#136

                                                                              (Source of material:  Rev. B.R. Hicks)

            (This lesson is taken from Judges chapter 6.  Please read to familiarize yourself with the story of Gideon and the Midianites.) 

Geographically, Israel is the hub of three continents:  Europe, Asia, and Africa.  They were surrounded by heathen nations.  The Light of the Torah and the personal presence of God Almighty was to shine outward from Jerusalem and influence the nations around her.  One of Israel's purposes was to touch the hearts of the people (through sharing the nature of the Name) and cause them to relinguish their idols.  They were to influence and be an example to those around them.  Israel consisted of 12 tribes; each tribe portrayed one of the 12 governmental names.  By observing Israel, her neighbors would see the Great and Wonderful Name of LORD.  She was to share the glory, light, love and mercy of the God of Abraham, thereby, causing a change in them.  By giving, the LORD would continue to pour blessing into her.  By giving, she would receive more of the LORD.  Look at Judges 6:13.  Gideon's main complaint to the angel was that the LORD had forsaken Israel.  He certainly had not forsaken them---He was waiting for Israel to give to the nations around her what she had thus far received so He could give her more!  By giving the substance of mercy, love, forgiveness, longsuffering, etc. the giver receives more!  You can't get more until you give what you've got!   Soon, by not giving, Israel picked up the idols of the surrounding nations and brought them within her borders.  When a believer stops giving the nature of the Name to those around him or her, the Message becomes old and an idol is embraced.  Israel became a land of idols.  They opened themselves up to invasion because they stole the idols of the nations.  Unfortunately, they became captives and slaves to idols.  We can see this progression in the case of Lot.  At first, when he separated from Abraham, he chose the plains of Sodom.  Then he pitched his tent toward Sodom.  Finally, we see him as a resident of Sodom, dwelling within its gates.  

In Judges 6, Midian means "strife".  As believers of Christ, we strive with the LORD in many ways.  Since it is His Headship that determines we don't have something, we strive with the LORD that He give us what we want.  We swim to the shore of God's Will, erect a dwelling of ingratitude, and present our striving arguments against His Headship.  Notice too, in Judges 6, that the idol was Baal, which means "bossy".  With bossy striving we hang out on the bank of God's will, making our carnal case for something God has chosen not to give us.  In Judges 6: 25-26, the LORD directs Gideon to first destroy the altar of Baal, then build an altar for Him.  The LORD is telling us to get rid of the bossy Baal within us (our own bossy headship) and offer sacrifices of praise and thanksgiving.  Stop our bossy striving and get back into the Will of God by thanking Him for things just the way they are!  We argue and strive with God because we still have "Bossy Baal" set up in  our hearts.  We want to determine the "will" and the "do" but these are only found being captured by the current of God's Will.  "For it is GOD which worketh in you both to will and to do. . . " This means we must be caught up in the current of His river, being swept ever closer toward our destination, with praises and thanksgiving continually in our mouth for His Powerful and Sovereign Headship!  Tear down the altar of Baal and replace it with a sacrifice of thanks toward His Perfect Headship!  Goodbye, "Bossy Baal"!