Pursuing After the Midianites

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For Our Admonition Part 18

“Pursuing After the Midianites”

Key Verses:  Jdg 7:16 – 7:25

The judgment of the nations and deliverance of Israel which are one and the same process commences as Gideon, as a type of God’s elect, has overcome his (our) unbelief and begins judging that which exalts itself against the Lord.  Gideon is now leading Israel by example in overcoming and putting to flight the Midianites.  Remember this is all happening in the Kingdom of God within us and these stories are here to edify and admonish us into action in waging warfare against our carnal mind and the strife and contention, the meaning of Midian, that arises from such thoughts.

Jdg 7:16  And he divided the three hundred men into three companies, and he put a trumpet in every man’s hand, with empty pitchers, and lamps within the pitchers. 

Jdg 7:17  And he said unto them, Look on me, and do likewise: and, behold, when I come to the outside of the camp, it shall be that, as I do, so shall ye do. 

Jdg 7:18  When I blow with a trumpet, I and all that are with me, then blow ye the trumpets also on every side of all the camp, and say, The sword of the LORD, and of Gideon. 

Jdg 7:19  So Gideon, and the hundred men that were with him, came unto the outside of the camp in the beginning of the middle watch; and they had but newly set the watch: and they blew the trumpets, and brake the pitchers that were in their hands. 

Jdg 7:20  And the three companies blew the trumpets, and brake the pitchers, and held the lamps in their left hands, and the trumpets in their right hands to blow withal: and they cried, The sword of the LORD, and of Gideon. 

Gideon is now boldly leading by the example of Christ.  That is what priests and servants do in helping others and showing them the more excellent way.

1Co 11:1  Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.

Following Christ means obeying Christ (Luk 6:46) which is the love of God (1Jo 5:3) and the more excellent way that Paul devoted an entire chapter on which ends with this admonition.

1Co 13:13  And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love (Obedience to the commands).

The elect of God are the army of the Lord, who “is, was and will be” bringing judgment to the nations within and without in the appointed times.  The symbolism of the little flock (Luk 12:32) of 300 men signifies the process by which all men will be brought to “spiritual completion” aka maturity.

There are many ways mathematically to get to 300, yet all of them involve the judgment process (3), chastening grace (symbolized by 5) and the perfection of our flesh (symbolized by 10) with the witness (2) of God’s Elect.  Some examples:

  • 3 x 10 x 10 = 300
  • 6 x 10 x 5 = 300
  • 2 x 3 x 5 x 10 = 300
  • 5 x 2 x 3 x 10 = 300
  • 4 x 5 x 5 x 3 = 300 (double blessing of grace!)

The heathen nations of the east (our immaturity) represent our fleshly mindset and include the Midianites, the Ammonites, and the Amalekites, which cannot inherit the Kingdom of God.  This mindset and these nations within must be destroyed in fiery judgment as flesh cannot inherit the Kingdom (1Co 15:50).  Peace comes when the land is purged by our obedience and we reap the blessings of God.

Lev 26:6  And I will give peace in the land, and ye shall lie down, and none shall make you afraid: and I will rid evil beasts out of the land, neither shall the sword go through your land.

Lev 26:7  And ye shall chase your enemies, and they shall fall before you by the sword.

Gideon’s (the Lord’s) army is divided into three groups and armed with trumpets and empty pitchers containing lights. It is through using these trumpets and our putting lights into empty pitchers that victory comes, and the land of Israel is delivered of its Midianite oppression.  All of these instruments and actions are highly symbolic that show us how to wage war against our own Midianites (1Pe 1:10-12).

Trumpets:  Trumpets signify judgment in the promise land (Jos 6:13) and are blown to warn of pending war.  They are blown by God’s elect (Zion) who are also His ministers and priests and angels/messengers (Rev 8:1-13)

Joe 2:1  Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants (Midianites) of the land tremble: for the day of the LORD cometh, for it is nigh at hand;

Empty Pitchers: All men are likened unto clay jars or pitchers.  We are clay in the hands of the Potter (Isa 64:8) either holding water which is either positive (Word of God) or negative (lies and carnal thoughts – Midianites).  An empty pitcher with the light of Christ in it is spiritually a full pitcher but empty as it relates to trust and reliance upon flesh.  No flesh will glory in the presence of the Lord (1Co 1:29) so it takes pitchers emptied of the fleshly mindset to be viable for service in the fight of faith.  It is not by the might of our flesh but only by His Spirit (Zec 4:6) by which our deliverance or exaltation from sin and our carnal mindedness comes.

