Lessons from Gideon: A Man of Valor Part 1

Judges 6:1-10
And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord:and the Lord delivered them into the hand of Midian
seven {fulfillment}years. And the hand of Midian prevailed against Israel:and because of the Midianites the children of Israel made them the dens which are in the mountains, and caves, and strong holds. And so it was, when Israel had sown, that the Midianites came up, and the Amalekites, and the children of the east, even they came up against them; And they encamped against them, and destroyed the increase of the earth, till thou come unto Gaza, and left no sustenance for Israel, neither sheep, nor ox, nor ass. For they came up with their cattle and their tents, and they came as grasshoppers for multitude; for both they and their camels were without number:and they entered into the land to destroy it. And Israel was greatly impoverished because of the Midianites; and the children of Israel cried unto the Lord.
 And it came to pass, when the children of Israel cried unto the Lord because of the Midianites, That the Lord sent a prophet unto the children of Israel, which said unto them, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, I brought you up from Egypt, and brought you forth out of the house of bondage; And I delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians, and out of the hand of all that oppressed you, and drave them out from before you, and gave you their land; And I said unto you,
I am the Lord your God; fear not the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell:but ye have not obeyed my voice.


I never realized it before, but once the Lord began to deliver me in my mind, there was a level of fear associated with the bondage that I was previously in. I remember telling Danielle one time, “The Lord has set me free even in my thoughts since I started focusing on His victory on Calvary, but I haven’t wanted to say anything because I was scared the devil was going to get mad.”
We have spoken in the past about the fact that the release of the Hebrew slaves out of Egypt through the Red Sea is an OT type of our salvation out of the world and release from the yoke of the prince of this world.
If that be the case, then the wanderings of the wilderness and the time-frame of the judges represent the stubborn and stiff necked Christian who refuses to submit to God's plan for their lives.
Israel's disobedience during this time-frame resulted in God allowing their enemy to assume power over them.
When we walk outside of God’s will, by playing games, and touching the unclean thing; we open doors to spiritual forces who wreak havoc in our lives. In this story, the Midianites play the role of these spiritual forces.
This story tells us that the Midianites, with all their cattle and camels, came into Israel's land, devouring and consuming all their sustenance; furthermore, the scripture is clear. The reason it happened was because:
fear not the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell:but ye have not obeyed my voice.
Israel refused to obey the voice of the Lord and through fear connected themselves to the gods of the world, and through that connection opened a door that resulted in destruction of their sustenance.
Sheep, gone! Oxen, gone! Harvest, gone! They were left dry and desolate.
In the lives of many Christians today, disobedience has opened the door, allowing the enemy to rush in and consume the "land." Wreaking havoc in their lives, and causing peace to be gone! Protection, gone! Access to grace, gone! Finances in disarray! Children refusing to serve the Lord! And all this because of a refusal to submit to God and His ways, rather instead, choosing to hold to what makes flesh feel good, choosing to go the ways of the world.
To be truthful, God has persistently had to deal with this problem with His children of all ages. In the modern church, it’s politically incorrect to say it for fear of offending someone and hurting their feelings, but what about God and the offenses that His people commit against Him? What about the one who calls himself a believer but refuses to go the way God is prodding him to go?
The Lord spoke through David and said:
Psalms 32:9
Be ye not as the horse,
or as the mule, which have no understanding:
whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle,
lest they come near unto thee.

God is looking for men and women with a warrior's heart who are willing to concern themselves about the things and the name of God.
That's why I want to talk to you about Gideon tonight because His name means warrior.
Judges 6:11-16
And there came an angel of the Lord, and sat under an oak which was in Ophrah, that pertained unto Joash the Abiezrite:and his son Gideon threshed wheat by the winepress, to hide it from the Midianites. And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him, and said unto him, The Lord is with thee, thou mighty man of valour. And Gideon said unto him, Oh my Lord, if the Lord be with us, why then is all this befallen us? and where be all his miracles which our fathers told us of, saying, Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt? but now the Lord hath forsaken us, and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites. And 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? And he said unto him, Oh my Lord, wherewith shall I save Israel?
behold, my family is poor in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father's house. And the Lord said unto him, Surely I will be with thee, and thou shalt smite the Midianites as one man.


At the end of this passage, Gideon explains that he’s from the tribe of Manasseh, which according to Numbers 2:3-31was the smallest tribe out of all 12; furthermore his (clan) or family was the weakest family in the whole tribe at this present time; lastly, he was the least, meaning the youngest of his family. With all this said, according to the evidence, Gideon would have been the most unlikely person, at least according to the natural order of things, to be used by God to bring victory; yet, Gideon is the one God chose.


