God Always Calls Us to Do What We Cannot Do
Philippians 4:13; Judges 6
August 9, 2020 AM
Pastor Craig Ledbetter
Bible Baptist Church, Ballincollig, Cork, Ireland
I. Introduction (Philippians 4:13)
A. We are turning to the Book of Judges this morning
B. We will focus our attention on one young man, named Gideon – remember that name!
C. In Judges chapter 6-8, God teaches Gideon two big lessons
1. How to overcome fear – I wish you would get this
2. And how God can make a great people out of the likes of nobodies
D. No matter what you think of have been taught – you are completely inadequate as a Christian
1. You do not have what it takes to be like Jesus
2. You don’t have what it takes to live in victory
3. You are weak, broken, messed up, scared, and inadequate
E. But that is perfectly okay
1. The hero of this Scripture is not Gideon
2. The hero is the Almighty God of Gideon
3. God does not depend upon our strength, or power, or popularity, or wisdom, or on our money
4. God never needed anything from us to accomplish great things - ever
5. Because He is the strength we need to do what He asks of us
6. So all he asks of us is child-like trust in Him, and obey!
F. Two Part message. To Do Whatever God asks you to do, you must:
1. Overcome Fear
2. And Overcome Confidence (Next Week)
II. Background (Judges 2:11,12; 17:6; 6:1-6)
A. Israel has Settled in their Promised Land
1. But things are not going well
2. Instead of living in the liberty of faith and walking in God’s laws
3. They were stuck in a vicious cycle of living only for themselves and reaping for it
a. Over and over and over for 400 years, Israel would go through the cycle of…
b. God’s blessings and peace
c. Boredom and turning to other gods and idols
d. God bringing troubles in their homes and lives
e. The people hitting rock bottom
f. And crying to God to help them
g. And then God sending a deliverer, a judge, a mediator who would lead them back to God
h. And then God would bless them
i. And the whole cycle would start all over again!
4. Chapter 6 describes SIN reigning in every home in the nation of Israel (2:11,12; 6:1)
5. They were simply Doing what was right in their own eyes
a. Jdg 17:6 In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes.
b. Do you know what that means?
c. Deciding what is right and true based on your own opinion – based on how YOU feel things should be done - what you personally believe is right and moral and good
1) It is like self-health… eating only foods you like, and only doing what you feel like doing
2) It is like entering your tax information with bad data – made up numbers - just making things up as you go. It will lead to being caught and penalised by the tax-man
d. Israel was deciding their own morals and truths based on what everyone else around them was deciding
e. And all that lead them away from God to the worship of false Gods - idolatry
6. The specific sin of Israel was idolatry – replacing God with things
a. They ignored family worship times – too boring
b. And replaced God with buildings, politics, wealth and images of powerful forces in nature
c. They built impressive statues of idols to bow down to and worship
d. Worst of all… They thought it was okay - that God wouldn’t mind
7. Idolatry only ruins a life – never blesses
a. They believed they could live without God running their lives
b. So they ended up letting demons run their lives and homes
c. So they murdered their new-born babies as part of their worship of idols…
8. And it ruins entire nations! Ireland has exchanged one idolatry (Mary, and the Saints) for another (Money and Same-Sex Attraction!)
B. The entire Nation of Israel was Troubled
1. An outside enemy, the nation of the Midianites ruined their lives (MAP)
2. Midianites were a puny little nation next to Israel, and should not have posed any problem for God’s people – but here they were, bullying the entire nation into fear and ruin!
a. Taking everything they worked for
b. Leaving them with nothing but poverty and sorrows
3. The trouble was God’s doing (Look at 6:4, and compare with Dt 28:25,31)
4. Resulted in all the people hiding in holes in mountains
a. Living in fear
b. In poverty
c. With no hope
d. For 7 long hard years
5. This was NOT how God’s people should be living
C. Israel finally cries unto the Lord for help – for deliverance from the Midianites (6:6)
1. 7 years of problems, poverty, ruin
2. Kind of slow to turn back to God don’t you think?
3. Why is the human heart so slow to get right with God?
D. One more thought (6:7-10)
1. Before God sent help against the Midianites, He sent help against themselves!
2. Instead of sending a Samson, or a Moses, or a Joshua, or a David to free Israel from the Midianites…
3. God sent a single prophet – an unnamed “man of God”
a. Strange isn’t it?
