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Sunday, October 9 2011

Gideon's Trumpets

After the passing of Joshua and the nation-builders of his generation (see also Milk and Honey), their descendants became a country of weak, idol-worshipers.

"2:7 And the people served the LORD all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders that outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great works of the LORD, that he did for Israel." (Joshua 2:7 KJV)

"2:10 And also all that generation were gathered unto their fathers: and there arose another generation after them, which knew not the LORD, nor yet the works which he had done for Israel. 2:11 And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and served Baalim: 2:12 And they forsook the LORD God of their fathers, which brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods, of the gods of the people that were round about them, and bowed themselves unto them, and provoked the LORD to anger." (Judges 2:10-12 KJV)

"6:1 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. 6:2 And 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." (Judges 6:1-2 KJV)

Amidst their fear and trembling at the sight of enemy forces in the land that their fathers had fought to provide to them, the Israelites cried out to the LORD - to which the LORD first sent them a historian prophet who reminded them of Who it was that delivered them from their slavery.

The Holy Scriptures

"6:7 And it came to pass, when the children of Israel cried unto the LORD because of the Midianites, 6:8 That the LORD sent a prophet unto the children of Israel, which said unto them, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, I brought you up from Egypt, and brought you forth out of the house of bondage; 6:9 And I delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians, and out of the hand of all that oppressed you, and drave them out from before you, and gave you their land; 6:10 And I said unto you, I am the LORD your God; fear not the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but ye have not obeyed my voice." (Judges 6:7-10 KJV)

So, just as the LORD had drafted a representative deliverer (keeping foremost in mind that it was the LORD Who actually delivered them; see The First Christian Church) in Moses, so then the LORD provided the Israelites with a deliverer - a farm boy named Gideon.

"6:11 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. 6:12 And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him, and said unto him, The LORD is with thee, thou mighty man of valour.

6:13 And 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.

6:14 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?

6:15 And 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.

6:16 And the LORD said unto him, Surely I will be with thee, and thou shalt smite the Midianites as one man." (Judges 6:11-16 KJV)

"If now I have found grace in Thy sight, then show me a sign that Thou talkest with me"

Gideon was of the generation "which knew not the LORD, nor yet the works which he had done for Israel" (a stark statement of how both their religious and education systems had failed in their purpose), so he had the audacity to ask the LORD for a sign (just as Moses, who had been raised as an Egyptian, not knowing the LORD, did too). So, the LORD provided Gideon with a miraculous sign. It made Gideon into a believer.

Gideon

"6:16 And the LORD said unto him, Surely I will be with thee, and thou shalt smite the Midianites as one man.

6:17 And he said unto him, If now I have found grace in thy sight, then show me a sign that thou talkest with me. 6:18 Depart not hence, I pray thee, until I come unto thee, and bring forth my present, and set it before thee.

And he said, I will tarry until thou come again.

6:19 And Gideon went in, and made ready a kid, and unleavened cakes of an ephah of flour: the flesh he put in a basket, and he put the broth in a pot, and brought it out unto him under the oak, and presented it.

6:20 And the angel of God said unto him, Take the flesh and the unleavened cakes, and lay them upon this rock, and pour out the broth. And he did so. 6:21 Then the angel of the LORD put forth the end of the staff that was in his hand, and touched the flesh and the unleavened cakes; and there rose up fire out of the rock, and consumed the flesh and the unleavened cakes. Then the angel of the LORD departed out of his sight. 6:22 And when Gideon perceived that he was an angel of the LORD, Gideon said, Alas, O Lord GOD! for because I have seen an angel of the LORD face to face.

6:23 And the LORD said unto him, Peace be unto thee; fear not: thou shalt not die.

6:24 Then Gideon built an altar there unto the LORD, and called it Jehovahshalom: unto this day it is yet in Ophrah of the Abiezrites." (Judges 6:16-24 KJV)

Nevertheless, Gideon asked for another miraculous sign - which the LORD also provided to him.

"6:36 And Gideon said unto God, If thou wilt save Israel by mine hand, as thou hast said, 6:37 Behold, I will put a fleece of wool in the floor; and if the dew be on the fleece only, and it be dry upon all the earth beside, then shall I know that thou wilt save Israel by mine hand, as thou hast said. 6:38 And it was so: for he rose up early on the morrow, and thrust the fleece together, and wringed the dew out of the fleece, a bowl full of water.

6:39 And Gideon said unto God, Let not thine anger be hot against me, and I will speak but this once: let me prove, I pray thee, but this once with the fleece; let it now be dry only upon the fleece, and upon all the ground let there be dew. 6:40 And God did so that night: for it was dry upon the fleece only, and there was dew on all the ground." (Judges 6:36-40 KJV

Gideon was chosen as a human representative of the deliverance that the LORD was providing to Israel. For that reason, Gideon was told to take only a token force from the 32,000 "men" that were available to him. He did so by first ordering that those who were "fearful and afraid" to return home - to which 22,000 left (again, a pathetic testimony to what the "men" of Israel had become). A further cut was made from the remaining 10,000 by sending away all of those who drank water from the river by lapping it up like a dog, rather than using a container or cupped hands like a man. When all was done, only 300 of the 32,000 were found to be courageous and civilized.

