MOST SEE THE TIME OF GIDEON BEING RAISED UP, AS THE BEGINNING OF THE 2ND PHASE OF THE PERIOD OF THE JUDGES. ALTHOUGH IT WAS ONLY 3 SHORT CHAPTERS AGO THAT WE WERE INTRODUCED TO OTHNIEL THE FIRST JUDGE OF YISHARAL, AROUND 2 CENTURIES HAVE PASSED SINCE THAT TIME, AND NOW WE BEGIN JUDGES CHAPTER 6. CONDITIONS IN YISHARAL CHANGED GREATLY OVER THAT TIME. VARIOUS CANAANITE KINGS HAVE COME AND GONE, YISHARALITE TERRITORIES HAD EXPANDED AND CONTRACTED, THE PRIESTHOOD OF YISHARAL WAS MOVING STEADILY TOWARDS IRRELEVANCE, SIMEON’S ABSORPTION INTO JUDAH WAS UNDERWAY, DAN WAS ON THE MOVE NORTH IN THE PROCESS OF ABANDONING THEIR YAHUSHA-GIVEN TERRITORY ON THE MEDITERRANEAN FOR AN EASIER LIFE UP NEAR LEBANON AND SYRIA AND THE 2½ YISHARALITE TRIBES WHO HAD CHOSEN A LIFE ON THE EAST-SIDE OF THE JORDAN WERE SLOWLY BUT SURELY SEPARATING THEMSELVES FROM THE REST OF THEIR HEBREW BROTHERS.
GIDEON REPRESENTS THE 5TH CYCLE OF REBELLION, FALLING AWAY, OPPRESSION BY A FOREIGN NATION (AS A DIVINE PUNISHMENT), THEN YISHARAL CRYING OUT FOR DELIVERANCE AND YAHUSHA RESPONDING BY SENDING THEM A SHOFETIM (DELIVERER, A MESSIAH-TYPE), WHO WOULD LEAD THEM TO VICTORY. AFTER DEFEATING THEIR OPPRESSORS YISHARAL WOULD (FOR A SHORT TIME) STEP BACK FROM THEIR IDOLATRY, OBEY AND SERVE YAHUSHA WITH SINCERITY AND OBEY HIS INSTRUCTIONS.
YET IN NO TIME, BACKSLIDING WOULD BEGIN AND THE CYCLE WOULD START ALL OVER AGAIN. THE DAMAGE HAD BEEN DONE; YISHARAL HAD ALLOWED THE CANAANITES TO REMAIN AND THRIVE ALL OVER THE PROMISED LAND AND WITHOUT THEIR EVEN REALISING IT, YISHARAL HAD EMBRACED MANY OF THE PHILOSOPHIES AND STANDARD CULTURAL PRACTICES OF THE CANAANITES; THEREFORE IT WAS TEMPTING AND EASY FOR THE YISHARALITES TO COMPROMISE AND RE-INTRODUCE THOSE PAGAN WAYS BACK INTO THEIR WORSHIP AND LIFESTYLES.
SOUTHERN SAYING IN THE U.S: “WHEN YOU’RE UP TO YOUR ARSE IN ALLIGATORS, ITS EASY TO FORGET YOU WERE SUPPOSED TO DRAIN THE SWAMP”.
THIS WAS YISHARAL’S CONDITION. YAHUSHA INSTRUCTED JOSHUA TO COMPLETELY DRAIN THE SWAMP OF CANAANITES AND THEY SET ABOUT DOING IT. THE PROBLEM IS THAT AS THEY ENGAGED THE ENEMY AND TIME PASSED, THEY FOUND SEVERAL GOOD REASONS TO ALLOW MANY OF THOSE ALLIGATORS TO REMAIN, RATHER THAN STAYING TRUE TO THE GOAL OF TOTAL ERADICATION. THE UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCE WAS THAT THE REMAINING ALLIGATORS GAINED CONFIDENCE, THRIVED, AND BECAME A BIGGER PEST THAN BEFORE THE SET-APART WAR PROCESS HAD BEGUN UNDER JOSHUA.
OVER THE NEXT 3 CHAPTERS WE’RE GOING TO SEE THE HISTORY OF GIDEON AND THEN LATER HIS FAMILY FULLY DISCUSSED BECAUSE YAHUSHA’S AMAZING FAVOUR AND SET-APART PERFECTION AND JUSTICE WAS SO OBVIOUSLY ON DISPLAY ALL DURING THIS TIME; BUT ALSO BECAUSE IT CONTAINS A RICH TREASURE OF INSTRUCTION AND WARNING FOR THE BRIDE TODAY NOT TO MIX THEIR BEHAVIOUR WITH THE ALLIGATOR-LIFESTYLE OF THIS WORLD.
EVERY ONE OF THE 4 CYCLES OF DISOBEDIENT FALLING-AWAY GIVEN TO US UP TO THIS POINT IN THE BOOK OF JUDGES ENDS WITH THE WORDS: "THEN THE LAND HAD REST FOR 40 YEARS"(USUALLY). BUT THE NEXT CYCLE BEGINS WITH THE WORDS: "BUT THE PEOPLE OF YISHARAL DID WHAT WAS EVIL IN YAHUSHA’S EYES". THE CYCLE OF GIDEON WAS EXACTLY THE SAME AND THE BEHAVIOURAL CYCLE OF YAHUSHA'S BRIDE IN IN THE 21st CENTURY IS RUNNING ON PARALLEL TRACKS. DO WE HAVE EYES TO SEE AND EARS TO LISTEN?
