Chronicled in Judges

      It was time for battle. The Israelites had been strong-armed by the Midianites and Amalekites. God was about to deliver His people and chose to use Gideon to do it. God even called Gideon a “mighty man of valor,” though he had never fought a battle in his life. You see, God knew who Gideon was even before Gideon did.

      The problem was, Gideon was not one of those “Lord, if you say it, I’ll do it” kind of guys. He was one of those “If You can prove You’re God (over and over), then I’ll do it” sort of chaps. Gideon was low on the “leap of faith” type of belief in God. He was more of the “show me a sign” variety.

      Being unsure of himself and even less sure of God’s instruction, Gideon needed proof of God. In fact, he requested miracles on three different occasions: first, a sign from an angel involving an animal offering. When the angel consumed the offering with fire, Gideon started to believe. God then told Gideon to tear down the altar of Baal and set up an altar to God. After destroying the altar of Baal and erecting the godly altar (at night, because he feared an attack), Gideon sent messengers to recruit an army. 32,000 men showed up. You would think that the confidence was beginning to grow. Not so.

      Gideon then requested of God two separate signs involving a fleece of wool on the threshing floor; the latter two miracles were performed on consecutive nights (Judges 6:20, 21, 36-40). At this point, there was no denying that it was God leading Gideon into battle. Gideon was finally ready to go forward with God’s plan. Being the omniscient creator He is, God knew that 32,000 warriors would get mighty puffed if they achieved this big victory. The glory belonged to the Lord.

      To ensure that no undue credit could come to Gideon’s army, God began to cull the herd. He lopped off 22,000 in one clip. Gideon began to sweat. He felt good at 32,000 strong, but now he was down to 10,000. “God, You’re pushing it a bit, don’t You think?” God wasn’t finished yet. He took the army all the way down to 300 men. Gideon was in full-on panic mode. That old familiar doubt had not only crept in, it had kicked the front door down.

      God, in His infinite wisdom, sent Gideon to spy on the Midianite/Amalekite camp, where he overheard two men discussing a dream of Gideon’s army triumphing over them. Rejuvenated, Gideon finally got it. “We’re gonna win this thing!” And win they did. Every infantryman blew a trumpet and sent the enemies fleeing in confusion and fright, many turning their swords on each other. Gideon’s 300 overtook them, bringing back the heads of two Midianite princes as trophies.

So, how do we triumph in the midst of trial? Stand strong. It doesn’t matter how many troops are against you. God only needs an army of one—Himself. Victory is at hand.


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