Studies

Remaining Vigilant and Overcoming Fear

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Discussion

For Our Admonition Part 17

“Remaining Vigilant and Overcoming Fear”

Key Verses:  Jdg 7:1 – Jdg 7:15

After being given the affirmative signs that the Lord was blessing Gideon’s work and the land would be blessed (signs of the dew), Gideon prepares to engage in warfare with the Midianite army.  This lesson is for us to learn of God’s ways in waging spiritual war against our inward enemies that are the carnal thoughts and lies that ensnare us all in unbelief.   Here is our first set of verses for this study.

Jdg 7:1  Then Jerubbaal, who is Gideon, and all the people that were with him, rose up early, and pitched beside the well of Harod: so that the host of the Midianites were on the north side of them, by the hill of Moreh, in the valley. 

Jdg 7:2  And the LORD said unto Gideon, The people that are with thee are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel vaunt themselves against me, saying, Mine own hand hath saved me. 

Jdg 7:3  Now therefore go to, proclaim in the ears of the people, saying, Whosoever is fearful and afraid, let him return and depart early from mount Gilead. And there returned of the people twenty and two thousand; and there remained ten. 

Jdg 7:4  And the LORD said unto Gideon, The people are yet too many; bring them down unto the water, and I will try them for thee there: and it shall be, that of whom I say unto thee, This shall go with thee, the same shall go with thee; and of whomsoever I say unto thee, This shall not go with thee, the same shall not go. 

Jdg 7:5  So he brought down the people unto the water: and the LORD said unto Gideon, Every one that lappeth of the water with his tongue, as a dog lappeth, him shalt thou set by himself; likewise every one that boweth down upon his knees to drink. 

Jdg 7:6  And the number of them that lapped, putting their hand to their mouth, were three hundred men: but all the rest of the people bowed down upon their knees to drink water. 

Jdg 7:7  And the LORD said unto Gideon, By the three hundred men that lapped will I save you, and deliver the Midianites into thine hand: and let all the other people go every man unto his place. 

Jdg 7:8  So the people took victuals in their hand, and their trumpets: and he sent all the rest of Israel every man unto his tent, and retained those three hundred men: and the host of Midian was beneath him in the valley. 

The army of Israel camping out at the well of Harod tells of Gideon’s yet fearful state of mind regarding the battle he has been tasked with leading for the Lord.   Camping at the well of Harod, which is a name only mentioned this one time in all of Scripture, signifies what we see more expressly in Jdg 7:10-11 which we will cover shortly.  Harod is Strong’s H5869 and means eyes and comes from a root word H2729 which means afraid and which well is referred to as fountain of tears or fountain of trembling.  We, like Gideon, even after being given mighty signs, still fear the flesh and going into the hot fire that is needed to wage spiritual warfare.  There is some growing still needed.

2Co 5:7  For we walk by faith, not by sight (our physical eyes or senses):

The young and immature new man will be greatly oppressed by design (Rom 8:20) by the heathen nations representing the carnal mind and its millions of lies and false doctrines (Rev 9:16).  We overcome our fears of men and fears of judgment by first giving into such fears and being overcome with fear.   The wisdom of God has us being strong in Spirit by first being shown we are weak in the flesh (2Co 12:10).  It’s only when we have no hope in ourselves that the Lord takes over.

Exo 14:14  The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.

Psa 56:2  My enemies would hound me all day, For there are many who fight against me, O Most High.

Psa 56:3  Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You.

Psa 56:4  In God (I will praise His word), In God I have put my trust; I will not fear. What can flesh do to me?

Php 3:3  For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.

We first find Moreh, the place of the Midianite camp, mentioned in the Bible as the place on the west side of the Jordan in the land of Canaan.  It was here the Lord spoke to a new journeyman Abram to encourage him.

Gen 12:6  And Abram passed through the land unto the place of Sichem, unto the plain of Moreh. And the Canaanite was then in the land.

Gen 12:7  And the LORD appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land: and there builded he an altar unto the LORD, who appeared unto him.

