Jonathan said to the young man who carried his armor, “Come, let us go over to the garrison of these uncircumcised. It may be that the Lord will work for us, for nothing can hinder the Lord from saving by many or by few.” 1 Samuel 14:6
The army of the Midianites and Amalekites arrayed against Gideon and Israel was huge, numbered “like locusts in abundance” (Judges 7:12). God, through an angel, had spoken with Gideon to lead his people against this oppression. Once again, God heard the anguished cry of the Israelites and was about to deliver them from their oppressors. But, unlike what Gideon imagined being necessary to defeat this massive army, God’s plans were different.
When we feel God’s call on our lives, we sometimes take control and pursue it with our own auspices and power. Perhaps we begin to formulate plans and put together accountability groups, researching and planning to ensure we experience success, whatever it looks like. It seems we try to set God aside, saying “Thanks for the lead, but I’ve got this, Lord!” and rumble through the throes of the process, under our own power, using our understanding and vision of what God calls us to do. But this isn’t necessarily the way God intends for us to pursue his call.
In reading Judges 7:1-8, we find, despite the massive army Gideon assembled to fight their oppressor, God had a different idea. The army of Israel of about 32,000 was too big. Through a process defined by God, this number was pared down to 300, which was about one percent of its original size! This was the number God had chosen to drive out the vast army assembled in the valley below them, which it ultimately accomplished.
For us, too, in our drive to accomplish what God has called us to do, we need to follow Gideon’s example, and listen to God, leaning on his strength, not our own. God chooses to use those of his Kingdom on Earth to accomplish his plans, and, just like the passage below mentions, our boasting should be in God, not ourselves. Yesterday, a list of God’s attributes was given for us to pray through. While reviewing this list again, perhaps a good exercise would be to find an attribute of God that’s been missing or you’ve not witnessed in a while. As you discover them, ask God to reveal himself to you by that attribute.
1 Then Jerubbaal (that is, Gideon) and all the people who were with him rose early and encamped beside the spring of Harod. And the camp of Midian was north of them, by the hill of Moreh, in the valley.
2 The Lord said to Gideon, “The people with you are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hand, lest Israel boast over me, saying, ‘My own hand has saved me.’
3 Now therefore proclaim in the ears of the people, saying, ‘Whoever is fearful and trembling, let him return home and hurry away from Mount Gilead.’” Then 22,000 of the people returned, and 10,000 remained.
4 And the Lord said to Gideon, “The people are still too many. Take them down to the water, and I will test them for you there, and anyone of whom I say to you, ‘This one shall go with you,’ shall go with you, and anyone of whom I say to you, ‘This one shall not go with you,’ shall not go.”
5 So he brought the people down to the water. And the Lord said to Gideon, “Every one who laps the water with his tongue, as a dog laps, you shall set by himself. Likewise, every one who kneels down to drink.”
6 And the number of those who lapped, putting their hands to their mouths, was 300 men, but all the rest of the people knelt down to drink water.
7 And the Lord said to Gideon, “With the 300 men who lapped I will save you and give the Midianites into your hand, and let all the others go every man to his home.”
8 So the people took provisions in their hands, and their trumpets. And he sent all the rest of Israel every man to his tent, but retained the 300 men. And the camp of Midian was below him in the valley.
By Rich Obrecht