Greetings in the name of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
The LORD 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)
When Gideon was called by God, he was completely not prepared.He was hiding from the Midianites, the oppressor because he was in fear of them.Upon realizing God’s calling, Gideon bravely acted upon God’s command by destroying the Baal’s alter and Asherah pole, but he did during the night.He was still in fear of the people of the town.However, God was pleased with Gideon, because he acted upon God’s command despite of the fear of the people.This is the lesson what we want to learn from Gideon.When we act upon God’s will, there is always an obstacle before us.For Gideon, the obstacle was the people around him – his own family members and the town people who still worshipped the Baal.Gideon knew his act would bring him harm.Yes, as expected, it happened.The people of the town, as soon as they figured out Gideon destroyed the Baal’s alter and Asherah pole next to it, came to Gideon to kill him.However, God protected Gideon from the hand of the angry mob.Instead, God made them convinced to wait for their false God to punish Gideon.Of course, nothing happened.Out of this event, many of the town people realized that the Baal was not a living god, but an idol made by their own hands, which could not do anything – including punishing Gideon.God always uses a brave act of His people in faith to glorify His name, and to expose the truth of the idols which are absolutely false gods.After all, our God is the One and Only living God, who always watches over His people because He loves His people as His own children.
God was then came to Gideon again.For this time, Midian, Amalek, and the people of the east formed an alliance against Israel and crossed the Jordan, camping in the valley of Jezreel.The fear of the Israelites was much greater than before.All of them were in great fear.Gideon, of whom the Spirit of the LORD took possession, blew a ram’s horn as a call to arms, all of the men of the Israelites responded.Total 32,000 warriors came to Gideon to fight against the armies of Midian and their allies from the east side of the Jordan river.Gideon himself was surprised by the power of God.He was nothing but an ordinary person, but when he blew the ram’s horn, 32,000 warriors responded.He was completely taken by the God’s spirit, and in faith, he was about to attack the myriad of the enemies.
Suddenly, God said to Gideon, “You have too many warriors with you.”Then God continued, “If I let all of you fight the Midianites, the Israelites will boast to me that they saved themselves by their own strength.”God gave a step-by-step instruction, “Therefore, tell the people, ‘Whoever is timid or afraid may leave this mountain and go home.’” Gideon faithfully obeyed God, and told what was given to Gideon by God.(Who would tell this type of message to the people gathered to fight?Gideon did in faith.)Upon hearing Gideon’s recommendation, to Gideon’s surprise 22,000 of them stood up and went home, leaving only 10,000 who continued willing to fight.He lost more than 2/3 of his warriors.His army was reduced down to 10,000 from 32,000.Even so, Gideon was calm before God.In faith, he was still ready to go out and fight with the 10,000 warriors against the myriads of the armies of Midian.
Then God came again, and told, “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.”Per the God’s instruction, Gideon asked the 10,000 warriors to drink from 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.He sent the 9,700 warriors back home.He was only with the 300 warriors without kneeling down to drink from the stream.
If we were Gideon, how would we feel at that moment?When we initially got the 32,000 warriors, which was in fact almost nothing when compared with the myriad of the enemies covered the entire valley.Even so, we believed God would give us a victory only with the 32,000 warriors, while looking at the 32,000 warriors.In other words, our eyes were still fixed on the 32,000 warriors, who were visible and looked strong, rather than God’s mighty hand, which was invisible.This was what God worried.
Then God reduced the number of warriors down to 10,000.What would we think then?We might say in our heart, “10,000 is less than 1/3 of the 32,000, but still we have these capable warriors.God is with us.We can still fight with the 10,000 warriors who looked strong and were ready to fight against the enemies especially when God’s hand is with us.”This type of thinking is not necessary bad, but it is also true that we still rely on the 10,000 warriors.In other words, our eyes are still with what we can see rather than what we cannot see, Our God.God, who dearly loved us, had to take away to eliminate this humanly temptation.God mercilessly took away 9,700 warriors.For Gideon, it was really harsh, but God did for Gideon with His unfathomable love. (This is the reason why we believe in God in all circumstances.)
Gideon was truly hurt.That night he could not sleep.In faith, he did everything that God asked, but he could not understand what God really wanted while thinking over God’s promise: “With these 300 men I will rescue you and give you victory over the Midianites.”In reality, it was absolutely impossible to fight against the myriad of the enemies with only 300 people.However, Gideon could not give up in faith.He struggled through the night. (This is the faith – clinging to God’s promise in faith although every sign in our lives points the other way around.)By the way, did God not know Gideon’s struggle?No, God exactly knew Gideon’s struggle in faith.God also knew exactly what Gideon needed at that time too.What Gideon needed was not additional warriors, but a stronger faith in Him.
“Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.”(Hebrew 11:1)
That night God came and 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.”Surely, God knew his struggle after losing 31,700 warriors that he initially believed God sent for him. God has never overlooked nor ignored our heart pains and struggles.God knows exactly how much painful, how much fearful, how much miserable, and how much helpless we are, and carefully watches over us.God feels our pains and struggles in His unfathomable love, as earthly parents are also equally painful while their children are struggling and in pain.
he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.(Psalm 121:3b-4)
So Gideon took Purah and went down to the edge of the enemy camp.As expected, the armies of Midian, Amalek, and the people of the east had settled in the valley like a swarm of locusts. Their camels were like grains of sand on the seashore—too many to count!Yes, the scene was daunting and overwhelming.Thus, Gideon carefully and silently crept up just as a man was 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!”
When Gideon heard the dream and its interpretation, he bowed in worship before the God.Gideon realized that how much God loves him.Gideon got the exact answer.He was struggling and questioning why through the sleepless night. He realized that his struggle and question were groundless.In fact, God had already prepared for His victory, and God was about to fulfill His victory through the hand of Gideon.Gideon was thrilled before the God’s awesome plan and His mighty act about to be unfold.
Then Gideon returned to the Israelite camp.While returning, he continuously prayed to God for His wisdom in the absolute faith in Him.As soon as Gideon arrived at the camp, he shouted, “Get up! For Our God has given you victory over the Midianite hordes!” In God’s wisdom, 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.Please note that nobody took a sword.They just carried ram’s horns, clay jars, and torches in the jars.Yes, it was the Gideon’s battle plan through the wisdom of God in faith in God.When the 300 warriors heard the Gideon’s plan, nobody questions or argued against the plan.All 300 warriors quickly dropped their swords, and took ram’s horns, clay jars and torches in the jars!For Gideon, God touched on all of the 300 warriors, and made them one with Gideon: no sword in the same faith.
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!’”
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!”
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 God caused the warriors in the camp to fight against each other with their swords. Those who were not killed fled to places as far away as Beth-shittah near Zererah and to the border of Abel-meholah near Tabbath.
Gideon and his 300 warriors defeated the myriad of the enemies who covered the entire valley like a swarm of locusts without a single swing of sword.After all, they had never carried any swords for the battle, but faith in God.God pleased with their absolute faith, and God gave them a huge victory.God fought for them, and the enemies fought against each other with their own swords, not the swords of Gideon and his 300 warriors, which they had never carried.Through faith and using the God’s wisdom, Gideon and his 300 faithful warriors were able to prevail over the well trained and well equipped myriad of the united enemies.God loved the faith of Gideon and the 300 warriors, and God gave them the huge victory.
Faith is the key to fight against all our enemies, especially the most deadly one – the Satan.We often say we have faith.However, our eyes are still fixated on what we see and what we can touch.Surely, it is a lot easier to rely on what we see and can touch.If we rely on things that we see and can touch, then what are they?Without knowing, are we worshipping them to get our comfort, peace and security?It so, they are clearly idols.Thus, we need to ask before God:32,000 warriors or the invisible God?10,000 warriors or the invisible God?When our warriors are reduced down to 10,000, it is very tempting to put our eyes on these warriors although they are reduced from the original 32,000 warriors.Then what will God, who dearly loves us, do?God mercilessly reduces down to 300, which was 99.0626% reduction from the initial 32,000.
How would be our reaction, if God reduces down something that we truly value to less than 1% of the initial size or amount?Yes, first, we will experience enormous pain in our heart.Does God not know our pain when we lose 99% of what we truly value in our lives?No, Our God know exactly how painful our hearts are.Then why does God cause such a pain?
God told Gideon, “If I let all of you fight the Midianites, the Israelites will boast to me that they saved themselves by their own strength.”God truly loves us no matter what we do simply because we are His children.In fact, God, who madly loves us, has already prepared our victory before us.God truly wants for us to own His victory specially prepared for us, without being deceived by our own idols, the Baal, something that we truly value on earth, and even our own selves.All idols lead to separation from God and eventual destruction, but our faith in Him will make us grow deeper in Him while enjoying the relationship with Our True and Ever-LovingGod.Our victory in Him is sure because God has already prepared for us.Let’s continue abounding in the work of God in faith with hope.Also give thanks to God, and praise His name for His mercy, grace and love in all circumstances!
But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.(1 Corinthian 15:57-58)