There are a lot of people who struggle with their past and hope for victory in their lives. Because they have always failed, they are lied to by the enemy and convinced that they can never be free, but the victory isn’t in you or your past; the victory is in Christ.
In this passage, Gideon is representative of all Israel, and Israel is hiding in fear, attempting to hold onto the little bit that they have left. That is why Gideon is hiding and threshing wheat in the wine press.
Notice the difference between what God sees in Gideon and what Gideon sees in himself.
God says to Gideon: The Lord is with thee, thou mighty man of valour
But this is how Gideon sees himself: behold, my family is poor in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father's house.
God says to Gideon something that He wants us to also know-- He promises to be with us as we do His will.
God is looking for some Gideon's to rise up and be used as warriors to save His people from the hand of their enemy: And the Lord looked upon him, and said, Go in this thy might, and thou shalt save Israel from the hand of the Midianites

There are some principles that I want to discuss from this story that I believe will help you to get your mind right regarding the victory God wants to give you.
Lesson 1
You have to begin seeing yourself the way that God sees you. And quit viewing your life the way it was while you were oppressed by your enemy.


Before they entered the Promised Land, God had promised blessing and provision in Deuteronomy 28. The promise was contingent upon Israel staying faithful to the covenant God had given them. 
Remember, his name is Gideon, which means warrior, and the angel of the Lord calls him a mighty man of valor.
The word valor means a man of war, but it also means a person of sustenance or wealth.
In the physical realm everything is a mess. The enemy had eaten up all the provision and God's people are cowering, even hiding to preserve and hold to the little morsel they have left, but God says, "you’re a man of war and wealth."
Now, there is a lot of practicality that could be taught here about the way we spend our money and the result it has upon our finances, specifically, our insatiable appetites to spend our wealth on wasteful wants, rather than living a life of temperance.
Furthermore, many of God's people refuse to pay God what is His.
He said in Malachi,
God: "You have robbed me."
Israel: "How have we robbed you?"
God: "Through tithes and offerings."
Many of God's people refuse to believe this portion of His word, holding onto the tithe, which His; resulting in a curse being poured out upon the remainder they have.


Sometimes the people of the church are still serving the world with their finances: alcohol, music, worldly possessions.

15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

Malachi 3:11-12
And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes,
and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground;
neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the Lord of hosts.
 And all nations shall call you blessed:
for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the Lord of hosts.

So point 1 see yourself the way God sees you (Romans 6:11) and two practical points regarding sustenance (finances)
A. Quit wasting your money buying things you can't afford and live within your means.
B.  Give God His and watch Him bless what He lets you have.

Lesson 2

 (a). Not everyone in the camp is in the battle.
(b). Most aren't living their lives sober minded, believing there is an enemy on the prowl:


Judges 7:5-7
5 So he brought down the people unto the water: and the LORD said unto Gideon, Every one that lappeth of the water with his tongue, as a dog lappeth, him shalt thou set by himself; likewise every one that boweth down upon his knees to drink.6 And the number of them that lapped, putting their hand to their mouth, were three hundred men: but all the rest of the people bowed down upon their knees to drink water.7 And the LORD said unto Gideon, By the three hundred men that lapped will I save you, and deliver the Midianites into thine hand: and let all the other people go every man unto his place.

1 Peter 5:8
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:

Commentators are somewhat divided about how the men drank, but the logical idea is that they brought the water to their mouths with their hands as a dog brings water to his mouth with his tongue. What they didn’t do was drink the water while on their knees and their face towards the water; instead, they drank while being watchful, which is something that any person aware that there is an enemy on the prowl would do.


Lesson from Gideon: A Man of Valor Part 2

Lesson 3
Gideon made a change: he let go of what he was hiding and holding and grabbed onto God's plan.
Judges 6:15-22
And he said unto him, Oh my Lord, wherewith shall I save Israel? behold, my family is poor in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father's house. And the Lord said unto him, Surely I will be with thee, and thou shalt smite the Midianites as one man. And he said unto him, If now I have found grace in thy sight, then shew me a sign that thou talkest with me. Depart not hence, I pray thee, until I come unto thee, and bring forth my present
{offering}, and set it before thee. And he said, I will tarry until thou come again.
 And Gideon went in, and made ready a kid, and unleavened cakes of an ephah of flour:the flesh he put in a basket, and he put the broth in a pot, and brought it out unto him under the oak, and presented it. And the angel of God said unto him, Take the flesh and the unleavened cakes, and lay them upon this rock, and pour out the broth. And he did so.
 Then the angel of the Lord put forth the end of the staff that was in his hand, and touched the flesh and the unleavened cakes; and there rose up fire out of the rock, and consumed the flesh and the unleavened cakes. Then the angel of the Lord departed out of his sight. And when Gideon perceived that he was an angel of the Lord, Gideon said, Alas, O Lord God! for because I have seen an angel of the Lord face to face.

