Battleground Earth 12: Gideon Final - David Mitts
27 Gideon made it into an ephod, and placed it in his city, Ophrah, and all Israel played the harlot with it there, so that it became a snare to Gideon and his household. (Judges 8:27 (NASB))
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One of the most difficult things to do is live in victory. We shared over the past few chapters how Gideon rose to his calling, put away his father’s idols, and through his faith in God freed Israel from the Midianite oppression. We saw also how God worked an unorthodox miracle to deliver Israel through the blast of the shofar and the shout.
16 He divided the 300 men into three companies, and he put trumpets and empty pitchers into the hands of all of them, with torches inside the pitchers. 17 He said to them, “Look at me and do likewise. And behold, when I come to the outskirts of the camp, do as I do. 18 “When I and all who are with me blow the trumpet, then you also blow the trumpets all around the camp and say, ‘For the LORD and for Gideon.’”
19 So Gideon and the hundred men who were with him came to the outskirts of the camp at the beginning of the middle watch, when they had just posted the watch; and they blew the trumpets and smashed the pitchers that were in their hands. 20 When the three companies blew the trumpets and broke the pitchers, they held the torches in their left hands and the trumpets in their right hands for blowing, and cried, “A sword for the LORD and for Gideon!” 21 Each stood in his place around the camp; and all the army ran, crying out as they fled. 22 When they blew 300 trumpets, the LORD set the sword of one against another even throughout the whole army; and the army fled as far as Beth-shittah toward Zererah, as far as the edge of Abel-meholah, by Tabbath. (Judges 7:16-22 (NASB))
God used terror in the camp of the enemy, and they fled and struck each other dead.
This brought about a military and economic victory. Remember that the Midianites’ primary strategy was economic. They would swarm in and destroy the crops and the livestock. An economic attack, in the days of the book of Judges, was also a spiritual attack. A god was evaluated through provision and military might.
The same is true today. We see the “pandemic” through the eyes of the natural man. Our addiction to science, secular reality, blinds us to the spiritual dimension. What we often miss is the attack on God. Prior to the viral “outbreak” which was primarily a shift in measurement focus, we were experiencing an unprecedented time of economic prosperity and territorial integrity. This was not without warfare as the fires of impeachment and attacks on the president raged throughout the land.
Think back to the actions preceding the “outbreak”. Jerusalem became the location of the embassy of the United States for the first time since the miraculous founding of Israel. This was not only a historic change but also a spiritual breakthrough. By aligning the political, or authority structure of the US with the spiritual, authority structure of Israel, a challenge was issued to the antichrist world system that had been systematically dissolving national autonomies since the 1940s through the United Nations.
In 1947, the UN passed the historic resolution that recommended the division of the land occupied by Great Britain and known since the Roman occupation as Palestine. This division included the creation of an international zone called Jerusalem. This resolution, 181 did not mandate anything. The world was ambivalent about the outcome of the creation of the State of Israel. Israelis took the resolution as sufficient justification to declare the State of Israel.
The Arabs refused and launched a war at Israel, nullifying the resolution. Israel defeated the armies and the state was born by its own actions, NOT by the UN. This is so important because to date the UN has repeatedly condemned Israel. The support of the US has also been inconsistent and manipulative. There certainly have been supportive administrations but the key piece to legitimacy was the acceptance of Jerusalem as the legitimate Israeli capital of an Israeli nation, NOT an international zone run by the UN.
A Song; a Psalm of the sons of Korah. Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised, In the city of our God, His holy mountain. Beautiful in elevation, the joy of the whole earth, Is Mount Zion in the far north, The city of the great King. God, in her palaces, has made Himself known as a stronghold. (Psa. 48:1-3 NASB)
Jerusalem is God’s. It is ultimately, destined to be the capital of the world, not just Israel. It, however, is not called to be a city under the authority of the UN, which is a secular anti-God institution like the Tower of Babel. No! It is called to be a city of God.
And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, (Rev 21:2-3 NASB)
So, like Gideon, we are seeing an economic and spiritual attack of unprecedented proportions released on our world. Chaos, the condition of the Kingdom of Darkness threatens our very existence, as a nation certainly but also as a world. The forces of Chaos are on a rampage because they are seeing God’s prophetic timeline coming closer every day and they know that there will be a day of reckoning coming.
Ok. Let’s go back to Gideon. After Gideon’s total rout of the armies of Midian, he smartly immediately includes the rest of Israel in the process.
23 The men of Israel were summoned from Naphtali and Asher and all Manasseh, and they pursued Midian. (Judges 7:23 (NASB))
Even though the true victory came alone from the Lord, Gideon now wants to be a force of unification for Israel.
