It was unbelievable, truly unbelievable!
The Medianites were oppressing Israel. Gideon was the one called by God to put an end to this, but he needed reassurances. Their enemy was so huge and powerful! With only 32,000 men to fight this uncountable army, it already looked like a hopeless task. However God sees things differently than we do and, and He observed: “You have too many men for me to deliver Midian into their hands.” (Judg 7:2a NIV)
Wait a minute! Too many men? We don’t have enough! The more the better, believe me!
But God had a good point: “In order that Israel may not boast against me that her own strength has saved her.” (Judg 7:2b NIV)
It’s true that we have the tendency to give credit to the one who doesn’t deserve it. For some reason we always tend to forget God in our equation.
So all of those who were afraid (Remember the enemy’s army was many times bigger than these 32,000 soldiers!) were send back home. It’s true that fear paralyzes people, rendering them ineffective! Ask those who worry all the time!
22,000 men left, and now Gideon had only 10,000 remaining soldiers. In other words, more than two thirds of the army left in fear! How can we even win?
However God’s math is not quite the same as ours. If He can multiply 5 loaves of bread to feed 5,000 and 7 loaves to feed 4,000 (See Mat 16: 9-10. Notice that the larger the amount of bread, the fewer people it fed!), He sure can defeat an endlessly large army with just 10,000 men!
Nonetheless, wouldn’t we start shaking in our boots with such impossible odds?
Still God insists: “There are still too many men.” (Judg 7:4b NIV)
Euh . . . I already lost two thirds of my fearful army, and I still have too many men?
Who is in charge here? Euh . . . You are!
While Israel’s tiny army were at the river, those who kneeled down to drink were sent home. Only 300 men were left! From the original army, almost 94% were gone. The odds were not at all in favor of Israel!
Or were they?
Still God’s promise stood firm: “With the three hundred men that lapped I will save you and give the Midianites into your hands.” (Judg 7:7 NIV)
I can imagine doubt rising into Gideon’s mind. Wait a minute . . . 300 against 100,000s . . . God had to reassure him by sending him to spy in the Midianites’ camp, where he heard that this huge army were trembling in their socks when the name Gideon was even mentioned (See verses 13 and 14).
What comes next leads Gideon to complete peace: “he worshiped God.” (Judg 7:15b NIV)
The tools of warfare to be used: trumpets and empty jars.
What good are these against swords and chariots?
Amazingly, “all the Midianites ran, crying out as they fled.” (Judg 7:21b NIV) Then “the men throughout the camp turned on each other with their swords.” (Judg 7:22b)
“‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty.” (Zech 4:6 NIV)
Too often we, too, rely on useless devices. They may be considered powerful in human terms, but they are truly useless when compared to the power of God.
“I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.” (Eph 1:18-21 NIV)
Are you facing trouble? Instead of relying on the Internet, Facebook and ipods, face these giants in faith, relying solely on God. Only then will you be completely victorious. And if He asks you to cut back on certain things, trust Him, as he knows what is best for all of us.
Now where’s my trumpet and my empty jar? Did you take them?
(To access the entire “Facing Unimaginable Odds” devotional series, please click here.)