Covenant Words
Covenant Words

Episode 612 · 2 months ago

The Book of Judges #10

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Judges 6:25-40

To the Lord's word today. Let me pray for his illumination. Father, we pray now that as we look at your word and as I read it to your people, that God, you would use it to speak to our hearts, to challenge us, to teach us, to help us to fall greater in love with your savior, Jesus Christ, with you, God, Oh father, and with the Holy Spirit, and that we may learn of you and that your word may be a light onto our path and a lamp to our feet. We pray these things, God, as we come to your word in Jesus name. Amen again, if you can just remain standing, then you will be able to be seated. But we'll look at judges chapter six. I continue on our way through the book of judges, Judges Chapter six, and we will begin where I left off last week, especially if I get to the right book. It will make it easier. We'll read verses twenty five through forty. Again, I remind you that this is God's word. That night the Lord said to him, take your father's ball and the second bull, seven years old, and pulled on the altar of bow that your father has and cut down the Ashra that's beside it and build an altar to the Lord, your God, on the top of the stronghold here, with stones laid into order. Then take the second bull and offered as a burnt offering with the wood of the Ashtra that you shall cut down. So Gideon took ten men of his servants and did as the Lord had told him, but because he was too afraid of his family and the men of his own town to do it by day, he did it by night. When the men of the town rose early in the morning behold the altar, a bow was broken down and the Astra beside it was cut down, and the second bull was offered on the altar that had been built. And they said to one another who has done this thing, and after they had searched and inquired, they said Gideon, the son of Joesh, has done this thing. Then the men of the town said to Joe Ash, bring out your son that he may die, for he has broken down the all to a ball and cut down the Astra beside it. But Joey said to all who stood against him, will you contend for ball or will you save him? Whoever contends for him shall be put to death by morning. If he is a God. Let him contend for himself, because his altar has been broken down. Therefore, in that day Gideon was called Jirou Ball, that is to say, let boo contend against him, because he broke down his altar. Now all the Median Knights and emalekites and the people of the East came together and they crossed the Jordan's and encamped in the Valley of Jezreel. But the spirit of the Lord Clothed Gideon and he sounded the trumpet and the Beezerite were called out to follow him, and he set messengers throughout all manisson. They too were called out to follow him, and he sent messengers to Asher Zebulon and AFTERLA, and they went out to meet them. Then Gideon said to God, if you will save Israel by my hand, as you have said, behold, I'm lane of Fleece of woe on the threshing floor. If there is dew on the fleece alone and it's I and all the ground, I will know that you will save Israel by my hand, as you have said. And it was so. When he rose early next morning and squeezed the fleece, he wrong enough do from the fleece to fill a bowl with water. Then Gideon said to God, let not your anger burn against me. Let me speak just once more, please, let me test just once more with this fleece. Please let it be dry on the fleece only and on all the ground. Let there be do. And God did so that night and it was drying the fleece only and on all the ground there was do. How and the reading of God's word. Please be seated. So we're picking up the book of judges where I left off last time, as I mentioned, and Um, I realized as I got into this text it will been easy for me to preach three messages on this text. I probably could have preached more, but but I don't. I don't want to spend all of our time in the next four months on one chapter. So, Um, I'm condensing into one message this evening. And so...

