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Sunday, October 9 2011
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)
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.
"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.
"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.
"6:16 And the LORD said unto him, Surely I will be with thee, and thou shalt smite the Midianites as one man.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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"?
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.