b. It would be like you calling the garage to come help you because your car broke down on the motorway, and they instead sent a teacher!
c. Not the kind of help you would want at that moment
4. But God sent that man of God, because they needed HIM more than they needed freedom from all their troubles
5. That man of God…
a. Reminded those people of how good God had been to them
1) Saving them and freeing them from slavery in Egypt
2) Giving them their new life of freedom in their own land
b. Reminded them that the God of the universe was their God – not the gods of the Amorites, and Midianites, and the Hittites, and the Flashlights – but Jehovah God!
c. Reminded them that God had told them to never be in awe of any other god but Him – never fear them. Never worship them, but He only!
d. And then closed his message with, “But you did not take God seriously!” You were too proud to stay close to God and just obey Him
e. Therefore, all of this has happened to you because of your own selves!
6. What good is that preaching?
a. It is the best good!
b. You see, when WE disobey God, and live according to our own ways, and worship OUR idols in the place of God, we reap the biggest troubles just like those Israelites did
c. TOO MANY Christians live ruined lives – bitter, hard, heartless, fearful, doing nothing of value – full of only themselves!
1) Not because God is on holiday, or because God is being mean to them
2) But because they have never lined their lives up with this Bible, and believed it enough to just obey it, and keep obeying it
d. So, when Christians do finally get tired of living in emotional holes, and in economic holes, and in fear, and in troubles, and they start praying again…
e. Don’t be surprised when God DOES NOT give you what you want, but gives you a preacher, and a simple church to go to
1) Where God deals with your sin, and gets you guilty
2) And humbles you in that church
3) Not because God is mean
4) But because God would rather you and me HUMBLE than healthy!
f. God wants us to receive godly correction before we can receive the help we ask for:
1) Israel had horribly sinned
2) Our problem is SIN - sin against God (6:1)
3) And had brought all this upon themselves
4) Don’t miss this point
5) They needed to see the big picture
6) And needed to repent – not just pray, and get help – but REPENT
E. THAT is when God shows up, and turns the whole situation around - from defeat to triumph!
III. Message - What Can ‘I’ Do? (Philippians 4:13; Judges 6:11-)
A. Now We Come to Gideon (6:11)
1. A young man in Israel
2. Hiding with his family from the Midianites
3. Trying hard to hold onto some of their crops for food
4. Very discouraged after hearing that prophet preach
5. Thinking there was nothing he could do
6. When God spoke to him, heart to heart! Listen to how God talks with Gideon!!!
B. Asks Him to Open His Eyes! See What God Sees (Judges 6:1,11-14)
1. What Gideon and Everyone Plainly Saw was…
a. A terrified young man (11)
1) Hiding from the Midianites
2) Trying to separate his wheat stalks out of view, in a wine press
a) Normally you take your wheat stalks up to a hill where the breeze is stiff
b) And you beat the stalks against a rock
c) And the chaff gets blown away, leaving you with just the kernals of wheat for grinding
d) Yet here is Gideon in a hole in the ground, and the wheat and chaff is not separating
e) It is going to be very rough un-enjoyable bread they will be eating tomorrow morning
3) No faith. No hope in things ever getting better
b. His own weakness, and poverty, and inabilities
c. He saw problems and troubles
d. He saw himself as only a failure
e. He was just stuck
1) We often think that men and women who are used of God are people who have it all together
2) That God can use famous, smart, popular people
3) But God is in the business of using nobodies so that He gets all the credit - glory
2. Here is what God wanted Gideon to see… (6:11-16)
a. An angel appears and says some of the wildest things to Gideon (12,14)
1) The Lord is on your side
2) You are a Mighty man of valour – a strong man full of courage and bravery
3) Gideon looks around and does not see that man
4) Go in the strength God has given you right now
5) Save the nation of Israel
6) God has sent you – that is all that matters
7) DID YOU NOTICE THAT GIDEON’S ABILITY CAME FROM GOD’S CALL? “Have I not sent thee?”
