I've really been challenged by one of my own sermons......Sunday's specifically......so at least I've reached one person!
Just like the bandits in the Magnificent 7 (Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, James Coburn....an awesome lineup!) who raided the little Mexican village, stealing their freshly harvested wheat and generally being pretty unpleasant; the Midianites were oppressing the Israelites....stealing their freshly harvested wheat and generally being pretty unpleasant (Judges 6). They cry out to God for some help and he sends them a prophet.
How devastatingly disappointing.
As Dale Ralph Davis (my favourite Older Testament scholar), points out, it's like breaking down on the motorway and the garage sending you a philosopher rather than a mechanic. They could really have done with some hired guns (as in The M.7) - preferably a few AK47's and an Apache Helicopter Gunship. Instead they just ended up with God's Word. "Well thanks!"
They wanted to escape their circumstances. God wanted to interpret them.
I need to get this. The Word of God does the work of God and it leads to freedom. I might want whatever the equivalent of an AK47 is for my situation but perhaps, maybe, God just wants me to hear his voice concerning what's going on....why it's happening and what it's all about.
In the end of course God does provide a hired gun to bring deliverance - Gideon. And Gideon, like all the Judges, just points forward to the ultimate Judge who rescues and delivers us from everything that robs us of the blessing God has purposed for us. The magnificent 1.