...we're gonna begin by looking at versus twenty five through twenty seven. Here and in Verse Twenty Five, Gideon is commanded by God to strike a blow against idolatry, and it begins, curiously enough, in his own family, and his father had erected idols, two false gods. He had erected idols to Baal and Astra, which were male and female deities of the time, and in that area. Now Jesus instructed in Matthew Ten thirty seven he said he that loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me. And earlier in Chapter Ten of Matthew in verse thirty six, verse before it, he said a man's foes shall be those of his own household. So it has always been in the church and even Jesus's own family were against him at various times, sometimes trying to get him and say that he was insane or out of his mind. And and so this aspect of family members against family members has been a very common thing. I remember once when I was in high school and uh I needed to go to a youth group meeting and my parents were not believers and and so I told my dad I had to go and he looked me right in the eye and he said, Kim I want you to know something. It's okay to be a Christian, but don't be a fanatic. So well, I disobeyed his console. At least for part of my life, I've been a fanatic, but I hope in a good way. But but in Gideon's case it was much more serious than that because he was going against his father and by doing so he was risking disinheritance and even death for going against his own father. But back in verse twenty three got it assured him you are not going to die, so he could know that he wouldn't. Now this appears to be a different appearance. We had an appearance of the angel of the Lord earlier in the r this appears to be a different appearance because this actually happens at night. So some would think that perhaps this had taken place in a dream. And so this is the second appearance to Gideon. Matthew Henry Says God's visits if gratefully received. She'll be graciously repeated. Now there's also a question here that probably it's a little confusing as you read through this account. This is probably the most confusing part of the passage. Is How many bulls are there? Is there one bowl or two? What is this second ball? I I don't I don't get it. It seems like he's only sacrificing one bull, but we read about this second ball. Well, most are agreed that there is only one bowl and it is called the second bowl for whatever reason, could have been the second bull of the flock or something along that line, I guess what wouldn't call Um the bowl of flock, but Um, sorry, Ted, but nonetheless we can see uh here. It's just really one bull. Is All that are happening. And the fact that God commands wanted to be seven years old perhaps has reference to the fact that Israel has been in servitude, uh, to Midian for seven years, and perhaps that is why both seven years is chosen. But just see again how quickly idolatry has made its way into Israel. This keeps happening again and again, and tell at least the book of Daniel, when the three Hebrew children make a grandstand against idolatry. It appears that this was always Israel's besetting sin, and it never took them long to go after these other gods at all. Calvin famously said that the human heart is a perpetual idle factory, and we in the reform tradition through the years have stood steadfastly against all physical icons and images of God in any kind of way. In the church I pastored in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, after I had left in the Church cont and you. For a few months after...

...that there was a man who came to preach for me. He was of a sister denomination, very close denomination of ours, and also Presbyterian, and in the midst of his sermon he pulled out a very well known, uh so called picture of Christ and he said to the people, do you know who this is? And one of my elders happened to be there in the service that morning and to his credit, he yelled out Peter. So ever since then, Um, I've tried to follow that's when I moved to a church, an evangelical free church, that had stained glass, and in the glass where these pictures and I said to them, Oh, I see you have Peter Praying in the garden. That's very, very interesting, and and all of that. And how do we know? They might look more like Peter than they look like Jesus. So, uh so, who knows? But what is more of a danger to us? Of course, his spiritual idolatry. That's what we're always facing as the children of God, and just like Israel, we can let that in very easily. But in Verse Twenty Six, the second part of the command comes forth, not just destroy the altar. See, that's only half the job. You destroy the altar, that's great, but then you need to replace it, as o Gideon is to erect another altar onto the Lord. We always have to be careful of replacing things, not just tearing things down and getting things out. We see it Jesus Consul in Matthew Twelve. He said when the unclean spirit has gone out of the person, it passes to waterless places seeking rest, but finds none. Then it says, I will return to my house from which I came. And when it comes it finds the house empty, swept and put in order. Then it goes and brings with it seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and dwell there. And the last state of that person is worse than the first. So all so will it be with this evil generation. The unclean spirit had been cast out but nothing had been put in its place. So when he comes back, he finds it empty and returns. Now I'm not going to deal with demon possession here. Tonight my my son had to preach a passage in his PC, a church out of Um acts. Uh, you know, I think it's still exists, but I sure don't know how to deal with it. Um, so that's my expertise on that particular subject. So I'm waiting for your pastor to come back to to explain that all to you. Um. So anyway, Gideon, don't just destroy the false but now put up something that is true. And this is a very special command of God. So you have to think about the times. Remember this. This is not really lawful. Okay, now, of course God's telling him to do it, so it's lawful, but it's not the way it's been commanded in the law. Gideon is of the tribe of manners. He's not supposed to be offering sacrifices. That's left for the Levites, and he's not supposed to offer sacrifices outside of the Tabernacle. That's where he's supposed to offer that's where the priest are supposed to offer those sacrifices, um. But he's following the law, he's following God. God has told him to do this for a special reason. And he does build the kind of altar that the law commanded. An Altar of stones was an accepted altar for the people to worship, to worship at, and so in Verse Twenty Seven. Gideon does this with ten of his servants, but he does it by night because he's afraid this might remind you of somebody else. And in the gospel of John, remember, Nicodemus comes to Jesus by night. It doesn't tell us why he came to Jesus by night, but John, whenever John Refers to Nicodemus from then and he goes, this is a guy who came to Jesus at night. Okay, so that's how he always emphasizes that, and so it doesn't seem to be a very complimentary thing...