And once again the Yisharalites started disobeying Yahusha and behaving what is evil in His eyes, so He let the nation of Midian take over and control them for seven years, and the Midianites were so cruel in their treatment of Yisharal, that many of
them ran to the mountains and hid in caves. In fact every time the Yisharalites would plant crops, the Midianites invaded Yisharal (together with the Amalekites and other Eastern nations). They rode in on their camels, set up their tents, and then let their livestock eat the crops as far as the town of Gaza. The Midianites stole food, sheep, cattle, and donkeys and like a swarm of locusts, they could not be counted, and they ruined the land wherever they went. The Midianites took almost everything that belonged to the Yisharalites, and so they finally begged Yahusha for help.
THE FACT THAT IT TOOK YISHARAL 7 STRAIGHT YEARS OF THESE HUMAN LOCUSTS DESCENDING UPON THEM BEFORE THEY SOUGHT YAHUSHA FOR HIS HELP OUGHT TO BE FAMILIAR TO US. NOT JUST BECAUSE THAT WAS THE GENERAL PATTERN AS SEEN IN THE ERA OF THE JUDGES, BUT BECAUSE TO THIS VERY DAY MANY OF YAHUSHA’S PEOPLE SEEM TO SEEK HIM ONLY AFTER MATTERS HAVE BECOME EXTREME AND AS A LAST RESORT. YISHARAL WAS BROUGHT VERY LOW; THEY EXISTED IN THE MOST PRIMITIVE WAYS COWERING IN FEAR, EATING DISGUSTING THINGS TO SURVIVE, AND LIVING IN CREVICES IN THE ROCKS FOR SHELTER.
His Ways Are Not Our Ways!
WHAT WE THINK IS RIGHT IS ACTUALLY EVIL !
IT DOESN’T SAY THAT YISHARAL DID “WHAT WAS RIGHT IN THEIR OWN EYES”, IT SAYS "THEY DID WHAT WAS EVIL IN YAHUSHA’S". WHY? BECAUSE DOING WHAT IS RIGHT IN OUR OWN EYES IS INFACT EVIL IN YAHUSHA’S EYES.
EVIL IS MUCH MORE DECEPTIVE THAN CLEAR AND OBVIOUS. EVIL ALMOST ALWAYS LOOKS BEAUTIFUL BEFORE IT TURNS UGLY. EVIL SEEMS RIGHT IN OUR HUMANNESS BEFORE IT ALL GOES WRONG. ARE WE TO THINK IN THESE CYCLES OF THE JUDGES THAT THE PEOPLE OF YAHUSHA AWOKE ONE MORNING AND SAID: "LET’S OFFEND YAHUAH?" THAT THE LEADERS OF YISHARAL GOT TOGETHER AND MADE A PACT TO BE WICKED? I GUARANTEE YOU THAT THEY WOULD HAVE PROTESTED GREATLY IF ACCUSED OF WICKEDNESS AND IDOLATRY; AND THEY WOULD HAVE DENIED IT AND BEEN FURIOUS AT THE ACCUSATION. WE READ OF IT NOT ONLY HERE BUT IN THE PROPHETS AS WELL. THE PROPHETS THAT YAHUSHA CHOSE TO WARN HIS PEOPLE WERE ANXIOUS TO DELIVER THE MESSAGE BECAUSE THEY KNEW FULL WELL IT WOULD BE REJECTED AND THEY WOULD SUFFER FOR THEIR EFFORTS BECAUSE THE LEADERS AND THE CITIZENS AT LARGE WERE UNCONVINCED THAT SOMEONE WOULD POINT A FINGER AT THEM AND SAY THAT THEY WERE BEHAVING AS HEATHENS BEFORE YAHUSHA.
HOW DOES IT FEEL WHEN THE PENNY DROPS AND YOU SUDDENLY REALISE THAT YAHUSHA HAS BEEN LETTING YOU HAVE YOUR OWN WAY FOR A TIME, BUT NOW HE'S OPENING YOUR EYES AND GIVING YOU A GOOD LOOK AT THE DISGUSTING FILTH THAT HE SEES MANIFESTING FROM YOU DAILY? FEEL GOOD? THE BRIDE NEEDS TO BE HONEST AND FACE WHEN SHE FEELS YAHUSHA'S HAND OF JUDGEMENT ON THE BACK OF HER NECK . . . REPENT AND CHANGE - INSTEAD OF GOING ON IN DENIAL AND EXCUSES, AS THOUGH MISERY IS NORMAL (AS IT IS IN THE WORLD) ... WAKE UP AND SEE THAT EVERYTHING IN YOUR LIFE RIGHT NOW IS BECAUSE OF YOU, YOUR CHOICES AND BEHAVIOUR !!
YAHUSHA NEVER CHANGES, THE PATTERN NEVER CHANGES, AND BECAUSE THE PATTERN NEVER CHANGES THE CONSEQUENCES NEVER CHANGE. YAHUSHA TURNED YISHARAL OVER TO THEIR ENEMIES TO BE OPPRESSED AND IN THIS CASE THE ENEMY WAS MIDIAN. YES, THE SAME MIDIAN WHERE MOSES FLED FROM EGYPT, FOUND A WIFE, LIVED AS A SIMPLE SHEPHERD FOR 40 YEARS, AND THEN WAS SUMMONED TO THE BURNING BUSH ON A HILLTOP AND COLLAPSED AT THE SOUND OF YAHUSHA’S VOICE AND UNBEARABLE MAGIFICENT WEIGHT OF HIS PRESENCE.