By now, Israel has been well trained in the things of God. They were taught by Moses about worship, sacrifice (to us the cross), and unleavened bread (purity of Jesus).
But the more recent years, under the rule of the Judges have resulted in a mixture of Baal worship along with worship of the Lord. To be truthful, this is a problem that continued to affect God's people through the ages to the point where they were no longer even serving God, but they thought they were.
Sadly, while most can't see it, this is where the modern church is today. The most popular preachers with the most listened to voices prophesy lies that all is well. Preaching messages that shun purity and tolerate sin, as though calling sin what it is equals hate instead of love. No! A preacher who lies and refuses to speak the truth shows hate rather than love.
People sit in pews in churches across America living their lives just like the world around them-- except they go to church, flocking like birds crowded on an ocean island, they search a church where they can caress their sin while appeasing some meaningless religious duty. God help us.
At this point in Israel’s history there is no altar for the Lord, but God has moved towards Gideon and Gideon is about to move towards God.
Gideon's movement towards God is a sacrifice, which is the only way God can have relationship with man.
I want to consider some concepts about Gideon's offering:
 (a). These things aren't coming back with him.

 (b). These offerings are costly.
A. We must always remember that the altar or cross is an instrument of death. In both the Old Testament and New Testament alike the sacrifice ultimately brought life because it restored fellowship between the believer and God.
Nevertheless, it must be understood that these items are not coming back with Gideon once he is done.
At this point, the question that begs asking is, "Are we allowing the cross to perform its function in our lives?" The cross is an instrument of death.
In other words, when we go to the Lord and ask Him to apply the cross to an area of our lives so that resurrection life can replace it, do we allow "it" to really die or do we allow "it" to resurrect in us instead of the victory of the Lord?
Many times people won't let something die that they still love.
I heard a story from a man of God. I just met the other day. He owns 5 shrimp boats and he has captains that work for him.
About two years ago, he had a captain that would take his money when he got paid and spend it all on crack. The owner tried to reason with him, but the man's response was, "I love it. I love how it feels."
The owner sadly responded, "Then I can't help you. If you love it, there is nothing I can do for you. You'll have to go."
Recently, the man showed up again and said, "I hate it."
The owner, with a smiling face and hopeful heart encouraged, "I can help you. You have a job."
Something happened in two years that convinced this man about his sin. You see multiple seeds about the gospel had been previously planted, but it wasn't until the sin had proven and shown its fruit that he was convinced.
Gideon was at a place where he was convinced. He was tired of timidly threshing wheat in a place where grapes were supposed to be stomped.
At this sacrifice, these animals aren't coming back; however, Gideon's problem with fear is also on the run.
B. The cross requires something of a man-- to trust God in spite of the flesh and let go of what we've always known.
Previously, Gideon was trying to hide and hold his last portion of grain, but now he is bringing cakes and animals were extremely precious in these days to give to God.
God revealed Himself to Gideon, and now Gideon is willing to give to God what He is asking for. What are you holding onto child of God?
What does God want you to give to Him? Is it hurt, bitterness, anger, dreams...?
He wants to give us victory, but sometimes we prevent Him by refusing to let go of what is holding us back.
One thing that often holds people back from giving God their all is the concern that they will be ostracized, made fun of, or rejected. Actually, that is something that we should expect if we look anything like Him because that is exactly what they did to Him.
Lesson 4
When you let go of what you were holding and go God's way, the result is peace.
Judges 6:24
Then Gideon built an altar there unto the Lord, and called it
Jehovahshalom:unto this day it is yet in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.

Gideon called the altar he built The Lord is peace. Even though the battle still lied ahead and the enemy was still oppressing Israel, Gideon experienced the peace of God when God spoke it over his life.
Even though the Israelites were still impoverished and Gideon didn't have any more grain than he had before, and now he was less a cake and a goat, he experienced the peace of God.
In reality, it’s nothing less than a miracle when the peace of God shows up at times when it makes no sense.
Philippians 4:7
7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Lesson 5
Obedience towards God is visible two ways: (1) there is the cutting down and removal of sin (2) there is the establishment of the things of God.

Judges 6:25-27
And it came to pass the same night, that the Lord said unto him, Take thy father's young bullock, even the second bullock of seven years old, and
throw down the altar of Baal that thy father hath, and cut down the grove that is by it: And build an altar unto the Lord thy God upon the top of this rock, in the ordered place, and take the second bullock, and offer a burnt sacrifice with the wood of the grove which thou shalt cut down. Then Gideon took ten men of his servants, and did as the Lord had said unto him:and so it was, because he feared his father's household, and the men of the city, that he could not do it by day, that he did it by night.

