The Lord is with You, Part 2
I began to look last week at God raising Gideon to work with Him to deliver the people of Israel from the oppression of the Midianites. Today, I want to specifically look at how Gideon’s identity changed, which led to confidence, faith, and empowering of the Spirit.
Throughout the Bible and history, God has proven that He will use, and even exalt, men and women to places of prominence and position. Why?
That His purposes on the earth will be accomplished and His name will be exalted and made great. Gideon was one of those people God elevated for His purposes.
Like Gideon, God sees the span of our lives—beginning to end—before we lived a day. He knows our calling and destiny. But for most people, God must minister to our brokenness and wrong identity before we can partner with Him. As we cooperate with God’s transforming work, we begin to live from our union with Christ, led of the Spirit. With the mind of Christ and empowering of the Spirit, all things become possible!
I heard the Lord say this week, “Blow the trumpet in Zion! It’s time for the Church to let her light shine and for a sound to be heard that will draw them home!”
Gideon blew the trumpet after the Spirit of the Lord came on him. Suddenly, the people from the tribes of Israel began to rally with Gideon, and God worked a miracle.
I believe that as the Church begins to live in the fullness of the Spirit as God intends, the prodigals will return home and the lost will be found! The fields are ready for harvest now Church!
The nation of Israel failed to possess the inheritance God gave them.
Last week, I discussed how the children of Israel failed to work with God to see their enemies driven out little by little in the land. As a result, their enemies remained and forty years after the judge Deborah, another generation fell away from God. The people feared other gods, which led to compromise and neglect of true worship. You will worship what you compromise with.
Further, the Israelites spiritually “opened a door” to allow the enemy to oppress them.
Gideon was instructed by God to tear down his father’s altar of Baal, and in its place, erect an altar to worship God.
Now it came to pass the same night that the Lord said to him, “Take your father’s young bull, the second bull of seven years old, and tear down the altar of Baal that your father has, and cut down the wooden image that is beside it; and build an altar to the Lord your God on top of this rock (stronghold) in the proper arrangement, and take the second bull and offer a burnt sacrifice with the wood of the image which you shall cut down.” Judges 6:25-26 NKJV
It wasn’t just the nation that rebelled against God, Gideon’s family opened a door to oppression as well. Gideon was to tear down the enemy’s stronghold and build on top of it God’s altar—we must do the same!
By the way, it was after Gideon tore down the family altar that the enemy stirred up the Midianites to invade Israel and prepare to attack them!
Tearing down the Baal altar was important; it removed the family stronghold and grip on the city. Equally important was Gideon rebuilding an altar to God and offering pure worship—he put himself on the altar! Gideon demonstrated surrender to the Lord and became obedient to His leading.
When we agree with and walk according to God’s revealed truth, we begin to receive the fullness of the inheritance Jesus purchased for us.
Jesus has set us free; this is biblical truth for those in Christ,
the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.” (Rom 8:2 NKJV)
But you and I must choose to live from our new life in Christ, living by this revealed truth and promise of life in the Spirit through Jesus. We must choose to yield to God and work with Him to drive out areas in our lives that aren’t fully filled with God. It’s Jesus who has freed us and cleansed us, live out of this reality!
God raises Gideon as a Deliverer
In Judges 6:11-16, we read of God’s plan to call and use for His purposes:
Now the Angel of the Lord came and sat under the terebinth tree which was in Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, while his son Gideon threshed wheat in the winepress, in order to hide it from the Midianites. And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him, and said to him, “The Lord is with you, you mighty man of valor!”
Gideon said to Him, “O my lord, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all His miracles which our fathers told us about, saying, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt?’ But now the Lord has forsaken us and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites.”
Then the Lord turned to him and said, “Go in this might of yours, and you shall save Israel from the hand of the Midianites. Have I not sent you?”
So he said to Him, “O my Lord, how can I save Israel? Indeed my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.”
And the Lord said to him, “Surely I will be with you, and you shall [c]defeat the Midianites as one man.” NKJV
Gideon’s name means “valiant warrior.” But Gideon doesn’t see himself as an overcomer, much less a valiant warrior. The sin of the nation and his own false identity prevent Gideon from seeing himself as God sees him.
When God calls and commissions us, He never reminds us of our faults and weaknesses. Instead, He builds our faith by proclaiming something over us like, “You’re a mighty warrior,” “A father of many nations,” or “You’re the one all of Israel is waiting on!” The Lord said to Gideon, “The Lord is with you, you mighty man of valor!”
