Submit: yield to somebody else’s control, to give into another’s knowledge, judgment, or experience. We can only be successful resisting the devil if we submit to God.
James 4:7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
God is in the business of impossible situations. He told Abraham when he was 75 years old that he was going to make him a father of many nations (Genesis 17:4). Then an angel told him that he was going to have a son when he was 100.
Genesis 18:9-14 And they said unto him, Where is Sarah thy wife? And he said, Behold, in the tent. And he said, I will certainly return unto thee according to the time of life; and, lo, Sarah thy wife shall have a son. And Sarah heard it in the tent door…Now Abraham and Sarah were old and well stricken in age; and it ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women. Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also? And the Lord said unto Abraham, Wherefore did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I of a surety bear a child, which am old? Is anything too hard for the Lord? At the time appointed I will return…according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son.
Sarah laughed because she couldn’t hardly believe she’d have a baby after the age that women have babies. God said “Is any thing too hard for the Lord?” When the Israelites left Egypt the Red Sea was in front of them and the Egyptians behind them, but God made a path for them to escape through the sea. The angel told Mary “with God nothing shall be impossible” when she asked how she could have a son when she didn’t have that kind of contact with a man.
Luke 1:30-37 And the angel said…Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest…and of his kingdom there shall be no end. Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? And the angel answered…The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth…also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her…For with God nothing shall be impossible.
When we submit to God, nothing is impossible and the devil will flee from us. When a person leaves God, God is not for them but he delivers them to the spoiler and they can’t stand before the enemy.
Judges 2:11-14 And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord, and served Baalim: And they forsook the Lord God of their fathers, which brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods, of the gods of the people that were round about them, and bowed themselves unto them, and provoked the Lord to anger.
God was angry against those who wouldn’t follow him. People who won’t obey God and want victory from sinful habits will not have help from the Lord.
Judges 2:20-21 And the anger of the Lord was hot against Israel; and he said, Because that this people hath transgressed my covenant which I commanded their fathers, and have not hearkened unto my voice; I also will not henceforth drive out any from before them of the nations which Joshua left when he died:
Othniel was the first judge in Israel that helped the Israelites follow God so they prevailed over the enemy.
Judges 3:9-11 And when the children of Israel cried unto the Lord, the Lord raised up a deliverer…who delivered them, even Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother. And the Spirit of the Lord came upon him, and he judged Israel, and went out to war: and the Lord delivered Chushanrishathaim king of Mesopotamia into his hand; and his hand prevailed against Chushanrishathaim. And the land had rest forty years. And Othniel the son of Kenaz died.
When there wasn’t a judge, the people started doing evil so God delivered them to the enemy. God sold them into the hand of the enemy and will sell anyone who won’t serve him to the enemy. The enemy came and ate everything the Israelites had planted so they didn’t have anything to eat. The Israelites went to hide in the mountains and caves.
Judges 5:31-6:6 So let all thine enemies perish, O Lord: but let them that love him be as the sun when he goeth forth in his might. And the land had rest forty years. And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord: and the Lord delivered them into the hand of Midian seven years. And the hand of Midian prevailed against Israel: and because of the Midianites the children of Israel made them the dens which are in the mountains, and caves, and strong holds. And so it was, when Israel had sown…Midianites came up, and the Amalekites, and the children of the east…came up against them; And they encamped against them, and destroyed the increase of the earth, till thou come unto Gaza, and left no sustenance for Israel, neither sheep, nor ox, nor ass. For they came up with their cattle and their tents…as grasshoppers for multitude; for both they and their camels were without number: and they entered into the land to destroy it. And Israel was greatly impoverished because of the Midianites; and the children of Israel cried unto the Lord.
Every time the people cried to the Lord, God sent judges to deliver them. The prophet from God came to tell them three things: 1. The Lord was their God, 2. Don’t fear the enemy, 3. Obey God.
Judges 6:7-11 And it came to pass, when the children of Israel cried unto the Lord because of the Midianites, That the Lord sent a prophet…which said unto them, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, I brought you up from Egypt, and brought you forth out of the house of bondage; And I delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians, and out of the hand of all that oppressed you, and drave them out from before you, and gave you their land; And I said unto you, I am the Lord your God; fear not the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but ye have not obeyed my voice. And…an angel of the Lord…sat under an oak which was in Ophrah…Gideon threshed wheat by the winepress, to hide it from the Midianites.
Gideon was hiding by the wine press to thresh his wheat. He was afraid the enemy would take it. The angel of the Lord called him a mighty man of valor – brave and courageous. God wanted to encourage Gideon to be brave for the job he was going to give him. Gideon didn’t think he was important. He needed encouragement to know that God was really talking to him and that he could smite the enemy of 135,000 Midianites.
Judges 6:13-17 And Gideon said…Oh my Lord, if the Lord be with us, why then is all this befallen us? and where be all his miracles which our fathers told us of, saying, Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt? but now the Lord hath forsaken us, and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites. And the Lord…said, Go in this thy might, and thou shalt save Israel from…the Midianites: have not I sent thee? And he said…Oh my Lord, wherewith shall I save Israel? behold, my family is poor…I am the least in my father’s house. And the Lord said…Surely I will be with thee, and thou shalt smite the Midianites as one man. And he said unto him, If now I have found grace in thy sight, then shew me a sign that thou talkest with me.
God told him to build an altar and call it Jehovahshalom, the Lord is peace. He was still afraid but God said “fear not.”
