Sunday, February 26, 2012

Joshua Part 1

Hello Everyone,
Today I want to start the story of Joshua.  He has an amazing story because he was actually the man who lead Israel into the promise land.  Now we know that Moses was the one who lead them out of Egypt and he was their leader for about 40 years while they wandered around in the desert.  
Now Joshua was a military man and Moses was sort of like the President.  I used to think that Moses was a priest because the bible talks a lot in the book of Exodus about all of Moses conversations with God.  After all, it was Moses who went up on the mountain to talk to God and get the ten commandments.  It was Moses and God who talked over what was going to happen in Egypt, etc., right?  Well in our society today, I used to equate this type of person to the Pope or to a preacher because we go to church to hear from God.  I wonder what our country would be like if it was our political leaders who were talking to and hearing from God instead of just our preachers.
How do we know that Moses was not the preacher of his day?  Well, the Bible says in Exodus 28, that Aaron, Moses’ brother was going to be the high priest.  Moses was the leader of the people, not the priest.  So anyway one of Moses’ right hand men was Joshua.  Joshua was the military leader of Israel.  He was like the commanding general of their whole Army.  In Exodus 17, we get our first look at this commanding general.  The Lord gave Moses, the President, the battle plan to fight against a group of people called the Amalekites.  Then Moses told Joshua how to fight against them.  Now you have to understand that the Israelites were just slaves a couple of months before this battle.  They really didn’t know how to fight.  That’s why God didn’t let them fight against the Egyptians when they came out.  Remember Moses parted the Red Sea and they walked through on dry land then the Red Sea swallowed up the Egyptian army?
Well now the army of Israel got it’s first test and their commanding general was Joshua.  This is pretty amazing because not only did Joshua have to learn to be a warrior, he had  to learn to control a whole army that was fighting against a whole nation.  So for this battle, Moses, the President not the priest, goes up on this hill to watch the battle.  The Lord tells him to hold up his hands.  As long as Moses is holding his hands up, Israel is winning the battle but if he puts them down, then the Amalekites start winning.  Now here we get a good picture of how things are supposed to work.  Moses has to sit down on a rock because he gets tired.  This battle takes all day.  First of all, notice what God tells Moses to do.  The key to the battle isn’t the brilliant tactics of Joshua, although those are important.  The key is Moses holding up his hands.  Here is what we need to learn from this.  Sometimes, the Lord will ask us to do strange things but if we know that it is the Lord, just follow his command and trust him.
There is something else here to notice.  When Moses gets really tired, Aaron (the priest) and another dude named Hur, stand on either side of Moses and hold his hands up.  Get a picture because it’s important, the priest is there to support the president.  Also notice that the president is leaning on the priest.  Both of these things give us a picture of the way God intended things to work.  
So anyway, Joshua is victorious in his first battle because he defeats the Amalekites and Israel wins a great victory.  Now I am going to stop right here for now.  Next week we will look at what happens when the children of Israel get to the promised land and get a real good glimpse into Joshua’s character.
That’s another of the Minion’s bible stories. 

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Gideon Part 2

OK let's recap what we learned about Gideon from the last blog and then we will finish the story.  Last time, we learned that Gideon was the wimpiest guy.  The bible says he was from the smallest house of the smallest tribe of Israel.  If you think of US Navy Seals, he was the exact opposite, or at least he thought he was.  But God saw something different in him.  See Israel was being raided and beaten up a lot and God was going to use this sniveling, weak, wimpy guy to deliver the whole nation of Israel.  Gideon wasn't sure about this whole thing so he decided to test God.

Now let's pick up the story there.  Before he tested God with the fleece, something really cool happened.  He trusted God.  Now trust is a hard thing for most of us but he trusted God completely.  He decided that he would do whatever God told him to do.  So before God could use him to deliver Israel, He had to build Gideon's confidence.

Well they started with something right inside Gideon's own family that was really hacking God off.  It was a common practice to set up alters in those days.  Now unfortunately, Gideon's town worshipped the devil because they had an alter set up to Baal (or the Devil).  This kind of stuff makes God mad.  Just think about it for a minute, if your friend really needed lunch money and you constantly gave it to him and this same friend went around telling everyone that someone else was giving it to him, it would make you mad right?  God is the same way.  So God tells Gideon to go brake that alter to pieces.  There was also a grove of trees near the Devils alter that God tells Gideon to chop down and use to sacrifice offerings to God.

Now even though Gideon was gong to do what God told him to do, he was still a little scared of his family.   He knew they were going to be really mad when they found out so he did it at night.  Now when the folks that lived in the town got up the next morning and found their alter to the Devil cut down they were plenty mad and they found out Gideon had done it.  They went up to Gideon's dad and told him to hand over Gideon so they could kill him for breaking their alter.  I love what his dad said.  He said, "Well, if you think your god is such a big shot, let your god kill Gideon himself.  If he's such a big deal, he doesn't need you to kill Gideon."  This caused the folks from the town to leave Gideon alone and guess what, the devil couldn't kill Gideon.

So then all the bad guys gathered together and pitched their tents in this place called the valley of Jezreel.  When that happened, God's spirit came on Gideon and he was ready to take on a couple of whole countries not just a family.  This is where the whole fleece thing comes in.  This is where Gideon tests God like we talked about in the last blog.