Gideon was a young man destined to change the course of history.
But like many of us, his low self-esteem created false humility that reduced his life to simply making a living. You must see yourself as a son or daughter of God’s family, with heavenly affirmation and purpose beyond just “making a living.”
Your calling may be in your job or career, but for many others, their job is to support them financially, and their calling is discovered in God’s family and kingdom.
God sends an angel to Gideon, to pronounce his call and to remove his false identity. God knows that Israel’s deliverance rests on His ability to impact Gideon’s low self-esteem and wrong identity. The prophetic word releases God’s true identity over Gideon and begins to prepare him to become who God says he is.
Prophetic ministry should primarily encourage the hearer. One way this is accomplished is to prophetically discover and call out the potential that the Lord has placed in people. We help them step into their identity and calling in Christ through the gift of prophecy.
Many of us are like Gideon: we are fed up with the evil that surrounds us, yet it hasn’t occurred to us that the miracle we are praying for already lies within us! It’s God’s power at work in and with us “… according to the power that works in us” (Eph. 3:20 NKJV)!
The Midianites were Israel’s enemies, but the real bondage was within Gideon.
Gideon said to the Angel, “O my lord, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all His miracles which our fathers told us about, saying, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt?’ But now the Lord has forsaken us and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites.” Jud. 6:13 NKJV
The darkness surrounding Gideon has caused him to doubt God’s promises and miracle power. Gideon is filled with doubt and unbelief. He doubts God can change the situation, and it has caused him to doubt himself. We fear what we compromise with.
The compromise in Gideon’s life has quenched the fire of the Spirit. Fear grips him and affects his offering to the Lord.
Every fire starts with wildfire, keep putting yourself on God’s altar—fear leaves!
But the Lord turns to Gideon and says,
…Go in this might of yours (Go in this your strength NASB), and you shall save Israel from the hand of Midianites. Have I not sent you? Jud. 6:14 NKJV
Where did his strength come from? Answer: his faint remembrance of God’s past promises, God’s past miracles, and knowing God is with him! Weak faith for sure, but God can work with anyone who simply surrenders and obeys God!
Who you are is not the issue, it’s who He is with you! God is determined to use Gideon—He’s determined to use you too!
So he said to Him, “O my Lord, how can I save Israel? Indeed, my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.” Jud. 6:15 NKJV
Paraphrasing, Gideon says, “Is not my family the least in Manasseh and am I not the youngest?” The problem isn’t that the enemy is so big, but rather Gideon feels so small, insignificant, and powerless!
The Lord answers, “Surely I will be with you, and you shall defeat the Midianites as one man.” Jud. 6:16 NKJV
The Lord says, “I will be with you,” the “I Am that I Am” will be with you, Gideon! And God Almighty promises to be with you and me as well—always!
When God called Gideon a valiant warrior, he was able to step into an identity that allowed him to bring about the justice he yearned for. Because Gideon rose to be the leader God destined him to be, the people were loyal both to God and Gideon. Your obedience to God’s call and identity over your life helps others to experience His love and freedom.
New Identity Frees You from the Past and Propels You into the Future
Your true family lineage and identity is found in Jesus, you are no longer “the least in Manasseh” or just the “youngest” in the family! Read what Paul says about who you are:
All who are led by God’s Spirit are God’s sons and daughters. You didn’t receive a spirit of slavery to lead you back again into fear, but you received a Spirit that shows you are adopted as his children. With this Spirit, we cry, “Abba, Father.” The same Spirit agrees with our spirit, that we are God’s children. But if we are children, we are also heirs. We are God’s heirs and fellow heirs with Christ, if we really suffer with him so that we can also be glorified with him. Rom. 8:14-17 CEB
When you give your life to Christ, there is a “divine exchange.” He takes your old nature, nails it to the cross, and “recreates” you into His image. You are a new creation, born of the Spirit now! Your worth is measured by the cross! He died so we could be restored to our original purpose, to share God’s glory, and to bring Him glory by serving others.
…be renewed in the spirit of your mind…” Eph. 4:23 NKJV
Our minds must be renewed to who we are in Jesus. Our new life and identity are found in Christ; far above all power and principality! The renewed mind agrees with God’s reality.
God’s realm knows no limits, lacks no creativity. A renewed mind enables God to release His ideas, His creativity, His power to us and through us to our world.
Paul rejoiced in his sufferings because he loved Jesus more than life. What if Paul had stopped short or had given up? God didn’t give up on Gideon, Paul, or any other hero of the faith; and He won’t give up on you!