"7:1 Then Jerubbaal, who is Gideon, and all the people that were with him, rose up early, and pitched beside the well of Harod: so that the host of the Midianites were on the north side of them, by the hill of Moreh, in the valley. 7:2 And the LORD said unto Gideon, The people that are with thee are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel vaunt themselves against me, saying, Mine own hand hath saved me. 7:3 Now therefore go to, proclaim in the ears of the people, saying, Whosoever is fearful and afraid, let him return and depart early from mount Gilead. And there returned of the people twenty and two thousand; and there remained ten thousand.

7:4 And the LORD said unto Gideon, The people are yet too many; bring them down unto the water, and I will try them for thee there: and it shall be, that of whom I say unto thee, This shall go with thee, the same shall go with thee; and of whomsoever I say unto thee, This shall not go with thee, the same shall not go.

7:5 So he brought down the people unto the water: and the LORD said unto Gideon, Every one that lappeth of the water with his tongue, as a dog lappeth, him shalt thou set by himself; likewise every one that boweth down upon his knees to drink. 7:6 And the number of them that lapped, putting their hand to their mouth, were three hundred men: but all the rest of the people bowed down upon their knees to drink water.

7:7 And the LORD said unto Gideon, By the three hundred men that lapped will I save you, and deliver the Midianites into thine hand: and let all the other people go every man unto his place. 7:8 So the people took victuals in their hand, and their trumpets: and he sent all the rest of Israel every man unto his tent, and retained those three hundred men: and the host of Midian was beneath him in the valley." (Judges 7:1-8 KJV)

After dividing his 300 men into 3 groups of 100, Gideon attacked the Midianite camp, in the darkness of night, at the time of their change of guard ("they had but newly set the watch"), with a loud diversion of trumpets - that all of Gideon's troops blew. The Midianites, thinking that a force that could afford hundreds of trumpet blowers must total tens of thousands, broke into confusion and ran. The battle was a rout for Israel.

"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. 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. 7:21 And they stood every man in his place round about the camp: and all the host ran, and cried, and fled.

7:22 And the three hundred blew the trumpets, and the LORD set every man's sword against his fellow, even throughout all the host: and the host fled to Bethshittah in Zererath, and to the border of Abelmeholah, unto Tabbath." (Judges 7:19-22 KJV)

Israel was thereafter delivered from Midianite invasion for forty years, while Gideon remained alive.

"8:28 Thus was Midian subdued before the children of Israel, so that they lifted up their heads no more. And the country was in quietness forty years in the days of Gideon.

8:29 And Jerubbaal the son of Joash went and dwelt in his own house. 8:30 And Gideon had threescore and ten sons of his body begotten: for he had many wives. 8:31 And his concubine that was in Shechem, she also bare him a son, whose name he called Abimelech. 8:32 And Gideon the son of Joash died in a good old age, and was buried in the sepulchre of Joash his father, in Ophrah of the Abiezrites." (Judges 8:28-32 KJV)

Fact Finder: Gideon was one of many "judges" in the era between the death of Joshua and the establishment of the Israelite monarchy in the time of Samuel and David (see The Civil War Kings). Who was a female "judge"?
See The Palm Tree Of Deborah


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This Day In History, October 9

768: Carloman I and his older brother Charlemagne were crowned Kings of The Franks - a Germanic (ancestors of the present day German, Dutch and Flemish people) tribe that controlled much of Europe. The present-day German name for France is Frankreich, meaning empire of the Franks, while the present-day name "France" itself is derived from the Latin term Francia - which was merely a translation of the Germanic term.

1000: The approximate date that Norse explorer Leif Ericson discovered "Vineland," located somewhere along the east coast of North America around modern-day Newfoundland. His arrival came nearly 500 years before another European, Christopher Columbus, "discovered America" (in both cases, it was no discovery for the people who had already been inhabiting the entire continents of North and South America for thousands of years).

1470: Henry VI of England was restored to the throne.

1635: Roger Williams was banished from the Massachusetts colony for advocating religious freedom through the separation of church and state (it didn't take long for the "New World" to begin behaving like the "Old World"). He founded Providence, Rhode Island a year later.

1701: The Collegiate School of Connecticut was founded by the English. In 1718, it was renamed Yale College after British East India Governor Elihu Yale.

1776: Spanish missionaries established a colony in California that they named San Francisco.

1799: The British frigate HMS Lutine sank off the Dutch coast. The ship's bell was later salvaged and mounted in the insurance underwriter's room of Lloyd's of London. From then to now the bell is tolled on receipt of important news such as a ship sinking.

1820: A proclamation rejoining Cape Breton to Nova Scotia was issued. Cape Breton became part of the colony of Nova Scotia in 1763 but it remained largely undeveloped until 1784 when it became a separate colony for Loyalist refugees from the New England colonial rebellion. Successive waves of Scottish immigrants and the return of the Acadians were followed by the reuniting of the two colonies.

1870: Rome was incorporated into Italy by royal decree.

1890: Clement Ader of France made the first heavier-than-air machine flight, 13 years before the Wright brothers. Ader used a steam engine, while the Wright brothers had a much lighter gasoline engine, which enabled the Wright brothers to make the first "sustained" flight.

1967: South American revolutionary Che Guevara was captured and executed in Bolivia.

1983: 17 South Korean officials, 4 of them cabinet ministers including foreign minister Lee Bum-Suk, were assassinated in a bomb blast while visiting Rangoon, Burma. Three officials of the North Korean military, who slipped into the country before the bombing were later charged with the murders.

1989: An official Soviet Union TASS news agency report stated that a UFO landed in Voronezh, Russia.

2006: North Korea reportedly tested its first nuclear bomb.





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