You may know the stories in the Bible, but have you ever thought about what it would be like to hear what people in the Bible heard, and go through what they went through? Join us as we go beyond the stories of the Bible and delve into the minds and emotions of various Bible characters. What would it be like experience the things that people experienced?)
Jeremy Walker: 00:00 This is Jeremy Walker and you are listening to, That’s What He Said; a podcast that looks into the Biblical characters and heroes of the faith and into their characteristics and emotions and personalities to try to put a human face on the Biblical characters in the Bible. This is very helpful to those people that might be a Bible teacher or a parent, who might find themselves teaching the Bible at some point and also help you as you read, to kind of put yourself in the place of the Bible characters and ask yourself, ‘What would it be like to hear the things that they heard, and to do the things that they did or to be asked to do them?’
Jeremy Walker: 00:40 Well, today we’re going to be discussing Gideon and the fleece of wool. And Gideon, if you’re not familiar, is found in the book of Judges; Chapter Six is where you’re going to find him; he’s one of the judges in the book of Judges. Gideon is one who stands out in the book of Judges and in the Bible itself. He’s singled out for a lot criticism’s; Criticism’s which, hopefully, by the end of this episode, most people will not be as critical of Gideon because Gideon came from a very particular time, very interesting situations and one thing that’s very important in the Bible is whenever you’re reading; you’re a Teacher, you’re a parent, one of the very interesting aspects is to ask yourself, ‘What is God’s view of this person? How did God view this person?’ A very big mistake is to think about how we view somebody. We try to be very hypercritical of people. How does God view a person like Gideon or David or any other Bible character in the Bible?
Jeremy Walker: 01:43 We’re going to investigate that and talk about it a little bit with Gideon and I’d like to go right ahead and jump right into it. If you’re unfamiliar with what’s happening in Judges Chapter Six; once again the Israelites are doing whatever they think they should do; in other words, they’ve abandoned God’s law and they’re doing whatever they think is right in their own eyes and therefore judgements comes. Now, I won’t get into too much detail because our focus is pretty much on the Bible characters itself, but this is very analogous to the church today. Christians today have abandoned God’s law and they all do pretty much what is right in their own eyes. If you doubt that, have a conversation with a Christian, discuss the concept of morality, discuss the concept of God’s law or how it applies to them today or how it applies to society today. What you’ll find is there is no Biblical coherency, no one stands with the Bible and in fact, one of the most common things you’ll hear is, well thankfully we’re not under God’s law anymore like they used to be. People are embarrassed by God’s law, they dislike it.
Jeremy Walker: 02:57 Let’s go straight to Gideon. I don’t think it’s really complicated for us to understand Gideon or his situation or plight. Problem is, we like to be self righteous where Gideon and other Biblical characters are concerned. We like to say, well if I was in those times, ‘I’ would not have done that or ‘I’ would have done something different. We like to have our veneer of self righteousness, but if you’re a Bible teacher, Pastor, parent, you have to peel that back to the listener from yourself. Get rid of the self righteousness that we like to drape ourselves with whenever we look into the Bible and see these characters. The biggest question to ask yourself, ‘What is God’s opinion of the people in the Bible and do our opinions match?’
Jeremy Walker: 03:51 Let’s get into Gideon, reading in chapter six, the Midianites have come in. The Midianites were a form of nomadic type people, they did not have, necessarily a King like some of the other people we found in the book of Judges. They didn’t have necessarily a structured govt, where they were oppressive or taxes or otherwise over the Israelites. They lived in caves and tents and would come in like locusts or parasites and would leech off the people; stealing their food and cattle and so the entire beginning of chapter six of the bok of Judges is Gideon has grown up now, he has lived under the oppression of the Midianites. Every time their family tries to get ahead, every time, the Midianites come in and steal everything.
Jeremy Walker: 04:44 In chapter six in the book of Judges, we find Gideon in verse 11, he is threshing wheat by the wine press because of the fear of the Midianites. Now, this gives you an idea, secrecy, food itself is scarce and complicated for the Israelites. God has oppressed Israel or allowed the Midianites to do this due to their disobedience; due to their refusal to keep God’s commands, to want to self govern and so they are now oppressed by a foreign element; in this case, a nomadic type people; other times it’s more structured forms of Government and whatnot. In this case, they’re nomadic type people. What’s interesting is that this is analogous to our times today, Christians today often wonder, why is it that Christians aren’t in charge? Well we have to ask ourselves a simple question, just as the Israelites should have, ‘Are we obedient to God? Do we do what is right in our own eyes or do we want to do what God tells us?’
