Do you ever get the feeling that something is missing? That life has become routine, mundane, and monotonous? That there is something you should be becoming or something you should be doing and that time is passing you by? In this “Made for More” series we are going to be talking about the “more” that Christ has redeemed us for. Yes, He redeemed us in order that we might enjoy eternal life with Him in heaven, but He also has a plan for our now. There is “more” to experience now. There is “more” to become right now. Before we jump into our text in Judges 6, let’s stand and read our passage of the month that we are memorizing together:
Galatians 2:20 (NIV) 20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
I encourage you to open your Bibles to Judges chapter 6 where we read about how God’s people, the Israelites, were being invaded and oppressed by another people group called the Midianites. Whenever the Israelites would plant their crops, when it would become harvest time, the Midianites, along with some of their friends, would come and invade the Israelite country and would destroy their crops and kill their livestock. They would decimate and impoverish the Israelites through their savage and cruel invasions.
The Israelites cried out to God for help, and when they did, God sent a prophet to explain to them why they were going through what they were experiencing. They had forgotten God. They had begun worshipping pagan gods. They had quit following and obeying the Lord. By allowing the Midianites to invade their country, God was trying to get their attention. It worked. We pick up the story in verse 11:
11 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. 12 When the angel of the LORD appeared to Gideon, he said, “The LORD is with you, mighty warrior.” 13 “But sir,” Gideon replied, “if the LORD is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our fathers told us about when they said, ‘Did not the LORD bring us up out of Egypt?’ But now the LORD has abandoned us and put us into the hand of Midian.” 14 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?” 15 “But Lord,” Gideon asked, “how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.” 16 The LORD answered, “I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites together.”
So, it is harvest time and Gideon is threshing his wheat in a winepress in hiding and is trying to thresh a little bit of wheat. He is hiding his wheat and his threshing operation so that the Midianites don’t take what little he had been able to secure. So, it is harvest time and Gideon is hiding. He was made for more than that. Tell your name, “You were made to harvest.” You were made to have dominion and to enjoy the fruit of your labor. What you plant you are supposed to reap. You weren’t made to have some enemy come in and steal from you and limit what you have spent time to produce. You were made for more!
- You were made to harvest!
Who was this enemy? Who were the Midianites? They were actually the cousins of the Israelites. When Abraham’s wife, Sarah, passed away, he married a lady named Keturah and she gave birth to Midian. His descendants obviously chose a different path from the path of the Israelites and even though they were related, even though they were family, they came against their cousins violently.
Listen, sometimes it is people who are closest to us that can oppress us and try to keep us from the more that we were created for. The Midianites weren’t the only people keeping Gideon down. His father, his own family, had turned their backs on God as we will see in a moment. It is tough to search out your God-given destiny when it isn’t being encouraged, when you aren’t being taught to rely on God, when you aren’t being instructed in the Scriptures and in how to pray, but hear me this morning, God has more for you. Even if you are the only Christian, the only Christ-seeker in your family, you can find the more you are looking for in Jesus. Keep holding His hand. Keep walking forward in faith because you were made for more.
Maybe it is a relationship that has become oppressive in your life. Maybe someone has started to poke holes in your faith or discourage you from coming to church or reading your Bible or listening to your Christian music. Maybe there is pressure to please people and to not appear to be such a “holy roller.” Maybe someone is discouraging you from following God all the way. Maybe the reason you won’t give your life to Christ is because of what someone else has said to you or is because of how you think someone else will treat you if you do. Don’t let anyone steal your harvest. Don’t let anyone steal your joy. Don’t let anyone impoverish your faith. Don’t go into hiding and live below your God-given potential and destiny because you were made for more!
Anyway, when the angel of God appeared to Gideon where he was hiding out in fear he called him something other than he was. In verse 12 he called him a “Mighty Warrior.” I’m guessing Gideon heard the “Mighty Warrior” comment and started looking around in the cave to see who else might be standing behind him because he sure didn’t feel like a mighty warrior or a mighty anything. Gideon told God he couldn’t help deliver the Israelites because he was born into a weak family. He said his family was the weakest in their tribe, and that he was the weakest in his family. Double whammies.
But God wasn’t having any of that. He didn’t even discuss that point with Gideon. He simply responded back to him in verse 16 with “I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites together.” He basically was telling Gideon, “You weren’t made to cower. You were made to conquer!” If you are cowering today, if you are hiding out today, if you are doubting your ability, your value, or your worth today, listen up, you were made for more! You were not made to simply exist and to just get by.