24 Gideon sent messengers throughout all the hill country of Ephraim, saying, “Come down against Midian and take the waters before them, as far as Beth-barah and the Jordan.” So all the men of Ephraim were summoned and they took the waters as far as Beth-barah and the Jordan. 25 They captured the two leaders of Midian, Oreb and Zeeb, and they killed Oreb at the rock of Oreb, and they killed Zeeb at the wine press of Zeeb, while they pursued Midian; and they brought the heads of Oreb and Zeeb to Gideon from across the Jordan. (Judges 7:24-25 (NASB))
The Ephraimites, who are rivals of Manasseh, Gideon’s tribe feel slighted that they would not be recognized as part of Israel’s victory. Gideon, seeing through the wounded ego’s gives them the glory for what they have just done:
1 Then the men of Ephraim said to him, “What is this thing you have done to us, not calling us when you went to fight against Midian?” And they contended with him vigorously. 2 But he said to them, “What have I done now in comparison with you? Is not the gleaning of the grapes of Ephraim better than the vintage of Abiezer? 3 “God has given the leaders of Midian, Oreb and Zeeb into your hands; and what was I able to do in comparison with you?” Then their anger toward him subsided when he said that. (Judges 8:1-3 (NASB))
A true leader is inclusive. Gideon is not looking for personal advancement but for the unity that will rebuild Israel. He pursues the captains of Midian and ultimately finds them and kills them. He also brings judgment against those on the east side of the Jordan who refuse to help him.
Next Israel wants to make Gideon a king over them. Gideon wisely refuses and reminds them that God is the only true king of Israel:
22 Then the men of Israel said to Gideon, “Rule over us, both you and your son, also your son's son, for you have delivered us from the hand of Midian.” 23 But Gideon said to them, “I will not rule over you, nor shall my son rule over you; the LORD shall rule over you.” (Judges 8:22-23 (NASB))
He does however build an ephod which is a symbol of the victory. The ephod is the symbol of the priesthood, the garment that a priest wears before the Lord. Gideon has the people each give a gold earring and melts them down to make the ephod.
24 Yet Gideon said to them, “I would request of you, that each of you give me an earring from his spoil.” (For they had gold earrings, because they were Ishmaelites.) 25 They said, “We will surely give them. ” So they spread out a garment, and every one of them threw an earring there from his spoil. 26 The weight of the gold earrings that he requested was 1,700 shekels of gold, besides the crescent ornaments and the pendants and the purple robes which were on the kings of Midian, and besides the neck bands that were on their camels’ necks. 27 Gideon made it into an ephod, and placed it in his city, Ophrah, and all Israel played the harlot with it there, so that it became a snare to Gideon and his household. (Judges 8:24-27 (NASB))
The scripture tells us that Israel played the harlot with the ephod of gold. This is a throwback to the golden calf of the dessert. Anytime we take something of the living God and turn it into a symbol or a religious pattern, we risk playing the harlot with it. What does playing the harlot with it mean? I think it means taking the love of God and making it a physical experience with no heart. God isn’t anti-sex. No! He created it. What He is against is physical acts that are dead in religion. Once Gideon codified the move of God, He turned a living dynamic relationship with the voice of God into a dead memory.
Israel enters into a time of relative peace under Gideon’s judge time:
28 So Midian was subdued before the sons of Israel, and they did not lift up their heads anymore. And the land was undisturbed for forty years in the days of Gideon. (Judges 8:28 (NASB))
Unfortunately, the story doesn’t end there. Israel returns to idolatry.
30 Now Gideon had seventy sons who were his direct descendants, for he had many wives. 31 His concubine who was in Shechem also bore him a son, and he named him Abimelech. 32 And Gideon the son of Joash died at a ripe old age and was buried in the tomb of his father Joash, in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.
33 Then it came about, as soon as Gideon was dead, that the sons of Israel again played the harlot with the Baals, and made Baal-berith their god. 34 Thus the sons of Israel did not remember the LORD their God, who had delivered them from the hands of all their enemies on every side; 35 nor did they show kindness to the household of Jerubbaal (that is, Gideon) in accord with all the good that he had done to Israel. (Judges 8:30-35 (NASB))
Gideon’s son Abimelech kills the rest of Gideon’s 70 children except one, Jotham who escapes.
Jotham rises up and issues a curse against the treacherous Abimelech, who ultimately does fall to an evil end.
55 When the men of Israel saw that Abimelech was dead, each departed to his home. 56 Thus God repaid the wickedness of Abimelech, which he had done to his father in killing his seventy brothers. 57 Also God returned all the wickedness of the men of Shechem on their heads, and the curse of Jotham the son of Jerubbaal came upon them. (Judges 9:55-57 (NASB))
Activation: Healing the division in the land: Ambition can often come from a search for significance and the vulnerability that comes from comparison. This is rooted in an inner emptiness that comes from the spirit of lack. We feel a lack in our soul and try to fill it by comparing ourselves to others. The problem is we always see our inadequacies and other’s strengths. This breeds jealousy and the feelings of hurt that are fueled by lack. Yeshua came to give us the abundant life. This isn’t just about having lots of provision. No. This is about healing the lack in our hearts. How do we allow that to happen? We embrace our uniqueness through gratitude. Gratitude is the attitude of abundance. It profanes lack. Meditate on the blessings in your life. Inquire of the Lord, “who do you say that I am to you?”. Ask Him what is uniquely me and thank him for how He had made you!
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