Gideon Defeats the Midianites

Scripture Passage: 
Judges 6:33-40; Judges 7:1-25

INTRODUCTION: The story of Gideon shows how God can give the victory if we will trust entirely in Him. Gideon fully followed the plan of God, even when it meant doing some things that any observer would think crazy (like cutting his force to less than 1% of his original size). Gideon feared the battle but he did not shirk from his call. Consider how to apply the lessons of Gideon to your own battles.

  1. GIDEON GATHERS AN ARMY (Judges 6:33-35)
    1. The Midianites Come to Battle (Judges 6:33).
      1. They come with allies. [The Devil usually hits us with several things at once.]
      2. They pitch in the valley of Jezreel.
        1. Same as the Plain of Megiddo; a place of battle in Scripture
        2. The pitching of tents means they came to stay for a while.
    2. The Lord Enables Gideon (Judges 6:34-35).
      1. The Spirit comes upon him (Judges 6:34; Judges 3:10; Judges 13:25; Judges 14:19; Judges 15:14; 1 Samuel 11:6). God’s callings are His enablings       (1 Thessalonians 5:24).
      2. He blows a trumpet (Judges 6:34). [There comes a time for God’s people to make their stand known (Numbers 10:9).]
      3. He send messengers throughout the land (Judges 6:35). [We are called to send God’s message out (Haggai 1:13; Romans 10:14-15).]
  2. GIDEON PUTS OUT THE FLEECE (Judges 6:36-40)
    1. The Wet Fleece and the Dry Earth (Judges 6:36-38)
    2. The Dry Fleece and the Wet Earth (Judges 6:39-40)
    3. NOTES
      1. This is the second of three major signs given to Gideon (see Judges 6:17 for the first).
      2. God works with the Jewish people through signs (Exodus 4:8-9, 17, 28; Numbers 14:11; Acts 2:22; 1 Corinthians 1:22).
      3. The putting out of a fleece is not a biblical principle which we are encouraged to follow. It was an Old Testament incident. It teaches the power of God. But it does not establish a sure way of discovering God’s will.
  3. GIDEON DIMINISHES HIS ARMY (Judges 7:1-8)
    1. He Dismisses 22,000 Fearful Men (Judges 7:1-3).
      1. He camps his army across from the Midianites (Judges 7:1).
      2. He applies the test of courage (Judges 7:2-3; Joshua 1:9; 2 Timothy 1:7).
        1. God requires it for His glory (Judges 7:2; 1 Corinthians 1:29-31).
        2. Gideon dismisses the fearful (Judges 7:3).
      3. More than two thirds fail the test (Judges 7:3).
        1. Fear can deny salvation (Revelation 21:8).
        2. Fear can hinder service (Philippians 1:14).
        3. Fear can cause bondage (Hebrews 2:15).
    2. He Dismisses 9,700 Foolish Men (Judges 7:4-6).
      1. Still too many for God’s glory (Judges 7:4; Isaiah 42:8; Jeremiah 9:23-24)
      2. He applies the test of caution or watchfulness (Judges 7:5; 1 Thessalonians 5:6; Romans 13:11; Ephesians 5:14-15; 1 Peter 5:8).
        1. They go to the water to drink.
        2. The test is whether or not they keep a lookout while they drink.
        3. Gideon dismisses the foolish (Proverbs 22:3).
    3. He Continues with 300 Faithful Men (Judges 7:7-8).
      1. This small number pleases the Lord (Judges 7:7; 1 Samuel 14:6).
      2. God promises deliverance by the faithful (Judges 7:7).
      3. The other men are sent home (Judges 7:7-8).
      4. The faithful 300 take their place before Midian (Judges 7:8).
  4. GIDEON HEARS THE MIDIANITE DREAM (Judges 7:9-14)
    1. God Promises Gideon Victory (Judges 7:9).
    2. God Offers Gideon Another Sign (Judges 7:10-11).
      1. If he is fearful [This shows the patience and grace of God in dealing with our fears and lack of faith.]
      2. He is to follow his servant. [If we lack faith, we must at least be humble.]
      3. This is the third sign given to Gideon.
    3. The Armies of the Enemy Fill the Valley (Judges 7:12).
    4. Gideon Hears the Dream of the Midianite Soldier (Judges 7:13-14).
      1. Of a cake of barley bread that overturns the tent of Midian (Judges 7:13)
        1. Barley is the cheapest of the grains used in Bible times; it was the bread of the poor.
        2. Gideon is considered a common man (Judges 6:15).
      2. The cake is interpreted to be the sword of Gideon and the dream prophesies of the defeat of Midian (Judges 7:14).
  5. GIDEON TRAINS HIS ARMY (Judges 7:15-18)
    1. Confidence: Gideon Assures Them of Victory (Judges 7:15).
    2. Organization: Gideon Divides Them into Three Companies (Judges 7:161 Corinthians 14:33, 40).
    3. Provision: Gideon Gives Them Their Necessary Equipment (Judges 7:16).
      1. A trumpet [Compare to the Word of God.]
      2. An empty pitcher [an empty vessel (2 Corinthians 4:7; 2 Timothy 2:21)]
      3. A lamp in each pitcher [Compare to the Holy Spirit in us.]
    4. Preparation: Gideon Trains Them to Follow His Lead (Judges 7:17-182 Timothy 2:2).
      1. Do as I do (Judges 7:17; 1 Corinthians 11:1; Hebrews 13:17).
      2. Blow the trumpets (Judges 7:18).
      3. Say, “The sword of the LORD, and of Gideon” (Judges 7:18).
  6. GIDEON’S ARMY DEFEATS THE MIDIANITES (Judges 7:19-22)
    1. They Approach the Camp at the New Watch (Judges 7:19).
    2. They Do What They Have Been Trained to Do (Judges 7:19-20).
      1. They blow the trumpets.
      2. They brake the pitchers.
      3. They hold the lamps.
      4. They cry, “The sword of the LORD, and of Gideon.”
    3. They Stand Every Man in His Place (Judges 7:21; 1 Corinthians 16:13; Ephesians 6:13).
    4. God Gave a Complete Victory (Judges 7:22).
  7. GIDEON RALLIES THE MEN OF ISRAEL (Judges 7:23-25)
    1. The Men of Israel Pursue the Midianites (Judges 7:23).
    2. The Men of Ephraim Capture Two Princes (Judges 7:24-25).

CONCLUSION: Gideon’s original army was made up of the fearful, the foolish, and the faithful. God sent the fearful and the foolish home and did His work through the faithful. Which group would you be in if the battle were to take place today?

David Reagan and Andrew Ray

Daily Proverb

Proverbs 22:28

Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set.