Today I want to give you a recipe for victory, as found in Scripture, so you can be victorious in whatever situation you find yourself in. This is not meant to be an exhaustive presentation on every victory listed in the Bible – this is the story of Gideon and I believe it is the Word of the Lord to you. Do not misuse it. Handle it carefully. Apply it with maturity.
Additionally, let me say that there are battles that we have no business fighting. They belong exclusively to the Lord and many people find themselves in trouble fighting these fights. Throughout the scriptures God’s people were under attack and there were times when God did everything. Israel just had to sit back and watch but in the majority of battles, although they were won because of God, nevertheless required a great level of personal participation. So, you may have to do something and your attitude should always be Christlike!
Having said all that, let’s dive into this recipe for victory. Let’s take a look at the story of Gideon found in the Book of Judges.
The Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord, and for seven years He gave them into the hands of the Midianites. Because the power of Midian was so oppressive, the Israelites prepared shelters for themselves in mountain clefts, caves and strongholds. Whenever the Israelites planted their crops, the Midianites, Amalekites and other eastern peoples invaded the country. They camped on the land and ruined the crops all the way to Gaza and did not spare a living thing for Israel, neither sheep nor cattle nor donkeys. They came up with their livestock and their tents like swarms of locusts. It was impossible to count them or their camels; they invaded the land to ravage it. Midian so impoverished the Israelites that they cried out to the Lord for help. (Judges 6:1-6)
1. The first thing to do is cry out to God
Like Israel, you are under attack:
The situation is:
• At breaking point.
Cry out to God my friend. He is waiting on you.
2. Disobedience is a key to disaster. Obedience is essential to victory
When the Israelites cried out to the Lord because of Midian, He sent them a prophet, who said, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: I brought you up out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. I rescued you from the hand of the Egyptians. And I delivered you from the hand of all your oppressors; I drove them out before you and gave you their land. I said to you, ‘I am the Lord your God; do not worship the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you live.’ But you have not listened to Me.” (Judges 6:7-10)
3. Do not let your qualifications/fear hinder you.
• It’s all Him and not you;
• If God is for you who can be against you;
• Paul said, “In my weakness He is strong.”; and
• Go in the strength you have.
The angel of the Lord came and sat down under the oak in Ophrah that belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, where his son Gideon was threshing wheat in a winepress to keep it from the Midianites. When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.” The Lord turned to him and said, “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?” “Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.” The Lord answered, “I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites, leaving none alive.” (Judges 6:11-13)
4. Bring an offering to the Lord
Gideon replied, “If now I have found favor in your eyes, give me a sign that it is really you talking to me. please do not go away until I come back and bring my offering and set it before you.” And the Lord said, “I will wait until you return.” (Judges 6:17-18)
Gideon began with an offering. I would suggest you do the same. Gideon actually gave an offering but then the Lord told him to bring an even more significant one. The seven year old bull.
5. Remove / tear down / eliminate any obstacle or sin between you and God
That same night the Lord said to him, “Take the second bull from your father’s herd, the one seven years old. Tear down your father’s altar to Baal and cut down the Asherah pole beside it. Then build a proper kind of altar to the Lord your God on the top of this height. Using the wood of the Asherah pole that you cut down, offer the second bull as a burnt offering.” So Gideon took ten of his servants and did as the Lord told him. But because he was afraid of his family and the townspeople, he did it at night rather than in the daytime. (Judges 6:25-27)
• What is it in your life that needs to be torn down?
• You can do it in private.
• His own family was part of the problem.
6. Expect opposition
The people of the town demanded of Joash, “Bring out your son. He must die, because he has broken down Baal’s altar and cut down the Asherah pole beside it.” (Judges 6:30)
• Opposition came from the very people God was about save. It came from his own friends, coworkers, etc.
• Friend, expect opposition but do not let it deter you. Unfortunately, it may come from the very one you are hoping would encourage you.
7. Things will probably look worse before they get better.
Now all the Midianites, Amalekites and other eastern peoples joined forces and crossed over the Jordan and camped in the Valley of Jezebel. (Judges 6:33)
8. Ask God for a sign
Gideon said to God, “If you will save Israel by my hand as you have promised—look, I will place a wool fleece on the threshing floor. If there is dew only on the fleece and all the ground is dry, then I will know that you will save Israel by my hand, as you said.” And that is what happened. Gideon rose early the next day; he squeezed the fleece and wrung out the dew—a bowlful of water. Then Gideon said to God, “Do not be angry with me. Let me make just one more request. Allow me one more test with the fleece, but this time make the fleece dry and let the ground be covered with dew.” That night God did so. Only the fleece was dry; all the ground was covered with dew. (Judges 6:36-40)
• Gideon is having his doubts. Don’t worry friend if you start to doubt along the way. God once again was patient to Gideon and allowed him the two signs. God wants you to be confident in Him.
• By the way this is where we get the term “a fleece before God”
9. Less is more
The Lord said to Gideon, “You have too many men. I cannot deliver Midian into their hands, or Israel would boast against Me, My own strength has saved Me.” (Judges 7: 2)
• Started with 32000;
• 22,000 went home in fear;
• 10,000 left;
• 9700 sent home (drinking water test); and
• 300 were left.
