Judges Chapters 7-8 tell us of Gideon and the assembling, or rather disassembling, of His army, which was then put together according to God’s Guidelines.
The result was totally amazing warfare waged, and victory won, because Gideon’s Army, in essence, BECAME the Lord’s Army!!
Today I was considering the question above that seemed to pop into my mind:
Will the Lord’s Army of these end times be AS Gideon’s Army of old?
I reasoned as I read the passage…
“This is what happened concerning Gideon’s Army. Perhaps it is, or will be, this way with the Lord’s Army during these end times.”
“If we can recognize what God is doing, then we can adjust ourselves, as to what we think or do or focus on, accordingly.”
The Holy Spirit instructed me years ago saying, “Ask not, Is My agenda God’s…Ask, Is God’s Agenda Mine?” and I realized then that God desires the transforming of our minds and a conforming of our ways, so He can have us “do life” centered on His perspective and not our own. This is why we are given the Word and the Spirit. To acquire a new paradigm, so we can BECOME the LORD’S ARMY!!
So let’s begin:
What was Gideon’s Army like?
To his amazement, God considered that Gideon had “too many” men, yet his original numbers were way lower than the opposing forces to begin with. So, if God’s end-time army will be as Gideon’s army, then it really has nothing to do with “how many” believers are left to be in God’s hands. God’s not about numbers!! He is about the ones “He can trust”, though they may be few. Even if his modern churches are crowded with people, there may only be a few that will be able to meet these “qualifiers” that Gideon’s army had to meet:
First, those men AFRAID to face the enemy – were let go. The men themselves were told, if you’re afraid, you can leave. And they did. Each one of us must determine our own level of faith versus fear. I remember in my younger years when I was stumbling into sin fairly often, even as a believer, God told me this: “Beth, you have more faith in the Enemy to take you down, than in Me to keep you and build you up!” I realized that loving rebuke was right-on, and so I changed my mind’s thinking, and the Spirit began to show me the areas in my life controlled by that former paradigm . This FEAR can be experienced in the natural against men, or in the supernatural against the unseen realms of darkness. But Fear is essentially a Lack of Faith in God’s Ability, and a Faith in Satan’s Ability…and an Inability to Take a Stand, be it with God or with Satan. Choosing Faith in God really does take fear away, but these men chose to stay with Fear, but not so much so that they sided with the Enemy. They simply saw the odds of losing their lives was too great, and wanted out when given the opportunity.
Then, Those NOT ALERT to the enemy – were let go. A test was given to determine this, having to do with how they drank their water, whether lapping with their hands so their eyes could peer upward to keep alert to danger, or whether they laid down their weapons and put their face right into the water to lap it up. The ones NOT ALERT, failed the test, and were let go. God did not want them in Gideon’s army! Nor will He likely want people who are unaware to the enemy’s presence, in His army Today! Turning a blind eye, will disqualify.
The army’s leader, Gideon, LISTENED and DID EXACTLY AS HE WAS INSTRUCTED! (Leadership needs to be hearing and obeying God, in order to lead the people under them! Amen?!) We have a Captain of the Hosts too, who leads us daily, and his name is Jesus Christ. He takes and leads us with what he hears from Father God just as Gideon led his men. And the Holy Spirit takes the orders He gives us straight to us, the men and women of His Army! He uses the Word of God, which is referred to as the Sword of the Spirit.
To Gideon and to the small number of men that were left God said, “Surely I Will Be With You.” He says this to all who are in His Army today too. We are “never abandoned” “left alone” or “forsaken”. His promise remains with us as it was with Gideon.
The men remaining in the army LISTENED to their leader, Gideon, and DID EXACTLY AS THEY WERE INSTRUCTED even though their orders may have sounded as “foolishness” to them. We too, will hear instructions come our way, that may not make sense to our finite minds, but we must realize who our Leader is. He is chosen of God. Annointed. More than able to lead us. He, Jesus, already “proved” that he listened and did exactly as He was instructed. Now will we?