ON A SIDE-NOTE:
"MIDIAN" . . . was the name of a semi-nomadic Tribe that shared a blood-kinship with Yisharal because it was descended from Keturah, Abraham’s concubine (after Sarah had died). Recall that in the story of Deborah, that the gentile woman Jael who pinned Sisera’s skull to the tent floor with a hammer and peg was part of the Tribe of Midian? She was of the Kenite Clan, a small breakaway Clan of the Midianite Tribe that moved into the Northern-part of Canaan and formed a friendship with the King of Hatsor.
And Yahusha sent a prophet to Yisharal saying, “Yahuah, the Alahim of Yisharal, has this to say to all. You were slaves in Egypt, but I delivered you out of bondage and led you out into this land. And when nations here made life miserable for you, I rescued you and helped you get rid of them and take their land. But you still don’t get it! I am your only Alahim, and I told you that even though you are surrounded by them in this land, you are not to be afraid or bow down and serve their deities. But did you listen?”
SADLY THIS GENERATION REALLY DIDN’T KNOW YAHUSHA VERY WELL, AND YAHUSHA WAS ACUTELY AWARE OF THIS FACT, SO HE REMINDED THEM THAT HE, YAHUSHA, WAS THEIR ALAHIM……NOT BA’AL. IT WAS HE, YAHUSHA, WHO BROUGHT THEM OUT OF EGYPT, NOT SOME OTHER DEITY. IT WAS HE, YAHUSHA WHO REDEEMED THEM FROM SLAVERY, DROVE THE CANAANITES OUT FROM BEFORE JOSHUA, AND GAVE YISHARAL THE VERY LAND THAT IS NOW UNDER INVASION. AND NOW, ONCE AGAIN, YISHARAL’S ALAHIM, YAHUSHA WOULD DELIVER THEM FROM A PREDICAMENT OF THEIR OWN MAKING.
THE PEOPLE WELL UNDERSTOOD THAT WHEN A PROPHET WAS SENT FROM YAHUSHA THAT IT WAS INVARIABLY A MESSAGE OF WARNING OR REBUKE AND THIS ONE WAS NO DIFFERENT. YAHUSHA WANTED HIS PEOPLE TO THINK LONG AND HARD ABOUT WHY THEY WERE OPPRESSED AND THE FACT THAT YAHUSHA HAD PROMISED THIS OPPRESSION AND IT WAS HE WHO CAUSED IT! BECAUSE HE WANTED THEM TO UNDERSTAND THAT THIS OPPRESSION OF EASTERN NOMADS WASN’T SOME KIND OF A TEST, IT WAS A JUDGMENT AGAINST THEM FOR THEIR IDOLATRY AND REBELLION. IT WAS REPENTANCE THAT YAHUSHA WANTED, ACCOMPANIED WITH REAL CHANGE.
“DO NOT BE AFRAID OR BOW DOWN TO THEIR DEITES” YAHUSHA IS SAYING THAT AT THE CORE, THEIR PROBLEM IS FEAR. THEY WERE FEARFUL OF THE DEITIES OF THEIR ENEMIES SO THEY SURRENDERED TO THEM. YISHARAL, AS WITH ALL THE OTHER KNOWN PEOPLE OF THE ANCIENT WORLD, ACCEPTED AS SELF-EVIDENT THAT IT WAS THE DEITIES OF ANY PARTICULAR NATION THAT PROVIDED THAT NATION WITH WHATEVER POWER IT HAD, SO IT WAS THE DEITIES THAT THEY FEARED PRIMARILY AND ONLY THE ARMY OF THAT PEOPLE SECONDARILY. IF YOU PLEASED THE DEITIES, CHANCES WERE YOU WOULD BE SPARED. THAT IS WHAT FEAR USUALLY DOES; IT CAUSES US TO COMPROMISE AND GIVE IN. AND WHAT THAT COMPROMISE AMOUNTED TO WAS THAT YISHARAL OPENLY SERVED THE OTHER DEITIES IN HOPES THAT THEIR ENEMIES WOULD NOT BE SO HARSH; OR THAT PERHAPS THEIR ENEMIES’ DEITIES DID HAVE POWER AND OUGHT TO BE ACKNOWLEDGED.
YET IN NO WAY DID YISHARAL THINK THEY WERE ABANDONING YAHUSHA IN FAVOR OF OTHER DEITIES; RATHER, THEY WERE SIMPLY GIVING IN TO THEIR FEARS AND HEDGING THEIR BETS.
GOT SYNCRETISM ?
