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Judges Chapter Seven (ESV)
Gideon’s Three Hundred Men
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.”
- The spiritual perspective of the reduction of Gideon’s fighting force is expressed in v2. It involves the issue of the “credit” for Israel’s victory, and the strategy is meant to ensure that only God gets the “credit”. In Deut 20:1-9, it stated that the Israelites were specifically commanded by God to go to war, they could be assured that God would go with them and secure the victory. They did not need superior weapons or vast numbers of troops. Therefore, when God used Gideon to lead the nation into battle for his purposes, God cut Gideon’s army down from thirty-two thousand men to ten thousand, and eventually to three hundred. God wants to show His power through Gideon. He wants Israel to credit Him and not to be able to take any of the credit themselves.
- When have I accomplished things in what I thought was my own strength and taken all the credit while forgetting about God? When have I accomplished things that seemed big and impossible, knowing I did so only because God intervened?
Lord, I realize that it is not possible for me to wage spiritual warfare effectively in the power of the flesh. Help me remember to stand firm in Christ, to submit to You, and to resist the world, the flesh, and the devil in Your strength.