GIDEON’S 300: WHY A SMALL GROUP OF REAL CHRISTIANS IS ALWAYS BETTER THAN 32,000 PRETENDERS [Part 2: The Attack of the Midianites]
So Israel was brought very low because of Midian, and the sons of Israel cried to the LORD. [Judges 6:6]
For those of you who read Part 1 of this series, which is a prerequisite for Part 2 and future segments, you know we concluded on kind of a down note with an ending left hanging in the air. Therefore, the preceding quote from Judges 6:6, in standing on its own, will not convey the true meaning of this chapter or how it came to be that the Midianites took power and control over the Israelites. How did a heathen tribe of people opposing God take authority over the people of God?
For this, which I listed at the end of Part 1, we return to the opening verse of the Book of Judges Chapter 6:
Then the sons of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the LORD; and the LORD gave them into the hands of Midian seven years. [Judges 6:1]
And there you have it. The reason Midian rushed in and caused untold havoc over the Israelites is because God gave them authority over His own people to do that very thing. I could spend the next several paragraphs explaining this in much detail but in this instance it is better to simply get to the heart of the problem: The Israelites turned their back on God. They violated their covenant with God. They removed themselves from the yoke of God. They no longer wanted to be yoked together with a gentle God humble in heart in an easy yoke with a light burden that blessed them with peace, safety, and plenty. They rebelled against God and for planting the seed of rebellion against Him Israel got rebellion right back in its face.
So even though in one sense God gave them over to the Midianites, in another sense He allowed it because He could not do much about their obstinate choice anyway. In short, His covenant demands His people do their part and when Israel no longer did its part the nation opened up a door toward destruction. However, it wasn’t simple laziness and non-adherence to an agreement by both parties, but a wholesale turning away from holiness and the upright lifestyle they pledged to lead. They went from doing right to doing evil. That is quite the precipitous drop and a total breach of faithfulness, fidelity, and proper conduct.
In Part 1 I related this to what has been happening in America over the last many decades. American Christianity has gone from having much influence to having much less and rather than setting the standard of righteousness has largely adopted the mores of the culture. Of course, Christianity in America has always had its blind spots and a decided tendency to live according to extra-Biblical mandates rather than solely by the fullness of the pure teachings of the Lord Jesus but even then had a relatively high level of righteous conduct especially compared to other belief systems in this world. American Christianity has historically existed as salt and light and a preservative of the overall culture. Some will undoubtedly take offense at that yet the teachings of the Lord Jesus have no equal. No other belief system comes close regarding one’s responsibility toward God and one another. What other “religion” or belief system in the world adheres to the following enriching teachings of peace and love?
“You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” [Matthew 5:43-45]
“No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth. For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?” [Matthew 6:24-25]
“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And He said to him, “‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ [Matthew 22:36-39]
“Treat others the same way you want them to treat you. If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. If you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners in order to receive back the same amount. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. Do not judge, and you will not be judged; and do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; pardon, and you will be pardoned.” [Luke 6:31-37]
In Part I of this series I mentioned Wokism as the antithesis to the Great Awakening. In the above latter verse of Scripture from Luke’s Gospel we see that a central tenet of the Woke is the very opposite of what the Lord taught. Cancel culture is all about destroying people, judging people, and condemning people. There is no actual love or mercy there. Not only are the Lord’s preceding teachings poles apart regarding generally accepted standards of human behavior, they are also obviously difficult to carry out. Real enemies are those who hate another and find another despicable and assign blame to others even though such others are often innocent parties. Group think is such that those who prescribe to it lower their otherwise normal relations with their fellow man and latch onto hateful behavior thinking it is justified. But the Lord’s teachings never allow for any of this. And even if one’s enemy is guilty it doesn’t change the Lord’s overall intent. His standard is the same in all circumstances and reduced down to the simple but very direct it becomes the following:
“Love your enemies.”
“Serve God, not wealth.”
“Love God. Love your neighbor.”
“Treat people the way you want to be treated.”
“Do not judge or condemn, but pardon.”
It is apparent that, prior to Judges 6:1, the ancient nation of Israel was doing these things at least in part but enough to satisfy God in that they were putting forth effort and actually succeeding. In fact, prior to the Midianite invasion in verse 6:1, Israel had a long time of peace, protection, and prosperity. Here is the verse immediately before:
And the land was undisturbed for forty years. [Judges 5:31]
Israel had been doing very good. The land was at rest. There was no fear. One can relate Israel’s behavior on either a large or small scale. It is indicative of countries, nations, and large groups on the one hand but also of small groups, immediate families, and even individuals on the other. God’s standard is always the same. By being in covenant with Him it gives us the greatest chance to live right, be righteous, and engage in righteousness. Without that connection one will undoubtedly fall under the sway of human authority rather than God’s authority. Since human authority has historically been seasoned with fear to varying degrees in that a fearful populace is much easier to control and manipulate, the replacement of God’s authority with human authority is often driven by fear. Humans fear that which they cannot control whether it’s an invasion or a disease. And unless they manifest trust in God they must place their trust elsewhere. The following passage illustrates this:
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. We love, because He first loved us. If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also. [1John 4:18-21]
Humanity without the Lord Jesus is a lost cause. Human beings are sinful fallen creatures always coming up short of what they could be otherwise. We only have multiple reams of documentation and libraries full of sinful and disgusting human activity on this planet for multiple millennia to prove it true. As another indication that things have gotten progressively worse, approximately 200 million people were killed in the prior century, not counting abortions, and most of these by human governments. These governments were obviously acting outside the will of God and in direct rebellion against Him.
Though previously successful in living for God with the spiritual fruit to show the world, Israel had simply quit trying. God blessed them for forty years, and it could have been effectively forever. The nation apparently grew bored with righteousness and reached a point of weakness when it could no longer resist temptation. The people then went full bore into disobedience and wholesale into sin. That which was healthy started becoming rotten. And that which grew rotten, though not yet completely rotted away and therefore still possibly turned around and saved, needed a stimulus in a positive direction. Since their pride was such that they would no longer bend their knees in prayer and get on their faces before God they would have to be driven there for their own good and the good of the nation into the future. Perhaps the wholesale slaughter of their newly-embraced evil lifestyle would get their attention. In this case, the nation of the Midianites would serve as a corrective and the means to get Israel back on the right track before it committed national suicide.
So Israel was brought very low because of Midian, and the sons of Israel cried to the LORD. Now it came about when the sons of Israel cried to the LORD on account of Midian, that the LORD sent a prophet to the sons of Israel, and he said to them, “Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, ‘It was I who brought you up from Egypt and brought you out from the house of slavery. I delivered you from the hands of the Egyptians and from the hands of all your oppressors, and dispossessed them before you and gave you their land, and I said to you, “I am the LORD your God; you shall not fear the gods of the Amorites in whose land you live. But you have not obeyed Me.”’” [Judges 6:6-10] 
© 2021 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [To Be Continued]
 Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.
Posted on August 13, 2021, in Current Events and tagged American Christianity, Ancient Israel, Discipleship, Gideon, Lord Jesus, Love of God, Love Thy Neighbor, Love Your Enemies, Sin and Rebellion, The Great Awakening. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.