REMEMBER SYNCRETISM IS THE ACT OF BLENDING; IT IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN ONE CULTURE ASSIMILATES INTO ANOTHER. YISHARAL WAS BLENDING THEIR WAYS AND WORSHIP WITH THAT OF THE CANAANITES AND AT ITS CORE WAS BLENDING YAHUSHA WITH THE BA’ALS. IT WASN’T DONE WITH SOME KIND OF OFFICIAL COUNCIL MEETING THAT RESULTED IN A WELL-DEFINED DECISION; IT WASN’T SOMETHING THAT THE LEADERS OF THE 12 TRIBES ORDERED THEIR PEOPLE TO DO. RATHER SLOWLY, ALMOST IMPERCEPTIBLY, IT JUST KIND OF HAPPENED. A COMPROMISE HERE, AND AN ATTEMPT TO SHOW RESPECT TO ANOTHER’S RELIGION THERE; MARRIAGE BETWEEN A LOVELY HEBREW GIRL AND NICE CANAANITE BOY, THE FORMING OF FRIENDLY AND PROSPEROUS BUSINESS RELATIONSHIPS WITH BA’AL WORSHIPPERS; THAT’S HOW IT HAPPENED. TYPICALLY NO HEBREW SET OUT TO OFFEND YAHUSHA AND SUBMIT TO BA’AL AND ASHERAH BUT THEY ALL WANTED PEACE AND GOOD RELATIONS WITH THEIR NEIGHBOURS SO IT MEANT TOLERANCE FOR ALL THE DEITIES THAT WERE SO VERY VALUED BY EACH CULTURE. CANAANITES WEREN’T HORRIBLE PEOPLE; THEY WEREN’T BARBARIANS AND MURDERERS. CANAANITES AND HEBREWS WERE VERY MUCH ALIKE, BOTH COMING FROM MESOPOTAMIAN ROOTS; THEY WERE FARMERS, HERDERS, CRAFTSMEN AND MERCHANTS AND THEIR SOCIETIES WERE MUCH MORE COMPLEMENTARY THAN CONTRASTING.
SYNCRETISM HAS HAPPENED AND IS HAPPENING AS WE SPEAK TO YAHUSHA'S BRIDE. FOR CENTURIES WE HAVE SLOWLY BUT SURELY INTEGRATED AND ADOPTED PAGAN WORSHIP PRACTICES AND TRADITIONS THAT (IN CHRISTENDOM’S INFANCY) WERE CONSIDERED OUTLANDISH ABOMINATIONS AND WERE THOROUGHLY REJECTED. BUT WITH THE PASSING OF TIME, A COMPROMISE HERE AND A HOPE TO APPEAL TO SEEKERS IN ORDER TO EXPAND OUR NUMBERS THERE, THESE PRACTICES HAVE BECOME A REGULAR PART OF US FOR SO LONG THAT THEY ARE CONSIDERED NOT ONLY NORMAL BUT ALSO NECESSARY AND DESIRED. MOST CHRISTENDOM HAVE NO IDEA WHERE SOME OF THESE CHERISHED TRADITIONS CAME FROM, WHAT THEY MEANT IN THEIR ORIGINAL, OR WHY THEY WERE EVER INTRODUCED. AND FRANKLY MOST DON’T WANT TO KNOW BECAUSE IT MIGHT MEAN BEING FACED WITH SOME UNPOPULAR (IF NOT DRASTIC) CHANGES IN OUR LIVES AND OUR CONGREGATIONS AND ESPECIALLY OUR DOCTRINES. IT WOULD MEAN THINGS THAT WE TRULY ENJOY AND ARE MORE THAN COMFORTABLE WITH MIGHT BE CHALLENGED. THIS IS CALLED RELIGIOUS SYNCRETISM.
AND AS WE'VE DISCUSSED EVEN THE WISE MAIDENS WITHIN YAHUSHA'S BRIDE ARE BEING PRESSURED AND TESTED TO ADOPT CERTAIN BEHAVIOURS FROM THE WORLD AROUND THEM, THINGS THAT DON'T SEEM EVIL ON THE SURFACE, BUT IF THEY ARE NOT YAHUSHA'S MIND OR PURPOSE FOR A CERTAIN SITUATION . . . IT IS GOOD OR EVIL ?
One day Yahusha went to the town of Ophrah and sat down under the big terebinth tree that belonged to Joash, (from the Abiezer Clan), whose son Gideon (HEBREW: HEWER, FELLER) was nearby, threshing grain in a winepress (shallow pit), where he could not be seen by the Midianites.
ALL OTHER TRANSLATIONS STATE THAT THIS WAS A MESSENGER OF YAHUAH, HOWEVER WHEH WE HEAR HIM SPEAK AND ABSTRACTLY DISCERN WHAT WE KNOW ABOUT YAHUSHA . . . HOW COULD IT NOT BE HIM TALKING TO GIDEON!
( THE PHYSICAL MANIFESTATION OF YAHUAH IS ALSO KNOWN BY THE TERM SHEKINAH, EPIPHANY OR THEOPHANY )?!?!?!?! . . . AND WHO IS THAT? JUST HOW MANY BEINGS ARE WE DEALING WITH HERE AND WHY DOES IT HAVE TO BE SO THEOLOGICAL & CONFUSING? IF YAHUSHA WAS SITTING NEXT TO YOU READING THIS TEXT (WHICH HE IS BECAUSE HE'S IN US), WOULD HE BE REFERRING TO OTHER BEINGS, SPIRITS OR HIS FATHER, OR WOULD HE TELL US IT WAS HIM ALL ALONG WHO ORCHESTRATED EVERYTHING THROUGHOUT ALL THE AGES SINCE CREATION, GRADUALLY REVEALING HIMSELF THROUGH DIFFERENT ROLES (IE, A CREATOR, A FATHER, A SON, A DELIVERER) . . . BUT IT'S ALL HIM, SO LET'S MAKE IT SIMPLE EH!