Previously, we saw Gideon build an altar in reference to his personal life, but now God's Spirit is driving him forward. The same Spirit that raised Gideon from the dead (spiritually speaking) is the same Spirit that compels Gideon to live his faith out loud for the rest of Israel to see.
When these men wake up in the morning, there is going to be a message preached very loud-- Baal is dead and God is alive! Every Christian will be faced with this formidable task at some point in their walk with God. Will you erect an altar for God, or will you continue living in fear under the bondage of Baal?
Contrary to popular belief, everything isn't alright in the camp.
The removal of sin occurred when Gideon cut down the altar of Baal and cut down the Asherah pole beside it. The Hebrew word translated as "grove" in the KJV is asera where we get Asherah, which was a pole erected like the Egyptian obelisks in commemoration of Nimrod's male member all relating to occult worship.
While we often try to sweep sin under the rug, it's quite obvious that Israel is so far removed from God that she is no longer really serving Him.
Just as Gideon had allowed God to penetrate his heart by embracing the cross (building an altar), God is asking Gideon to replace his father's sin with the remedy for sin (altar/ cross) for all to see.
What's interesting for me is that God tells Gideon to place the altar in the: ordered place.
In the Hebrew, the ordered place means battle line or military array. It's imperative that we get a revelation regarding this concept.
Israel has been impoverished through being under the bondage of their enemy for seven years. In the midst of their misery, they have cried out to God for deliverance and He has heard them. He chooses Gideon to lead the way. And the beginning of victory starts with the establishment of the altar.
Specifically, in this passage, Gideon is removing the enemy stronghold by placing the altar (cross) in its place. And God says, "This is where I want it. It's the ordered place. It's the military line. It's from this place the battle will be won."
But let me close with this child of God if you never get to the place where you are tired of worshiping Baal, you will never cut down his altar, you will never cut down the Asherah pole, and you will never let the cross stand tall in the place where defeat turned to victory.

Lessons from Gideon: A Man of Valor Part 3

Lesson 6: God not only requires that man give obedience to faith in the sacrifice, but He demands that he shine his light before all men.

 Matthew 5:14-16 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.  

Lesson 7: when you take your stand for The Lord, don't expect that all those who call themselves 
Christians will be happy. 
Most people are more concerned about pleasing man more than God. 


Judges 6:25-30

And it came to pass the same night, that the Lord said unto him, Take thy father's young bullock, 
even the second bullock of seven years old, and throw down the altar of Baal that thy father hath, 
and cut down the grove that is by it: And build an altar unto the Lord thy God upon the top of 
this rock, in the ordered place, and take the second bullock, and offer a burnt sacrifice with 
the wood of the grove which thou shalt cut down. Then Gideon took ten men of his servants, and 
did as the Lord had said unto him:and so it was, because he feared his father's household, and 
the men of the city, that he could not do it by day, that he did it by night.

 And when the men of the city arose early in the morning, behold, the altar of Baal was cast down, 
and the grove was cut down that was by it, and the second bullock was offered upon the altar that 
was built. And they said one to another, Who hath done this thing? And when they inquired and asked, 
they said, Gideon the son of Joash hath done this thing. Then the men of the city said unto Joash, 
Bring out thy son, that he may die:because he hath cast down the altar of Baal, and because he hath 
cut down the grove that was by it.


(6) First, Gideon embraced relationship with God by building an altar and sacrificing to the God of 
Israel. As we will soon see, Israel was so far removed from serving God that their altars were erected 
to Baal rather than Jehovah. 


Gideon did right-- he worshiped God, but it won't stop there the next step will require that he live 
that devotion and obedience for others to see-- an example of what it's supposed to look like. 
"Where are the men who fear nothing but God?" James Van Valkenberg Christian artist Baton Rouge La. 


(7) The root of Israel's problem was their refusal to remove the idol's in their lives. They were 
worshiping false gods; thereby, opening doors, which gave the enemy a foothold, which has now become 
a stronghold.


This problem still plagues many modern Christians. With one hand holding onto the world's "goodies," 
they reach their other hand towards God. We can't serve Baal and God together. It's going to have to 
be either one or the other. 


Israel's bondage and loss of supply was a direct result of their failure to separate themselves from 
the world. Because of their continued disobedience, their enemy was allowed by God to have power over 


Gideon, on the other hand, was a man who wanted to serve God. God saw his heart and chose to reveal 
Himself to Gideon in order to deliver His people from bondage. God's instruction in this passage to Gideon 
is destroy the altar of Baal. 


How many times do Christians allow altars of Baal (sinful disobedience) to remain erected in their 
lives? While, at the same time, they say they are God's children; yet, don't understand why their 
lives are full of strife and confusion. 


Well, not Gideon. He was instructed by God to destroy the altar of Baal and erect an altar towards 
Him. Once again, Old Testament altars are a foreshadowing of the cross; for it is there that the 
fulfillment of the Old Testament sacrifice was found. 


Essentially, for the modern Christian, the question to be asked is, "when will you let go of the 
sinful disobedience and throw yourself at the foot of the cross, allowing the 'old man' whose been 
driven by sin to be crucified and resurrected anew?"


