Judges 7:19 – So Gideon, and the hundred men that were with him, came unto the outside of the camp in the beginning of the middle watch; and they had but newly set the watch: and they blew the trumpets, and brake the pitchers that were in their hands.
Judges 7:20 – And the three companies blew the trumpets, and brake the pitchers, and held the lamps in their left hands, and the trumpets in their right hands to blow withal: and they cried, The sword of the Lord, and of Gideon.
Judges 7:21 – And they stood every man in his place round about the camp; and all the host ran, and cried, and fled.
Hello readers, another weekend is drawing to a close! It’s been quite the year, and it’s flown past. Here in Adelaide spring has well and truly arrived. The tomatoes are in the ground, the sun has been shining, the flowers are out, it’s a great time of year. Well, today we are blogging from Judges 7. It’s a wonderful chapter in the Bible, the story of Gideon’s victory over the Midianites. I’ll assume you read it for yourself.
Today we are going to be focussing on broken pitchers and shining lights. You and I are meant to be shining lights in this dark world. If you aren’t saved, well of course you won’t shine. But the born again child of God, someone who has trusted in Jesus Christ to forgiven them and save them from their sin, they’ve got a light that can shine forth, and God can win a great victory in our lives and give us deliverance personally and in ministry toward others. Their deliverance they got that night wasn’t just their own, but all of Israel’s. Your deliverance might just become someone else’s when you start obeying God in your life and walking by faith.
The situation was that the Midianites had come up and got dominion over Israel. It was because Israel had sinned and departed from God. Just like us today. When the Christians repent, things will change. Gideon got personal revival before God ever used him in corporate revival. Well, the Midianites had come in in great number and driven Israel to the fringes of existence, and God used an ordinary man, a man who had fear and doubt like us, to win a miraculous victory.
Judges 7 starts with a thinning process. God thinned out Gideon’s army. God separated people out. That’s his work, he’s going to sort out who’s who and what’s what, that’s what this life is all about. Numbers get thinned right down don’t they when it comes to real salvation and real walk with God.
Gideon had amassed quite a number of men through his simple act of faith and obedience to God in chucking down his father’s altar to Baal… that’s what he’d got for daring to trust God and obey him and stand against the false god. Suddenly a movement was going. A move of God. See, you’ll never make a difference until you stand for truth, even at great personal cost. It was his own father whom he risked his relationship with to do what was right and throw down the altar. We want a faith without risk, and that’s why we never step out in faith.
You’ll only ever make a difference by standing up and being counted rather than going along with sin and wrong and evil. He could’ve done what Christians do today, assimilating with the world trying to reach them… so they say. Well Lot tried that… where’d that end up? You’ll make a difference when there’s obedience and separation to God’s word.
Gideon didn’t just go along with everyone else. That’s why God chose him. He’d been trying to do something good, but it took the visit of God for things to get going. When God pays you a visit, when God makes a difference in your life, that’s when things get going. Gideon didn’t go along with the established order, the norm, what you’re supposed to do… he stood up and obeyed God in spite of everything. And he made a difference, and you can as well if you simply obey God in your own life like Gideon.
Don’t think it wasn’t hard for Gideon… because it was. That’s why he did what he did by night. But he still did it. Sometimes what we do for God, it doesn’t matter how ugly it is, just obey him even if it’s not pretty. Often it’s not pretty, some of the times I’ve witnessed to people, after it I’m just like it could’ve have gone any worse. I could’ve said this and that, I should’ve said this and that, I’ve stuffed up. God uses stuff ups with an honest heart, not great oratory ability that’s birthed out of great personal ability rather than trusting in God’s power and ability.
People will join someone that is making a stand, sure there will be enemies, but the people who want deliverance, who want to see God exalted and glorified, they’ll be quick to jump onboard. But they’re not all legit either. Jesus got a whole lot of followers, but by the end he was alone. You’ll find there’s a thinning before there’s a great deliverance. God needs to thin things out of our life, God will thin people and sin and stuff that doesn’t need to be there out.
Gideon amassed a great army, still nothing compared to Midian… and they were getting ready to do battle. They had enough there to rate their chances. They wouldn’t need faith, instead they’d trust their numbers and their ability. But then God said, nope, this is too many! He whittled down Gideon’s army from tens of thousands to three hundred men. This is the real 300. The Bible 300 are men of faith in God’s word rather than their own incredible ability and capacity.
