Lesson 5 | Sabbath, 1 February 2020
“To Gideon came the divine call to deliver his people. He was engaged at the time in threshing wheat. A small quantity of grain had been concealed, and not daring to beat it out on the ordinary threshing floor, he had resorted to a spot near the winepress; for the season of ripe grapes being still far off, little notice was now taken of the vineyards. As Gideon labored in secrecy and silence, he sadly pondered upon the condition of Israel and considered how the oppressor’s yoke might be broken from off his people.” –Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 546.
Disobedience and its consequence
- What did the Israelites do when they departed from God and His ways? What did the Midianites and Amalekites do to them every year?
Judges 6:1-4 And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord: and the Lord delivered them into the hand of Midian seven years. 2And the hand of Midian prevailed against Israel: and because of the Midianites the children of Israel made them the dens which are in the mountains, and caves, and strong holds. 3And so it was, when Israel had sown, that the Midianites came up, and the Amalekites, and the children of the east, even they came up against them; 4And they encamped against them, and destroyed the increase of the earth, till thou come unto Gaza, and left no sustenance for Israel, neither sheep, nor ox, nor ass.
“The Amalekites on the south of Canaan, as well as the Midianites on its eastern border, and in the deserts beyond, were still the unrelenting enemies of Israel. The latter nation had been nearly destroyed by the Israelites in the days of Moses, but they had since increased greatly, and had become numerous and powerful. They had thirsted for revenge; and now that the protecting hand of God was withdrawn from Israel, the opportunity had come. Not alone the tribes east of Jordan, but the whole land suffered from their ravages…. Thus the Israelites dwelling in the open country were forced to abandon their homes, and to congre- gate in walled towns, to seek refuge in fortresses, or even to find shelter in caves and rocky fastnesses among the mountains. For seven years this oppression con- tinued, and then, as the people in their distress gave heed to the Lord’s reproof, and confessed their sins, God again raised up a helper for them.” –Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 545, 546.
- How did the Lord begin His plan to bring relief to the suffering people? To whom did He appear?
Judges 6:11-13 And there came an angel of the Lord, and sat under an oak which was in Ophrah, that pertained unto Joash the Abiezrite: and his son Gideon threshed wheat by the winepress, to hide it from the Midianites. 12And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him, and said unto him, The Lord is with thee, thou mighty man of valour. 13And Gideon said unto him, Oh my Lord, if the Lord be with us, why then is all this befallen us? and where be all his miracles which our fathers told us of, saying, Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt? but now the Lord hath forsaken us, and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites.
“Gideon was the son of Joash, of the tribe of Manasseh. The division to which this family belonged held no leading position, but the household of Joash was distinguished for courage and integrity. Of his brave sons it is said, ‘Each one re- sembled the children of a king.’ All but one had fallen in the struggles against the Midianites, and he had caused his name to be feared by the invaders.” –Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 546.
God’s choice of one to do His will
- How did Gideon feel about taking on the enormous task that was present- ed to him? What encouragement did the Lord give him?
Judges 6:14-16 And the Lord looked upon him, and said, Go in this thy might, and thou shalt save Israel from the hand of the Midianites: have not I sent thee? 15And he said unto him, Oh my Lord, wherewith shall I save Israel? behold, my family is poor in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house. 16And the Lord said unto him, Surely I will be with thee, and thou shalt smite the Midianites as one man.
“Gideon deeply felt his own insufficiency for the great work before him…. The Lord does not always choose for His work men of the greatest talents, but He se- lects those whom He can best use. Individuals who might do good service for God, may for a time be left in obscurity, apparently unnoticed and unemployed by their Master. But if they faithfully perform the duties of their humble position, cherish- ing a willingness to labor and to sacrifice for Him, He will in His own time entrust them with greater responsibilities.” –Conflict and Courage, p. 126.
- When Gideon realized that he was in God’s presence, how did he express his faith and gratitude to Him?
Judges 6:22-24 And when Gideon perceived that he was an angel of the Lord, Gide- on said, Alas, O Lord God! for because I have seen an angel of the Lord face to face. 23And the Lord said unto him, Peace be unto thee; fear not: thou shalt not die. 24Then Gideon built an altar there unto the Lord, and called it Jehovahshalom: unto this day it is yet in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.
“I was shown that when God sent His angels anciently to minister or communi- cate to individuals, and these persons learned that they had seen and talked with an angel, they were struck with awe and were afraid that they should die. They had so exalted views of the terrible majesty and power of God that they thought it would destroy them to be brought into close connection with one direct from His holy presence.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, p. 410.
