Are You All In?

Are you all in? Deuteronomy 20:2-4

(CSB)When you are about to engage in battle, the priest is to come forward and address the army. He is to say to them, ‘Listen, Israel: Today you are about to engage in battle with your enemies. Do not be cowardly. Do not be afraid, alarmed, or terrified because of them. For the Lord your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory.’

  • This is the theme for us this year and more so now – When you are “about” to engage Preparation matters – Let’s look at two stories in the bible. 

Two stories in the Bible 

The story of the 300 men – Judges 6&7

  • Israelites are given over to their sin and are oppressed by Medians for 7 years
  • They cry out to God and God sends an angel to Gideon and assures him of victory
  • He tore the Baal altar and the Asherah pole – And he built an altar and offered a sacrifice to God
  • The people want to kill him but Gideon’s dad convinced them that they should let baal handle his business
  • All this happening as the Medianites and the Amalekites and the people of the east assemble to fight the Israelites 
  • Gideon asks for confirmation that God is going with them by putting out the fleece – which God does
  • Gideon gets up early and assembles his team (32,000 men) – only to have God tell him that they are too many men
  • God cuts the number down to 300. This is the number that he uses to win. 
  1. The fighting last night…
  • Judges 6:25- 27 (ampc)– That night the Lord said to Gideon, Take your father’s bull, the second bull seven years old, and pull down the altar of Baal that your father has and cut down the Asherah that is beside it; And build an altar to the Lord your God on top of this stronghold with stones laid in proper order. Then take the second bull and offer a burnt sacrifice with the wood of the Asherah which you shall cut down. Then Gideon took ten men of his servants and did as the Lord had told him, but because he was too afraid of his father’s household and the men of the city to do it by day, he did it by night.
  • This Battle didn’t start when Gideon went to fight with 300 men- It started when he RESOLVED that even though afraid that he was going to do the will of God 
    • This battle has to start from your bedrooms- Our most private room in your lives 
    • It starts with us– We can’t lead an arm or be part of one unless you work on US first
      • Boldness – If it is of the Lord, if it should be complicated – because you are just following directions
      • All in – He tore down the altar and burnt the Asherah pole and build a new altar and sacrificed- and used the pole as firewood!
        • He didn’t just wound – A wounded enemy is dangerous – (Wildlife stories) 
        • Yet, in our prayer life, we are quitting after only scratching the enemy 
        • Boxing – Gloves go down with every hit. We have to keep up our hands until we win 
        • Let us not let Lack of Cardio, Lack of building muscles (Strength) & Laziness – Keep us away from being ready for battle 
    • The battle starts before we get to the battle ground – Prepare 
  1. Get rid of excuses 

Judges 6:31-32(Ampc) – But Joash said to all who stood against him, Will you contend for Baal? Or will you save him? He who will contend for Baal, let him be put to death while it is still morning. If Baal is a god, let him contend for himself because one has pulled down his altar. Therefore, on that day he called Gideon Jerubbaal, meaning, Let Baal contend against him, because he had pulled down his altar.

His name is changed to reflect death by baalA curse 

Judges 7: 1 (Ampc)- Then Jerubbaal, that is, Gideon, and all the people who were with him rose early and encamped beside the spring of Harod; and the camp of Midian was north of them by the hill of Moreh in the valley.

Gideon – Jerubbaal – He went to war against a mighty force bearing the name he was “cursed” with 

How many of us are being helld back by people’s words? What others think of you or label you as?

  •  Oh, I can’t because this happened to me: they will judge me, – Engage no matter what they call you, do to you or plan on doing to you!
  • Restrictions – But the government has all this restriction

The enemy will assemble and will not give you time to nurse your feelings, its time to get rid of excuses

  1. Resolve to make the cut 

Judges 7:2 (Ampc) – The Lord said to Gideon, The people who are with you are too many for Me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel boast about themselves against Me, saying, My own hand has delivered me. 

  • Not every person that answers the cry for battle is capable of fighting/ praying
  • Gideon asked anyone who is afraid to go back home and 22,000 went home – 10,000 were left
  • Are you doing your part? Or are you just hoping to hide among the crowd and just appear to be part of the group while making them weak from the inside?
  • We rarely think that bigness can be a hindrance to the work of God. Yet it is harder to truly rely on God when we have many wonderful resources at hand. Though it certainly can be done, it is hard to be big and to rely only on the LORD. When we are big, it is possible to do a lot in human resources and “give the credit” to God.

Judges 7:4 – And the Lord said to Gideon, The men are still too many; bring them down to the water, and I will test them for you there. And he of whom I say to you, This man shall go with you, shall go with you; and he of whom I say to you, This man shall not go with you, shall not go.

