The Original “300”
“Every man stood in his place around the camp, and all the army ran. They cried out and fled.”
Gideon was the fifth judge of Israel. God selected him to lead the Israelites against the Midianites. The Midianites were currently fighting over territory in the Promised Land. In verses one through seven, before Gideon went into battle, God told him that he had too many soldiers in his army. God wanted to receive the glory, rather than Israel claiming the glory for themselves (verse 2). Through a series of tests, God dwindled Israelites army down from 32,000 to 10,000 and then 300 men.
In verses eight through 15, the Israelite army went over and settled right outside of the Midian camp, so they could see all of the enemy soldiers they were about to face. God told Gideon that if he was afraid to go, then he should secretly visit the enemy camp to hear what they were talking about. Gideon went with his servant Purah and heard that one of the Midianites had a demoralizing dream about how a loaf of bread struck a tent and caused it to collapse. Gideon worshipped God, accepting the truth of God’s wisdom.
In verses 16 through 25, Gideon divided the 300 men into three companies. They spread out around the edge of the camp with trumpets and torches at around midnight. The loud noises and bright lights coming from different areas made it seem like the army was larger than it actually was. The Israelites used the battle cry “The sword of the Lord and Gideon!” That actually dishonored God by pairing the name of Gideon with Him. The Midianite army heard the trumpets and saw the torches right after they woke up from their sleep. Then the Midianites killed each other out of confusion that God caused (verse 22). The rest of the Midianites fled towards the Jordan River. Gideon called in reinforcements to trap the enemy at the river (verse 24), which showed self-confidence in himself and not relying on God’s power to handle the enemy with the army of 300. The Israelites killed the Midianite leaders while the survivors fled across the Jordan River.
Sometimes, God will ask us to do something that doesn’t make logical sense, like taking your army and making it much smaller when going up against a massive enemy force. There are also times in our life where we want the glory for ourselves. We want to make ourselves feel good for winning that victory or achieving our goal, when in reality, it was God who did everything for us. He should deserve all the glory, no matter what. Like Gideon before the battle, we often get scared about the future and how we’re going to handle it. We have our own enemies and trials we have to face some point. However, just like in the story, God comforted Gideon, just like He can comfort us before we face our big battle. It could be going in for a job interview or meeting a deadline for work. No matter what it is, God is always there to let us know that He’s in control.
This week, tell someone how God did something that doesn’t make sense and used it for His glory. Pray about the battles you’re facing and ask God to give you comfort in tough times.