not who kneels and who stands, but who will cup his hands and bring water to his mouth, and who will not.

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