SOMETHING IS DRASTICALLY AWRY HERE BECAUSE WE HAVE GIDEON USING A WINE-PRESS TO THRESH WHEAT. WHEAT IS NORMALLY THRESHED BY BEING LAID OUT ON A SOLID AND SLIGHTLY ELEVATED PIECE OF GROUND, OR ON A LARGE SECTION OF ROCK OUTCROPPING THAT HAS BEEN FLATTENED, SO THAT AS THE WHEAT IS COMPACTED AND THRASHED UPON, THE BREEZE WILL BLOW AWAY THE CHAFF. FURTHER EVEN FOR A RELATIVELY SMALL FAMILY UNIT IT TAKES A LOT OF WHEAT STOCKS TO BE THRESHED TO OBTAIN A USEFUL AMOUNT OF WHEAT KERNELS. THEREFORE AN ANIMAL (PREFERABLY AN OX) IS USED TO PULL A LOG OVER THE WHEAT IN ORDER TO SEPARATE THE HEADS OF WHEAT FROM THE STALKS EN MASSE. BUT HERE WE HAVE A SITUATION WHEREBY A WINE-PRESS IS BEING USED FOR THRESHING, THEREFORE ONLY A VERY SMALL AMOUNT OF WHEAT COULD BE PROCESSED AT ONE TIME THUS MAKING IT AN ARDUOUS TASK TO EXTRACT ENOUGH WHEAT FOR SUFFICIENT BREAD FOR A SINGLE FAMILY. AN ANCIENT WINEPRESS WAS BASICALLY A HOLE IN A ROCK WHERE GRAPES WERE PLACED, AND THEN SOMEONE WOULD EITHER TRAMPLE ON THE GRAPES IN BARE FEET OR USE SOMETHING LIKE A BLUNT STAFF TO SQUASH THE GRAPES FOR THEIR JUICE. TYPICALLY THE ROCK RECEPTACLE WAS SLIGHTLY SLANTED SO THAT AS THE PROCESS PROCEEDED GRAVITY WOULD CAUSE THE JUICE TO RUN DOWN TOWARDS ANOTHER DEPRESSION IN THE ROCK WHERE IT WOULD POOL. THUS WHAT WE HAVE IS THAT NOT ONLY IS WHEAT IN SHORT SUPPLY DUE TO THE MARAUDERS FROM THE EAST, BUT THAT THRESHING HAD TO BE IMPROVISED IN A WAY THAT DIDN’T DRAW THE WATCHFUL GAZE OF THESE HUMAN LOCUSTS.
And Yahusha revealed Himself to Gideon, saying, “Yahuah your Alahim is with you, and you are mighty, strong warrior.”YAHUSHA APPARENTLY APPEARED AS A TRAVELER TO GIDEON IN MUCH THE SAME WAY AS HE DID TO ABRAHAM ABOUT 800 YEARS EARLIER. THIS IS A VISIBLE REVELATION OF YAHUAH IN HUMAN FORM, AND WHAT DOES YAHUAH (WHO'S AN INVISIBLE SPIRIT) VISIBLY LOOK LIKE? . . . YAHUSHA OF COURSE! AND BESIDES GIVING A PROMISE TO GIDEON THAT HE IS A BRAVE WARRIOR, THE MYSTERIOUS TRAVELER ALSO TELLS GIDEON THAT YAHUAH IS WITH HIM.
THIS WAS A PROPHETIC STATEMENT OF WHAT GIDEON WAS ABOUT TO BECOME. OR, IN ANOTHER RESPECT, IT WAS WHO GIDEON ALREADY WAS BUT COULDN’T BE MANIFEST UNTIL YAHUSHA INTERVENED. IT WAS AN HONEST EXPRESSION OF HOW YAHUSHA VIEWED GIDEON AS OPPOSED TO HOW GIDEON VIEWED HIMSELF.YAHUSHA SEES US FOR WHO HE MADE US TO BE, NOT NECESSARILY HOW WE HAVE BEHAVED UP TO THIS POINT IN OUR LIVES. OFTEN WE LAUGH IN UNBELIEF AT JUST WHAT YAHUSHA SEES IN US OR HAS ENTRUSTED US WITH. OUR IDENTITY IS OFTEN ALL WRAPPED UP IN WHAT WE DO, BUT THAT'S IN NO WAY HOW YAHUSHA SEES US. YAHUSHA HAS AND IS STILL REVEALING TO ALL OF US WHAT HIS PURPOSE FOR OUR LIVES IS.
AND HERE IN JUDGES 6, THE MAN WHO WAS HIDING FROM THE NOMADS WHO PLUNDERED HIS FAMILY, THE MAN WHO WAS MERELY SURVIVING AND WAS TO HIMSELF NOTHING SPECIAL, WAS TO YAHUSHA A “VALIANT HERO, BRAVE WARRIOR” AND WOULD COURAGEOUSLY LEAD HIS PEOPLE IN BATTLE. IT JUST HADN’T HAPPENED YET.
YAHUSHA SEES US IN LIGHT OF OUR ROLE IN HIS REIGN; AND EVERY ONE OF THOSE ROLES IS AMAZING AND IMPORTANT. HE SEES US FOR THE WONDROUS WAY IN WHICH HE MADE US AND FOR WHO WE REALLY ARE IF WE WILL TRUST HIM ENOUGH TO BELIEVE HIM AND GO ON THE JOURNEY OF TRANSFORMATION WITH HIM. GIDEON WAS THINKING OF HIMSELF AS ANYTHING BUT A BRAVE WARRIOR. ESSENTIALLY WHAT WAS SPOKEN TO GIDEON WAS A PROMISE FROM YAHUSHA.