Judges 6:18-24 Depart not hence, I pray thee, until I come…bring forth my present, and set it before thee. And he said, I will tarry…Gideon went in, and made ready a kid, and unleavened cakes…the flesh he put in a basket, and he put the broth in a pot, and brought it out unto him under the oak, and presented it. And the angel of God said unto him, Take the flesh and the unleavened cakes, and lay them upon this rock, and pour out the broth. And he did so. Then the angel of the Lord put forth the end of the staff…and touched the flesh and the unleavened cakes; and there rose up fire out of the rock, and consumed the flesh and the unleavened cakes. Then the angel of the Lord departed out of his sight… Gideon perceived that he was an angel…said, Alas, O Lord God! for because I have seen an angel of the Lord face to face. And the Lord said…Peace be unto thee; fear not: thou shalt not die. Then Gideon built an altar…called it Jehovahshalom…
Gideon feared the people of the town and his father, but he still took ten of his servants at night to do what God said.
Judges 6:25-27 And it came to pass the same night, that the Lord said…Take thy father’s young bullock, even the second bullock of seven years old, and throw down the altar of Baal that thy father hath, and cut down the grove that is by it: And build an altar unto the Lord thy God upon the top of this rock…and offer a burnt sacrifice with the wood of the grove which thou shalt cut down. Then Gideon took ten men of his servants, and did as the Lord had said…so it was, because he feared his father’s household, and the men of the city, that he could not do it by day, that he did it by night.
Sometimes fear comes on us when God wants us to do something, but we submit to God even if we feel fear in the flesh. Gideon destroyed the altar of Baal and told the people to let Baal plead for himself if he was a god. False gods can’t plead for or protect themselves. The Israelites worshipped false gods because they were afraid, but God said not to fear them.
Judges 6:28-32 And when the men of the city arose early…behold, the altar of Baal was cast down, and the grove was cut down….and the second bullock was offered upon the altar that was built. And they said…Who hath done this thing? And when they enquired…said, Gideon the son of Joash hath done this thing. Then the men of the city said unto Joash, Bring out thy son, that he may die: because he hath cast down the altar of Baal, and because he hath cut down the grove …Joash said unto all that stood against him, Will ye plead for Baal? will ye save him? he that will plead for him, let him be put to death whilst it is yet morning: if he be a god, let him plead for himself, because one hath cast down his altar. Therefore on that day he called him Jerubbaal, saying, Let Baal plead against him, because he hath thrown down his altar.
Next Gideon blew the trumpet to gather the army.
Judges 6:33-34 Then all the Midianites and the Amalekites…were gathered together, and went over, and pitched in the valley of Jezreel. But the Spirit of the Lord came upon Gideon, and he blew a trumpet; and Abiezer was gathered after him.
God told Gideon to send some people away. He didn’t want them to vaunt themselves or take credit for the victory.
Judges 7:1-3…Gideon, and all the people…rose up early, and pitched beside the well of Harod: so…the Midianites were on the north…in the valley. And the Lord said…The people…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. Now therefore go…saying, Whosoever is fearful and afraid, let him return…returned of the people twenty and two thousand; and there remained ten thousand.
God had Gideon reduce the army down to 300 men by seeing who was watchful when they got a drink of water.
Judges 7:4-7 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…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. And the number of them that lapped, putting their hand to their mouth, were three hundred men…the Lord said unto Gideon, By the three hundred men that lapped will I save you, and deliver the Midianites into thine hand…
God told Gideon to go to the Midianites camp at night and if he was afraid to take Phurah. What Gideon heard encouraged him to have confidence to do what God said. God was trying to get him to not be afraid.
Judges 7:9-14…Lord said unto him, Arise, get thee down unto the host; for I have delivered it into thine hand. But if thou fear to go down, go thou with Phurah thy servant…And thou shalt hear what they say; and afterward shall thine hands be strengthened…he down with Phurah…Midianites and the Amalekites and all the children of the east lay along in the valley like grasshoppers for multitude…And when Gideon was come, behold…a man that told a dream unto his fellow…Behold, I dreamed…a cake of barley bread tumbled into the host of Midian…unto a tent, and smote it that it fell, and overturned it …And his fellow…said, This is nothing else save the sword of Gideon…for into his hand hath God delivered Midian…
Gideon divided the army into three groups and told them to do what he did in the battle. We can’t have victory unless we’re going in unity against the enemy. When Gideon blew his trumpet and broke his pitcher everyone did it. The enemy was confused and thought there was a big army so they ran away. God won the battle for them without any weapons. If they weren’t in unity, they wouldn’t have won. Gideon submitted to God and the people submitted to Gideon.
Judges 7:15-22 And it was so, when Gideon heard…the dream, and the interpretation thereof, that he worshipped, and returned into the host…said, Arise; for the Lord hath delivered into your hand the host of Midian. And he divided the three hundred men into three companies…put a trumpet in every man’s hand, with empty pitchers, and lamps within the pitchers. And he said…Look on me, and do likewise…When I blow with a trumpet, I and all that are with me, then blow ye the trumpets also on every side…and say, The sword of the Lord, and of Gideon. So Gideon, and the hundred men…came unto the outside of the camp…and they blew the trumpets, and brake the pitchers…And the three companies blew the trumpets, and brake the pitchers, and held the lamps in their left hands, and the trumpets…cried, The sword of the Lord, and of Gideon…all the host ran, and cried, and fled. And the three hundred blew the trumpets, and the Lord set every man’s sword against his fellow…and the host fled to Bethshittah…
(Notes from the Mature Class Bible Study, teacher Edith Tolbert)