Tuesday, February 14, 2017
Daily reading assignment: Judges 7-11
Our Bible reading in the Book of Judges continues with God’s people (Israel) facing the hordes of Midianite soldiers who have gathered for the 8th year to pillage the land at the time of harvest. God, however, had heard the cry of His people and had raised up a man named Gideon, promising to be with him and empower him to “smite the Midianites as one man” (Judges 6:11-16).
The closing verses of Judges 6 found the armies of the Midianites and Amalekites gathering to go to war and force Israel to pay tribute (Judges 6:33). Gideon sent out a call for the men of Israel to gather and 32,000 men responded to his appeal (Judges 7:1). Looking across the plain, Gideon’s army could see in the day the hordes of Midian gathering and at night a multitude of their campfires burning on Mount Moreh (three miles to the north).
Incredibly, though facing a great enemy, the LORD came to Gideon and said, “The people that are with thee are too many” (7:2). Why? Already fear and restlessness was gripping the hearts of Gideon’s soldiers, but now the LORD says, “Gideon, you have too many soldiers!”
God then gave Gideon two tests for reducing his troops:
1) Test of Fear: God commanded Gideon to send home any who were afraid (7:3), reducing the number of soldiers by 22,000 men and leaving 10,000 in camp.
2) Test of Fervency: His army reduced by more than two-thirds, God again said to Gideon, “The people are yet too many” (7:4) and commanded him to reduce his army to those who drank water at a stream, bringing water up to their mouth by cupping their hand while allowing their eyes to be vigilant for the ambush of an enemy (7:5-7), thus leaving Gideon with only 300 men.
Three hundred men facing an army of skilled, veteran warriors; humanly, the odds were impossible that Gideon and Israel would be successful…and that is exactly where God wanted His people! God was going to deliver His people and give Israel victory; however, He was not going to share His glory with anyone! Israel’s victory would be so incredible that the nation would know only God could have given them the victory! (Judges 7:18-22)
Copyright 2017 – Travis D. Smith