b. What Gideon saw was scary and confusing (13)
1) Gideon was scared – hiding from what was going on around him – just trying to survive
2) Gideon was confused
a) God is with me? With Israel?
b) Sure doesn’t seem like it
c) Why is everything so bad?
d) Where are all of God’s miracles?
e) Looks like God has forsaken us
c. Gideon Argues (15)
1) What a joke… How can “I” save Israel?
2) I am the youngest son, of the least important family in Israel
3) No one listens to me
4) I am not strong
5) I have very little faith
3. God Sees All Our Potential (6:11-14)
a. Yes God sees us as we really are - in all our sins and failures and weaknesses and fears
b. But He sees more – He sees what He is going to make us to be
c. GOD saw a mighty man of valour – courageous – when no one else could
d. GOD saw a man who could do anything with God on his side (Rom 8:31) What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?
e. GOD saw a man ready for battle (6:14)!
f. To us, this is great humour! But to God, it is dead serious!
C. God Makes Two Promises to Gideon
1. I will be with you
2. And you will win
3. Wow! That should be enough, shouldn’t it?
4. God makes the same kind of promises to us!
a. Matthew 28:18-20 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach ALL NATIONS, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
b. Romans 8:31 What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?
c. Romans 8:37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
d. 1Corinthians 15:57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
e. 2Corinthians 2:14 Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place.
D. Quit Blaming God (Judges 6:13) – this is important!
1. To Gideon… God was to blame for all their problems
a. All the troubles were God’s fault – why would you allow all these troubles in our lives?
b. Gideon thought God had shut off the miracles
c. And God is the one that moved away and has forsaken/abandoned them
d. Gideon was completely wrong on every point – and so are you probably
2. Don't misunderstand what you have been going through
b. Laid off?
e. Too many bills?
g. Dumped by your friends?
h. A failure as a Mom or a Dad? As a husband or a wife?
3. Most of it we bring upon ourselves, because of our stubborn pride and sin – be honest
4. So humble yourself. Examine your own heart!
a. Whatever you find that is offensive to God, repent of it!
b. You cannot go wrong humbling yourself, and taking responsibility for the troubles in your life
5. That is when God can start to bring you out of your troubles!
a. Proverbs 16:7 When a man's ways please the LORD, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.
b. 1Samuel 15:17 And Samuel said [TO KING SAUL], When thou wast little in thine own sight, wast thou not made the head of the tribes of Israel, and the LORD anointed thee king over Israel?
E. Ignore What You DON'T Have (Judges 6:14-16)
1. Easier said than done
2. As I said at the beginning, you are completely inadequate as a Christian
a. You do not have what it takes to be like Jesus
b. You don’t have what it takes to live in victory
c. You are weak, broken, messed up, scared, and inadequate
d. But all of that is just fine with God
e. Gideon only has his weaknesses too
1) Deep poverty – his family had "nothing"
2) Very young and immature
3) No leadership abilities
a) He was so young - no experience as a man much less a leader
b) He was completely immature (like many of us)
4) But did you know that THAT can be the best opportunity for God to do a great thing? so that no flesh could glory!
3. Let’s re-read and see what Gideon was missing…
a. Do you see a fast horse?
b. Do you see a mighty weapon in his hand?
c. Do you see a massive army ready to follow him into battle?
4. We are so materialistic – so addicted to things!
a. We think we have to have a building to meet in
b. We think we have to have approval by the world
c. We think we have to have a bunch of powerful politicians, and scientists, and professors on our side, agreeing with us, standing with the Gospel
d. But that is not needed at all
1) 1Corinthians 1:26 For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:
2) 1Corinthians 1:27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;
3) 1Corinthians 1:28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are:
4) 1Corinthians 1:29 That no flesh should glory in his presence.