Jeremy Walker: 05:54 Reading in Judges 6:12; we’re going to go through verse 23. ” The angel of the Lord appeared unto him and said unto him, ‘The lord is with thee, thou mighty man of valor.’ Gideon said unto him, ‘Oh My Lord, if the Lord be with us, why then is all of this befallen us and where be all his miracles, which are Father as told us of, saying did not the Lord bring us out of Egypt? But now the Lord hath forsaken us and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites.” The Lord looked upon him and said, ” Go in this, they might and thou shalt save Israel from the hand of the Midianites. Have not I sent thee?”
Jeremy Walker: 06:34 He said unto him, “Oh my Lord, where with shall I save Israel? Behold my family is poor in Manasseh and I am the least of my father’s house.” The Lord said unto him, “Surely I will be with thee and thou shalt smite the Midianites as one man.” And he said unto him, ” If now I have found grace in thy sight, then show me a sign that thou talkest with me. Depart not hence I pray thee, until I come unto thee and bring forth my present and set it before thee.” He said, ” I will tarry until you come again.”
Jeremy Walker: 07:05 Gideon went in and made ready a kid, an unleavened cakes, 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 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. The Angel of the Lord put forth the end of the staff that was in his hand and he 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 and when Gideon perceived that he was an Angel of the Lord, Gideon said, “Alas, oh Lord, for because I have seen the Angel of the Lord face to face, and the Lord said unto him, “Peace be unto thee, fear not, thou shalt not die.”
Jeremy Walker: 07:58 This is the beginning of Gideon. Where he meets with an angel. A lot of people think the angels appear as guys in white robes and wings, but they don’t. If you’ve read the Bible at all, in general, they appear to be men, just general everyday men and the New Testament even tells people to be careful to be hospitable, because many people, of course, according to the Bible, have entertained Angels unaware. To the concept we have of Hollywood concert of Angels, is not the Biblical concept. Gideon meets a man, he’s threshing wheat by the wine press, trying to get food for his family and he’s being told that God is with him.
Jeremy Walker: 08:40 The interesting aspect is that Gideon is indignant. I’m not sure if you’ve stopped and thought about Gideon in this way before, but Gideon has not seen any of the miracles. His friends have not, his brothers and sisters have not and so he’s heard the stories, but he has never seen the evidence of God’s miracles and wonders. He’s heard of God’s providence coming out of Egypt, but now he’s under the oppression of the Midianites and, of course, as we see here, he’s saying, where is God’s provision if the Midianites are here?
Jeremy Walker: 09:17 At the beginning, Gideon misunderstands, He thinks that the Midianites are the problem. He thinks if they just got rid of the Midianites, everything would be okay. Where the Midianites were not the problem, they were the punishment.
Jeremy Walker: 09:57 People give Gideon a hard time because this is the first time he
Jeremy Walker: 10:25 Now, whenever God does something, it’s individualized and specific to the person, to get the proper reaction that they need. Gideon was a very strong headed, angry man, which is very interesting in the text, because it says that if he would go in the spirit in which he was, he was going to deliver Israel from the Midianites. This is a youthful man; he is an angry man; he hated the Midianites; he was a skeptical man, but he was one who was going to listen and that’s evident because after he was shown that this was indeed from God; the fire from the rock, that he was obedient. He then goes on, in chapter six, he goes on then, to throw down the altars of Baal, in hi own father’s backyard, destroy the groves and built an altar to God.
Jeremy Walker: 11:17 This was the very first step that Gideon did, not the fighting of the Midianites. If you’ve never thought about this before with the story of Gideon, you need to rethink this. Gideon’s first job was to point the people, that the Midianites were not the problem, but they were the punishment. By throwing down the altars of Baal and building the altar to God, he was pointing out that their problem was a religious problem. The problem we have today, in America and every Country, is that we have a religious problem. Our problem in America is not abortion. Our problem in America is not a politician. Our problem in America is that Christians today, are disobedient to God. They do whatever they want in their eyes. If you think that’s wrong, just sit down and start talking to people about morality; Christian Morality and how it applies to today and you’re going to find out real quick that everybody has a different definition of what Christian morality is in our modern world. Just as the Israelites did in the book of Judges.
Jeremy Walker: 12:22 Whenever he had to talk to his friends, Gideon had to say, well I met an Angel and this is where the ‘he said’ part comes in. I mean, his friends that he has, and his first part is to go into his father’s backyard, destroy the altars and destroy the groves. Now, everybody knew that Baal worship, at the time, which is King worship, was the universally acceptable and apparently, vehemently defended, practice of the day. So vehement that the people wanted to kill Gideon. Now, this wasn’t the Midianites that wanted to kill Gideon, these were the Israelites that wanted to kill Gideon; the men of the city where he lived, he was from Manasseh. One of the tribes, they wanted to kill Gideon for pointing out and telling them that they had to stop Baal worship.