Well, Gideon got a group of people together and they camped out too.  So the Lord said, Gideon has too many people with him.  I want to show everyone what I can do so I need to shrink the number of people in Gideon's army.  So God told Gideon to have all his men drink water from a stream or pond or something like that.  Some people got down on their knees and just used their tongue like a dog to lap up the water.  Some people scooped up the water in their hands and drank it.  Well it turns out that after using that test, God kept about 300 dudes to go after these other armies.

So God tells Gideon one night to sneak up to the camp of the bad guys to listen to what they are saying.  Gideon takes his servant Phurah to go check things out.  Now God has just told him not to fear and that God has given this army into Gideon's hands for him to destroy.  This army that these 300 people were about to attack was so high that the bible says that the whole valley looked like it was covered with grasshoppers and that they had so many camels that they couldn't count them all.  That doesn't look like good odds right?  I mean 300 dudes against this whole big army.  Have you ever seen the movie, 300.  It's a little like that but the results will be a lot different than the 300 men in that movie.

So after Gideon knew what God wanted him to do and he had reconned the other army, he split his group into three groups of 100 men.  They had trumpets and lamps inside these pitchers.  So these guys snuck up on the bad guys in the middle of the night.  Then Gideon blew his trumpet and everyone else did too.  The broke the pitchers and said, "The sword of the Lord, and of Gideon."  When the other army heard this, it scared them so bad that they took off running.  Gideon's army started killing the bad guys as they whole army ran off.  After that, some other families from Israel helped him wipe the bad guys out.

That's another of the Minion's Bible Stories.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


OK today I want to tell you the story of Gideon.

This story takes place after Israel has entered the land that God told them he would give them.  They acted badly and God allowed other countries to treat them pretty bad.  But after a while, the Israelites would say they were sorry and stop acting so bad.  When that happened, God would send someone to help them stop the other countries from being mean.  You have probably heard of Sampson.  He was one of those people. I will tell that story later.

Today let's talk about Gideon.  This dude was a just a simple farm hand.  He worked refining wheat and he helped make wine.  He wasn't a leader by any stretch of the imagination.  As a matter of fact, he was a wimp.  He was from the weakest tribe of Israel.  Not only that but his family was the weakest family in the tribe of Manasseh.  On top of that, he was the weakest dude in his whole family.  To put it in Texas terms, he was the runt of the litter.  He was the guy that always got beat up at school and the one that everyone picked on.  When a bully wanted to look good, they picked on him because he was an easy target.  I want you to picture a scrawny, wimpy, kid who is always whining.

One day, he is working doing the jobs that no one wants.  As he is working, an angel of the Lord, sat under this tree and said to Gideon, "The Lord is with you, you mighty warrior."  The angel was calling him  a man like the Rock or Brock Lesner.  Can you imagine that.  Surely the angel was mistaken.  This was just a wimped dude from a dirty poor family in a real small tribe and here this angel was calling him Arnold Schwartzenegger.  That sounds crazy.

But understand this, God uses his words to build things.  He called this man a mighty warrior because that is what he was going to become.  Also, God never looks at us where we are today.  He always sees where we could be with his help.  Maybe today you don't think you will ever amount to anything.  Well if you ask God about your situation, you will find that he always has a good plan for your life (Jeremiah 29:11).  So for us, we can't look at ourselves through our own eyes, we have to look at ourselves through God's eyes.  When we do that, we will see that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.

OK, let's get back to the story before I start preaching.  Now Gideon isn't convinced that he is a Navy Seal by any stretch and he points out to the angel that he is dirt poor.  He is the lowest person in the lowest family in the lowest tribe.  He tells the angel that he is the lowest on the totem pole.  Gideon starts telling God that he doesn't understand how this other country has been so successful at beating up on his country and God tells him to go and deliver his people from the bad country.  Gideon still doesn't believe God really wants to send him so he decides to test God.

He says to God, "Lord if you really like me, let me give you a test to make sure you are God and you want me to lead an army."  The first thing he does is make some food for the angel.  When he puts the food on a rock, the angel touched the food and fire came up from out of the rock and destroyed it.  This is when Gideon figures out he has really been talking to an angel and it scares him silly.  But God chose him and tells him it's OK.  So Gideon is still not sure that God wants him to go to war against that bad country and asks to test the lord again.  He says, "God, if this is really you, I'm going to put this jacket on the floor.  Please make the jacket wet in the morning and keep everything else around it dry."  That's exactly what happened.  Then he decides to test God one more time and says, "This time Lord, please make the ground around the jacket wet and keep the jacket dry."  That's exactly what the Lord did.  The next morning the jacket was dry and the ground was wet.

I will finish the story of Gideon in my next post.  What I want you to take from this is that sometimes it's OK to ask God to confirm himself.  You have to do it in the right heart.  If you really are seeking God and you feel like he is telling you to do something, it's OK to ask him to do something to confirm that he wants you to do something.  That's exactly what Gideon did.  But understand this.  If you just want to see some miracle for the sake of seeing one, it won't work.  God is not a circus act.  But if in your heart, you truly desire to follow God and are not sure that he is leading you in a certain direction, it's OK to ask him to confirm his plan for you.

That's another of the Minion's Bible Stories.