And Gideon answered, “Yahuah is with me? Seriously? Don’t take this the wrong way Master, but if Yahuah was with us, helping us, then why have all of these awful things happened? We’ve heard how Yahuah performed such amazing miracles and wonders, rescuing our ancestors from Egypt. But those things happened a long time ago, and now He’s has abandoned us and left us to rot with the Midianites.”
WHEN YAHUSHA SAID THAT “YAHUAH IS WITH YOU”, GIDEON TOOK IT TO MEAN THAT YAHUSHA WAS WITH YISHARAL NOT WITH HIM PERSONALLY. HE DIDN’T UNDERSTAND THAT YAHUSHA HAD COME TO STRENGTHEN AND EMPOWER HIM AS AN INDIVIDUAL, TO DELIVER YISHARAL.
And Yahusha turned to him and said, “I am the same Alahim Who rescued your fathers from Egypt, so why wouldn’t you be able to defeat Midian? I just told you I’m sending you didn’t I! So you’ll be strong, because I’m giving you the power to rescue Yisharal from these Midianites.”
“But how can I rescue Yisharal? I’m nobody, nothing, my Clan is the weakest in Menassah, and everyone else in my family is way more important than me.”
“Gideon,” Yahusha answered, “You will be the one to rescue Yisharal because I'm with you. So trust Me, defeating the Midianites will be as easy as defeating one man.”
“But it’s so hard for me to believe that I’m actually talking to Yahuah, the Alahim of Yisharal. Please, if I’ve found any favour with you, give me a sign and prove to me that you really are Yahuah. Please my Master, waiting right here while I prepare an offering for you.”
“Alrighty,” Yahusha answered. So Gideon went home and killed a young goat, then started boiling the meat, opened a big sack of flour and made it into thin bread. And when the meat was done, he put it in a basket and poured the broth into a clay cooking pot. Then he took the meat, the broth, and the bread and placed them under the big terebinth tree.
And Yahusha said, “Gideon, put the meat and the bread on this rock, and pour the broth over them.” And Gideon did as he was told. Yahusha was holding a walking stick, and He touched the meat and the bread with the end of the stick. Suddenly flames surged out, igniting from the rock and burned up the meat and the bread. And Gideon was amazed, but when he looked up, Yahusha was gone and Gideon realised that he’d been in the presence of the living Alahim
“Oh!” he moaned. “Now I’m going to die for I’ve seen Yahuah face to face.” (MANY BELIEVED THAT IF THEY SAW YAHUSHA OR ONE OF HIS MESSENGERS WITH THEIR OWN EYES, THEY WOULD DIE).
“Calm down!” Yahusha told Gideon. “There’s nothing to be afraid of mate, chill out now, you’re not going to die.” So Gideon built an altar for worshiping Yahusha and called it “Yahuah Shalom”(Yahuah calms our fears and gives us great peace) and it still stands there in Ophrah, a town in the territory of the Abiezer Clan.
THE MEAL GIDEON PREPARED WAS ENORMOUS; AN ENTIRE KID GOAT PLUS BREAD MADE FROM A FULL EPHAH OF FLOUR, MEANING IT WOULD HAVE BEEN AROUND 40 POUNDS OF BREAD !!
"Just relax bro, you ain't gunna die !"
And that same night Yahusha spoke to Gideon again saying, “Get your father’s second-best bull, the one that’s seven years old and use it to pull down the altar where your father serves Baal and cut down the sacred Asherah poles next to the altar. Then build an altar for serving Me on the highest part of the hill where your town is built. Use layers of stones for My altar, not just a pile of rocks, cut up the wood from the pole, make a fire, kill the bull, and burn it as a sacrifice to Me".
THE SACRED POLE IN HEBREW IS CALLED `ASHERAH', WHICH IS THE FERTILITY GODDESS AND THE WIFE OF `BA’AL' THAT WAS NORMALLY EXPRESSED IN THE FORM OF A TREE. THIS COMBINATION OF AN ALTAR TO BA’AL ACCOMPANIED BY AN ASHERAH NEXT TO IT WAS RATHER TYPICAL. IN WHAT WOULD BE OF COURSE A SERIOUS SWIPE AT THE PHONY CANAANITE DEITIES, YAHUSHA ORDERED GIDEON NOT ONLY TO REMOVE THE ASHERAH BUT ALSO TO CHOP IT UP AND USE IT FOR FIREWOOD FOR YAHUSHA’S SACRIFICIAL FIRE.
GIDEON OBEYS, BUT HE’S CAUTIOUS. HE KNOWS FULL WELL THAT THIS ISN’T GOING TO SETTLE WELL WITH ANYBODY: HIS FATHER, HIS FAMILY, THE NEARBY YISHARALITES AND ESPECIALLY THEIR CANAANITE NEIGHBOURS. IT APPEARS THAT JOASH WAS ACTUALLY THIS PAGAN SET-APART SITE'S PROTECTOR AND CARETAKER. AND JOASH DID THIS WILLINGLY AND WITH THE BLESSING OF THE HEBREW PEOPLE. WE’RE TOLD THAT JOASH WAS OF THE CLAN OF ALI’EZER, WHICH IS PART OF MENASSAH. THIS PLACE WHERE GIDEON LIVED WAS HIS OWN CLAN’S VILLAGE; THEY OWNED IT, THEY CONTROLLED IT, AND THEY HAD ADOPTED BA’AL, ASHERAH, AND LIKELY OTHER ELEMENTS OF CANAANITE WORSHIP TO GO ALONG WITH THEIR TRADITIONAL WORSHIP OF YAHUSHA. THIS HIGH-PLACE OR STRONG-POINT WHERE THE BA’AL ALTAR WAS LOCATED WAS REVERED BY JOASH AND HIS CLAN AND NOT DESPISED IN ANY WAY. DESPITE WHAT WE MAY HAVE THOUGHT, YISHARAL WAS NOT FORCED TO WORSHIP OTHER DEITIES AT THIS POINT IN HISTORY; THEY DID IT BECAUSE THEY WANTED TOO AND THEY HAD NO CONCEPT THAT WHAT THEY WERE DOING WAS WRONG.