Those words of the Lord were like rain on a dry earth which brings forth righteousness. The Midianites are camped by the hill or Moreh which means rain [H4175] and comes from a root [H3384] meaning to teach.  It takes the Word of God, the doctrines of Christ (God’s rain Deu 32:1) falling from the clouds and the heavens to bring judgment.  The assembly of the Midianites at Moreh in the valley of Jezreel signals that judgment has come to deliver the land. The former and latter rains (Words and doctrines of Christ) are what curses the old man and brings the blessing to the new man by way of judgment.

Joe 2:23  Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the LORD your God: for he hath given you the former rain [H4175]  moderately, and he will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain [H4175], and the latter rain in the first month.

Heb 6:7  For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God:

The Midianite camps are strongholds and idols of carnal thinking that live in the valley and depressions of our earth.  Those valleys will be filled with spiritual blessings, which is the judgment of the old man.  That is how all flesh is being saved.

Luk 3:5  Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth;

Luk 3:6  And all flesh shall see the salvation of God.

The stage is set for the Judge of Israel (Christ in His Elect) to begin judging the nations and cleansing the land within us.  Yet there is a problem in that Gideon (and you and me in our immaturity and weakness of faith) is still afraid of the fight ahead. Christ becomes unattractive quickly when we realize there is more to it than knowing doctrine.

Luk 14:33  So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.

There is no turning back.  We have to get over the hump and be willing to lose everything to be used of the Lord in judgment of the nations within and without.

Luk 17:32  Remember Lot’s wife.

Luk 17:33  Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it.

What is the Lord’s response to us being weak in faith and still fearing the war with the flesh?  His ways are not our ways whatsoever!  Instead of giving us more resources to comfort us in our carnal reasoning, the Lord strips what little comfort we might have by taking away 99% of our army in reducing it from 32,000 to 300 men.  The winnowing down of the army is a well-known parable (Hos 12:10).  Coming to understand the Lord’s ways and fighting spiritual warfare always brings us back to faith and not trusting in our own abilities.  There are three primary lessons learned in the process of the Lord winnowing down Gideon’s army.

The first macro lesson is that God’s Elect, who is the Israel of God, is a very SMALL group.  It is indeed very few that make up His people and the army by which the nations are being and shall be judged and subdued is, was and will be.

Mat 22:14  “For many are called, but few are chosen.”

Luk 12:32  Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.

The Lord will have it be known that He is the Saviour and Deliverer and we are merely the instruments through which He works His greater works (Oba 1:21, Joh 14:12).

1Co 1:29  That no flesh should glory in his presence.

The Lord only appears to and is choosing this 1% (300/32000) who have been prepared to know they need repentance (Luk 15:7) and a Saviour to save them from their enemies.  It is this same small army by which the heathen nations within ourselves and without are judged by the fiery Word we speak (Jer 5:14) at the appointed times.  The battle with the Midianites is a type and shadow of this end time battle as Christ is revealed in us.

Rev 19:11  And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.

Rev 19:13  And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.

Rev 19:14  And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.

A second key lesson in this story of winnowing down the army, is that the fearful don’t make the cut and are unable to accomplish many miracles and good works in their unbelief.  Those not given the gift of faith will continue to fear men and are sent away as they cannot be used of the Lord.

Rev 22:15  For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.

Where faith lacks and unbelief rules, not many mighty works get done and that includes the works in purging the Midianites within us.

Mar 6:5  And he could there do no mighty work, save that he laid his hands upon a few sick folk, and healed them.

King Saul was rejected as king for his disobedience in not killing all the Amalekites.  His disobedience was because he feared men and obeyed them rather than God. This is our inward battle we fight every day with the Midianites.

1Sa 15:23  For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king.

1Sa 15:24  And Saul said unto Samuel, I have sinned: for I have transgressed the commandment of the LORD, and thy words: because I feared the people, and obeyed their voice.

Twenty-two thousand (22,000) that feared went home leaving 10,000 in the camp.    The fearful have been purged yet there is more purging to prepare the weak and despised army of Christ for a successful conquest.

The third and most noteworthy lesson as it pertains to this parable is the requirement for vigilance (faithfulness) in our walk of faith.  The opposite of vigilance is lasciviousness where we turn the grace of God and the law of faith into a lazy justification (Jud 1:3) to stop striving at every turn to stay on this narrow road.  The NON-vigilant are not going to make it.