Don't expect that when the fire of the Lord gets a hold of your heart and teaches you and strengthens 
you to walk in purity before Him that everyone is going to get on board w/ the program. There are some 
who don't want to move from the land of the dead to the land of the living.


Just as Gideon was faithful to the voice of God while the other men around him became angry because 
he destroyed Baal's altar, there will also be a small remnant who will obey the word of The Lord 
while the rest will continue holding hands with the world and pretend they've given their heart to God. 


Furthermore, the men of Manassah were infuriated with Gideon's obedience towards God. It should be
noted that it's still a common finding that when a man or woman has their heart ignited by the Spirit 
of God, which fuels them towards obedience, the disobedient crowd becomes convicted, resentful, and 
even hateful. The same thing happened to Jesus, so why would we expect any different?
There should be some clarification added here. There are many Christian. There are many in the church 
who desire to serve God; yet, they find themselves on the wrong end of the struggle. If that is you, I 
want you to know that God hears the cries of those that love Him. Hold onto Jesus’ nail scarred hand 
as He leads you to the Promised Land.


John 15:18
If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.

John 15:24
If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin:but now have 
they both seen and hated both me and my Father. [interesting that when God is revealed to man different 
than what he expected he doesn't like the revelation]

John 16:2-3
They shall put you out of the synagogues:yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think 
that he doeth God service. And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the 
Father, nor me.

John 5:1-16
Chapter 5
 After this there was a feast of the Jews; and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now there is at Jerusalem 
by the sheep market a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches. In these 
lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water. 
For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water:whosoever then first 
after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had. And a certain 
man was there, which had an infirmity thirty and eight years. When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he 
had been now a long time in that case, he saith unto him, Wilt thou be made whole? The impotent man 
answered him, Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool:but while I am 
coming, another steppeth down before me. Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk. And 
immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked:and on the same day was the sabbath.

The Jews therefore said unto him that was cured, It is the sabbath day:it is not lawful for thee to 
carry thy bed. He answered them, He that made me whole, the same said unto me, Take up thy bed, and walk. 
Then asked they him, What man is that which said unto thee, Take up thy bed, and walk? And he that was 
healed wist not who it was:for Jesus had conveyed himself away, a multitude being in that place. 
Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole:sin no more, 
lest a worse thing come unto thee. The man departed, and told the Jews that it was Jesus, which had made 
him whole. And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay him, because he had done these 
things on the sabbath day.

In addition, people should be able to see a shocking change also once we erect the altar towards God (fall at the foot of the cross).
Lesson 8: where there is communion {God's presence} there is victory.

Judges 7:13-15
And when Gideon was come, behold, there was a man that told a dream unto his fellow, and said, Behold, I dreamed a dream, and, lo, a cake of barley bread tumbled into the host of Midian, and came unto a tent, and smote it that it fell, and overturned it, that the tent lay along. And his fellow answered and said, This is nothing else save the sword of Gideon the son of Joash, a man of Israel:for into his hand hath God delivered Midian, and all the host.
 And it was so, when Gideon heard the telling of the dream, and the interpretation thereof, that he worshiped, and returned into the host of Israel, and said, Arise; for the Lord hath delivered into your hand the host of Midian.

It's interesting to me that the dream contained a barley loaf (bread) bringing destruction to a tent considering the fact that the Midianites were a nomadic people group.
The passage says: barley bread tumbled into the host of Midian, and came unto a tent, and smote it that it fell, overturned, and that the tent lay along
What happened to the tent, representative of the Midian people is that it was struck and overturned by the bread; ultimately, resulting in the tent experiencing a violent death.
So what does the bread represent in this scenario? It's quite obviously of significant import considering it is the source of victory, at least in the dream.
Bread in the bible, especially the Old Testament, represents communion or fellowship with God.
Reaching back to the book of Exodus, we see reference to the shewbread KJV or the bread of presence: NIV, ESV, YLT, NASB
Exodus 25:30
And thou shalt set upon the table shewbread before me alway.
Exodus 25:30
And you shall set the bread of the Presence on the table before me regularly.
Exodus 25:30
and thou hast put on the table bread of the presence before Me continually.
(30) You shall set the bread of the Presence on the table before Me at all times. Exodus 25:30 (NASB)

The shewbread was called the bread of presence because it was to be set
upon a table "before the Lord always.
Every Sabbath, once per week, the priest servicing the temple, was instructed to replace the twelve loaves, which represented Israel's twelve tribes. The fact that these loaves were "before the Lord" is representative of Israel's communion and fellowship with God.
While we certainly don't have time to exhaust all the types and shadows of the tabernacle and its representations of the person of Christ, there is an amazing observation to be made regarding this concept: in Christ (inside the tabernacle), there is fellowship between God and His people.
It should also be noted with regards to the Gideon story that the Israelites had been completely impoverished by Midian; yet, God chooses to foretell victory through a dream where prepared bread destroys the enemy. Remember, Gideon was just hiding with his wheat in the wine press.
There is also certainly a reference to the provision of God and the fact that when we are weak, He is strong (Corinthians). Furthermore, regarding provision, its important to remember what Jesus said about the manna from heaven: "Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven" (John 6:32).
Jesus is true provision; furthermore, He is the source of true communion; and when we are in fellowship with Him, you can expect the enemy's stronghold to be broken when God's presence shows up on the scene. Maybe, you feel as though you are impoverished: relationships failing, finances in disarray, children are wayward, living under constant depression...
I will close by saying that when you have no strength left, God's is perfected and ready to bring the victory.