A “divine strategy” WAS given. The army of Gideon’s was not left to depend on themselves or their own own numbers, their own wisdom, or their own strength. They were led by God and told exactly how to overthrow their enemies. So too, we who remain in God’s army, have a “KNOWING” (a total awareness) that what’s coming down is NOT of US, but of God. Not originated with us, nor played out totally by us, but that we have a part, that requires trust and obedience to THAT PLAN when its made known to us. God is a strategist every minute of every day, if only we would heed our orders, following those promptings of the Spirit, obeying what we know to be the Will of God, seeking His Ways within His Word.
Unusual warfare was fought! Gideon’s army actually surrounded the enemy-blowing trumpets-breaking pitchers with torches lit- shouting loudly, so this indeed was not your typical warfare! It was ingeniously master-minded! God knows how to use his army! But afterward, when we read of it, we think “wow” that was so smart! They thought they were surrounded by huge numbers! Their enemies were put into confusion by the unusual noise and light! Believers, if we’d only realize that if we all start shining our lights and making noise unto the Lord in way of testimonies and sharing and helping and loving on each other, the enemy will go bonkers! We can really cause them to go into hysterics when they realize they are surrounded and unable to go forward in their evil way. If they can’t turn their frustration on us, they’ll turn it onto each other.
As they obeyed this unusual instruction, they shouted and declared: “The Sword of the Lord and of Gideon!” This was repeated in the chapter, as if for emphasis… and I wonder if God is indeed saying to us in modern day, from even this simple declaration, that His Sword today is the same Sword Gideon operated in in days of old. The sword stands for the real truth in my eyes… being on the “right side”…the side that GOD is on! It will penetrate through the enemy lines with ease. Nothing can stand in its way.
Now note this: It says that Every man STOOD in His Place, whilst they just did what they were told…while the Enemy’s Camp became hysterical and panicked! Interestingly, a passage in the New Testament, Ephesians 6:13, says, “Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” I can’t help but see that this is exactly what Gideon and his army did. They did what they were told and they STOOD, each in his own place! And they watched God fight the battle “for them”… yet they actively participated… so, in essence, God fought “with them”.
The Result? The Enemy, which was of a great number, began to destroy one another, for confusion came upon their camp! They turned on one another!
Oh wow, I love that! They got so frightened by God’s army taking a stand, letting their lights shine, and letting the trumpet sound be heard, declaring the words about the Sword of the Lord, and they simply didn’t know who they were “taking out”, as in destroying. It ended up it was their own men! They destroyed themselves.
When Gideon and his army’s victory was become known and they were crossed over the Jordan, while yet still in pursuit, other rulers were asked to feed Gideon’s army and they defiantly refused, and Gideon destroyed their defiant leaders as “enemies” as well. It tells us they were Ishmaelites. (Yes, as in modern day ISIS-Islam). Their leaders’ words to Gideon, “Rise yourself and kill us, for as a man is, so is his strength.” Well, Gideon did kill them, for they only looked at men As men, and didn’t see it was God who gave Gideon all ability. Just as Gideon took out these “leaders” for their defiance, so The Lord can easily “take out” the leaders of ISIS and other evil armies that would be anti-Christ as their root nature. They challenge God, as these leaders challenged Gideon? They’d better begin to tremble!! But they won’t (tremble) for they have the same mindset as these men of Judges 8. Yet Gideon’s men knew what was coming down, and knew the danger their open and direct defiance put them in. The End Time battle is about good versus evil, not a person automatically your enemy because of the color of his skin or where he is from.
In fact, when I think of the atrocities our enemies, the Islam extremists, ISIS, Taliban, etc. have done, which are becoming so Vile and Violent, so great and widespread, I believe that the people of their own Islamic faith will begin open their eyes to their false God and beliefs and put their eyes onto Jesus! They will recognize the dichotomy and be given the grace to make the choice for Jesus! I’m praying for the Light of the World to shine upon them! That Jesus would reveal himself to people of all faiths that are not acknowledging Him as the Christ, the Son of the Living God. Why would people continue to serve a God that takes life from them, when they can serve a God that gives life TO them! Why would they choose bloodshed and hatred, over love and peace? God’s Army, following God’s Divine Strategy, remains on the winning side! Many may even be joining our ranks, while their brothers are killing one another in confusion!