Rev 17:14  These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.

We are not faithful when we are not vigilant in discerning between the good and the evil and acting in a godly way. We get there by experience and use.

2Co 10:3  For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh.

2Co 10:4  For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds,

Heb 5:14  But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

Lord willing, we are being given a spirit of vigilance and be chosen of the Lord to fight against the Midianites within ourselves so we can make that blessed and first holy resurrection.  The lapping of water like a dog or a leopard is a metaphor for what the Lord wants His army to be doing in always keeping guard and watching.

1Pe 5:8  Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:

Mat 26:41  Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

Luk 12:35  “Let your waist be girded and your lamps burning;

Vigilance differs from a similar word “diligence” mainly in the aspect of watching. Both denote the act of being careful and being conscientiousness.  The vigilant keep watch or else so they will not be overcome and snared by Midianites and others evils.

Rev 3:3  Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.

Our failures to be vigilant require a repeat of the fiery grace lessons (Rom 5:20) and experiencing anew the wrath of God against our unbelieving and lascivious ways.

1Th 5:6  Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.

1Th 5:7  For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night.

1Th 5:8  But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.

With the army now reduced to 300 men, Gideon waits on the Lord who then gives the command to go take the Midianite camp.  The very thing that disqualified the majority of Gideon’s army, being fearful; has now afflicted Gideon, the judge and mighty man of valor in the making.  Gideon still fears even after the four times the Lord proclaimed victory (Jdg 6:14, 6:16; 7:7, 7:9) and despite having been given three confirming signs.

Jdg 7:9  And it came to pass the same night, that the LORD said unto him, Arise, get thee down unto the host; for I have delivered it into thine hand. 

Jdg 7:10  But if thou fear to go down, go thou with Phurah thy servant down to the host: 

Jdg 7:11  And thou shalt hear what they say; and afterward shall thine hands be strengthened to go down unto the host. Then went he down with Phurah his servant unto the outside of the armed men that were in the host. 

Jdg 7:12  And the Midianites and the Amalekites and all the children of the east lay along in the valley like grasshoppers for multitude; and their camels were without number, as the sand by the sea side for multitude. 

Jdg 7:13  And when Gideon was come, behold, there was a man that told a dream unto his fellow, and said, Behold, I dreamed a dream, and, lo, a cake of barley bread tumbled into the host of Midian, and came unto a tent, and smote it that it fell, and overturned it, that the tent lay along. 

Jdg 7:14  And his fellow answered and said, This is nothing else save the sword of Gideon the son of Joash, a man of Israel: for into his hand hath God delivered Midian, and all the host. 

Jdg 7:15  And it was so, when Gideon heard the telling of the dream, and the interpretation thereof, that he worshipped, and returned into the host of Israel, and said, Arise; for the LORD hath delivered into your hand the host of Midian. 

Until faith is given to the few, men of all kinds, even religious ones, remain in bondage to fear.  The shadow of true faith, the law of Moses, commanded that Israel be not afraid before engaging their enemies.  This law further requires the priests to come speak and encourage the people!  Sharing our testimony is what the Lord’s priests do in helping one another overcome their fears and reminding us often that the victory is already won.  It is the duty of God’s priests to lift up one another and bolster faith and confidence in what the Lord wills for His people that believe.  The battle truly is the Lord’s.

Deu 20:1  “When you go out to battle against your enemies, and see horses and chariots and people more numerous than you, do not be afraid of them; for the LORD your God is with you, who brought you up from the land of Egypt.

Deu 20:2  So it shall be, when you are on the verge of battle, that the priest shall approach and speak to the people.

Deu 20:3  And he shall say to them, ‘Hear, O Israel: Today you are on the verge of battle with your enemies. Do not let your heart faint, do not be afraid, and do not tremble or be terrified because of them; 

Deu 20:4  for the LORD your God is He who goes with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you.’

Overcoming fear of death takes strong faith and it is passing that point of maturity that brings lasting deliverance.

Heb 2:14  Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;

Heb 2:15  And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. 

