For the LORD your God is going with you! He will fight for you against your enemies, and he will give you victory!’ (Deuteronomy 20:4)
God is compassionate and full of mercy. He saw the suffering of the Israelites under the harsh treatments of Mediante. God picked Gideon, because God foresaw what Gideon could do for Him when he was filled with God’s spirit. As the God’s time came, the Spirit of the LORD took possession of Gideon. Gideon blew a ram’s horn as a call to arms, and the men of the clan of Abiezer came to him. He also sent messengers throughout Manasseh, Asher, Zebulun, and Naphtali, summoning their warriors, and all of them responded. Gideon and the people of Israel were ready to fight against the oppressing Midianites and their allies.
Gideon and his army got up early and went as far as the spring of Harod. The armies of Midian were camped north of them in the valley near the hill of Moreh. Gideon was about to attack the armies of Midian. Then God said to Gideon, “You have too many warriors with you. If I let all of you fight the Midianites, the Israelites will boast to me that they saved themselves by their own strength. Therefore, tell the people, ‘Whoever is timid or afraid may leave this mountain and go home.’” (Judges 7:2-3) God warned Gideon and the people against their proud egos. They heard God, and 22,000 of them went home, leaving only 10,000. Less than one third of people remained. Gideon looked around the 10,000 people. They were brave enough to defeat the entire armies of Midian. Gideon, although he was driven by the Spirit of God, he still possessed the remnant of human nature – his own eyes. To him, it looked still good enough to defeat the enemies.
God could not leave him alone, who still counted on his judgement. God told again, “There are still too many!” Then God reduced his army down to mere 300 men. God completely stripped off his earthly confidence. Again, Gideon had to send 9,700 warriors home. Then Gideon looked around, and recalled he had enough warriors filling the entire valley. But now he had only handful of 300 men. The enemies were filled with the entire land. They were the armies of Midian, Amalek, and the people of the east formed an alliance against Israel. Gideon asked himself, “How to fight against the huge number of allied enemies with only 300 men?” The answer was clear. He couldn’t. (It was God’s plan.) Gideon, then, realized that there was no one except God who could lead him a victory. Gideon quickly saw this. He came to God and hold Him tight in faith. Rather than being in fear, he chose to stand firm and tall in faith with his 300 men in God. This truly pleased God. God told Gideon, “With these 300 men I will rescue you and give you victory over the Midianites.”(Judges 7:7a) Yes, Gideon bowed down to God, and believed.
That night God said, “Get up! Go down into the Midianite camp, for I have given you victory over them! But if you are afraid to attack, go down to the camp with your servant Purah. Listen to what the Midianites are saying, and you will be greatly encouraged. Then you will be eager to attack.” God, who dearly loved Gideon, came to Gideon, and told what to do to encourage him.
So Gideon took Purah and went down to the edge of the enemy camp. The armies of Midian, Amalek, and the people of the east had settled in the valley like a swarm of locusts as they expected. Their camels were like grains of sand on the seashore—too many to count! Both Gideon and Purah saw the formidability impossible reality.
How many times have we experienced what Gideon just encountered? Despite of all kinds of odds and difficulties, we believed in God. Then in faith, we moved forward. However, when the reality hit, it was not just big, but beyond imagination – so huge that we could not describe. Simply it was impossible. Then did the reality make us doubt and question – was this really God’s will?
Gideon felt the same fear, but he was not dwelling in the fear being hostaged by the fear. Rather he held tighter in the faith in God. Then in faith Gideon crept up to the camp. It was so close that he could hear a man telling his companion about a dream. The man said, “I had this dream, and in my dream a loaf of barley bread came tumbling down into the Midianite camp. It hit a tent, turned it over, and knocked it flat!”
His companion answered, “Your dream can mean only one thing—God has given Gideon son of Joash, the Israelite, victory over Midian and all its allies!”
What a comforting God was He to Gideon! God knew exactly Gideon’s heart. God touched his heart and take away the last drop of his doubt. God needed a person who was absolutely obedient even before an impossibility, and exactly did what God wanted.
When Gideon heard the dream and its interpretation, he bowed in worship before the LORD. God assured Gideon that the victory was in God’s hand, and God had already provided the victory. Then he returned to his camp with God in praise and joy.
As he arrived at his camp, shouted, “Get up! For the LORD has given you victory over the Midianite!” (Judges 7:15b). The three hundred men got up quickly, and focused on Gideon. Gideon slowly and clearly explained what he heard at the edge of the enemy’s camp, and shared his faith by telling:
1. “God surely fight for us,
2. Our victory is sure, and
3. We are just a conduit for God’s plan, His victory and glory.”
Gideon divided the 300 men into three groups and gave each man a ram’s horn and a clay jar with a torch in it. Gideon asked them not to carry swords, not even one single sword, nor a shield. How craze Gideon’s command was! They were about to fight against the formidable and countless many enemies. Before them, a couple of swords (even 300 swords) would do nothing. Gideon knew this, and in faith, he decided completely to lean on God and to receive the victory prepared by God. Essentially, Gideon completely emptied himself by reducing him down to nothing. No sword and no shield except faith. Gideon and his 300 men were completely bare before the enemies. The 300 men also truly believed. Nobody complained, even one single word. They looked each other, and in faith, quietly they followed Gideon’s direction. They were one in one faith in God for God’s power, victory and glory.
Then Gideon said to them, “Keep your eyes on me. When I come to the edge of the camp, do just as I do. As soon as I and those with me blow the rams’ horns, blow your horns, too, all around the entire camp, and shout, ‘For the LORD and for Gideon!’” Gideon’s instruction was clear. God the first and Gideon the second.
It was just after midnight, 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. 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!” (Judges 7:20)
Each 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. 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.
It was a huge victory. Nobody drew sword, not even one single sword, but God’s sword was greater. Nobody fought against the enemies, but God fought for them. Before God, the enemies were confused, they killed each other. Gideon and the 300 men saw the enemies were being reduced by themselves by killing each other. The enemies were utterly destroyed by God’s raised hand. They stood before God while watching the awesome scene. They praised God, and praised God’s name with the highest voice for His glory.
Do we confront with an impossibility that is absolutely beyond us? Then we lift up our eyes, and look up Our God, who is ever-loving Father, and then remember what God did to Gideon and his 300 men. They did not draw even one single sword, but God utterly destroyed the enemies before their very eyes. Gideon and his 300 men believed, and God answered. God’s power and His glory were magnified. The same God, who was with Gideon and the 300 men, is with us even at this very moment. Do we believe?
The floods have risen up, O LORD.
The floods have roared like thunder;
the floods have lifted their pounding waves.
But mightier than the violent raging of the seas,
mightier than the breakers on the shore—
the LORD above is mightier than these! (Psalm 93:3-4)