The Lord said to Gideon, “The people who are with you are too many for Me to give Midian into their hands, for Israel would become boastful, saying, ‘My own power has delivered me.’ (Judges 7:2 NASB)
In Israel’s battles with their enemies God seems to delight in placing them as an underdog. George Otis Jr. at the Second Lausanne Congress On World Evangelization said, “God rarely calls his people to fair fight.” In this verse He tells us why. There is the tendency in the human heart toward pride and to say that through my power and abilities the enemy was defeated. So God creates circumstances where the Church seems to have a lack of human expertise or resources with which to engage in spiritual warfare. When God brings the victory everyone involved has to say that it was God and not man.
This story is rife with symbolisms of how God enjoys taking common and ordinary things and making them mighty for Him. The dream in this story (v. 13-15) was about a barley loaf. Gideon was a thresher of grain and the analogy of a barley loaf was an appropriate symbol to represent him. A loaf of grain by itself is not going to defeat the Midianite army, but with God all things are possible. As Loren Cunningham, founder of Youth With A Mission has said on many occasions, “little is much if God is in it.”
But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong (I Corinthians 1:27 NASB). It is through these weak and foolish vessels that can accomplish the most dramatic miracles. In these acts of God’s providence, not only is the strong shamed but also the God of heaven is glorified. God does it His way, using ordinary and imperfect people like you and I, and His way is the best way.
I would be remiss if I did not mention one human capacity or ability that Gideon did exhibit, obedience. Imagine what would have happened if he had changed just a little of the details of God’s instructions. What if he had called foolish the directive to sent three hundred warriors against the hordes of Midian and then added to this number. What if Gideon had called torches and trumpets weak implements for waging warfare and deviated slightly from the plan? In my years with Youth With A Mission we heard and practiced, you do the possible, and God will do the impossible. I learned it was my job to obey, and it was God’s job to take care of the results. Though not without some feebleness of faith, Gideon obeyed the Word of the Lord. When Gideon heard the account of the dream and its interpretation, he bowed in worship. He returned to the camp of Israel and said, “Arise, for the Lord has given the camp of Midian into your hands” (Judges 7:15 NASB). Midian was routed and everyone knew that it was not about Gideon but a about Gideon’s God.
Pray with me. Lord, help me to obey you, and allow you to take care of the results.
In His name I pray. Amen
Ken Barnes, the author of “The Chicken Farm and Other Sacred Places” YWAM Publishing