If anything you would have thought Gideon would’ve needed more men, but here’s God saying nope it’s too many. Because God wanted the glory for the mighty deliverance that he was going to give, and if Gideon’s army was big, they’d have got to thinking it was them that got the job done, not God. Maybe God’s got things impossible in your life for a reason. He’s got it impossible so that you will finally trust in his power and ability to perform those promises in his word.
It’s important to remember that this was a terrible time in Israel’s history, and it’d get even worse down the track. Just because it’s a bad time doesn’t mean God’s disappeared or can’t do anything, instead when it’s bad, that’s when God is going to work. God is still in the miracle business, the deliverance from sin business, the salvation business. God’s not dead people. We can live like all the great works of God are in the past. Gideon did. When the angel of the Lord came to speak to him, he was like, where are the miracles that our fathers had? Where’s God at? We need to stop looking to the past, and looking at other people’s lives, and get to getting a deliverance and being used by God in our own lives.
So there’s a thinning process with God. God is going to thin the people that are going to get in the deliverance business from the ones who aren’t. You see, tens of thousands it began with … but by the end it was three hundred men. Not everyone is on the same road as you. Not everyone is on the narrow road. Not everyone is going the direction you are. If you wait on other people, you’ll be waiting forever. You remember that multitude of sick folk in John 5, they were all waiting around together. Get around other people laying around in their Christian walk, laid up by some issue or spiritual condition, and you’ll end up at 38 years later as the man was who Jesus healed.
Gideon’s army took victuals and trumpets. You’re going to need food for the journey and battles of life. You see, we need to feed on God’s word. If we are going to be used by God, we are going to need a steady diet of his word. So often we don’t have an appetite for God’s word, but we sure have an appetite for our sin! When we are walking in the flesh, we just keep feeding on that lust, selfishness and pride. Feeding, feeding… feeding ourselves without fear. And after you’ve been feeding a while, you’ll also be trumpeting, you’ll be telling others about God’s word. How can you be wondrously saved, delivered from the condemnation, penalty and power of sin, and be forgiven and given eternal life through Christ Jesus… and yet have nothing to say to anyone else?
Three hundred went with Gideon, but tens of thousands went back. A lot of people returned to their tent. A lot of people are going to start going with Gideon, they’ll start out with Jesus Christ, but sure enough they’ll end up going back to that old life. They’ll go back to the comforts, what they know, they won’t get in the Lord’s fight. Don’t turn back with the turn backers. Don’t stay with the stayers.
Well, the enemy Gideon and his men were facing already knew they were defeated. Gideon went down with his servant and heard some Midianites talking to each other, and what he heard made him worship God, it made him realize, hey this enemy know they’re beat! The victory in your life, impossible though it may be, it’s a sure thing with God.
You’ll realize in life, it’s not people don’t know the truth, it’s they refuse and reject it. How stupid for these Midianites to know they’d be whipped yet stay in the army, and keep serving. Bit like you reader if you aren’t saved. You’ll stay unsaved, you’ll keep disobeying God, you’ll keep rejecting Jesus Christ, and even know you surely are in trouble with God and yet won’t do anything about it. So great a cloud of witnesses Hebrews 12:1 says… see, we have so many witnesses throughout history proving both the folly of disobeying and rejecting Christ, and the infinite wisdom of choosing to believe and trust God with your eternal soul. There’s so many witnesses of the truth, we are all without excuse.
Well, Gideon went back from his little reconnaissance of the Midianite camp and knew he was going to win. So he went back and assembled the troops, all three hundred of them. Not much right… but more than enough when you’re in the will of God, and God’s gone out to fight and you’re on the right side of it. Our battles in life, we always feel so undermanned, and we are. But when we look to God, when we trust in him… he’s more than enough for every battle.
They got them empty pitchers, and put a lamp inside it. Reader, what you need to do is bring the empty pitcher of your life to Christ Jesus. If you come with something else in it, then there won’t be any room to put the lamp in it. So often instead of light in our lives, our lives are full and cluttered up with self and sin.