Lesson from Gideon: A Man of Valor Part 4

Gideon: Man of Valor Part 4


Judges 7:15-25
And it was so, when Gideon heard the telling of the dream, and the interpretation thereof, that he worshiped, and returned into the host of Israel, and said, Arise; for the Lord hath delivered into your hand the host of Midian. And he divided the three hundred men into three companies, and he put a trumpet in every man's hand, with empty pitchers, and lamps within the pitchers. And he said unto them, Look on me, and do likewise:and, behold, when I come to the outside of the camp, it shall be that, as I do, so shall ye do. When I blow with a trumpet, I and all that are with me, then blow ye the trumpets also on every side of all the camp, and say, The sword of the Lord, and of Gideon.
 So Gideon, and the hundred men that were with him, came unto the outside of the camp in the beginning of the middle watch; and they had but newly set the watch:and they blew the trumpets, and brake the pitchers that were in their hands. And the three companies blew the trumpets, and brake the pitchers, and held the lamps in their left hands, and the trumpets in their right hands to blow withal:and they cried, The sword of the Lord, and of Gideon. And they stood every man in his place round about the camp:and all the host ran, and cried, and fled. And the three hundred blew the trumpets, and the Lord set every man's sword against his fellow, even throughout all the host:and the host fled to Bethshittah in Zererath, and to the border of Abelmeholah, unto Tabbath. And the men of Israel gathered themselves together out of Naphtali, and out of Asher, and out of all Manasseh, and pursued after the Midianites.
 And Gideon sent messengers throughout all mount Ephraim, saying, Come down against the Midianites, and take before them the waters unto Bethbarah and Jordan. Then all the men of Ephraim gathered themselves together, and took the waters unto Bethbarah and Jordan. And they took two princes of the Midianites, Oreb and Zeeb; and they slew Oreb upon the rock Oreb, and Zeeb they slew at the winepress of Zeeb, and pursued Midian, and brought the heads of Oreb and Zeeb to Gideon on the other side Jordan.

It is unquestionable that these pitchers would have been made from clay; therefore, we are given a scenario where the outer clay is hiding the inner light. Also, this passage speaks of trumpets and swords. Both of these instruments have repeated references in the scriptures to the Word of God.
When the flesh is removed, and the believer allows the light of God to shine and the word of God to lead, the victory becomes manifest.
There are many times that the word uses the idea of the "trumpet" associated with the voice of God.
Exodus 19:16
And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud; so that all the people that was in the camp trembled.
1 Thessalonians 4:16
For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God:and the dead in Christ shall rise first
Revelation 4:1
Chapter 4
 After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven:and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.
Hebrews 12:19
And the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of words; which voice they that heard entreated that the word should not be spoken to them any more:

In this passage, there seems to be a direct connection to the trumpet and the sword. We have already established the connection between the trumpet and the word. Certainly, there is a strong connection between the word and the sword:
Hebrews 4:12
For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
Revelation 19:15
And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations:and he shall rule them with a rod of iron:and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. (Undoubtedly, the sword in this passage is descriptive of His word).
Back to the thought of clay


Jeremiah 18:1-17
Chapter 18
 The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying, Arise, and go down to the potter's house, and there I will cause thee to hear my words. Then I went down to the potter's house, and, behold, he wrought a work on the wheels. And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter:so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it. Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying, O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the Lord. Behold, as the clay is in the potter's hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel. At what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, and to pull down, and to destroy it; If that nation, against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them. And at what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it; If it do evil in my sight, that it obey not my voice, then I will repent of the good, wherewith I said I would benefit them.
 Now therefore go to, speak to the men of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, saying, Thus saith the Lord; Behold, I frame evil against you, and devise a device against you:return ye now every one from his evil way, and make your ways and your doings good. And they said, There is no hope:but we will walk after our own devices, and we will every one do the imagination of his evil heart. Therefore thus saith the Lord; Ask ye now among the heathen, who hath heard such things:the virgin of Israel hath done a very horrible thing. Will a man leave the snow of Lebanon which cometh from the rock of the field? or shall the cold flowing waters that come from another place be forsaken? Because my people hath forgotten me, they have burned incense to vanity, and they have caused them to stumble in their ways from the ancient paths, to walk in paths, in a way not cast up; To make their land desolate, and a perpetual hissing; every one that passeth thereby shall be astonished, and wag his head. I will scatter them as with an east wind before the enemy; I will shew them the back, and not the face, in the day of their calamity.