5. God here teaches Gideon what he had from God…
a. God’s Call! From the moment he was conceived, he was born for this moment!
b. God’s Might was made Gideon’s strength – that’s a lot of power
c. God's Promises for him to lean upon
d. God's Presence right there with him - He had God
e. And that was enough for Gideon all by himself to smite, defeat all the army of Midian
f. It does not matter WHO you are in this room – If you have been born again, you have every one of those things too!
F. Gideon Thinks He is Dreaming (6:17-21)
1. Gideon will have a problem with fear and believing all his life
2. Asks for a proof – a sign that this is really happening
3. Asks for the angel to wait around so that he could go and prepare a sacrifice – a lamb dinner
4. Took 2 hours to skin a lamb, drain its blood, fillet it, cook it and then bring it back to the angel
5. And guess what… the angel was still there!
6. This was no dream. Gideon was sweaty, and the angel was still there, waiting
7. And then the angel just touched the food and it caught fire and burnt up
8. And then Reality Hits Him (6:22,23)
a. Gideon totally freaked out – I have been talking to God! I’m going to die!
b. Then a voice said…
1) “You are not going to die.”
2) “Just get busy doing what I have asked you to do”
3) “You can do whatever I ask you to do because I will strengthen you”
4) Isa 41:10 Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.
5) It needs
to affect US!
Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
G. Believe in What God Sees in You
1. Don’t believe what modern self-help writers say
a. “You are number one”
b. “You are a good person”
c. “You are worth it”
2. Just believe what God says about you!
a. When God says you are forgiven, then believe it, and live forgiven!
b. When God says He loves you, and wants you, believe it, and accept it
c. When God says to believe yourself to be dead indeed unto sin, believe it, and live like you have an entirely new life now!
d. When He says you are free to serve God instead of your past, and your sin, believe it!
e. When God says in this Book you can do whatever He asks of you, you need to believe it, and just start doing it!
f. God seeks to use someone who is just dependent upon HIM. Remember… Without Christ strengthening us, we can do nothing of value!
H. Learn to Rest in Christ (Judges 6:22-24) - The key to every battle starts here
1. Gideon builds an altar – a place where he worshipped God, by himself
2. Calls the altar Jehovah-shalom, Jehovah is Peace - Jehovah put my heart at peace
3. No longer afraid of the presence of God
4. Started paying attention to all the promises of God
5. Started to believe in the power of God
I. Get Ready to Do What God Says Do
1. Remember, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”
2. Not everything “I” may want to do, but whatever God wants me to do!
3. THAT is a great church – one where we ALL hear these words and DO them
IV. Application and Invitation
A. Our problem today is the same as back then – idolatry
1. Maybe not bowing down to statues and grottos
2. But probably worshipping your friends, your money, your image, your sports stars, your followers, yourself
3. There are serious consequences for your home and heart and mind if you have anything more important to you than the Lord Jesus
B. Start Asking God, What Do You Want Me to Do?
1. Gideon never asked what can I do?
2. God just showed up and said you were born to do something great!
3. So, like Saul of Tarsus, ask, “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?”
C. You probably are obsessed with what you don’t have
1. That’s why you don’t give out a Gospel tract – because you have convinced yourself you don’t have anything to say
2. That’s why you are always late to church – because you think you don’t have anything to offer
3. That’s why you don’t give – because you have convinced yourself you don’t have any money
D. There are things that God has given you that make up for all your lack
1. Starting with His Holy Spirit in you – that should be more than enough
2. And the strength of the Son of God
3. And a purpose beyond your ability
E. Quit Blaming God for all the troubles in your life – they most probably are your own doing
F. Don’t believe in yourself – believe… truly believe in the God who created you and loves you and seeks to do something amazing through you
G. Worship God ladies and gentlemen – your own worship time and place
1. Be in awe of Him, and His power, and his promises to you
H. And then let’s see whom God raises up among us to do something amazing for God’s kingdom!