Greetings in the name of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
“Behold, I am going to send an angel before you to guard you along the way and to bring you into the place which I have prepared. (Exodus 23:20)
God has always prepared for His people. When the people of Israel did evil before the sigh of God, God put them under the Midianites for seven years. The Midianites were so cruel that the Israelites made hiding places for themselves in the mountains, caves, and strongholds. They stayed until the land was stripped bare. So Israel was reduced to starvation by the Midianites. It was truly painful, but it was God’s purification process for the people of Israel. The purification time was up, and the people of Israel were ready. God picked one person, whose name was Gideon. He was not a proud man because he had nothing to show to others. God came to him, and told him to rescue Israel. “But God,” Gideon replied, “how can I rescue Israel? My clan is the weakest in the whole tribe of Manasseh, and I am the least in my entire family!” God used the least and weakest one because He saw Gideon’s heart, which couldn’t be seen by people’s eyes.
Then God gave Gideon the weighty mission of rescuing His people, the Israelites. Yes, God picked Gideon not because Gideon was brave and mighty enough to rescue the Israelites from the dominating Midianites. God foresaw what Gideon could do for Him when he was filled with God’s spirit. God also exactly knew that at the moment, Gideon, as he was, was not ready for the God’s mighty task — rescuing the entire Israelites. God had to transform the coward Gideon to the truly faithful and mighty one who could lead the people of Israel in the name of God without any fears and doubts. Yes, this was the God’s plan prepared for Gideon and the people of Israel. God called him, and through His angel said, “Mighty hero, the LORD is with you!” (Judges 6:12).
Per God’s direction, that night, Gideon took ten of his servants. He went up to the alter of Baal, demolished the alter of Baal, cut down the Asherah pole besides the alter, instead built an alter for God on the hilltop, and gave sacrifice to God using as fuel the wood of the Asherah. Gideon passed the test, and he proved his faith before God. Gideon was ready to take the mighty task from God – saving the Israelites.
Soon afterward the armies of Midian, Amalek, and the people of the east formed an alliance against Israel and crossed the Jordan, camping in the valley of Jezreel. Then the Spirit of the LORD took possession of Gideon. He 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.
In fact, God had an even bigger and grander plan for the Israelites. The people of Israel under the Gideon’s leadership could defeat the Midianites and their allies because they were all filled of courage. However, God worried about the hearts of the Israelites after the victory. They would give all credits to themselves, while slowly and completely forgetting God. How many times have we experienced this in us? A huge success in our earthly life often becomes the most deadly poison for our spiritual life before God. Our ego is the most formidable foe, especially when it allies with our unshakable desire of crowing ourselves as our own master. Soon we don’t even remember how God rescues us from our suffering and misery.
Without knowing God’s true plan, 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 really ready 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 responded to Gideon’s call, 22,000 of them went home, leaving only 10,000 who were willing to fight. Less than one third of people remained. Gideon looked around the 10,000 people, who looked really brave enough to defeat the entire armies of Midian.
But the LORD told Gideon, “There are still too many!” Gideon could not believe what he was hearing. God made his army reduced by two thirds. He only had 10,000. Despite of this fact, Gideon was about to fight for God for His victory. However, God stopped Gideon to remind who God was.
Gideon, who encountered God, prior two nights and mornings. God made a wool fleece wet one night while the surrounding ground was dry, and the following night, He made the fleece dry while the ground was covered with dew. Gideon was able to truly experience God. Before Him, there was nothing impossible. How about us? Some of us might have experienced God like Gideon with a vivid memory. On the other hand, many of us might not remember Him, the One who did a truly mighty act in our lives through His love. Even so, we don’t have to search any further. Our faith in Him is alone the evidence and proof. Who can have faith without God’s mighty act in our lives in His love? Having faith in God is the greatest miracle. Even yesterday, I spend an hour with one really smart, well-educated, good-hearted friend. He knew of God, but he could not believe Him, especially accepting Jesus as his savior. All of his good character and smartness did add nothing to His eternal life. Before departing from him, I said, “please accept Jesus as your savior.” And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? (Mark 8:36)
Gideon quickly focused on his faith in God, and he carefully listened to Him. God continued, “Bring them down to the spring, and I will test them to determine who will go with you and who will not.” (Judges 7:4b) Yes, Gideon realized that it was another test. Gideon already passed one test of God by demolishing the alter of Baal. (Actually, God did not test him for a testing purpose, but provided a wonderful opportunity for Gideon to test himself and prove his faith in God. It was God’s loving test carefully designed for Gideon and the people.)
Then Gideon took his warriors down to the water. God’s plan was continuously unfolding. God told him, “Divide the men into two groups. In one group put all those who cup water in their hands and lap it up with their tongues like dogs. In the other group put all those who kneel down and drink with their mouths in the stream.” Only 300 of the men drank from their hands. All the others got down on their knees and drank with their mouths in the stream.
Then God told Gideon, “With these 300 men I will rescue you and give you victory over the Midianites. Send all the others home.”(Judges 7:7) So Gideon collected the provisions and rams’ horns of the other warriors and sent them home. But he kept the 300 men with him in his strong and unmovable faith in God. He stood firm and tall in his faith before God, and with the people around Gideon. The 300 men saw him, as well as the 9700 who were reluctantly sent home. What a scene before men and God! This was the faith – expecting God’s victory under an impossibility. The courage and faith willing to fight against the numerous armies of Midianites and their allies with the minuscule number of his army of the 300 men was alone a true victory even before starting physically fighting. God saw the faith of Gideon and the 300 warriors. This pleased God, and the victory in God was sure.
Are some of us confront with an impossibility? Then let’s fully recognize that it is not a battle for our own might and strength, but for proving our faith in Him. We might have completely forgotten His mighty hand and love as the distant past of our lives. The impossibility with which we confront is an telltale signal specially designed for us by God to remind us who He is and what He has done in our lives, and again for us to strongly hold Him as our true and only master of our lives. Therefore, when we meet an impossibility in our lives, we fix our eyes on Him, and return the impossibility to Him. Anyway, it truly belongs to Him, not us. Then we stand firm and fall in faith in Him. This is our faith and our victory in Him who so loved us that He gave His one and only Son. Give thanks to God, who has already prepared our victory from the impossibility before us as well as the eternal victory in Him. Praise Him!
For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith. (1 John 5:4)