Gideon, like all of us, is commanded to engage in war needs strengthening and encouragement by his fellow “neighbors and laborers” in the faith. The Lord tells Gideon to go with a servant named Phurah to the camp of Israel’s army and listen to what he hears spoken.  Phurah is a name only found in the Bible in these verses of Judges 7.  It comes from a root word H6288 meaning young branches, new shoots or sprigs like of a tree or plant.  Gideon is Phurah as he is still young in service yet he in shadow, like all the elect, are mighty men of valor that will be the instruments of judgment and salvation to the entire human race which is ALL ISRAEL (Mat 19:27, 1Co 6:2).  Being made ready requires us to walk with Christ through His Christ and be taught war.

Pro 24:5  A wise man is strong; yea, a man of knowledge increaseth strength.

Pro 24:6  For by wise counsel thou shalt make thy war: and in multitude of counsellors there is safety.

1Ti 4:10  For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe.

1Ti 4:11  These things command and teach.

Angels of the Lord, our fellow brethren, who have walked before us are there to lead us through the tough times with comfort, encouragement and exhortation.  Even our Lord needed strengthening when in a body of weak flesh.

Luk 22:42  Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.

Luk 22:43  And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him. 

Psa 34:7  The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them. 

The KJV calls the man sharing his prophecy (dream) a “fellow” but that word is much more commonly translated as neighbor or friend.  We are friends of the Lord and true friends of one another when we obey God, which is how we love God and one another (1Jo 5:3, Joh 15:14).  It is our fellow servants that minister as priests of God to each of us in our time of need.  Fellow servants are used to reveal Christ in us and show us how to make war with the enemies of Christ.  We are the army of the Lord that is following the Lord, the Word of God, riding on the white horses and following Christ .

Rev 19:10  And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.

His Word fitly spoken by angels, will strengthen us and help us to stand strong.

2Ch 20:15  And he said, Hearken ye, all Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem, and thou king Jehoshaphat, Thus saith the LORD unto you, Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God’s.

Eph 6:10  Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 

The details of the neighbor’s dream signify that it is thru the laying down of our life as a living sacrifice that we overcome the Midianites.  Barley is symbolic for the first fruit harvest of the grain crop in Israel and symbolizes the Lord and His Christ who are a type of firstfruits (Jas 1:18, 1 Co 15:20).  Christ is this Bread which is the Word of God.

Joh 6:50  This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die.

Joh 6:51  I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.

This  Bread of Life coming into a tent or dwelling place is going to turn everything upside down and great shall be the fall of that former house.  The dream is one and this same bread is also known as rain that comes upon the old carnal man’s dwelling.

Luk 6:49  But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built an house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great.

The symbolism is multi-faceted as the Word is also likened to an ax that is worked by a deliverer who is also ax men or hewers of wood the very meaning of Gideon’s name.  Gideon’s sword, which is his ax, is used to chop down the wood that is the tree and carnal-mindedness (Midianite mindset) of all mankind.

Mat 3:10  And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

The enemies of the Lord, which are carnal thoughts and minds the world over, will all be converted in due time, beginning in the hearts and minds of the elect who are being judged now by this same Word, rain and ax!

Rom 12:20  Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.

Psa 66:3  Say unto God, How terrible art thou in thy works! through the greatness of thy power shall thine enemies submit themselves unto thee

Gideon hears the dream, the Spirit of prophecy, from his brethren and through this experience, he grows in faith and obeys the Lord in leading Israel into battle.

Jdg 7:15  And it was so, when Gideon heard the telling of the dream, and the interpretation thereof, that he worshipped, and returned into the host of Israel, and said, Arise; for the LORD hath delivered into your hand the host of Midian.

Gideon like all of us are learning to walk by faith and not by what he sees and processes with a carnal mind through physical senses.  The brethren play an essential role in developing one another and building confidence in the Word and His precious promises.  It is why we are to break Bread often in communion with one another.

1Co 11:24  And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.

1Co 11:25  After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.

1Co 11:26  For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.

We end the study with a reminder of who we are battling as God’s people and how we are to be prepared to fight and stand on faith wearing all the armor.

Eph 6:12  For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

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.

As we are able to live more and more each day Lord willing, we will progress further in cleansing the land of the Midianite nation and judging righteously.

Comments and questions welcome.  You can also email me direct at peterjwilson56@gmail.com