1Pe 5:6  Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:

The Lord set the best example of emptying Himself to then be exalted by His Father.

Php 2:8  And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.

Php 2:9  Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name,

As He is, so are we in this world (1Jo 4:17) if we are His Elect.

Lam 4:2  The precious sons of Zion, comparable to fine gold, how are they esteemed as earthen pitchers, the work of the hands of the potter!

The negative side of being empty speaks to us as being carnal men in marred vessels of clay full of vanity and deceit.  Such a pitcher cannot hold the water that is the Spirit of God and we are overrun by Babylonian lies and evil spirits (Jer 51:34).  It by being filled with the Spirit of God, having the Word dwelling within us, from whence we can contend with and conquer the spiritual enemies the Lord created and put into our own house to try our faith.  We begin to overcome and rule over these nations only as we are given the Spirit of Christ in sufficient measure (the morning star).

Rev 2:26  And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations:

Rev 2:27  And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father.

Rev 2:28  And I will give him the morning star.

Putting Light into these pitchers is the judgment of God coming to us as Christ, who is the Light of this world (Joh 8:12). This, in turn, makes us, God’s chosen sons, into the Light of the world (Mat 5:14) because as the Lord was sent, He also sends us as His Christ (Joh 20:21).

Heb 1:7  And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire.

Zep 1:12  And it shall come to pass at that time, that I will search Jerusalem (within you) with candles, and punish the men that are settled on their lees: that say in their heart, The LORD will not do good, neither will he do evil.

Broken Pitchers: 

When we are weak in the flesh, we are strong in the Spirit and that is who the Lord is using to defeat the Midianites.  The Lord breaks us of our will and our fleshly strength by many tribulations and then promises to use us mightily in Spirit.

2Co 12:7  And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.

2Co 12:8  For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.

2Co 12:9  And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

2Co 12:10  Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong. 

Breaking these pitchers symbolizes us coming to life in the Spirit through death to our flesh (Joh 12:24).  The trumpets bring judgment which brings the Word that is Christ.   This revelation of Jesus Christ within us, comes little by little by the ongoing process of warfare that we are fighting on this walk of faith for the rest of our physical lives.

Psa 51:17  The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.

 As we grow in faith, the fire (trials) gets hotter and more of our old man is burned up and Christ is revealed.

2Co 4:7  But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.

2Co 4:8  We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;

2Co 4:9  Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;

2Co 4:10  Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.

It was interesting that Gideon’s army (elect) only comes into our spiritual life in the middle watch of our witness for Christ.  The first half of our witness ends poorly as we are overcome by our sins, the Midianites and our beast.

Rev 11:7  When they finish their testimony, the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit will make war against them, overcome them, and kill them.

The Midianite wars speaks to the same spiritual war in how we are raised with Christ and then empowered by His Word and His Army to put fear into our inward enemies and overcome.

Rev 11:11  Now after the three-and-a-half days the breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and great fear fell on those who saw them.

Rev 11:12  And they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, “Come up here.” And they ascended to heaven in a cloud, and their enemies saw them.

The instructions to yell “the sword of the Lord and of Gideon” after blowing the trumpets and breaking the pitchers symbolizes us identifying with Christ and claiming His Name.

Rom 10:9  That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

Rom 10:10  For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

Identifying with Christ, we tie our name to His Name.  We are coming in His Name with His Truths and doctrines.  It is the Lord’s sword, but that sword has now become our sword as we believe and act out our faith.

Mar 16:17  And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;

Mar 16:18  They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.

Col 3:17  And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.

The entire army of 300 men doing this in unison signifies our oneness with the Lord.

1Co 1:10  Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. 

It is an ongoing process in fighting against the Midianites.  That is what makes it a war and a lifelong good fight of faith versus a one and done battle.  All of our inward enemies are to be destroyed leaving nothing alive or else we are being led astray from the narrow way.