Jeremy Walker: 13:17 This is very analogous to what happens to the Christian today. If you point out that Christians are not obeying God, they have a different God; either it
Jeremy Walker: 13:42 Things haven’t changed much, which is why the Bible is our example that we’re supposed to follow. Gideon goes to his men and says, ‘ well I met an Angel the other day.’ They say, ‘what do you mean, you met an Angel? What did he look like?’ ‘Well, he looked like a man, a normal man.’ ‘What makes you think he was special?’ ‘ Well, because he told me that I was going to deliver Israel from the Midianites and that’s what he said.’ ‘What kind of proof did you get?’ ‘ Well, I brought out my food and then I put it on a rock like he told me to and fire came out from underneath it.’ You have to stop and ask yourself, his guys are going to be listening to this story; and the Bible doesn’t go into great detail about it. But these people have never seen any miracles like this; it was kind of explained earlier in the passage; had never seen those things; never heard such things. This is a brand new, first crop of people who are having to hear about the miracles of God, but not seen them.
Jeremy Walker: 14:41 His friends, the agree with Gideon, they listen to him. They know Gideon isn’t crazy. They’ve heard the stories themselves. What do they do? They join Gideon, destroy the idols of Baal and burn down the groves and destroy them.
Jeremy Walker: 14:57 Now it comes time to fight and that’s where the next passage comes in. This is, of course, the end of chapter six of the book of Judges. Verses 36 through 40 says: ” And Gideon said unto God, ‘If thou will save Israel by my hand, as thou has said. Behold I will put a fleece of wool on the floor and the dew be on the fleece only, and it be dry upon the earth beside, then shall I know that thou shalt save Israel by my hand, as thou as said.’ And it was so, for he rose up early in the morrow and thrust the fleece together and rung the dew out of the fleece in a bowl full of water and Gideon said unto God, ‘Let not thine anger be ought 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 upon the fleece and upon the ground let there be dew.’ And God did so that night. For it was dry upon the fleece only and there was dew on the ground.”
Jeremy Walker: 15:52 This is the famous scene of the fleece and Gideon. Not only has he gotten to see fire come from a rock; which was enough to get him started. But now he’s about to go to war and he really wants to, as he says, prove again, or be reassured that what God said he was going to do, he was going to do. Now, some people will question this and say, well, he was questioning God. There’s a giant difference and if you’ve never been in charge of something, you might not understand this, but there is a giant difference between questions; meaning your questioning someone in authority, questioning their word and then
Jeremy Walker: 16:39 The Angel Gabriel came to Zechariah and told him that
Jeremy Walker: 16:55 Mary asked a question, well, I don’t understand, how can this be? I have known no man. The Angel Gabriel, very patiently, gave her an answer. It was no punishment, no anger involved. The difference is questioning God and questions of clarification. In the case of Gideon, he wanted clarification. He wanted to say, I know you told me this, but I want to make sure that I understand properly. This is what people will criticize Gideon mistakenly. If you’re a Teacher, if you’re a Bible Teacher, once again, look at how God treats people. How does God react to people when they do things? Because the way God reacts to people, tells you a lot about how the person is asking, why the person is asking and if God is patient or not.
Jeremy Walker: 17:45 We should not be critical of people in the Bible if God’s not critical. In this case, here he is now with the fleece and you can imagine this once again. This is, that’s what he said. Him going to his men after this and saying, okay, now we’ve got our armies together, we’re about to go to war and right now I want you to know God’s going to be with us. Of course, you can imagine the guys just saying, ‘well what do you mean, God’s going to be with us? How do you know this?’
Jeremy Walker: 18:12 ‘Well you know, last night, I really wanted to make sure God was going to be with us, so what I did was, I took a fleece and I went outside and I prayed and I asked that the dew would be on the fleece, but not the ground. I woke up in the morning and there it was. I had a whole bowlful of water from the fleece, but there was none on the ground. Then I asked again the next night, and I said, well no dew on the fleece, but only on the ground and when I woke up in the morning, there it was. I mean, there was no water or dew on the fleece, but there it was on the ground. God said we’re going to win. That’s what he said and so I believe him. Here is the proof. I’ve done this two times, just to make sure that I understood God properly, but that’s what he wants us to do. SO we’re going to go fight.’
Jeremy Walker: 18:58 The men of course, if you know the story, goes into chapter seven. 22,000 men leave the Army; they were scared. Now people like to be critical of them as well, to say they have no faith. But you have to really stop and ask yourself the question: What kind of story is this? Here is this young kid, he’s no special person, he’s not a warrior of any sorts. As he said, he’s the youngest in his household. He’s the most unimportant person, even in his house and now he’s going to lead the armies against the Midianites, who have been plaguing Israel for decades. Here he is. He’s going to be the leader and he comes up with two stories. According to them, it could be cockamamie stories about meeting an Angel of God who these people don’t know anything about. They’ve never seen any miracles of any sort firsthand. Then of course, stories about dew on the ground and fleeces on the ground and the best thing he can come up with it, ‘how do you know this to be true?’ And he says, well that’s what he said.