- You were made to conquer!
Well, the main reason the Israelites were in the mess they were in, the reason God was allowing the Midianites to attack them was because they had gotten away from their relationship with God and had begun worshipping false gods. De we realize that when our relationship with God goes haywire, when we start to run after idols and false gods, that it has a destructive domino effect in our lives? Our relationship with God is the central thing, it is the main pursuit of our lives if we expect any other pieces to fall into place. I’m not saying that life with Christ at the center is always easy, but I will tell you that if He isn’t at the center, I guarantee you will have trouble and lots of it.
So, Gideon goes and fixes an offering up to God because he wants to somehow confirm through the offering process that it is really God telling him to go and fight the Midianites. and through the offering process, God offered peace to Gideon. Look at verses 23-24: Judges 6:23-2423 But the LORD said to him, “Peace! Do not be afraid. You are not going to die.” 24 So Gideon built an altar to the LORD there and called it The LORD is Peace.
I don’t see the offering Gideon prepared as worship, but more of a tactic to get God to prove He was really God. However, after God confirmed himself to Gideon and offered Gideon peace, Gideon worshipped God. That didn’t mean that all was settled, however. That didn’t mean that everything was cool. Gideon was made to worship, but he wasn’t made to worship multiple gods. How many of you know this morning that sometimes “less is more?” Gideon was made for more than the perverse, wicked and idolatrous pagan gods his family had come to worship. He couldn’t mix worshipping them with worshipping God and live to be a conqueror. No! Before he would go into battle, he would settle just who he was going to worship.
You see, like Gideon,
- You were made to worship the one, true and Living God!
We will only go on to conquer, we will only go on to possess the more for which God created us if we are following God with our whole heart. So, God asked Gideon for a commitment, a different kind of sacrifice. He explained to Gideon that he was made for more than the worship of false gods. Look at verses 25-2625 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. 26 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.”
Gideon was not only to walk away from the worship of false gods, but he was to lead a revolt against that kind of worship in the life of Israel. He, the least of his family, which was the least of the clans of the tribe of which he was part, was to become the catalyst to remind Israel that they had been made for more. They had been redeemed for more than just the worship of wooden and stone idols. They had been created for a dynamic and powerful relationship with the one, true Living God.
Remember how Gideon was harvesting in hiding? Well, verse 27 tells us that Gideon kind of went covert again. He did what God instructed but under the cover of night because he didn’t want anyone to know he was the one behind the worship revival; that he was the one behind the reminder that false gods weren’t to be part of Israel’s worship life.
Isn’t that like us sometimes? We want to obey God, but we sure would like to do it undercover. We sure would like things to turn around and help people see what needs to change, but we would love to fly under the radar. Listen, we were made for more than wimpy worship. We were made for more than closet Christianity. We were made to demonstrate a life of worship! We were made to call attention to the Risen Savior. We were made for more than casual Christianity and a private faith that would never ruffle any feathers. We were made for more!/ We don’t need to sneak around as Christians. We need to stand out and let others know about the relationship we have found that can also change their lives!
Sure enough, there were people who were furious when they found out who had smashed their pagan symbols. They demanded that Gideon be killed for destroying their worship paraphernalia. Gideon must have held his breath. He couldn’t have imagined what happened next. His dad, someone steeped in pagan worship, someone who had taught him how to worship Baal and how to build an Asherah pole, stood up for him.
Here is what I think: Gideon’s bold move to not only destroy the pagan worship symbols, but to replace them with an altar to the one, true, Living God reminded his dad of something. I believe God softened Gideon’s dad in that moment. I believe he got the memo. I believe there was a turnaround in his spirit as he remembered what he once knew to be true himself. I believe as we worship the Lord in Spirit and Truth some will be reminded of what they once knew and some will be inspired to seek what they have never known but want because they see it in us.
We were made to worship, and until we tear down the altars to false gods in our lives we can’t really worship the one, true, Living God. He is a jealous God (Ex. 20:5) and he won’t share His glory or our love with anyone. Gideon had privately built an altar to the Lord in Judges 6:24, but it was time to take his public stand and to do so without compromise. He couldn’t declare war on Midian until he had declared war on Baal.