...about that. But again, Gideon is taking a stand, as we spoke about earlier, against his own family, his own family members. He's he's destroying their altar and do and doing that. And Uh, you know, the names are Um at the Bible are really, really interesting Um, because what is Gideon commanded to do? First voices go down and cut down the altar. And what does Gideon's name mean? A cutter down, someone who cuts down. And that's what Gideon is called to do. You know, I'll come back to that by night and a little bit. But let's look at versus thirty five. The men of the town rising early in the morning, see that the altar for by all in the Astra have been cut down and an altar of the Lord put in this place, and they wonder who's done it. And seems to not take very long at all and they discovered that it is Gideon who has done it. So the men of the town come to Gideon, Father Joeash, and they tell him that he should bring out his son, that he would die for cutting down these altars. And we have what seems to be a kind of surprising statement from Gideon's father. After all, it was his altar that Gideon cut down. But instead of a green that his son should die for this, he says that whosoever should contend for bow should be put to death. And he makes a very, very logical proposition. He says, if bail is a god, well then he should be able to contend for himself. Right, that only makes sense if he is a God. And as I was thinking about that, it reminded me very much of Gamliel's counsel in the book of Acts Concerning the apostles in next five and he said in versus thirty eight and thirty nine. So in the present case, I tell you, keep away from these men and let them alone, for this planet of the undertaking is if it's a man, it'll fail, but if it's of God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You might even be found opposing God. So they took his advice. And maybe, and I don't know this, but maybe in that moment, as Josh was standing up for his son, maybe he said, oh, that's why I named him cutting down. Okay, that makes sense now. Perhaps he realized that. I don't know. But coincidentally, in the next verse there's a name change and Gideon himself derobable, which means uh, let the bow contend against him. And apparently the advice of Gideon's father's called the mob down and we hear no more of them wanting to put Gideon to death. Gideon is the one who contended with all and he comes out the victor. And so now we have the change and all of the people are now starting to gather, all the armies of Israel gathering to battle with Gideon. The median nights, first of all, the enemies and media nights, the AMALEKITES and all of those people of the East gathered together in the Valley of Jezreel, and that was the same valley earlier where barrack and the forces of Israel had gone against Sisera and his nine iron chariots, and so this is the same battlefield at that time. This valley is said to me, not only back then but even today, the richest agricultural land in in all of Israel. Okay, uh, so, you know, Israel has a lot of deserts too, but there are some places where it's very last and this is one of those lands that they're fighting for, and that would make sense why they're doing that. And so Um, the tribe to Manasa, Gideon's tribe, and also the tribes of Asher, Zabulon and Napthali are all gathered together and in particular the family that Gideon is from, the epsites are mentioned as well, and so they come together and it comes to this very interesting phrase in Verse Thirty Four. The King James says the spirit of the Lord came upon Gideon. The Hebrew word for came upon actually as the first meaning of wrap, and over the half of the places where this...