Well, In the end, Gideon took no glory or rank, but declared to Israel: “I will not rule over you, nor shall my son rule over you: THE LORD SHALL RULE OVER YOU!!”
All of this….warfare…in the spiritual realms and in the natural realms, comes to an END. And we in the Lord’s Army know that end! Jesus, Our Leader, will reign… and ultimately will turn over the Kingdom of God, and God will be all in all !
I Corinthians 15:24-28 Then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be abolished is death. For He has put all things in subjection under His Feet. But when He says, “All things are put in subjection,” it is evident that He is excepted who put all things in subjection to Him. When all things are subjected to Him, then the Son Himself also will be subjected to the One who subjected all things to Him, so that God may be all in all.”
But now for a final, sobering observation—-after reading to the end of Judges 8.
Note, though their enemy was quieted, a stumbling block was created, by taking the plunder from the Ishmaelites…their golden earrings…which was made into a ephod…hung in the city of Ophrah, which caused all Israel to play the harlot, and it became a snare to Gideon. What place did God hold in their hearts as to the “glory given”? Evidently not too much! Victories of the past were not regarded as God’s but Gideon’s maybe…and not sure really how harlotry played out, but harlotry meant they weren’t loyal to God. Nor actually, to Gideon. And we see this horrible insight:
Near the end of Judges 8, it says when Gideon died, the children of Israel again played the harlot with the Baals, and did not remember the Lord their God, who delivered them from their enemies on every side, nor did they show kindness to the house of Gideon in accordance to the good he had done for Israel.
The people both ignored God, who had delivered them, and forsook their leader, who had led them and fought in their behalf.
IS THE LORD’S ARMY doing this TODAY? Are we holding God in our hearts and giving Him the Glory, for everything?
Are you drawing any parallels to modern-day events? Do we not even have plans to reconstruct Baal’s temple right in New York. God did so much for the USA, we were small but God fought with us for our independence. Then we erected glory unto ourselves, and now we have forgot God. The next step, returning to Baal?
I don’t know about you, but I’m choosing to be part of God’s Army, RIGHT NOW, Today! Not a part of those who turn away and forget who God is… Or who, when in victory, believe we’ve overcome all the obstacles along life’s way ourselves. But we can confidently do our part… Taking Our Stand for truth, and righteousness, and exalting Christ our Lord.
As we take our stand, remember the size of our army to the enemies armies may look small… But We Have the One True God! And it is our Heart That God looks at. He can wage war with us. And, He is also Captain of the Hosts, and commands angels to fight in our behalf! Hallelujah!
So to capsulate these truths, let me just say this:
- Wow! I’m getting excited!! I’m Seeing God’s Agenda, not mine!
- I want to be as one in Gideon’s Army!!! or should I say “The LORD’S ARMY”
- No Fear!
- Doing Exactly as I am Instructed! (Whether it makes sense to me or not)
- Standing in my Own Place
- Seeing the Lord fight the Battle, of which I’ve done my part by cooperating with known strategy.
- Pursuing the enemy until he is destroyed
- AND Giving God all the Glory! Not setting up monuments onto ourselves and taking credit for our own victories, but realizing God is all in all !
- Are YOU centered on Him and giving Him the honor due His Name?
Let’s Fight the Good Fight of Faith!
Let’s Wield “The Sword of the Lord and of Gideon!”
…. written by Beth Ann Smith, April 8, 2016
Please check out the Archived Articles tab above to check out many other articles Beth has written, and feel free to visit her music website http://www.handmaidenmusic.com where you will find discipleship songs and peaceful instrumentals. All these helps were created to aid you spiritually in your own personal walk with the Jesus Christ.