Power of a changed mind Pt 3
The power to change your crowd
Synopsis of Sermon 10/18/09
Delivered by Bishop Walker III
Text: Judges 7:1-9: 1 So Jerub-baal (that is, Gideon) and his army got up early and went as far as the spring of Harod. The armies of Midian were camped north of them in the valley near the hill of Moreh. 2 The Lord said to Gideon, “You have too many warriors with you. If I let all of you fight the Midianites, the Israelites will boast to me that they saved themselves by their own strength. 3 Therefore, tell the people, ‘Whoever is timid or afraid may leave this mountain[a] and go home.’” So 22,000 of them went home, leaving only 10,000 who were willing to fight. 4 But the Lord told Gideon, “There are still too many! Bring them down to the spring, and I will test them to determine who will go with you and who will not.” 5 When Gideon took his warriors down to the water, the Lord told him, “Divide the men into two groups. In one group put all those who cup water in their hands and lap it up with their tongues like dogs. In the other group put all those who kneel down and drink with their mouths in the stream.” 6 Only 300 of the men drank from their hands. All the others got down on their knees and drank with their mouths in the stream. 7 The Lord told Gideon, “With these 300 men I will rescue you and give you victory over the Midianites. Send all the others home.” 8 So Gideon collected the provisions and rams’ horns of the other warriors and sent them home. But he kept the 300 men with him. The Midianite camp was in the valley just below Gideon. 9 That night the Lord said, “Get up! Go down into the Midianite camp, for I have given you victory over them!
It is important that a believer comes to understand is the significance of strategic relations. The more God does in your life, the more refined and intentional your relationships will need to be. Many of you can testify to the validity of relationships. People come and people go. Some stay longer than others, but people come and go. Depending on the season you are in, it is quite common to see this. We will discover today that there are times in our lives when God speaks to us about our crowds. God is aware that many people have emotional attachments to us and this causes us not to be in a position to be objectionable critiques in a relationship. God will change your crowd. You have to realize that you are not throwing them (your relationships) away. You are simply repositioning them, so you can reach your full potential. You have got to understand the power of having the right people in your life.
In the text, Gideon is in the army. Judges 7:12:12And the Midianites and the Amalekites and all the children of the east lay along in the valley like grasshoppers for multitude; and their camels were without number, as the sand by the sea side for multitude. Judges 6:1 says, 1And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD: and the LORD delivered them into the hand of Midian seven years. Because of the things they did in sight of God, he delivered them to the hands of the Midianites. Most of their possessions were destroyed. After 7 yrs, God spoke to Gideon and told him that he was going to turn things around for them. It is amazing that God has to let us hit rock bottom before we decide to get where we need to be. For some of us, if had not had our crises, we would not be as close to God we are now.
God told Gideon to get his army together, because he was about to start turning things around for him. The Midianites have 135,000 men and Gideon has 32,000 men in his army. Gideon is ready and knows he can get the victory. It is right here, God creates a situation.
I. God creates a situation
1. In verse 1, the enemy was in the valley. Gideon is on the mountain with his army. In verse 2, God says Gideon’s crowd was too big to get the victory. 1 So Jerub-baal (that is, Gideon) and his army got up early and went as far as the spring of Harod. The armies of Midian were camped north of them in the valley near the hill of Moreh. 2 The Lord said to Gideon, “You have too many warriors with you. If I let all of you fight the Midianites, the Israelites will boast to me that they saved themselves by their own strength. – If God had a let them get the victory with the amount of people that they had, they would have thought the victory was due to them and not God. Gideon was prepared with his own plan, but God had another plan. Some of us have our own plan just like this, but God comes in and snatches the plan and says he has something else he wants to do. Have you been there? God says his ways are not your ways. Lean not to your own understanding. God says Gideon has too many members in his army. In other words Gideon has a crowd control problem.
2. God tries to address the pride issue. Whenever God creates a situation, he is trying to challenge your:
a. Expertise: God needs you to understand that if you don’t declare your deficiencies, you will not experience his suffienties. Anybody ever been here before? Job had position, prestige, and prosperity, but God had a plan in store for him. God took everything from Job. It was so bad; Job declared he would not make it unless God got him through it. David said the Lord is my light and my salvation. We have to realize that we can’t make it unless God takes care of us. The disciples were in a storm and they realized they could not get through the storm on their own. They realized who was on the ship with them. They knew they wouldn’t get through the storm until Jesus declared peace over the situation.
b. Ego: God is also challenging your ego. If you were able to get your own self out of your dilemma, your nose will be so high, you would drown. God has to humble you. This way you know it was nobody but God that brought you through.
c. Expectations: God is about to redefine your expectations. It may be happening this way or that way, but God said if you turn it over to him, you will see that it has an expected in. Man’s extremity is Gods opportunity. Just check God’s record. Just ask the children of Israel at the Red Sea or just ask Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego or ask Daniel who was in the Lion’s Den or even Paul and Silas who sang hymns at midnight. When we take it out of our hands and put it in God’s hands we will see God can do it. When we think we got it figured out, God will create a situation where he will execute his own plan.
II. God causes your crowd to shift
1. This reveals how God takes us through a series of tests and observations to give us a revelation we would have never had. Afterwards, we will look back and thank God for the experience.