Hebrew word appears, the King James translated as clothed or some form of clothes. So the E S V says the spirit of the Lord Clothed Gideon. The contemporary English version says it took control of Gideon. Another version says it empowered Gideon. Again, let me returned back to that when we get to the application shortly here. And so, in versus thirty six and forty, we have probably the most famous story about Gideon that most everybody knows, Gideon and his two fleeces. Now, apparently the turning of Israel away from Baal and Ashtral, the turning of them to Gideon, the massing of the troops together to Gideon, the accepting him as their leader, is not enough evidence for Gideon. And so, in versus thirty six and thirty seven, Gideon asked God for a sign to see if God will really do that, will he willly deliver Israel by his hand? And so he lays we talked about the threshing floor. I talked about it this morning, and here again he lays it, a piece of wool on the threshing floor and asked if God is indeed going to use him to help Israel win the battle, then there should be dew on the fleece and the ground should be dry. And so it happens the next morning that indeed, uh, there is enough dew on the fleece to forget it, to wring it out and have a bowl full of water. And I doesn't say how big the bowl is, so I don't know how big it is, but there's enough new in order to do that. So that's that's a lot of water. But again, in verse thirty nine, that's still not enough for getting and so he asked for the reverse the next day, that now the fleece would be dry and the ground would be wet. And again in verse forty that's exactly what happens. So is at an instance of lack of faith? Well, I think we can positively say yes, it is. We already had the assurance of the angel of the Lord in Verse Fourteen that God was indeed going to be with Gideon and and send him to defeat the media nights and Gideon had received the assurance the word of the Lord, and the word of the Lord of God promises, will always do what he sends it to do. The scripture tells us that. But Gideon still needed more assurance. But having said that, there's two reasons I think we shouldn't be too hard on Gideon. I find something I think if I get older I'm a lot more lenient on biblical characters. When I was young I was pretty pretty judgmental, but I become more lenient because I realized how much grace I need Um. But so the first reason why I think we shouldn't be so hard on Gideon is because we're often in the same place. We have God's word for almost every issue we encounter, almost every trial we find ourselves and we have a word of God for that trial. But often that isn't enough for us either. But there's a second reason, I think, why we shouldn't be too hard on Gideon, and it's not something found in the text, but it's something not found in the text. So what is it that's not found in the text? We don't find God rebuking Gideon for doing this, do we? God doesn't say, Oh, Gideon, Gideon, how long must I suffer you? I can't believe this, I did this, I did this, I did this. We find no reproof of God to Gideon. He has no rebuke. So if God isn't going to rebuke him, I'm not going to rebuke him. I'll just I'll just leave him there and I will just remained, uh, mostly silent, not not mostly dead, but mostly silent. So let me make some applications. So in the text we had a reference to the spirit of God coming upon clothing or empowering Gideon, and this is one of the many references to the spirit of God that we have in the Old Testament. The Holy Spirit isn't something that just appears on the day of Pentecost. In the Book of Act we've had many, many, many references to the Holy...

Spirit and in fact it begins in the very first book, the very first chapter and the second verse of the Bible. We read about the spirit upon the waters, and so the Holy Spirit is very active in the Old Testament. Now, some of you might know that to become a minister in the O P C you have to be go through a series of tests, and one of those tests that you have to endure is a theology exam on the floor where you stand before everybody and then after the person that's UH giving you the exam is done, then they open it up to the floor and they could ask any question that they want to ask it at all. So you have to be prepared for that. Well, before you do that, Um, the committee, you meet with the committee before that and they ask you, uh, those kind of questions and they kind of go through and ask you the questions. They want to make sure that you're ready to go to the floor. They don't want you to go to the floor and embarrass yourself. So so they go through these questions with you and see how you answer them. So the next day the chair, the man that was the representative of that committee, was giving me the exam on the floor of presbytery and uh, he is the man that's a good friend of mine. He's a he's now a regional home missionary. And he was asking the question and he was going through them and I was answering them as I'd answered them in committee. And then all of a sudden he said, Kim what's the difference between the work of the Holy Spirit and the Old Testament and work of the spirit in the New Testament? And I just kind of looked at him and he said, yeah, this wasn't in the examined committee and uh, I was sitting there thinking in my mind furiously what I would say at that moment and tend to take it off guarden. So me being the excellent theologian that I am, I answered. You know, I'm going to have to do a little more studying on that particular question. The good news is I passed the exam. The bad news is I'm still not clear in the answer to that question. But anyway, that the work. I can say this, the working the only spirit of the Old Testament was doing the same kinds of things he does in a new testament, but only among the Israelites. In the Old Testament not so much into the gentiles, but now he does. Now. I could say more on that, but that'd be a good question for again you have to ask your pastor sometimes Um, because maybe he got that question and nailed it. So the important thing is the spirit of God was coming upon Gideon, wrapping him uh and shrouding him, empowering him to do the Work of God, which is the same thing he has to do it with ministers in the Church today, as we give God's word, if the spirit of God doesn't empower us, our words are empty and we need that and we need God's spirit to use our words to be living words. And and he's still doing the same and UH. And so we we we need to recognize we need the spirit of God. You know, I need to say well, and I say this sometimes, have said it here. Well, you know, I used to be pentecostal. No, I've I'm always pentecostal. I'm still pentecostal. It's just the way that word has been misused today is that it's confusing. But as Christians we are pentecostal. We believe in the work of the spirit. We might not believe it the way certain people teach it, but we certainly believe the Holy Spirit is an important part of the godhead and we need him to clothe us. There's a struggle in this passage between what's wisdom and what's fear. It tells us when Gideon tore down the altar, he did it by night because of fear. It tells us fear isn't always a bad thing. Okay, fear can lead us into a wise course. In sermons on Gideon, and he's often railed against, as I mentioned before, saying he didn't trust God. He doubts God's word, he doesn't believe he's the one who can deliver Israel. He doesn't believe you know what God says and he has there the fleeces and all of this.

