Judges 6:1 Again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD, and for seven years he gave them into the hands of the Midianites. 2 Because the power of Midian was so oppressive, the Israelites prepared shelters for themselves in mountain clefts, caves and strongholds.
This can be likened to the current situation of the Church. We are so oppressed by the enemy that we hide in our churches and practice our religion. Not only we do not know how to overcome the enemy in the world outside, we have adopted a strategy of defensive retreat.
… 6 Midian so impoverished the Israelites that they cried out to the LORD for help. 7 When the Israelites cried to the LORD because of Midian, 8 he sent them a prophet, who said, “This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: I brought you up out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. 9 I snatched you from the power of Egypt and from the hand of all your oppressors. I drove them from before you and gave you their land. 10 I said to you, ‘I am the LORD your God; do not worship the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you live.’ But you have not listened to me.”
There is a movement of prayer and intercession now in the Church. In response, the Word of God tells us that He saved us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of light. He gave us the land or nation where we live so that we could proclaim the gospel and disciple that nation in order to fulfill the Great Commission of Jesus Christ. But instead we have disobeyed God and adopted the practices of the people that live around us, “worshipping their gods.”
11 The angel of the LORD came and sat down under the oak in Ophrah that belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, where his son Gideon was threshing wheat in a winepress to keep it from the Midianites. 12 When the angel of the LORD appeared to Gideon, he said, “The LORD is with you, mighty warrior.”
But the Lord is now speaking to mighty warriors like Gideon around the world who even at this moment are still hiding in fear from the enemy.
13 “But sir,” Gideon replied, “if the LORD is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our fathers told us about when they said, ‘Did not the LORD bring us up out of Egypt?’ But now the LORD has abandoned us and put us into the hand of Midian.”
These “Gideons” are currently wondering where are the great signs and wonders that frequented the Church in the Book of Acts. Because of manifestations of such power the early Church grew explosively and earned the respect of the community. Acts 5:12-13 tell us: “The apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders among the people. And all the believers used to meet together in Solomon’s Colonnade. No one else dared join them, even though they were highly regarded by the people.” But today some theologians would tell us that the Lord has taken away these weapons and that such signs and wonders have ceased.
14 The LORD turned to him and said, “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?”
But the Lord tells us, “You already have what you need to defeat the enemy and fulfill the Great Commission. Have I not given you power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, and sent you out to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick?” (Luke 9:1-2)
The Church is like an army of foot soldiers each of which has been equipped with deadly M-16 submachine guns. However, all of the soldiers have their guns strapped to their shoulders. Some are completely oblivious to the presence of the weapon hanging at their side. Others know of the weapon but have not been trained how to use it. Still others are afraid to use it.
But today the Lord is teaching His “Gideons” how to use the powerful weapon entrusted to the disciples of Christ 2,000 years ago.