2. You will not know your crowd until you experience your crisis. God says let’s do some evaluations. Judges 7:3: Therefore, tell the people, ‘Whoever is timid or afraid may leave this mountain[a] and go home.’” So 22,000 of them went home, leaving only 10,000 who were willing to fight.-God says in this scripture, if you are scared, you can leave now. Everyone looked like they were ready for battle, yet some were scared. God says he has come to show you who is real in your crowd. Some people may look like they are with, but they really are not. After God thinned Gideon’s crowd, there were only about 22,000 people left simply because the others were scared. Ex-2 men came into a church with trench coats. They said everyone that wants to die for the Lord, stay seated. Everybody else can leave. Afterwards, only 2 people were left inside the church. It was at this point, the men in the trench coats said to the Pastor, “Now that the hypocrites are gone, you can preach”.
3. There are people that:
a. Distort –They distort reality. They are driven by fear.
b. Discourage-they infect people around them. They infect people with their negative attitudes and beliefs.
c. Demise-They affect your demise. They are always scary when it comes to operating in vision.
4. Gideon says he can work a new plan after God down sizes his army. God says, hold up in verse 4. God was not done. God informs Gideon that he still had too many people in his army. Judges 7:4: 4 But the Lord told Gideon, “There are still too many! Bring them down to the spring, and I will test them to determine who will go with you and who will not.” – God says bring the 10000 to t he water and let go of the people he would show him to let go of. In verse 5, God said every one that drinks like a dog, sit them to the side. 300 lapped like a dog. 10 000 went to water. Judges 7:5-10: 5 When Gideon took his warriors down to the water, the Lord told him, “Divide the men into two groups. In one group put all those who cup water in their hands and lap it up with their tongues like dogs. In the other group put all those who kneel down and drink with their mouths in the stream.” 6 Only 300 of the men drank from their hands. All the others got down on their knees and drank with their mouths in the stream. 7 The Lord told Gideon, “With these 300 men I will rescue you and give you victory over the Midianites. Send all the others home.” 8 So Gideon collected the provisions and rams’ horns of the other warriors and sent them home. But he kept the 300 men with him. – One crowd went and lay down and just drank like dogs. Another crowd went on one knee and put the water in their hands. God told Gideon to keep the ones that cupped water in hands. The ones that lapped like dogs, God told Gideon to get rid of. To really understand this, you have to know that soldiers pet their swords in their right holster and their shield in left hand. To lie down and put head in water and lap like dogs, you had to take your sword off and lay your shield down.
5. People like this are:
a. Self centered-they think about only themselves.
b. Slackers- they are so absorbed with themselves, they could get others killed. You need some:
6. We need Solid people. These people are people that are on their knees still with sword and the shield on at all times. There are 300 left now at this point of the text. 12 min ago, they had 12,000 soldiers, and now they have 300. The Midianites have 135, 000. Gideon has 300, but God commands you to succeed
III. God commands you to succeed
1. This speaks to our insecurities. The Lord said to Gideon, by the 300 left, he would see them through (verse 7). In verse 8, God didn’t want to see Gideon mess up something. In verse 9, God says he delivered them, even though they have not started the battle. Judges 7:7-9: 7 The Lord told Gideon, “With these 300 men I will rescue you and give you victory over the Midianites. Send all the others home.” 8 So Gideon collected the provisions and rams’ horns of the other warriors and sent them home. But he kept the 300 men with him. The Midianite camp was in the valley just below Gideon. 9 That night the Lord said, “Get up! Go down into the Midianite camp, for I have given you victory over them! – God says to Gideon that he has already done this. God had already given him the victory, before the battle would even be fought. God sent an angel to speak to Gideon in Judges 6:12. The angel told Gideon that he would get the victory. Judges 6:12:12 The angel of the Lord appeared to him and said, “Mighty hero, the Lord is with you!”- Obedience is better than sacrifice. No matter what it looks like, it is is about obedience.
2. How do 300 people get the victory over 135,000? If you look at Judges 7:15, you see they have 300 men going off to war blasting trumpets.. God says we are getting ready to go into battle because he is going to give them the victory. Judges 7:15: 15 When Gideon heard the dream and its interpretation, he bowed in worship before the Lord.[a] Then he returned to the Israelite camp and shouted, “Get up! For the Lord has given you victory over the Midianite hordes!” There is one problem though. Where is the enemy?. The enemy is already beneath them in the valley.
3. Verse 20 says blow your trumpet. Judges 7:20: 20 Then all three groups blew their horns and broke their jars. They held the blazing torches in their left hands and the horns in their right hands, and they all shouted, “A sword for the Lord and for Gideon!” – The blowing of the trumpet represents the commencement of warfare or a shifting of a season. It represented a spirit of confrontation and a shifting in governing power. The blow of a trumpet represents that a new dominion is about to take over. It is not just that one person blew their trumpet. All 300 people blew their trumpets. This says they all come to declare war. The kingdom of God suffers violence, but the violent takes it by force. When we declare war, we blow our trumpet. Your trumpet is your praise.
4. The children of Israel had empty pitchers. They had lamps in the pitchers.
a. They broke their pitchers (or jars). The pitchers represent survival. Things like water were carried in their pitchers for survival. If God told you break your pitcher he will not break his promise. Lamps were also carried inside the pitchers. The lamps represent light. The enemy had them in darkness. Darkness represents ignorance and separation from God. God has to break you so that your light will shine.
b. Wave your lamps. Know that we are coming out of this dark place.
c. Speak about your sword. The sword in scripture represents the word of God. When you are going into battle, blow your trumpet of praise, break your picture and let your light shine, and open up your mouth and speak your sword. Let the devil know that by God’s stripes you are healed. They said this is Gods sword.
Judges 7:21:21 Each man stood at his position around the camp and watched as all the Midianites rushed around in a panic, shouting as they ran to escape. – Just stand. They ran, because they were not scared. Stand still and let the lord fight your battles