And of course there there's some truth to that. But we don't want to go overboard because, after all, get in is the one who's going to lead an army of three hundred people against forces much greater than that. So I don't think again we need to be too hard on him. And again he did it by night, but he was still found out. I think he knew he was going to be found out. He didn't think he was going to slip by nobody would know it was him. And so even in doing that he just didn't want to be interrupted, you know, when he was doing that. He didn't want them to come to him then, and so he wanted to be able to do it at night when he could finish the job without a problem. But he knew, he knew there would come to him and they were gonna look at him as the person who did that and Um and so again it doesn't seem like there were a lot of options for the people of God that for someone that would destroy an idol. They didn't asked lots or anything like that to see what they should do for him. And again Gideon didn't sleave, was found. But but again, sometimes we think, you know, the only way I can follow God, and this is if I really do the boldest thing possible. And especially when I was young, that was kind of the way I thought. Is that if I'm if I'm really gonna Follow God, I gotta do it that really strong way, you know, the way that really shows I'm a I'm a person of faith and and take the strong way to in order to do that. And and if we don't do that and we take an easier course to do the same thing, we think, well, I'm not trusting God and and I'm not obeying God and I'm fearful and all that. But you know, our Lord instructed us that we should be wisest serpents and harmless as doves. You know, Jesus himself often took the path of least resistance until his time came. He was very wise when when things were getting hot around Jerusalem, he stayed away from Jerusalem. You can read this in the Gospel. You'll see that again and again. His brother said you should go up to the face, because now I'm not going up. Yet he knew when to go up. He knew when it would be safer for him to go up. He knew all of these things, he knew when it was wise, and he knew when he should stay away from Jerusalem, when he should go into the outer regions and minister there. The German reformer Johannes Brenn, said now, this fear was not the fear wooded in Godlessness or unbelief, for otherwise he would not have obeyed God even at night, but it was a fear worded in the prudence of faith, for even if you have the commandment of God and the promise of divine aid, nonetheless the prudence of faith asked you not attempt anything rashly or hurrow yourself into instantaneous danger without their being any need. Rather, it asked that you think it is necessary to follow the divine call fulfill the commandment of God, but that is not necessary for you to test God. Rather use all justgitimate and ordinary means established by God in order to avoid dangers while you pursue your calling. Thus, Giddeon acted prudently that he tore down the altar of bell at night, not during the day, in order to avoid the hazard to his life. No, you're and his brands. After his death, the jesuits would demolish his grave, UM and so. But he was a great Protestant reformer. But I don't know, um about you. And the reason I bring this up in this message and the reason I wanted to talk about this from his passage is because it's something again, that's plagued my life. Through my life, I've done things in my and certain things in my life, and maybe this is true of you as well, certain things in my life and I look back on them and I questioned myself when I say, did I do that out of fear or do that out of wisdom? And I'm still sometimes tormented by those things in the middle of the night and I wonder what was I just not believing God, or why did I do what I did at that time? Even...

