Judges 6-8 – DISCOURAGEMENT: FROM BLUES TO BLESSING
It is very easy to start “singing the blues”, that is, to be depressed or discouraged.
Look at the state of the economy and you can become discouraged.
Look at the state of your own finances and you can become discouraged.
Look at world events, especially in the Middle East, and you can become discouraged.
Look at the behavior of most unbelievers and you will become discouraged.
Look at the behavior of many believers and you can become discouraged.
Look at the sickness, pain and suffering experienced by you, your family, and friends and you can become discouraged.
Are you “singing the blues”? Are you discouraged? Learn a lesson from Gideon and the Children of Israel.
6:1-6 – The Midianites were nomads who dwelled in the dessert. At the time of Harvest, they would show up and steal what was in the land.
6:11-13 – In the midst of this problem, an Angel of the Lord appears to Gideon.
Gideon is called a “man of valor” by the Angel of the Lord and told him that the Lord was with him. Gideon asked two questions that showed his discouragement.
We often ask the same two questions.
In the case of Gideon, God took him from being defeated to being victorious.
He took him from blues to blessing!
In this story about Gideon we can find some guidelines for handling discouragement.
1. ACKNOWLEDGE THE REASONS FOR DISCOURAGEMENT
There are reasons for discouragement. It behooves us to analyze and ask, “What exactly has me discouraged?” We can’t look at just surface reasons, but need to dig deep. There are many reasons for discouragement. Allow me to share just four:
An Unpleasant Condition
This is the most obvious. Gideon and the children of Israel were discouraged by the unpleasant conditions that they needed to face.
Life is full of unpleasant conditions. (You can share your own list.)
An Uncommitted Burden
If you are a Christian, there is a procedure we need to follow when we start to feel overwhelmed and discouraged.
We need to commit our burdens to the Lord in prayer. All too often we try to handle our own problems instead of giving them to the Lord. 1 Peter 5:7, Psalm 37:5, Psalm 81:10, Philippians 4:6-7
An Unconfessed/ Unforsaken Sin
Many times we will blame other things or people for our discouragement, when in reality, the problem is ourselves! It is very easy to say, “I’m discouraged by the sins of other Christians” when in reality we are discouraged by our own sins. This was Israel’s problem in Judges 6. They had failed God. They were worshipping false Gods. Therefore they were under God’s hand of discipline so that they would confess and forsake their sins and return to Him. Proverbs 3:12-13, Isaiah 55:6-7
An Unchecked Physical Problem
Sometimes folks are discouraged or depressed simply because there is something physically wrong. When a person can say, “It’s not circumstances that has me discouraged. It’s not an uncommitted burden or a sin that has me discouraged” perhaps it’s time to see the doctor.
2. ADJUST YOUR VISION
All too often people are looking in the wrong places for solutions to their problems.
Some look to circumstances and wish for them to get better.
Some look to others and depend on them to solve the problems.
Some look to themselves as the solution to their problems.
Our vision needs to be adjusted so that we look to God as the solution of our problems.
In Judges 6:6, the Children of Israel did the right thing when they cried to God for help.
When Gideon started looking to the Lord there was victory.
Two interesting things about the call of Gideon:
- God says “I have sent thee” in verse 14. Problems are solved and there is peace in the soul when we are following God’s leading.
- There is peace in the soul when God goes with us.
Let’s get our vision adjusted so that we look to God for the solution to our problems.
ALIGN YOURSELF PUBLICLY WITH GOD
6:33-35 – Notice that God’s Spirit came upon Gideon and he was not the same. He rallied the people around God. He publicly took his stand for the Lord. That is exactly what we should do. Especially when there is a problem, people should know that you are aligning yourself with God! Psalm 34:1-4
ALLOW GOD TO WORK THROUGH A REMNANT (YOU!)
You will lose your discouragement, when you realize that usually God works through individuals and small groups instead of large crowds. 1 Samuel 14:6
Notice Judges 6:12. God calls Gideon “a mighty man of valor”. Gideon was anything but!
God saw the potential Gideon had and He sees our potential. All we have to do is allow God to work through us.
God reduced Gideon’s initial fighting force to 300 in Judges 7.
God is only hindered by numbers when we fail to let Him work through us.
ASCRIBE ALL GLORY TO GOD
When God delivers you give Him the credit. Psalm 98:1, Psalm 29:2
When God gives the victory make sure that He is praised and thanked!
A sad aftermath to Gideon’s victory was the failure of Israel to remember that God gave them the victory and to thank Him. Judges 8:34