In this long Jeremiah passage, clay is likened to God's people and the potter's wheel representing God's hand molding the human clay into its proper shape.
In addition, there is a common thread between the Judges passage we are studying and this Jeremiah passage. In both instances, God's people Israel are in rebellion and going the way of the world.
The Jeremiah passage portrays "marred" clay. It's out of shape, unwilling to be molded, and ultimately useless in the hands of the potter, resulting in the potter starting from scratch to prepare another vessel.
Our "clay" flesh is marred by the fall. There is a bend in us to go a way in opposition to God. As we're told in the book of Galatians: For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh:and these are contrary the one to the other:so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. Galatians 5:17
There is a war ensuing between that part of man fallen in Adam and that part of man born again in Christ.


Lesson 9: when the clay is moved out of the way, the light and Word engage the fight
When the flesh is in the way, in this passage, known as clay, the light of God is prevented from performing its function in our lives and through our lives.
The flesh, tainted with sin, attempts to pull us in a direction opposing God. It caters to our wants and sets us up for deception, darkness, and defeat from our enemy.
God's kingdom operates in light. Jesus is the light that came into the world and the darkness couldn't apprehend the light. While some translations say, "Couldn't comprehend the light," which would mean the darkness couldn't understand the light. Most scholars believe the right translation is, "The darkness couldn't apprehend the light," which means that the darkness couldn't overpower the light of God, which is Jesus. In reality, there is probably truth in both: the darkness neither understands, nor can it overcome the light (John 1:5).
But you must understand that when we, as the children of God, allow our flesh to dictate us towards darkness, we are choosing to operate in a realm opposite God's kingdom: John 3:19-21
And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.
Driven by flesh, we obscure God's light in the midst of our circumstances, allowing the enemy to turn his foothold into a stronghold.
If you want to be right with God, you must let your fleshly clay be broken so that the light of God can replace the darkness.
In the story we are reading the clay was broken and the light was revealed: And the three companies blew the trumpets, and brake the pitchers, and held the lamps in their left hands

When man's flesh is broken, God's light, presence, and word are released, and the enemy is driven into confusion... the Lord set every man's sword against his fellow, even throughout all the host.