Deu 20:16  But of the cities of these people, which the LORD thy God doth give thee for an inheritance, thou shalt save alive nothing that breatheth: 

Deu 20:17  But thou shalt utterly destroy them; namely, the Hittites, and the Amorites, the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites; as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee:

Deu 20:18  That they teach you not to do after all their abominations, which they have done unto their gods; so should ye sin against the LORD your God. 

The NT version of this law would be these:

1Co 5:7  Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:

1Co 5:8  Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

Gal 5:24  And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. 

It is by standing on faith in the spot the Lord puts us that our enemies flee from the land and our bondage to strife and contention cease.

Jdg 7:21  And they stood every man in his place round about the camp: and all the host ran, and cried, and fled.

This is the same as Paul’s admonition on how to wage the war.

Eph 6:13  Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

Eph 6:14  Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;

Standing in faith with the armor of God is blowing the trumpets and breaking the clay pitchers that begins the breaking up of the Midianite strongholds.

Jdg 7:22  NKJV When the three hundred blew the trumpets, the LORD set every man’s sword against his companion throughout the whole camp; and the army fled to Beth Acacia, toward Zererah, as far as the border of Abel Meholah, by Tabbath.

While the war may seem to be over with the initial dispersing of the Midianites, it is really just the beginning.  We must endure the war to the end to be saved  (Mat 24:13).  Putting our inward enemies to flight is a great beginning, yet they must be tracked down and pursued throughout the whole land.  There are many nooks and valleys for carnal thoughts to hide within us and they will all be rooted out and destroyed in due time.  As we shall see, there are two princes and two kings (Jdg 8:10) to be taken along with the fleeing Midianites.

A house divided is the Midianite house that cannot stand (Mat 12:25-26) in the day of the Lord and is being put to flight by the sword of the Lord.

1Co 3:3  For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?

1Co 3:4  For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal?

The Midianites who have as their father, the father of lies, being of the flesh, are turned one against another as Christ brings divisions within their ranks (Luk 12:51-52).  The Midianite host (army) is dispersed further into the Promised Land.   

Beth-Shittah, at Zererath (YLT/CLV):  BethShittah or BethAcacia means house of Shittim or House of Acacia, speaking of the name of the wood by the same name.  We know from the Awesome Hands studies #95 and #96 that Acacia wood is the common hardwood that Moses was commanded to build the Ark of the Covenant that is then covered in fine gold (the word of God). Such wood represents God’s elect who are the Ark in which the Word dwells and is carried to this very day.  Acacia wood is rooted in “those who run to and fro” with there being a positive and negative side of to and fro. Carnal thoughts have us reasoning going to and fro versus standing on the Word.

Eph 4:14  That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;

To stop going “to and fro”, the army of God needs to go “to and fro” (i.e. Rev 5:6)  in the land seeking out and destroying all things that exalt themselves against the Truth.  Thus, the pursuit by Gideon of the princes and kings of the Midianites is so important to bringing lasting peace to the land.  Zererath represents the place where Solomon erected the metal foundries to make the many instruments to construct the first physical temple (1Ki 7:46).  It is within the elect, the House of Acacia wood, where the fiery furnace and refiners of metals are found to this very day (1Pe 4:13, Psa 12:7, Rev 3:18).

Mal 3:3  And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness.

The second set of places where the Midianites fled also support this thought and need for ongoing pursuit and endurance.  Abel-Meholah (YLT/CLV) means “meadow of dancing” according to Strong’s dictionary and is where Elisha was born and commissioned into service by Elijah (1Ki 19:16).  Tabbath is only found this one time in the Scriptures with no defined roots and is said to mean “celebrated”.   Through Christ, the victory is ensured if we are given to pursue our enemies.

Psa 118:14  The LORD is my strength and song, and is become my salvation.

Psa 118:15  The voice of rejoicing and salvation is in the tabernacles of the righteous: the right hand of the LORD doeth valiantly.

We will always be at war with carnal thoughts and lusts of our flesh.  We must remain vigilant and pursue our enemies when we see them.  We are warned of becoming lazy.

Jas 1:14  But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.

1Co 9:27  But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.

All of Israel from the three tribes rejoins the pursuit after the 300 put the remaining remnant of the Midianites to flight.

Jdg 7:23  And the men of Israel gathered themselves together out of Naphtali, and out of Asher, and out of all Manasseh, and pursued after the Midianites. 