  • They drank with their guard down – He sent them home (9,700 sent home – 300 remain)
  • They were cut because they were comfortable and didn’t keep watch – they let their guard down

Can you be counted worthy of being there to the end- Are you all in?

  • Are you all in?

We might say that God eliminated the fearful and those who thought first only of convenience, the easy way. “The thought is disturbing, but it may well be true, that the composition of God’s army to fight Satan’s hosts in any day is really little different. How many Christians are so fearful of the enemy that they are of no real use in this warfare, and how many of the remainder are so self-centered, rather than God centered, that they find little place for effective ministry.” (Wood)

  • This week we are asking you to engage in battle- Do not be afraid and don’t expect comfort
  • Resolve today that You are all in and there is not excuse to retreat 

I hear you saying – Yes, I want to be part of the 300, however – this is more than I can handle – I don’t even think I can be part of the 32,000 leave alone the remaining 10,000

  1. The story of Elisha’s servant 

King of Syria was making war against Israelites and every time he planned where to attack, the Israelites would know 

  • Elisha – the man of God

2 Kings 6:12 -13 – One of his servants said, “None [of us is helping him], my lord, O king; but Elisha, the prophet who is in Israel, tells the king of Israel the words that you speak in your bedroom.” 13 So he said, “Go and see where he is, so that I may send [men] and seize him.” And he was told, “He is in Dothan.” 14 So he sent horses and chariots and a powerful army there. They came by night and surrounded the city. The servant of the man of God got up early and went out, and behold, there was an army with horses and chariots encircling the city. Elisha’s servant said to him, “Oh no, my master! What are we to do?” Elisha answered, “Do not be afraid, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”

  1. What are we to do?

Vs 15- Oh no, my master! What are we to do?

This here are the most crucial phrase on this story 

  • Oh, my Master, this is beyond me
  • I cannot do this on my own, its too much- We cannot do this on our own
  • My Master, my marriage is failing, my kids have walked away from you, I am sick, my wife is sick, I lost my job, this addiction is killing me and I can’t seem to get a hold of it, I take 3 steps towards victory only to fall back 10 – Oh my Master, what should I do?
  • The first step of healing is acceptance -We have to recognize our inability to overcome on our own
  • We have to recognize what and who we are against.  Just hoping that tomorrow will be different does not make the problem go away 
  • The servant of the man of God got up early and went out and behold there was an army with horses and chariots encircling the city 
    • The enemy will not quit, he will work all night to make sure he lenders you infective as soon as you get out of bed.
      • The enemy has gathered – he is united and ready to defeat you 
    • Everyday we are in battle, the enemy has and will continue to want to Kill, Steal and Destroy you 
    • Don’t be ashamed to cry of out for help – Hey Yo!! – Gideon cried out( sent messages to Tribes of Manasseh, Asher, Zebulun and Naphtali
      • This year we have to be vulnerable if we are going to win this battle 
      • And there is no way, for our single individuality – want to do it on our own will be effective 
    • Its only then that victory starts 
    • 2 Kings 6:16-17 (AMP) – [Elisha] answered, Fear not; for those with us are more than those with them. Then Elisha prayed, Lord, I pray You, open his eyes that he may see. And the Lord opened the young man’s eyes, and he saw, and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.
    • Tonight, I pray that you have the courage to say – Oh my Lord my God, what shall I do?
    • It’s then that the Hand of God goes to work on your behalf 
      •  The battle belongs to you Lord
  • Are you all in? 

This week, we are asking of you 3 things

  • Get up and go out and see what happening – Lets get out our comfortable lives, put the phone away and see what’s happening 
  • Recognize that we are under attack and do something about it, just being part of a group is not enough- you will be cut 
  • But more so- lets recognize that the Lord is mighty and has our backs

Judges 7:19-22( NLT) – It was just after midnight,[a] after the changing of the guard, when Gideon and the 100 men with him reached the edge of the Midianite camp. Suddenly, they blew the rams’ horns and broke their clay jars. 20 Then all three groups blew their horns and broke their jars. They held the blazing torches in their left hands and the horns in their right hands, and they all shouted, “A sword for the Lord and for Gideon!”

21Each man stood at his position around the camp and watched as all the Midianites rushed around in a panic, shouting as they ran to escape. 22 When the 300 Israelites blew their rams’ horns, the Lord caused the warriors in the camp to fight against each other with their swords. Those who were not killed fled to places as far away as Beth-shittah near Zererah and to the border of Abel-meholah near Tabbath.

If the 32,000 had their eyes open like Elisha’s servants, they would have known that they didn’t have to physically fight -that the battle had already won!

In closing:

Today you are about to engage in battle with your enemies. Do not be cowardly. Do not be afraid, alarmed, or terrified because of them. For the Lord your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory.’

Are you all In?

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