After worshipping God and pointing the Israelites back to the worship of God, Gideon got all excited. Verse 34 tells us the Spirit of the Lord came upon him and he blew a trumpet to summon troops to join him in the fight. In verse 35 he sent messengers out to the different tribes to try to recruit more soldiers. He was raring and ready to go. He was amped up by the Spirit of God. But what happened next? In the very next set of verses in 36-40 he got cold feet. He let doubt creep in. Listen, we were made for more than doubt and fear.
- You were made to exercise faith. What more did Gideon need? He had the
promise of peace from the Lord. He had met with God face to face and had confirmed it was Him. God had even told Him he would defeat the Midianites. To top it all off, the Spirit of the Lord, verse 34, came upon Him. Listen, that is something you can’t dismiss. When God comes upon you in power, you know it. It is an experience unlike anything else. It is convincing evidence that it is time to move out in faith.
Well, Gideon wanted reassured not once, but two more times, and he requested God prove again that the Midianites would be defeated as God had promised. It is very human to ask for a sign. God understands. But it is very supernatural to walk by faith, and that is what pleases God. We were made for more than the human experience. We were made by God to live by faith.
Well, convinced, Gideon set out with 32,000 men. I am sure he was feeling pretty good. To see that many follow him after he had crushed all of their statues and idols, to see that many people follow him when he knew he was the least qualified to be leading the charge had to have been encouraging. Well, God wasn’t going to have Gideon getting puffed up. He wanted Gideon and all of Israel to know that He, God, was the one who would fight the battle and win Israel the victory. Through two different events God thinned out Gideon’s army a little bit. Okay, a lot a bit. When it was all said and done, Gideon was left with 300 men.
God even gave Gideon a bit of extra reassurance. He let Gideon and his servant tiptoe close enough to the Midianite camp to overhear a conversation between two men. One was telling the other that he had a dream about a loaf of bread that came tumbling into their Midianite campsite. This loaf of bread struck the tent with such force that the tent overturned and collapsed. Don’t you love the comic nature of Scripture? A loaf of bread striking a tent with such force that it causes the tent to collapse? That is Wylie Coyote and Roadrunner comedy right there.
The guy who was listening to the man talk about his dream said in chapter 7:14, “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. “Really? You got that from a dream about a loaf of bread? Alright! That is quite an interpretation, but ok! Listen, when God is in it, it doesn’t have to make sense.
It is interesting to me, that the guy mentions Gideon in the interpretation of his dream. He said the loaf of bread was really Gideon’s sword. Gideon never considered himself a Mighty Warrior, but apparently, his reputation for some kind of courage or ability had leaked out. Even other people can often see what we can’t see about ourselves.
The loaf of bread dream was all Gideon needed. Follow what happens next: Judges 7:15-18 15 When Gideon heard the dream and its interpretation, he worshiped God. He returned to the camp of Israel and called out, “Get up! The LORD has given the Midianite camp into your hands.” 16 Dividing the three hundred men into three companies, he placed trumpets and empty jars in the hands of all of them, with torches inside. 17 “Watch me,” he told them. “Follow my lead. When I get to the edge of the camp, do exactly as I do. 18 When I and all who are with me blow our trumpets, then from all around the camp blow yours and shout, ‘For the LORD and for Gideon.'”
Notice verse 15 that Gideon started to do the more he had been made to do.In verse 15 Gideon worshipped God. Before He gave any commanding orders, He worshipped God. First things were now first. Then he went back to the Israelite camp and very decisively started commanding the troops. He had a new God-given wisdom and confidence from which to lead. Verse 17 is such a pivotal verse: “Watch me.”When God to came Gideon, he was hiding. Now, out in the open with great boldness, Gideon said, “Watch me.” He said, “Watch me” and “Follow my lead.”
Here is the last more you were made for as I see it in the text:
- You were made to lead people out of oppression and into victory.
You were made to be a game changer, a culture changer, and a life-giver. As other people watch you live out the more you were made for, as they watch you harvest what you plant in your life, as they watch you worship the one, true, Living God, as they watch you exercise faith and as they watch you conquer, they will be able to follow your lead.
The rest of the story is that Gideon’s plan to use torches and jars worked, and 135,000 Midianites fled from the presence of 300 Israelites that day.
Mighty Warrior, you were made for more. Don’t allow the enemy to rob you. Don’t hide in fear. Worship God without reservation. Stand up and stand out in faith. Be the spiritual leader God has created you to be. You, my friend, were made for more.