Jdg 7:24  And Gideon sent messengers throughout all mount Ephraim, saying, Come down against the Midianites, and take before them the waters unto Bethbarah and Jordan. Then all the men of Ephraim gathered themselves together, and took the waters unto Bethbarah and Jordan. 

Naphtali and Asher were born of Jacob’s concubines (Bilhah and Zilpah).  Manasseh was the elder son of Joseph, who was not given the primary blessing by Jacob’s right hand.  That greater blessing was only to Ephraim, the younger, symbolizing the elect who would receive the double blessing spiritually (Gen 48:19) and bear fruit in heaven and the earth. Hence the meaning of the name of Ephraim being “double fruit” and for whom the rest of Israel (mankind) shall be broken off for our benefit (Rom 11:30).

Judges judge themselves and one another.  Sending messengers throughout all of Ephraim (the church) reminds us of this importance of the ongoing battle in our minds. Sending Ephraim to Bethbarah [H1012]  is sending us mentally to the place of guarding our gates which is the first line of defense of overcoming our enemies.   Bethbarah means “house of the ford”. A ford is crossing and entry point which spiritually symbolizes the men of Israel going there to guard their gates and entryways into their mind and heart.  As we covered in our first look into Judges (FOA Part 11), the Lord is purposeful in leaving enemies in the land to test and try our faith.  These fleshly and carnal thoughts are ever present within us to chasten and shape and mold us.  We are learning to keep watch and always be on guard.

Pro 4:23  Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.

Luk 21:36  Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man

The more powerful lies and carnal minded strongholds are princes that must be destroyed for us to move onwards towards perfection and walk by faith.  The now gathered men of Ephraim bear some quick fruit in slaying Oreb And Zeeb.

Jdg 7:25  And they took two princes of the Midianites, Oreb and Zeeb; and they slew Oreb upon the rock Oreb, and Zeeb they slew at the winepress of Zeeb, and pursued Midian, and brought the heads of Oreb and Zeeb to Gideon on the other side Jordan. 

The names of these two princes are very significant.  Oreb means “raven” and Zeeb means “wolf”.  These two Princes represent our doctrines and deeds that are against Christ.   Oreb is what is in our heaven and Zeeb is what we walk out or do.  Both the heaven (Oreb – the bird) and the earth (Zeeb – the beast) must be cleansed.

H6159 – Oreb: “raven”, dusty and darkened, the evening. A Raven an unclean bird

A raven is an unclean bird, a false doctrine or lie that is flying in our mind (heavens) and clouding our spiritual vision and keeping us in bondage to strife and contention.

 H2061, Zeeb, From an unused root meaning to be yellow; a wolf: – wolf.

We are wolves when we are immature and lusting after significance in the congregation of Israel.  Yellow comes from the combination of red (Adam – Flesh) and green (representing new yet immature growth for God).  We are to beware of wolves in sheep’s clothing (Mat 7:15) beginning with ourselves.

2Co 13:5  Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?

We learn a nugget on these two princes looking at their only other mention in Scripture.

Psa 83:11  Make their nobles like Oreb, and like Zeeb: yea, all their princes as Zebah, and as Zalmunna: (the two kings of Midian)

Psa 83:12  Who said, Let us take to ourselves the houses of God in possession.

These two princes of Midian represent our witness for Christ that is defiled by our lust for preeminence in the congregation.  Strife and contention are defined by gain-seeking and lack of contentment as we compare, measure and exalt ourselves against Christ and His Christ until the Lord in His mercy brings judgment upon those spirits and thoughts.  Ridding the land of these two princes is a double blessing that will manifest the double fruit (heavens and earth) of Ephraim.

Oreb is slain on a rock that represents, the rock and pillar of the Truth.  The rock of Christ slays the beast within us all.  Yet that beast is always there to rise back up and must be beheaded as was Goliath (1Sa 17:51) by the fiery sword of judgment (Rev 20:4).

Rev 17:8  The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is. 

That beheading, as we are learning more each day, only comes in the winepress of judgment, by the process as we live out all seven vials of wrath against our carnal and wicked ways of the old man (Rev 15:8).  These are still the two kings of the Midianites to be pursued and killed. We will look into that next time and grow in understanding of the daily battle we face in keeping the peace in the house of God.

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