And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. Phil. 1:6 NLT
God who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it. He has been at work in you before you were born and will not leave you half-finished. He will complete the work that He has set out to do in and through you.
Empowered by the Spirit
The Spirit of God comes on Gideon in power; he blows the trumpet and the people begin to rally.
Then the Spirit of the Lord clothed Gideon with power. He blew a ram’s horn as a call to arms, and the men of the clan of Abiezer came to him. He also sent messengers throughout Manasseh, Asher, Zebulun, and Naphtali, summoning their warriors, and all of them responded. Judges 6:34-35 NLT
The phrase, “… the Lord clothed Gideon …” is from the Hebrew word לָבַשׁ (lā·ḇǎš) which means, “to cover as with clothing.” But the phrase also implies, “The Spirit of the Lord clothed Himself in Gideon,” or “put him on life a glove!” 
You could say the “suit made the man!” In Gideon, God found a human vessel in whom He could clothe with Himself and empower for purpose.
With Gideon, we see that his family’s iniquity, the enemy’s oppression, and his own fear and timidity can’t keep God from empowering him!
Gideon now leads the nation against their enemies who invaded their land. God not only delivered Israel, but the heart of the people turned to God to worship Him in Spirit and truth once again.
As we stay surrendered to God, on His altar, hungry for His presence, we become a people clothed by God, possessed by God!
God doesn’t want to change you; He wants to transform you. This began, when by faith, you accepted Christ and His gift of grace—the Holy Spirit then indwelt you—and is in the ongoing process of transforming your mind.
We reflect the identity of the one we focus upon. If my focus is on Christ, I reflect His nature and my behavior will follow my reflection.
As we learn to see ourselves in the Spirit, as a new creation, we begin to live out of our union with Christ.
The Holy Spirit wants to envelop you in His presence. He really cares for you and wants to be your best friend. Our Christian life was meant to be an ongoing experience in the life of the Holy Spirit. Jesus said,
And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— the Spirit of truth…you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.” John 14:16-17 NKJV
Paul tells us we are to have ongoing interaction with the Holy Spirit,
For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.” Rom 8:14 NKJV
“Are led” is from the Greek agō, which means to guide, function, and spend time with. Paul also writes that we are to commune with the Holy Spirit,
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen. 2 Cor. 13:14 NKJV
Communion is from the Greek koinōnía, meaning to have fellowship or partnership with. The Holy Spirit not only wants to have fellowship with you, but He wants to partner with you to be successful in all that you do.
Most of us want to live a victorious Christian life. But without daily communion with the Holy Spirit, it is impossible to attain that goal. Communion with the Holy Spirit is the launching pad for a life of supernatural power and consistency.
Our desire should be to seek those things that are above and not of the earth. We are to be in the world, but not of it. We are citizens of a heavenly Kingdom; our desire and pursuit should be toward heaven.
Genuine Christianity, led by the Spirit, opens the mind to the potential of being completely transformed to think like heaven—to have a kingdom perspective.
God is after something far more than “good behavior,” He is after the maturing of each of us, and the Church, into the fullness of Christ, to function with a mindset that nothing is impossible with God!
We have been called to teach the nations how to stop giants, prosper in famines, rebuild cities and restore families ravaged by the devil. God is looking for someone who will align themselves with heaven, just one, that’s all it takes for Him to invade. It starts with surrender, loving Jesus and communing with Holy Spirit.
God has destined you to overcome, not just survive in life!
John declares, “Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world!” (1 John 4:4 NKJV) The greater One lives within you, and He takes delight in you. He wants to bless and prosper you, give you everything that you need to be a success in this life, and accomplish that which He created you for.
Don’t stop short of God’s promises to you. Don’t stop short of your destiny.
He wants us to be ready, full of Jesus, full of His hope and glory to reveal to a lost and hopeless world the riches of His love and glory. If you are empty, He will fill you—draw near to Him afresh!
We are not smart enough, strong enough, prepared enough, or spiritual enough to do the work God wants us to do. But He is! God will finish His work through us; don’t stop short of His glory.
What has God spoken over your life, what is the identity that He has given you? Do you see yourself as small and insignificant, or do you agree with God’s identity in your life? In Christ, you are 1,000 times larger on the inside than you are on the outside—believe it!
For a more in-depth look at this topic, watch the Passion Church message, “The Lord is With You, Part 2”
 James Swanson, Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains: Hebrew (Old Testament) (Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997).