The Sound, The Light and The Clay Pot

by Impact Church

7:20 When the three companies blew the trumpets and broke the pitchers, they held the torches in their left hands and the trumpets in their right hands for blowing, and cried, “A sword for the Lord and for Gideon Judges 7:20

4:5 For we do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your bond-servants for Jesus’ sake. 6 For God, who said, “Light shall shine out of darkness,” is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; 8 we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; 10 always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. 2 Corinthians 4:5-10

Gideon’s army went into battle with the enemy Midianites with a trumpet in their right hand and a hidden torch in a clay pitcher in their left hand. Divided into three, 100 soldier divisions, the army descended into the Midianite camp. They blew the trumpets and broke the pitchers, crying out in their attack, “A sword for the Lord and for Gideon”.

But Gideon’s army didn’t bear a sword. The writer says nothing about the 300 men having swords. How were 300 men “A sword for the Lord and for Gideon” when they had none?

The Midianite army was routed and Gideon’s army prevailed because “When they blew 300 trumpets, the Lord set THE SWORD of one against another even throughout the whole army…” (7:22). The Lord used the enemies’ swords against themselves. Each individual sword of the Midianite soldiers were gathered up into a collective singular, “A sword for the Lord and for Gideon.” The Midianite soldiers held the grip of their sword but the blade belonged in the Lord’s hand and He set it against the enemy.

The Lord instructed Gideon and his men to take their trumpet and their torch and cry out in faith. Unlike Macbeth, who spoke of life as a walking shadow, a poor player an hour on life’s stage, “full of sound and fury, signifying nothing”, Gideon’s sound and lighted fury was full of faith and trust and The Lord’s sword emerged in the midst of the battle. Not a single Midianite died from a trumpet blast. Not a single Midianite died from burns of a torch. The army went forward with an audio/visual display and the battle was the Lord’s.

The battle is still the Lord’s.  However, the Church is tempted to pay too much attention to what sound to make and how bright to make the lights, when neither of those were used to bring victory.

In a New Testament parallel, all of the same issues reappear in 2 Corinthians 4. The Apostle Paul talks about The Sound in verse 5, “For we do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your bond-servants for Jesus’ sake.” Gideon’s trumpet blast is the preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

The Light, Paul described in verse 6, “For God, who said, “Light shall shine out of darkness,” is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.” Gideon’s torch is the life of the believer who has trusted Jesus Christ and who radiates the glory of God in the face of Christ.

The clay pitcher is paralleled in verse 7, “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves”. Gideon’s clay pitcher is the physical life of the believer, which Paul calls an “earthen vessel”.  We are clay pots.

The Church of Jesus Christ is in a spiritual battle for the hearts and souls of its members and for the evangelism of the lost. It is a spiritual battle that is further complicated by the Church’s temptation to fight that battle with worldly weapons. The most seductive worldly weapon the Church is tempted to use is using a golden vessel. The treasure of preaching the Gospel and radiating the Light of God’s Glory cannot be exalted in a worldly, golden vessel. The world is distracted from the treasure inside if the vessel is attractive to their senses.

Gideon and his army smashed their pitchers and their torch and in faith went forward. Paul continued his description of his earthen vessel’s experience, “4:8 we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; 10 always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.” Paul’s clay pot was eventually destroyed.

When we struggle in our earthen vessels, it is our reminder that “the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not ourselves.” Our tribulations highlight the Glory of God. May our sound be the Gospel of Jesus Christ and may our light be His radiate Glory.

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