Jeremy Walker: 20:00 I think we have to pay attention whenever we’re teaching these Bible stories, to be less critical of the Bible characters themselves. It’s very easy to understand why 22,000 people would leave in fright and being scared. The Midianites have been plaguing Israel for over two decades; easy. Now, they’re going to go to war with them and they could all die. Gideon had faith. As people would say, he had lack of faith. Some people like to say this was a lack of faith on his part to test God. Well God wasn’t upset. He wasn’t upset the first time. He wasn’t upset the second time. He wasn’t upset the third time. In fact, later on, if you’ll read even further into Judges seven; he again tells Gideon again, he says ‘Go into the camp, sneak in, listen to them. They’re scared of you.’
Jeremy Walker: 20:47 God did all these things because he wanted Gideon to have confidence, he wanted Gideon to do what he wanted him to do. We sit around and be critical of people all the time and this concept of how easy it would be or how simple it would be or lack of faith you’d have, how would you
Jeremy Walker: 21:30 The number of children that a family has; very big hot topic. You have two subjects.
Jeremy Walker: 21:37 One: You can faith that God is going to give you the children that he wants.
Jeremy Walker: 21:42 Number two: He’s also going to provide
Jeremy Walker: 21:56 If God wants you to have children and be able to take care of them, he can help you do that, as you, of course, keep the commandments.
Jeremy Walker: 22:01 The other side are the people who say, well we have to be responsible, because we’re the ones who control it and we have to be careful because we don’t know what’s going to happen here, we’re testing God.
Jeremy Walker: 22:12 Well the problem is, there’s a lack of faith. Whenever you take the concept of faith and put into the practical level of people having to do something; people fall apart. They really don’t have faith. They think that faith is something that they say. When actually, in the Bible, through and through, Book of Hebrews, all throughout the Bible, everything about faith is something that is an action, that’s why the heroes of the faith are the people who did something. There aren’t heroes of thought. They’re not heroes of speech, but they are heroes of faith. Faith is action. Faith without works is dead. You can’t just say something, but you have to do it. That is what faith is.
Jeremy Walker: 22:53 Gideon is a hero of the faith, not because he questioned God. Not because he tested God, but because he questioned to make sure he understood God properly. Questions of clarification. Whenever God said something and he went to his men, he wanted to be able to say, ‘yes, this is what God said. Yes, this is what he wants us to do and that’s what he said. That is what he said for us to do.’
Jeremy Walker: 23:19 G was a great leader. Gideon is criticized by those people who lack faith themselves, who lack Biblical knowledge, who lack any concept of what real faith really means. Gideon
Jeremy Walker: 24:18 To be critical of people is super simple. To be not in their situations, to be on the sidelines is simple.
Jeremy Walker: 24:25 The real question is not how did Gideon live his life, the real question is how do we live ours? Do we even come close to measuring up to a person who is like Gideon, a
Jeremy Walker: 25:27 If we want things to get better, then maybe we should be more like Gideon. We should be people of faith, of conviction, and, of course, hesitation. It’s a very important thing. We should second guess ourselves, we should question ourselves. We should say, did God really say this? Because I really wonder, most people never stop and ask themselves, did God actually say that. I mean, this podcast is called, That’s What He Said, but did he? Did he actually say the things that you think he said in the Bible? There are many people in the world who say, well Jesus never taught that. Well, what are they talking about? How do you know> Did you test for yourself? Did you check for yourself? Did you go back to clarify?
Jeremy Walker: 26:13 Maybe we need to have many people who are more like Gideon to ask questions of clarification. To go back and test their faith; to check for themselves, if they themselves properly understand what God said. Did God really say such and such? Is that what you’re supposed to do? Did you study that yourself? Did you look it up or did you just listen to somebody else?
Jeremy Walker: 26:36 I’m going to end this episode with Gideon and the fleece of wool and hopefully what you’ll get from this episode is that, as a Teacher, as a parent, and as a Christian, you yourself need to be very careful about how you read the Bible characters; the Bible narratives and being very critical of other people
Jeremy Walker: 26:54 Gideon himself teaches us the concept of to question ourselves, to question if we understand God properly and then once we are sure we understand God, then to act on it. But faith without works is dead. Gideon is somebody we need to admire and Gideon is someone not to criticize, but to emulate.
Jeremy Walker: 27:16 Thank you again for listening to That’s What He Said. This is a production of Christianreconstruction101.com. Please check us out again on our website whenever you get time for this episode and more. Until next time, thank you and God bless.