Monday, August 31, 2015

Judges 7: "For The Lord And For Gideon!"

Consider the difference in confidence levels between God and Gideon in Judges 7!

When the Lord sees that Gideon has amassed 32,000 troops to take on the Midianites, He says, "That's too many!" (vs. 2)  God is concerned that Israel will give themselves credit for the military victory, rather than praising the Lord for His miraculous deliverance.  God tells Gideon to reduce his ranks.  First, He instructs Gideon to send home anyone nervous or fearful (vs. 3).  Over 2/3 of his forces leave, with only 10,000 remaining.  God feels that Gideon still has too many men.  He instructs Gideon to watch how the men drink water.  Most of the men kneel to drink, while 300 lap with their tongues like a dog.  "Those are the men for me," God says.  "Send everyone else home" (vs. 7).

With Gideon now in charge of less than 1% of his original forces, he does not have quite the same confidence in his leadership abilities that the Lord does.  Again, we may wonder where the "mighty warrior" has gone that God sees in Gideon!  That night, God gives the order to attack and go into battle, but then, as a concession to Gideon, He says, "But if you fear to attack, go down to the camp with your servant Purah" (vs. 10).  Gideon - apparently fearful to attack - takes God up on this offer and goes on a reconnaissance mission.  Sure enough, God was right.  Gideon overhears the army discussing their terror of the Israelite forces, even having dreams of Gideon's destroying them! (vs. 14)

Thus reassured, Gideon returns to camp and devises a strategy.  He breaks his company of 300 men into 100 units.  Each one is stationed strategically and told to put their torch inside a jar and carry a trumpet.  At the right moment in the dead of night, a signal will be given for everyone to break their jars (thus revealing the torches), yell out, "A sword for the Lord and for Gideon!" and blow their trumpets.  When they do this, a panic breaks out in the Midianite camp and its every man for himself among Israel's enemies!

The rout is so successful that Gideon recruits help from the other tribes of Israel to join in the attack and chase down the Midianites.  It is a great victory for the Lord and for Gideon!

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