...worked out great, I still wonder about those things. And so I bring that up because I always think if I'm going through things someone, he was probably going through that kind of thing as well. So the other question we have to ask here before I closed, is was Um it was gideon right, and should we emulate him into putting the fleeces before God? And we have to ask that question. Should you and I be putting fleeces out? It's interesting. I got a call from a friend, somebodys I was able to leave to the Lord on a band trip many years ago. He and he called me yesterday and he brought up fleeces and I said, well, I'm I'm preaching on that tomorrow, and he was. He was talking about how he thought it was good to put out fleeces and I was arguing no, and that one man said, you know, I put out a fleece and I got fleeced. Uh that, that's what happens a lot of times. Now let me say in the New Testament there is no reference anywhere to Christians putting out fleeces in order to find God's will. The closest thing we have in the New Testament is the apostles cast. Seen Lots for the Replacement of Judas as the apostle, but even that is really before pentecost and it's hard to judge anything because of that. And Uh so, I'm not. I don't think we can use that. But there's no teaching in the New Testament anywhere about believers putting out fleeces, and even the fleeces that Christians put out today oftentimes do not resemble Gideon fleases in the least. Just think about what Gideon said. Make the fleece dry in the ground wet and vice versa. That's a pretty amazing fleece. Okay, that that's that's a lot different from from our fleeces. You know, you know, Lord, if it's if it's your will that I do this, then don't let it rain this week in Tucson. That's not much of a fleece. I understand that. But but back where I come from, that that's a legitimate fleece that you could do. But it makes no sense whatsoever. Um. But you know again, maybe you would say something like well, art of it your will, I buy this new motors, I go, let it be hot in Tucson tomorrow. And Yeah, all right. So the New Testament says we are guided by the spirit of the Lord. Everyone who are led by the by the spirit of God. They are the sons of God. So what are the two main ways we have of guidance? We have the spirits leading and guidance and we have God's Providence. One of the clear passages in the New Testament Guide and Guidances Act Sixteen, and we read this and he went through the region of Frieda and Galicia. haveing been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia. Now, what the text doesn't tell us is what does that mean? How is he forbidden by the Holy Spirit to UH speak the word in Asia? Now, I'm going to give you an example from my life, and don't make this an exemplarything that you would you say, Oh, I'm going to do this, but this is something I did in my life, that happened to me in my life and I treasure it as a uh as to me, an experience of God's leading. But Um, you can do with it what you want. After I tell you I was coming home from golfing with a guy in my church and it was very early in the morning. We started very early golfing and it was still it was still about seven o'clock that I was driving home and I was, well, I guess you'd call it speeding. Um as well, it was. I was I was going much faster than I should have been going and the road was the back roads and it was very, very curvy roads, you know, and and I'm taking his road and I'm going, you know, probably fifteen, twenty miles over the speed limit as I'm going, and all of a sudden into my mind came this, not a voice, but a thought that I had. He said, you know, the way you're driving here, if you were to hear if the deer were to come out in the middle of the road, you would be you would be killed there. But something would happen, you'd smash the cart there totally. And if and I thought, Oh man, and immediately I let my foot off the...

