Last time spoke about Joshua and you will remember the falling walls of Jericho!
And Joshua led Israel for years and years and the Israelites conquered most of the land
that God had given to them. But then Joshua died and there was no one to lead them. And they started worshipping other gods
So God removed his protection from them which is what he does when nations worship other gods. It had only been because God was supporting them that they used to win their battles. And so their country was invaded by enemies…
So then they got back on their knees and cried out to God for help and he sent them a leader called a Judge. There were several judges. One of the most famous is the one we are going to talk about today GIDEON
So Israel had been worshipping other gods and God allowed the Israelites to be bullied by the Midianites. The Midianites used to come into to Israel and steal all their grain
at harvest time. So eventually the Israelites cried out to God for help. And God sent an angel to Israel and found Gideon threshing grain in a wine press.
Here is a wine press
So the question we are first going to look at is why is it odd to thresh grain in a wine press?
Here is a sheaf of barley, kindly provided by Michael Gray from the field next to road from Easton to Avington. How do we get flour from grain? How do we separate grain from the stalk and rest of the plant? Sheaves are crushed on a threshing floor – here is a threshing floor:
Sheaves are laid on the threshing floor and then crushed by bullocks dragging a wooden thresher. The result is grain and chaff. [Pours grain onto a plate and then chaff]
What is the difference between grain and chaff? Weight! Who has big lungs? BLOW
So any ideas on how in ancient times they would separate grain from chaff?
Thrown up in the air – winnowing –the Heavy grain falls to the ground.
What is the difference between a wine press and a threshing floor?
Why is Gideon threshing grain in a wine press?
He is frightened…scared out of his wits worried that Midianites, thousands of themwill see the clouds chaff being blow away and come and take the grain and his family will starve because that is what happens in war.
So how does the angel greet him? ’The Lord is with you, mighty warrior’
Gideon does’nt think of himself like this – he is terrified but God can see our true potential…
What does Gideon say? ‘Why isn’t God helping us?’ The Midianites are stealing our food..‘I cannot do anything about it. My people are too weak And I am the least’
What does the Lord reply? Does he say: ‘I am going to change you to make you a very mighty warrior and then you can go out and defeat the Midianites?’
No, he says: ‘Go in the strength that you have, I will be with you’
And Gideon goes leads Israel. With only a few hundred men against the thousands of Midianites who God threw into confusion and they started killing each other.
‘Go in the strength that you have….’
Gideon defeats the Midianites
When we are being called by God to do something (Saying this particularly to grown ups
but also to all of us even the children…remembering that Jesus only started his ministry aged 30 way after his education…)
When we feel a tug on our heart that we should do something we may feel we cannot do it, now: We will do it when we are more confident; We will do it when we are more grown up; We will do it when we have saved some money and retired
We will do it TOMORROW
But God calls us TODAY
He calls us Mighty Warriors even though we are threshing grain in a wine press –hiding because of all the troubles of life.
He calls us NOW to GO IN THE STRENGTH THAT WE HAVE And He will be with us!
The Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord, and for seven years he gave them into the hands of the Midianites. 3 Whenever the Israelites planted their crops, the Midianites…. camped on the land and ruined the crops….and did not spare a living thing for Israel, neither sheep nor cattle nor donkeys. 5 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. 6 Midian so impoverished the Israelites that they cried out to the Lord for help….
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 “Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our ancestors told us about…? But now the Lord has abandoned us and given 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 “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.”
16 The Lord answered, “I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites, leaving none alive”