Lesson 10: when we move out of the way and turn the battle over to God, He causes confusion in the enemy’s camp.
As previously mentioned, God operates in the realm of truth; whereas, His enemy dwells in darkness. In the darkness, the enemy has the upper hand, but when the light of God is allowed to shine in its proper place, the enemy's camp is brought down in confusion.
In this passage, the enemy are the Midianites, but in our lives, they are the forces of evil, attempting to hold us under the sway of their bondage; they convince our flesh to not "come clean." In other words, "I don't have to bring this to the light. I can just hold onto it and do what I want; after all, its not really that bad.
I wish I could warn people and they would listen. Sadly, most think you're a "gone off the deep end" fanatic when you start trying to convince people that a "little leaven spoils the whole lump."
God desires truth on the inward parts: Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me. Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom. Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Psalms 51:5-7
The idea in this Psalm is that David has sinned with Bathsheeba, he has had her husband, who had been faithful to his kingdom killed, the baby has died, and Nathan the prophet has let him know that God has been watching the whole time. Essentially, David hasn't gotten away with anything.
The cry from the Psalm is written from the heart of a penitent man in whom sin has taken its course and convinced him he was wrong.
What a loving God we serve who would provide us with such great examples of well meaning people that loved Him, yet failed Him. Furthermore, to know that He provides these truths all for the purpose of convincing us His way is right, and our way leads to destruction; this truth fuels my heart with more desire to get it right on the front end rather than with much sorrow and heartache on the latter end.
Sadly, most of us are more like David. My dad used to tell me, "Your just like your 'old man' boy, hard headed and stubborn, refusing to learn from my mistakes, you have enrolled yourself in the school of 'hard knocks'."
David in this Psalm is on the back end of the school of 'hard knocks'—he’s about to “graduate.” He has had time to consider his decisions and the path he chose. He probably remembers vividly his decision to stay behind while the other kings of the other nations had gone off to war, remembering even more the day he saw innocent, beautiful Bathsheeba on the rooftop. How she must have looked so young, pure, and innocent.
She, just as David, was being led like a lamb to the slaughter. Who would have ever imagined she would have become pregnant? Who would have ever imagined that David, a man after God's own heart, would sink to such lows and have her husband killed?
But the Psalm is written by a man who is not pretending that everything is alright and that its not that 'big a deal'. Instead, he is baring his heart to God and coming clean because he knows that all the lies and deceptions he was holding onto were driving him further into darkness and further away from the truth of God.
It's time to stop the lies. It's time to come clean! Who cares what others may think. It only matters what God thinks!
I can remember my own life how I had been bound for so long as a Christian. It didn't start with immediate bondage. At first, it was just a little "sip -o- sin."
When I first got saved, God had spoken clearly that it was a sin to drink, and for a while, I listened. But as time moved forward, and I saw passages like: "a little wine for the belly," I began to convince myself that things were different now; after all, I was a nurse practitioner and eating at the table with doctors, surely this was perfectly fine. I mean I'm not going to get drunk-- it's just one glass of wine.
Who really wants one glass of wine? Oh, I know, "the connoisseur,"you say. He tips his little finger, sips, swishes, and only swallows a remnant. Well, that's what he does at the tasting, but don't tell me that he never drinks more than one glass, two glasses, three glasses...
Truthfully, people like the way a "buzz" feels to their flesh. And there I was when one glass turned to several. How long did this deception last? I will say this, "It took heartache and heartbreak for me to be convinced.
After my sister's tragic death, I sunk to new lows as a Christian; instead, of running to Jesus, I was in a barroom for the first time in twelve years. By this time, the wine had become beer.
"Shut up! Don't judge me because my sin doesn't look like yours. You can't prove to me from the Bible this is wrong." I would have said as I wiped my mouth with my sleeve.
I stumbled to the bathroom, and in the midst of the stench of urine, God spoke to my heart and convinced me of my sin.
About three weeks later, I was in the car with a guy from church. We were talking about our walks with God. I was on fire at this point because the light of God had destroyed the yoke of bondage, which had previously held me fast.
I can remember as though it were yesterday when God spoke to my spirit and said, "Tell him what I did for you in that barroom. He needs to hear it."
My initial reaction was to shoo away the voice of God because people don't want to let the 'cat out of the bag.' But I could feel the Spirit of God rising up in me, encouraging me to trust Him, almost as if to say, "You're unsure because you've been living and hiding in darkness for so long that you don't know what walking in my light looks like. Trust me and watch what I'll do next."
I can remember as I started to talk that I became more passionate with every word. What was previously shrouded in darkness and fear was beginning to be replaced with the light and confidence of God; whereas, when I started the story, I was timid and feeling as though someone may look down on me, by the time I was done, I was preaching with fervor my miraculous testimony about how God showed up when I least deserved it and delivered me out of the hand of my enemy.
Where is the person you ask? He no longer goes to church. His Facebook page shows him partying. He was a real worshiper of God too. He would cry in the presence of God. I always loved worshiping with Him because he loved God so much.
I realize now that God wanted me to share the testimony for me and him. He used it to strengthen my faith and as a warning or word of correction to my friend. If you're reading this, you know who you are. I miss you, God misses you. He longs for you to seek His face as you used to. He wants you to know you haven't gone too far. He died for you, so come back to Him!
I said all this to make the point that we have to quit hiding in darkness. Bring "it" to the light! Let it be dealt with at the cross.
Lyrics to a Charles Wesley hymn:
The light of God diffused a quickening ray, when I woke, my dungeon, it flamed with light.
My chains fell off; my heart was free; I rose went forth and followed thee.
Amazing love, how can it be that thou my God should die for me? Amazing love, how can it be that thou my God would die for me?
If you really want the freedom of God to show up in your darkness, you will have to expose the light and let God cut the head off the thing!
And they took two princes of the Midianites, Oreb and Zeeb...they slew Oreb upon the rock Oreb, and Zeeb they slew at the winepress of Zeeb...brought the heads of Oreb and Zeeb to Gideon on the other side Jordan
h6158. ערב ‘oreb; or עורב ‘owreb; from 6150; a raven (from its dusky hue):— raven.
AV (10)- raven 10;
The raven bird is associated with darkness. In the definition, the words "dusky hue" are used, which further strengthen this point.
h2062. זאב z ’eb; the same as 2061; Zeeb, a Midianitish prince:— Zeeb.
AV (6)- Zeeb 6; Zeeb ="wolf"
 one of the two princes of Midian mentioned


Lesson 11: come out from under the cloud of darkness and let God cut the head off the thing!
How interesting that these two princes of Midian had names corresponding to: raven-- darkness, and a wolf-- a predator that stalks and devours in the darkness.                              
The entirety of this teaching has emphasized the importance of allowing the flesh to be broken so that the light of God can shine in the midst of the darkness, causing confusion in the enemy's camp, and bringing victory to God's people-- that means you Christian!
The last point emphasizes the same point, but emphasizes it with finality-- remove the head! We must allow God to deal with the root of these issues and allow the cross, that instrument of death, to put these spiritual struggles in the grave.
Whether relationships, addictions, or worldly desires, you must cut your ties to these strongholds. If you allow them to stay alive, they will creep and prowl again, stealthily in the darkness and result in destruction to your walk.