...pedal and went down below the speed limit. And I know this, my team, hard to believe for you, but the next curve I came around, who do you think was right in the middle of the road? A big deer was sitting right there. Now you can do with that what you want, whatever you want to do, but but the Holy Spirit, lets us know, is various things in various ways. We have a similar statement verse seven. And when they come to Macia, they attempted to go with Ania, but the spirit of Jesus did not allow them. Again, how do we know that? What do they do? How did the spirit of God not allow him to do it? And then in verse nine we read And a vision appeared to Paul during the night. A certain man of Macedonia was standing beseeching them and saying come over to Macedonia and help us. Now here comes one of my favorite verses in the Bible, Verse Ten. I love this. Okay, if a vision during the night, a man of Mass Adonia standing beseeching him, saying come over to Macedonia and help us, in verse ten says and Um uh, we now I copied the wrong verse into my notes, but the voice. But basically she said we therefore perceived that the Lord was telling us to go to Macedonia. Okay, good perception. That was great. You call even I could have caught onto that one, I think. But but anyway, I now. I'm not saying we should look for visions today. I don't believe we should. When I was in the Prayer Corps Nestivity for a street ministry, there was a guy that was in there and he told me he said, you know, he said, every time I fast I get a vision. I thought, wow, that's pretty cool. I said really, every time you fast you get a vision. What's it? What's it like? You said, I get a vision of a hot dog. Okay, so I understand that that when you're when you're fasting, but the point is that Paul and Silas were being led by the prompting of the Holy Spirit. The spirit was telling go or don't go. Stop all of those things. And I could give you many examples in my life and I'm sure you could give me many examples in your life. And isn't an interesting and this is my final point, that when then, God wants to strike a blow against Israel, against idolatry in Israel, he chooses the son of one who had apparently been an instigator of ball worship in the in Israel, the one who had erected the altar in the first place. All of us have different stories of our conversion to Christ. Some of you here today were perhaps brought up by Christian parents and you grew up knowing the Lord and they taught you the scriptures and the catechisms and and other things, and you can and they prayed regularly for and you can thank God for that upbringing. But others of you were probably like me, as I mentioned, not brought up in the Christian family at all. I had parents that were CEOS of the church. You know, Christ Christmas and Easter. Own Ly had that and most of the time not even that. They rarely darkened the doors of a church. I can't even remember after my very youngest years when I was in Christmas programs. I can't even remember my parents ever going to church. But I had a godly sister was twelve years older than I am and she took me faithfully to Sunday school and Church week after week until she abandoned me and got married and went with her husband. But she arranged for another godly woman in the Church to pick myself and my brother up and take us to church week after week. And I already mentioned a bit my father. My father was a professional musician. He was part of a band that was in their fourth generation. They began in Germany years ago. Were the only band allowed to play in their part of Germany and it had passed from generation to generation. Now it was my turn and for my next for the next generation, there was myself, my my cousin who had mental...

...and drug problems, and my brother who had mental and drug problems. So guess who? My Dad pinned his hopes on that I would carry on the dance band and go on, but God called me to be a minister. And so some of you can say here. You know, I grew up pastor in a family that didn't serve God, didn't love God, but somehow God got a hold of me and you probably, like me, sometimes just sit back and think, why me, God? Why Me Lord? Like the like the song says, why me Lord, why didn't you choose me? I can't understand it, Lord, but the grace and election of God is something wonderful and you can sit here, some of you tonight, and think, I don't know why I'm here. I don't. I don't understand how I got to this play, but God brought me here and I had nothing in in my growing up or anything to to convince me that that this was the way to go. But you know, I I turned this way. And then, even as I serve God, I certainly didn't want to be a calvinist. You know, uh, that was a bad thing. I know that one of the men that I looked at has my hero in the faith, said that John Calvin was responsible for putting more people in Hell than anybody, everybody else in history. Can you imagine that? That's what I was following. But there God grabs me and opens my eyes and shows me his word that I can't fight against anymore. The ways of God have always been passed finding out, and we can praise God that, whatever the way you got here, however it is, it was God. He might have used godly parrots and he might have used someone else outside of your family or another student you matter, something like that, but it's always been God. And so, as we serve God, we don't just tear it on our altars, but we want to replace it with Christ. We want to give him first. He is the one who died for us, he is the one who paid the price for our sins, he is the one that did everything for us, and so again I want to say look to him, look to him, for he has everything that you need. Trust in him and believe in him. Let's pray. Father God, we thank you tonight for your word and we thank you for what it teaches us and we thank you for your grace. It has been in evidence throughout time, from the beginning, Lord, through the story of Gideon, and then it reaches down into our own lives as well, and Lord, we thank you for that and we praise you, God, for your way of bringing us. Every one of us that's here tonight can be grateful and thankful to you, for you have brought us to this place for such a time as this. And, Lord, we thank you and we praise you for your amazing grace that has brought us out of darkness in the light. And we asked Lord, as we've Sung to night and as we've seen Gideon, guide us. O, Lord, direct us in your path and lead us where you would have us to go. We prayed in Christ's name. Amen.

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