If you saw Michael Phelps swim the second leg of the team’s gold medal relay the other night, you saw yet another example of how he can carry a team. Some theological statements in OT narratives function like that.
Judges 6 provides an example of how such theological statements can carry a sermon. Verse 12 reads, “… ‘The Lord is with you, O mighty man of valor.'” Verse 16 reads, “And the Lord said to him, ‘But I will be with you…'”
When Gideon asks in v. 15, “Please, Lord, how can I save Israel? Behold, my clan is the weakest…and I am the least in my father’s house'”, the answer is: Gideon will function as a deliverer because the Lord will be with Him.
Here’s how the story develops:
- things become horrible for the once-faithful (vv. 1-6)
- we’re reminded of why things get so bad (vv. 7-10)
- we learn the key for our deliverance (vv. 11-16) Gideon is the unlikely deliverer because God will be with him.
- we receive some gracious confirmation (vv. 17-24) Here, God honors Gideon’s weak faith.
Point three is key. The theological statement is found within the longest and most detailed narrative in Judges: Gideon. God’s presence explains any spiritual victories we enjoy.
There are times in the OT when you’ll have to read for a long time before you hit such loaded statements that can carry a sermon. Avoid the temptation of getting mired in historical details. Some are necessary to explain the theology of the passage.
And, if you’re thinking about highlighting a Christo-centric reading of Judges 6, you can focus on vv. 23-24. After seeing the angel of the Lord and expecting instant death, we read:
“But the Lord said to him, ‘Peace be to you. Do not fear; you shall not die.’ Then Gideon built an altar there to the Lord and called it, The Lord is Peace.” God extends peace to us only because He made war on His Son on the cross.
Before Sunday, if you’re preaching an OT narrative, look for a theological statement that could carry the sermon.
All for God’s glory in the church and in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 3:21).