Hello again and welcome to this week’sHomeChurchservice. This week we will look at the process of repentance. Repentance is a much misinterpreted word. Many people today think that to repent is to just be sorry for one’s actions and then you can go on as you were before. Biblical repentance is to turn around and go the other way after reaching a point of remorse. In other words to truly repent we must turn around and go the other way and change the way we are. If you study the book of Judges you will see a monotonous cycle of sin, repentance and blessing from God- it happened again and again. Each time they fell God delivered these people into the hands of their enemy. And each time they repented and came back to righteousness He prospered them.
Let’s break the book down to just one story today and see a particular cycle. Turn with me to Judges 6 and let’s begin in verse 25. God gave Gideon a direct command. There was no vague dialogue or statement made by the Almighty that could have been misinterpreted. There are many who say that certain scriptures are not for today. They want to sin and so they say that certain commands from God don’t relate to us anymore. Or they might say “that’s not what I think it means”.
Friend, let me say that you will always be better off if you ere on the side of caution rather than the side of “I prefer it like this”. For instance, there is a great debate among Christians about whether or not someone can give up salvation and walk back into darkness. I can find equal amounts of scripture to back up eternal security and falling from grace. I can see both sides of the argument. So how do I live? I have the assurance that I am eternally secure but I live as if it could be lost. I could say that Angie and I will be married forever no matter how I act, but if I take her for granted she could prove me wrong.
So this command from God required a direct action from Gideon. The Lord told Gideon to tear down the altars his earthly father had built to pagan deities. Isn’t that a telling tale? God had Gideon start with his family to get them in order. We need to begin with the family just as Gideon did. If families are not going the right way, the church will stray off course, also. If the church is going the wrong way, the community will, also. If the community is headed the wrong way, so is the government. And of course, if the government is directed wrong, the nation is headed for ruin.
So you can see why God requires the family to be dealt with first. Gideon’s family was obviously idol worshipers. He was afraid of what they might do (v27) so he tore down the altars in the night. But we always have to deal with our actions in the daytime. The next day the men of the city were outraged at the altar being torn down. They found out that it was Joash’ son, Gideon. They insisted that he die.
You can never tell how your family will react when you stand for righteousness. Joash could have backed the crowd and his gods. He could have brought Gideon out to have him stoned. Of course, if he had, God would have protected Gideon. It was God’s will forIsraelto be brought back. But, often times we stand against our family members and lose them. Either way, we must obey God rather than men. Jesus said that some would have to forsake family members for His sake but that they would receive theKingdomofHeavenfor their sacrifice (Matt19:29).
So the first step in standing for God is to put your own house in order. Gideon’s father told the crowd that the god Baal could defend himself (v31). I like his statement, “if he be a god”. That tells us that Joash thought twice about what he was doing. Sometimes making people stop and think is enough to shake them into seeking out the right path. Gideon’s actions and obedience produced a harvest of righteousness for the nation. We need to get rid of anything that we are putting more emphasis on than God. Those things are called idols, whether you like to think of them that way or not. God won’t come second in your life to anything or anyone.
The next change that God used Gideon in was for the community. He anointed him to blow a trumpet. This simple sounding act was enough to get everyone’s attention. You see, when your family is in order, the whole town will see it. You must admit, a family that is united for God is a powerful witness. I always notice when a family sits down at a restaurant and prays over their meal. It speaks volumes to the community. What could you say about your family? Does the community seek you out to find out what you believe? Are you “blowing a trumpet” today?
Gideon blew a trumpet and Abiezer immediately came to him. Then the word went out for other leaders to come, and they did. Even with the confirmations from God thatIsraelwould listen, Gideon doubted. He asked for a miracle to reassure him that God was still behind him (v37). Then he asked for the opposite to happen to make real sure (v39).
We sometimes laugh at this act of immaturity but the truth is we’ve all been there. As I polled the members of my family they all said that they had fleeced God. The truth is, if it is our desire to not make a mistake we will walk cautiously. I don’t believe God gets angry with us if we truly are immature. The Word says that Jesus knows our weaknesses and was ordained to defend us in our ignorance (Heb4:15-5:2).
Jesus walked this earth as a man and He knows our weaknesses. He knows that His ways are higher than our ways. He told us so in Isaiah 55:9. The Lord is patient with those who have doubts. But, inevitably He expects us to move ahead in our faith and not need signs.
Gideon took thirty-two thousand men and camped next to the enemy (7:1). God told him that there were too many men and that the number would be reduced so that they wouldn’t think they had done it themselves. Isn’t that a lesson?! God works in the small and the seemingly impossible. So you can’t understand why your situation is so desperate? Do you wonder why God seems to delay until the last minute? He wants the glory!
The Lord told Gideon to send home everyone who was afraid (v3). Twenty-two thousand men went home leaving ten thousand. I can imagine Gideon saying, “That’s alright; ten-thousand is still a lot of men”. The Lord told Gideon that there was still too many. In verse 4, He has the men drink from the water. God had Gideon separate those who bent down to the water and those who cupped the water up to their mouths. With only three-hundred who didn’t bend over God said He would deliverIsrael.
Now, think about the impossibility of three-hundred men overcoming an army that is described as “without number”. With thirty thousand men it would have been incredible. With three-hundred men it would be impossible. God specializes in the impossible! He only requires a little faith. Jesus said we only needed faith as a mustard seed to move mountains. If you are willing, God will use you! Gideon’s three hundred men were faithful in following God’s plan. The Lord had Gideon give the men trumpets, torches and pitchers. The surprise attack was to break the pitchers, exposing the torches. Then they blew the trumpets. The enemy was caught off guard and ran. You see, God knows how to accomplish His will in an efficient manner. He is the God of proficiency. I was once told by a master blacksmith that I could probably do everything that he could. He then told me the difference was that he could do it with much less hammering. God is that way. If we have military leaders who are skilled at battle, we have a God who is better. Do you think you could devise a plan to overcome the enemy? God can do it better!
He knows how to get us back home. Is your family off course today? If you are following the path to prosperity, it is. Are you living for what you can get out of this world? God’s way is the path of contentment whether you have little or much. You might have a vision to minister to the lost. If your family is not in order, you need to start there. I can’t tell you the number of men I’ve seen slip away from God by going into ministry before they had their own house in order.
There is a way that God would have us go. His path is the best path. It isn’t the one that the majority is taking, so don’t follow the crowd. It isn’t the one that makes sense to you, so don’t follow your senses. It isn’t the one that you will understand, so don’t follow your reasoning. It is the supernatural way that leads back home. The map is drawn in this Holy book known as the Bible. You might be like Gideon today. It could be that you’re not quite sure you’re supposed to go a certain way. He said to “taste and see that the Lord is good”. Try God today! You won’t be disappointed.
Prayer-Lord, We don’t always understand Your ways. At times, we’re not sure which way to go. Help us to step out in faith today and trust in You. We believe that you are a patient and loving God and that you know our weaknesses. Help us to be bold in doing Your will today.
In Jesus’ name-Amen
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