So Gideon chose ten men from his group of servants to help him, and they did everything that Yahusha had said. But because Gideon was afraid of his family and what the people in town might do or say to him, he executed all of Yahusha plan late at night (not win the daytime) so that no one would know it was him. And when the people of the town got up the next morning, they saw that Baal’s altar had been knocked over, and the sacred Asherah poles next to it had been cut down. Then they noticed the new altar covered with the remains of the sacrificed bull.
NOTICE THAT GIDEON (WHO EARLIER TOLD YAHUSHA THAT MAYBE HE WASN’T THE BEST CHOICE TO BE YISHARAL’S DELIVERER BECAUSE HE WAS FROM THE POOREST CLAN IN MENASSAH) OWNED AT LEAST 10 MALE SERVANTS. MOST MALE SERVANTS HAD FAMILIES WHO WERE ALSO IN SERVITUDE TO THE MASTER. THE HEBREW WORD EBED MEANS SERVANTS OR SLAVES SO THESE 10 WERE IN NO WAY TRADITIONAL FAMILY MEMBERS. THEREFORE THIS MAN THAT YAHUSHA CALLED “YOU VALIANT HERO” OR “BRAVE WARRIOR” WAS EVERY BIT THE NERVOUS, EXCUSE-MAKING SKEPTIC THAT MOSES HAD BEEN SOME 250 YEARS EARLIER. AND YOU CAN BET THAT THE JOB OF TEARING DOWN THE ALTAR AND ASHERAH WASN’T ALL THAT BIG OR HARD, BUT GIDEON WANTED SOME PROTECTION WHEN HE DID IT. WAS THIS JUST UNWARRANTED FEAR? NOT AT ALL; BECAUSE (AS WE DISCOVER) WHEN SOME MEN OF THE VILLAGE WENT UP TO THE ALTAR SITE (TO PAY HOMAGE TO BA’AL), IT WAS GONE AND THEY WENT BALLISTIC. BA’ALS ALTAR WAS DEMOLISHED AND IN ITS PLACE WAS A BRAND NEW ONE, WITH THE BULL LAID UPON IT AND BURNED UP, AND THE ASHERAH POLE USED FOR KINDLING UNDER IT. AND BY THE WAY, REMEMBER, THESE MEN WHO WENT UP AND FOUND THIS SITUATION WERE YISHARALITES, NOT CANAANITES.
“Who the hell could’ve done such a thing?” they asked. And they kept on enquiring until finally someone told them, “Gideon the son of Joash did it.”Then the men of the town went to Joash and said, “Your son Gideon knocked over Baal’s altar and cut down the sacred Asherah pole next to it. Hand him over now, so we can kill him!”And the crowd pushed closer and closer, but Joash said, “Why are you trying to take revenge for Baal? Can’t he defeat himself, plead his own case? If he can’t, then you’ll be the ones who’re put to death before another day dawns. But if Baal really is a living Alahim, them let him fight his own battle and take his own revenge on someone who tears down his sacred altar.”
And that same day, Joash changed his son Gideon’s name to Jerubbaal, explaining, “my son tore down Baal’s altar, so let Baal plead his own case and take his own revenge.”
REMEMBER IN THAT ERA A NAME WAS ASSIGNED TO PEOPLE BASE ON THEIR REPUTATION OR CHARACTER, OR PERHAPS SOME FAMOUS ACT THEY COMMITTED. YERUBA’AL MEANS, “LET BA’AL DEFEND”. OR BETTER, AS IT MEANT FOR GIDEON, “THE BA’AL FIGHTER”. FROM THIS POINT ON BE AWARE THAT WE’LL SEE GIDEON CALLED BY BOTH NAMES; IN FACT IN LATER BOOKS (LIKE 2 SAMUEL) HE’S GIVEN EVEN A 3RD NAME: JERUBOSHETH. THAT’S BECAUSE IN LATER TIMES THE WORD BOSHETH, WHICH MEANS SHAME, BECAME A DEROGATORY NICKNAME FOR BA’AL.
THIS ENTIRE EPISODE TO THIS POINT WAS LARGELY ABOUT PURIFYING GIDEON AND HIS FAMILY AND RIDDING THE VILLAGE OF THE STENCH OF IDOLATRY. THE YAHUSHA-PRINCIPLE IS SIMPLE AND LOGICAL: ONLY A MAN THAT IS IN GOOD STANDING WITH YAHUSHA CAN LEAD HIS PEOPLE YISHARAL WITH HIS DIVINE AUTHORITY. IT WAS NECESSARY THAT GIDEON AND HIS FAMILY BE THE STARTING POINT OF THIS CLEANSING.