When will we realize that we can bring nothing to God? That’s the secret, which is no secret, but the truth of which is hid from this Christ rejecting world. We have nothing to offer, we are just earthen vessels. We are nothing. We are just the clay, Christ is the potter. But our earthen vessel, it can carry great treasure. If you are saved, you’ve received the light. You have the light of truth, the light of life, the Lord Jesus Christ in you! Great treasure indeed, which is kept in such a base, simple vessel.
When we come empty to God, emptied out of all our efforts, intentions, ambitions, abilities and self righteousness, when we come empty, there’s room for light in there and a light can shine in us and through us. But remember, with no internal light first, there will be no light that shines before others. People don’t have a light before others… because there’s no light in them. You’re not going to shine as a light in this dark world if you’ve got no light in you to begin with.
Come to God empty, and when we come empty to God, acknowledging our sin, acknowledging we deserve hell, acknowledging we are nothing… God will fill us up. He’ll fill our lives with light, with salvation, with purpose, with power. His Son living in us and through us!
What it takes for that light to truly shine is when that pitcher gets smashed. That doesn’t sound great! But God often uses the broken to shine his light through. People that have it made, that have an easy run, they have no light. God uses people who have emerged from a life of sin, who the world hates, who’ve struggled and battled… but people who have been broken in repentance… they’re the one’s who shine for God. Noone’s smashed, noone’s broken… and that’s why there is no shining. But when broken, the lamps shone forth.
You and I are empty pitchers, but we’ve got something in them. If you are saved, there’s no light in you. We can’t generate our own light, we need Christ’s light. We need to empty out our dead religion, our fake morality, our useless self righteousness, our best efforts, our new leaves… and when we tip them out, then a light can go in. There’s not enough room for them both. A saved person has a lamp in their pitcher, their lives have a light within.
But as already discussed, it takes that pitcher being broken for the light to shine forth. Until God breaks us, until he breaks us over our sin, over our guilt, over our wisdom and philosophy and way, over all our rebellion and rubbish… then there will be no light that shines to give victory. If you want your light to shine, God’s going to have to break you. There’s a lot of Christians out there who have never been broken over their sin, they’ve never had their pride and lust smashed, they’ve never seen they are completely empty without the light of Christ. Because they never got empty, they were never filled either. They’re too full on this world and sin to ever get empty.
Well they broke the pitchers, they blew their trumpets, and they cried aloud. What were they crying out? The sword of the Lord, and of Gideon. What an amazing picture here. We are supposed to cry out something… what is it? God’s word. God’s word is the sword of the Lord. We are supposed to say what the Bible says. That’s where the victory is, that’s the noise that the enemy fears. The word of God.
They didn’t have real swords in their hand, but they had the sword that mattered. The sword of the spoken word which was greater than a sword of steel. That sword did more damage than them all rushing into the camp swinging could ever do. You see, our sword as Christians is not physical, but spiritual. It’s the word of God. It’s God’s sword. You want God’s sword? Get in the Bible, stick with it, cry aloud with it, stand on it, declare it, live by it, trust it, keep it, love it, obey it. You know why we are failing today? Because we’ve traded in God’s sword for a new sword. We didn’t want the spiritual sword, we wanted a sword that didn’t require faith and trust and submission and obedience. God’s sword proves itself, there is no mistaking the cutting that God’s sword does. See, the men of faith had God’s sword, and where God’s word is and true believers, they’re the ones experiencing deliverance, they’re the ones fighting the battles.
The Bible is God’s sword. That’s the weapon he has given to us to fight the battle, and the Christian life is a battle, it’s a warfare… rest assured. It was God’s sword, it was Gideon’s sword, it was their sword, and it’s my sword. Will the Bible, the Holy Bible, the word of God.. will it be your sword?
We aren’t winning victories anymore because we aren’t using God’s sword anymore. We’ve got different weapons in our armory, weapons that don’t require faith and obedience. Weapons that don’t stretch us that far. We’ve armed ourselves different thinking new weapons can give us that victories that men of faith from ages past had… and that’s why we are losing, and that’s why the enemy does not fear our cry. You see, the enemy fears the cry of God’s word, but they don’t fear anything else. The Midianites fled before the shining lights, the blaring trumpets and the shouting of the sword of the Lord. Nothing else will give the victory. Get back to God’s word. Or have you got something different, you’ve armed yourself with something better, something that makes more sense to you, something improved… and funnily enough maybe that’s also coincides with a life devoid of brokenness and light. No sword, no light, no brokenness, no faith, no deliverance… they all go together don’t they.