• What started out as an army of 32,000 ended up with 300. “Not by might, not by power but by My spirit,” says the Lord. You do not need an army, friend, God will lead you to victory.
10. Expect God to encourage you
Now the camp of Midian lay below him in the valley. During that night the Lord said to Gideon, “Get up, go down against the camp, because I am going to give it into your hands. If you are afraid to attack, go down to the camp with your servant Purdah and listen to what they are saying. Afterward, you will be encouraged to attack the camp’.” (Judges 7: 2)
• Note – Gideon did not ask for encouragement but nevertheless God wanted to build his faith and encourage him. Same with you friend. God wants you to know that He will encourage you along the way.
So, he and Purah his servant went down to the outposts of the camp. The Midianites, the Amalekites and all the other eastern peoples had settled in the valley, thick as locusts. Their camels could no more be counted than the sand on the seashore. Gideon arrived just as a man was telling a friend his dream. “I had a dream,” he was saying. “A round loaf of barley bread came tumbling into the Midianite camp. It struck the tent with such force that the tent overturned and collapsed.” His friend responded, “This can be nothing other than the sword of Gideon son of Joash, the Israelite. God has given the Midianites and the whole camp into his hands.” (Judges 7: 9-11)
• God is going to encourage you sir. God is going to encourage you mam.
11. Do not quit until total victory – the battle is won in stages
Gideon and the hundred men with him reached the edge of the camp at the beginning of the middle watch, just after they had changed the guard. They blew their trumpets and broke the jars that were in their hands. The three companies blew the trumpets and smashed the jars. Grasping the torches in their left hands and holding in their right hands the trumpets they were to blow, they shouted, “A sword for the Lord and for Gideon!” While each man held his position around the camp, all the Midianites ran, crying out as they fled. Gideon and his three hundred men, exhausted yet keeping up the pursuit, came to the Jordan and crossed it. He said to the men of Sukkoth, “Give my troops some bread; they are worn out, and I am still pursuing Zebah and Zalmunna, the kings of Midian. “But the officials of Sukkoth said, “Do you already have the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna in your possession? Why should we give bread to your troops?” Now Zebah and Zalmunna were in Karkor with a force of about fifteen thousand men, all that were left of the armies of the eastern peoples; a hundred and twenty thousand swordsmen had fallen. Gideon went up by the route of the nomads east of Nobah and Jogbehah and attacked the unsuspecting army. Zebah and Zalmunna, the two kings of Midian, fled, but he pursued them and captured them, routing their entire army.”
• 300 against 120,000 miracle victory
• But it took time, energy, exhaustion
12. Expect more opposition as you are near the final victory
Gideon and his three hundred men, exhausted yet keeping up the pursuit, came to the Jordan and crossed it. He said to the men of Sukkoth, “Give my troops some bread; they are worn out, and I am still pursuing Zebah and Zalmunna, the kings of Midian. “But the officials of Sukkoth said, “Do you already have the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna in your possession? Why should we give bread to your troops?” (Judges 8: 4-6)
• A miracle is taking place, the victory is in progress yet Gideon still has opposition from his own people. This is a warning to you my friend. Don’t let the nay-sayers stop or discourage you from finishing the job.
Finally, Beware the snare
• A trap designed to cause you to backslide after the victory;
• The temptation to give your love and worship to another; and
• The lure to pull your focus away from God.
“The Israelites said to Gideon, ‘Rule over us—you, your son and your grandson—because you have saved us from the hand of Midian.’ But Gideon told them, ‘I will not rule over you, nor will my son rule over you. The Lord will rule over you.’ And he said, ‘I do have one request, that each of you give me an earring from your share of the plunder.’ (It was the custom of the Ishmaelites to wear gold earrings.) They answered, ‘We’ll be glad to give them.’ So they spread out a garment, and each of them threw a ring from his plunder onto it. The weight of the gold rings he asked for came to seventeen hundred shekels, not counting the ornaments, the pendants and the purple garments worn by the kings of Midian or the chains that were on their camels’ necks. Gideon made the gold into an ephod, which he placed in Ophrah, his town. All Israel prostituted themselves by worshiping it there, and it became a snare to Gideon and his family.” (Judges 8: 22-27)
• Note- Gideon’s success became a snare not only to him but to his family. An Ephod was an artifact/object to be revered. Friends, please learn from Gideon’s mistake and keep your eyes on Jesus the author and finisher of your faith.
• Gideon had good intentions. But he had the wrong application
In closing – enjoy the victory – Gideon’s enemy never raised it’s head again!
“Thus Midian was subdued before the Israelites and did not raise its head again. During Gideon’s lifetime, the land had peace forty years.” (Judges 8: 28)
Can somebody say Hallelujah!
- The first thing to do is cry out to God;
- Disobedience is a key to disaster;
- Obedience is essential to victory;
- Do not let your qualifications / abilities / fear hinder you;
- Bring an offering to the Lord;
- Remove / tear down / eliminate any obstacle or sin between you and God;
- Expect opposition;
- Things will look worse before they get better;
- God will give you a sign of “I am with you” (fleece);
- Less is more;
- God will encourage you;
- The battle is won in stages. Do not quit until total victory;
- Expect more opposition as you are nearing final victory;
- Beware the snare; and
- Enjoy the victory.