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Gideon learns about faith and trust in God.
Contributed by Wong Chim Yuen
Judges 6:1-6 <br/>After being led by Ehud, the Israelites turned away from trusting God once more. As a result they were constantly attacked by the Midianites who raided and stole their harvests and animals. <br/>The Israelites lived in fear and were greatly impoverished. They decided to cry out to God for help. – Slide 1
Judges 6:11-16 <br/>God sent an angel to a man called Gideon who was threshing grain by a winepress to hide it from the Midianites. <br/>The angel told Gideon, ‘The Lord is with you, mighty man of valour.’ <br/>Gideon protested, ‘Why are we in this mess, where are God’s miracles to deliver us?’ <br/>The angel replied, ‘I have sent you to go and save Israel.’ <br/>‘But my family is poor and I am the youngest and least important,’ Gideon replied. <br/>The angel disagreed, ‘God is with you and you will defeat the Midianites.’ – Slide 2
Judges 6:19-24 <br/>Gideon prepared a meal for his guest. The angel told him to put the meat and unleaven bread on a rock then pour the soup over it. Gideon obeyed. Then the angel stretched out the staff in his hand to touch the damp food and it caught fire. The meat and bread was consumed by the flames. The angel departed and Gideon built an altar to the Lord. – Slide 3
Judges 6:25-27 <br/>The same night the Lord told Gideon, ‘Tear down the altar your father has made to Baal and the grove nearby. Then build an altar to God in its place. Put the wood from the grove on the altar and sacrifice your father’s bullock on it.’ <br/>Gideon took ten of his servants under cover of darkness to carry out God’s commands. – Slide 4
Judges 6:33-35 <br/>The Spirit of God came on Gideon and he blew a trumpet to call the Israelites to battle. Messengers were sent out to gather the fighting men. – Slide 5
Judges 6:36-40 <br/>Gideon needed reassurance and told God, ‘I will put a fleece of wool on the ground. If tomorrow morning the dew has made the fleece wet but the ground is dry I will know You will give me victory.’ <br/>The next morning the ground was dry but he wrung a bowlful of water out of the fleece. <br/>Still not convinced, Gideon then asked God to reverse the miracle keeping the fleece dry but the ground wet with dew. God did as he asked. – Slide 6
Judges 7:2-7 <br/>The Israelites were outnumbered by the mighty Midianite army. But God wanted Gideon to trust Him for victory. God announced, ‘You have too many men so send home all those who trembling with fear.’ So twenty-two thousand men left, while ten thousand remained. <br/>God said, ‘You still have too many men. Take them down to the river to drink. Separate those who drink by cupping their hands and lapping up the water like a dog, from those who bow down and put their faces into the water. <br/>Only 300 lapped the water like a dog. God told Gideon to keep these 300 men and send the rest home. – Slide 7
Judges 7:9-15 <br/>That night God told Gideon and his servant Phurah to creep down to the Midianite camp. They overhead a Midianite talking about a disturbing dream in which a loaf of barley tumbled into a Midianite tent and crushed it. The Midianite exclaimed his dream must mean that Gideon would defeat them. <br/>Encouraged by this, Gideon returned and worshipped God, telling his men, ‘God has delivered the Midianites into your hands.’ – Slide 8
Judges 7:16-24 <br/>Gideon divided his men into three groups. Each with a trumpet and a jar with a lit oil lamp in it. The Israelites then took up positions surrounding and overlooking the Midianite camp. On Gideon’s command each man blew his trumpet and smashed the jar to expose the oil lamps.  <br/>The Midianites woke in panic and thinking the Israelites were in the camp fought against each other. The survivors fled in fear pursued by the Israelites. – Slide 9
Judges 8:1-3 <br/>Gideon sent messengers throughout the hill country of Ephraim, saying, ‘Come down against the Midianites and seize the waters of the Jordan ahead of them as far as Beth Barah.’ <br/>Ephraimites asked Gideon, ‘Why didn’t you call us when you went to fight Midian?’ <br/>‘What have I accomplished compared to you? Aren’t the gleanings of Ephraim’s grapes better than the full grape harvest of Abiezer (who is one of my clan). God gave Oreb and Zeeb, the Midianite leaders, into your hands. What was I able to do compared to you?’  <br/>At this, their resentment against Gideon subsided. – Slide 10
Judges 8:4-17 <br/>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.’ They refused and Gideon replied when he had caught the Midianite kings he would return to beat them with thorns and briars. <br/>From there Gideon went up to Peniel and made the same request of them. They also refused and Gideon said he would return after victory and tear down the tower in Peniel. <br/>Gideon went on the ambush the 15,000 fleeing Midianites and defeat them. He then returned to tear down the tower of Penuel and beat the elders of Sukkoth with briers. – Slide 11
Judges 8:18-21 <br/>Gideon had captured the two Midianite kings and discovered they had killed some of his family. He asked his eldest son Jether to execute them. The lad was afraid, so Gideon executed them instead. <br/>The Israelites said to Gideon, ‘Rule over us—you, your son and your grandson—because you have saved us from the hand of Midian.’ <br/>But Gideon told them, ‘I will not rule over you, nor will my son rule over you. The Lord will rule over you.’ – Slide 12
Judges 8:24-27 <br/>Gideon asked every man to donate one of the golden earrings they had looted from the defeated enemy. They spread out a garment and each willingly threw a ring from their plunder on to it.  <br/>Gideon made the gold into an ephod, which he placed in Ophrah, his town. The Israelites started worshiping it there, and it became a snare to Gideon and his family. – Slide 13
Judges 8:29-34 <br/>So Midian was subdued and did oppress the Israelites. During Gideon’s lifetime, the land had peace for forty years. <br/>Gideon died at a good old age and was buried in the tomb of his father Joash in Ophrah of the Abiezrites. – Slide 14
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