Well God got great glory here didn’t he. You see, this whole chapter is about God getting the glory. That’s why their army was whittled down to three hundred, when our lives start to be about God’s glory rather than me getting ahead, elevating myself and serving self in my life… things may just start happening. Notice how it was a work of faith. All of God’s work is a work of faith. They followed God’s instructions, that was the key to victory, they obeyed God. It was by faith. Faith is what pleases God, and the just shall live by faith. It takes faith to stand around a huge army and break a few pitchers, blow a few trumpets, and stand in your place and yell out the sword of the Lord, and of Gideon!
They stood every man in his place. We all have a place. Have you found your place? When you do, when you find your place that God has placed you, a place found not by going your own way, but a place found by obeying God’s word in your own life… that’s where you should stand. Stand in God’s place for your life. Against all odds. Despite how stupid and impossible it seems. God honours those that honour him.
Your life of faith will impact others, because a lot of people joined in and helped them whip the Midianites who were on the run, running for their lives. Things may not be happening in your life, but you’ll be surprised what God can do with a faithful life of very few. Something small can have a very big effect. That one time you witness to someone, that one time you obey God, that one time you put him first… that’ll add up more and matter more than everything else you are doing.
There’s power in holding to the sword. Go with the Bible, that same Bible that produced faith, that produced the life and works of faith. God’s got a sword for us, Gideon took it, it was his. Will that same sword be yours? See, God’s word, his sword… it’s wielded by people who are in the faith business. Not many people today truly believe God’s word. Our weapon is a spiritual weapon, without which spiritual battles cannot be won. Jesus won the spiritual battle with Satan, not because he could quote some scripture, but it was in his heart to obey it. Is it truly in your heart to obey it? Is, honestly, in your heart a love of truth? Where’s the brokenness, where’s the light? You’re not in your place you should be standing, instead you put your feet up in your tent after you returned home. Yeah you felt good because you assembled with the army, but you didn’t fight, you didn’t get in the battle. People do nothing and feel good about themselves. I joined Gideon’s army guys, but I went home before the battle.
This is a call to get salt and light back in our lives. This is a call to get empty of ourselves, to get empty of that life of pride and lust and sin, to empty our selves of our love of the world and praise of men, to empty ourselves of our own way and choose God’s way, to choose life finally. God gives us day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year… opportunities to trust and obey him, to make a difference, to stand up, to stand in our place, the place he’s got for us, and shine as lights, to declare God’s word, to hold to it, to trust it, to wield it and to win with it. God wants to deliver you from sin, from Satan, from death, from hell… that’s a pretty good deal, just by trusting him, in what he has done, in whom he provided for you. None of us deserve God’s grace, but he extends his life, his light to us today. That light is in Christ, you get Jesus Christ, you’ve got a lamp inside that empty pitcher. There isn’t room for other stuff, empty the junk out, and get the light in you, and shine in this dark world. I pray that you will trust in the Lord Jesus Christ today, repent of your sin and believe on him to save you, save you he will… freely, fully and forever. You weren’t created to be conquered and defeated as Israel was, you can shine with the forgiveness, truth, freedom and light of Christ in your life today.
Hi, my name is Joseph Zadow. I am a 30 y/o Bible Blogger. I was new to blogging once! God’s word is the best thing that we can be given, and once we have it and know it for ourselves it is both a privilege and responsibility to bring it to others! We are blessed to be a blessing! I am a sinner (for sure!) saved by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ and I am a Lord Jesus Christ follower. He is faithful even though I rarely am to him. I believe the Bible is the word of God, and stake my life on it. My destination is heaven. As they say, I’m just a passin’ through this world… although most of the time it’s more like hangin’ by a thread in Jericho! I love playing sports – particularly cricket… I currently work on an orchard and a side hobby business of mine is growing vegetables etc – they are good for you! I love writing. Always happy to talk, so feel free to leave a comment. You can read more about me and my blog here – kjvbibletruth.com/about :)