Defending God and the truth
- What was the first task that the Lord gave him? How quickly did he carry it out?
Judges 6:25-27 And it came to pass the same night, that the Lord said unto him, Take thy father’s young bullock, even the second bullock of seven years old, and throw down the altar of Baal that thy father hath, and cut down the grove that is by it: 26And build an altar unto the Lord thy God upon the top of this rock, in the ordered place, and take the second bullock, and offer a burnt sacrifice with the wood of the grove which thou shalt cut down. 27Then Gideon took ten men of his servants, and did as the Lord had said unto him: and so it was, because he feared his father’s household, and the men of the city, that he could not do it by day, that he did it by night.
“God then charged Moses to make no covenant with the inhabitants of the land whither they should go, lest they should be ensnared thereby. But they should destroy their idol altars, break their images, and cut down their groves, which were dedicated to their idols, and where the people assembled to hold their idolatrous feasts, given in honor of their idol gods. He then said to them, ‘Thou shalt worship no other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.’ God claims, as His due, supreme worship…. The Lord knows that Satan is continu- ally at work to lead His people to transgress the law of God, and He condescended to be very definite in His directions to His erring people, that they might not err, and transgress His commandments for want of knowledge.” –Spiritual Gifts, vol. 3, p. 292.
- How did the inhabitants of the city react when they saw what Gideon had done? Why was it necessary for him to do this, and what lesson is there in this for God’s people today?
Judges 6:28-30 And when the men of the city arose early in the morning, behold, the altar of Baal was cast down, and the grove was cut down that was by it, and the second bullock was offered upon the altar that was built. 29And they said one to another, Who hath done this thing? And when they inquired and asked, they said, Gideon the son of Joash hath done this thing. 30Then the men of the city said unto Joash, Bring out thy son, that he may die: because he hath cast down the altar of Baal, and because he hath cut down the grove that was by it.
“The interests of the cause of God are not to be committed to men who have no connection with heaven. Those who are disloyal to God cannot be safe coun- selors. They have not that wisdom which comes from above. They are not to be trusted to pass judgment in matters connected with God’s cause, matters upon which such great results depend. If we follow their judgment, we shall surely be brought into very difficult places, and shall retard the work of God.” –Selected Messages, book 3, p. 300.
- Who bravely defended what Gideon had done? With what simple logic did he answer the people? What is promised to those who faithfully and resolutely stand up for the Lord?
Judges 6:31, 32 And Joash said unto all that stood against him, Will ye plead for Baal? will ye save him? he that will plead for him, let him be put to death whilst it is yet morning: if he be a god, let him plead for himself, because one hath cast down his altar. 32Therefore on that day he called him Jerubbaal, saying, Let Baal plead against him, because he hath thrown down his altar.
Psalm 34:7 The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.
“Those who are not connected with God are connected with the enemy of God, and while they may be honest in the advice they give, they themselves are blinded and deceived. Satan puts suggestions into the mind and words into the mouth that are entirely contrary to the mind and will of God. Thus he works through them to allure us into false paths. He will mislead, entangle, and ruin us if he can.
“Anciently it was a great sin for the people of God to give themselves away to the enemy, and open before them either their perplexity or their prosperity. Under the ancient economy it was a sin to offer sacrifice upon the wrong altar. It was a sin to offer incense kindled by the wrong fire.” –Selected Messages, book 3, 300.
For additional study
“We are in danger of mingling the sacred and the common. The holy fire from God is to be used in our efforts. The true altar is Christ; the true fire is the Holy Spirit. This is our inspiration. It is only as the Holy Spirit leads and guides a man that he is a safe counselor. If we turn aside from God and from His chosen ones to inquire at strange altars we shall be answered according to our works.” –Selected Messages, book 3, pp. 300, 301.
“They [Joseph and Daniel] were to be representatives of God in our world. They were to make no compromise with the idolatrous nations with which they were brought in contact, but were to stand loyal to their faith, bearing as a special honor the name of worshipers of the God who created the heavens and the earth.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 8, p. 153.
“We are not to cringe and beg pardon of the world for telling them the truth: we should scorn concealment. Unfurl your colors to meet the cause of men and angels. Let it be understood that Seventh-day Adventists can make no compromise. In your opinions and faith there must not be the least appearance of waverings: the world has a right to know what to expect of us.” –Evangelism, p. 179.