And all the Midianites, Amalekites, and other Eastern nations got together and crossed the Jordan River, invading the land of Yisharal and they set up camp in the Jezreel Valley. Then Yahusha’s Spirit came upon Gideon (took control of him), and Gideon blew a signal on a ram’s horn to tell all the men in the Abiezer Clan to follow him. He also sent messengers to the Tribes of Menassah, Asher, Zebulun, and Naphtali, telling the men of these Tribes to come and join his army. Then they all set out toward the enemy camp.
BEFORE YAHUSHA CAME, DIED, RESURRECTED AND INDWELLED HIS FOLLOWERS SOME 50 DAYS LATER, WE GET BASICALLY 2 DIFFERENT DESCRIPTIONS OF THIS INTERACTION OF HIS SPIRIT AND MANKIND:
1.THE SET-APART SPIRIT COMES UPON SOMEONE OR
2. THE SET-APART SPIRIT COVERS SOMEONE.
AND THERE ARE TWO DIFFERENT HEBREW WORDS USED THAT MEAN TWO ENTIRELY DIFFERENT THINGS. THE FIRST WORD IS HAYYAH, WHICH IS A RATHER GENERAL TERM MEANING, “BECAME”, OR “COME TO PASS”, OR EVEN “BEFALL”. ON THE OTHER HAND HERE IN JUDGES 6:34 WE’RE TOLD THAT THE SET-APART SPIRIT COVERED GIDEON, AND THE WORD IS LABESH MEANING TO WEAR SOMETHING LIKE A GARMENT, OR SOMETHING THAT IS PUT ON LIKE AN ARTICLE OF CLOTHING OR A BLANKET. IT WAS THAT A HUMAN IS SO FULLY ENVELOPED IN YAHUSHA’S SPIRIT THAT THE PERSON BECOMES ENDOWED WITH THE ABILITY TO PERFORM MIRACULOUS DEEDS INCLUDING THE ABILITY TO PROPHESY, OR TO PERFORM WORKS THAT FAR SURPASS THE HUMAN NATURE FROM BOTH A COURAGE AND PHYSICAL STRENGTH STANDPOINT. IT WAS ESPECIALLY THIS ABILITY TO PERFORM BRAVELY IN THE FACE OF HUMANLY IMPOSSIBLE ODDS AGAINST HIM, OR SHOWING EQUALLY IMPOSSIBLE STRENGTH AND BATTLEFIELD SKILL THAT MOST OF THE SHOPHETIM DISPLAYED, AND IT WOULD BE DOUBLY SO WITH GIDEON.
out enough water to fill a whole bowl. But Gideon spoke to Yahusha again. “Please don’t be angry with me, but I need proof just one more time, that You’ll help me. So this time, let the fleece be dry and the stone floor be wet with dew.” And that night, Yahusha made the stone floor wet with dew, but he kept the fleece completely dry.
GIDEON’S FLESH WAS CLEARLY IN VIOLENT CONFLICT WITH THE SPIRIT OF YAHUSHA THAT CLOTHED HIM. MANY ARGUE THAT GIDEON ONLY WANTED TO BE SURE THAT IT WAS ACTUALLY YAHUSHA THAT PROMISED TO USE HIM IN SUCH A MIGHTY WAY; PERHAPS, BUT WE’RE ALL IN THIS BATTLE TO SURRENDER TO THE VOICE OF YAHUSHA, PUT OUR OWN SELFISH, WORLDLY DESIRES ASIDE AND DO WHAT HE WANTS, BEHAVING IN OBEDIENCE.
And Gideon spoke to Yahusha,“I know that you promised to help me rescue Yisharal, but I need more proof. Tonight I’ll put some fleece (woolen-type fabric) on the stone floor of that threshing-place over there and if You really will help me rescue Yisharal, then tomorrow morning let there be dew on the fleece, but let the stone floor be dry.”And that’s exactly what happened! Early the next morning, Gideon got up and checked the fleece and he squeezed
YAHUSHA'S WAY IS ALWAYS INCREDIBLY BIZARRE AND MANY DON’T WANT TO GIVE OVER TO HIM BECAUSE HE DOESN’T FIT INTO THEIR SIMPLE LITTLE BOXES OF RATIONALITY. YET HE IS THE CREATOR OF THE WHOLE UNIVERSE AND EVERYTHING HANGS IN THE BALANCE BECAUSE OF HIS LIVING WORDS. HE KNOWS US SO INTIMATELY INSIDE AND OUT AND KNOWS HOW TO CORNER US, PROVOKE US AND STRETCH US UNTIL WE WILL SEE OUR OWN STUPIDITY IN THINKING WE KNOW BETTER AND CAN RUN OUR LIVES THE WAY WE
THINK . . . AND FLOW WITH HIM IN THE ABSTRACTLY BIZARRE. I MEAN DO WE WANT TO MAKE IT? DO WE WANT THINGS IN OUR LIFE TO FLOW AND WORK? THERE’S ONLY ONE WAY, AND EVERY SINGLE MEMBER OF YAHUSHA’S BRIDE WORLDWIDE IS GOING THROUGH THIS PROCESS OF AGONY, DYING TO THE SELF AND THE HIDEOUS FLESH WE LIVE IN, TO BE EMPOWERED, ANOINTED AND INSPIRED BY HIS SPIRIT, GIFTED AND TRANSFORMED BY YAHUSHA’S LOVING-KINDNESS.