Have you ever found yourself staring into the glaring eyes of a formidable task that you are unequipped to handle? Of course you have. We all have. It's life. And it appears to be all the more life with God. God seems to prefer us to have the odds stacked against us.
It's the way God dealt with Gideon. A guy that God hand-picked because he wasn't the guy most people would have picked for the task. Not an army general, but a guy that was hiding from the enemy when he was hand-picked by God to lead the charge against that enemy.
The task was to defeat the Midianites and Amalekites, an army "as numerous as locusts" (Judges 7:12). Gideon showed up with an army of 32,000 men. Not bad. Thirty-two thousand might just stand a chance against a locust army. But God said, “The people who are with you are too many for Me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel claim glory for itself against Me, saying, ‘My own hand has saved me.’ Now therefore, proclaim in the hearing of the people, saying, ‘Whoever is fearful and afraid, let him turn and depart at once from Mount Gilead.’” Then 22,000 of them went home, perhaps with time to enjoy some Chinese take-out and a beer while reflecting on the certain death they'd just escaped.
So, Gideon now faced an army that couldn't be counted with an army that could now be counted much faster. Perhaps God would bring in worthy warriors from another tribe to make up the difference. Nope. Instead, He cut the numbers significantly further. Say...from ten thousand down to three hundred. Wow. God's method to cut down the numbers was this: “Everyone who laps from the water with his tongue, as a dog laps, you shall set apart by himself; likewise everyone who gets down on his knees to drink.” And the number of those who lapped, putting their hand to their mouth, was three hundred men; but all the rest of the people got down on their knees to drink water."
So, that left Gideon and 300 guys who drink like a dog to take on the innumerable masses camped nearby. So much for God sending backup and extra supplies. His answer to the problem was to actually remove support from Gideon. Support like lots of troops was gone. Support like great weaponry apparently was also gone. God sent them against this formidable foe armed only with trumpets, torches, and pottery. Items more likely to be found at the local "Festival of the Arts" than a battlefield. Yet, this is exactly what God intended to use against this massive army. And yeah, it worked. They sounded their trumpets, raised their torches, and the innumerable army soon cut each other down in a state of Divinely-induced confusion.
As I face similar situations in my own life, I am encouraged to remember how God worked with Gideon. He built Gideon up by removing his support. He overcame incredible odds with very limited resources. All according to God's plan. Yet, how often do I assume God's plan requires greater resources and support? Then, as I watch those things dwindle, I assume I'm in trouble. Perhaps not. Perhaps I'm actually being set up for a great victory. A victory accomplished by God, not by me.
Dave became the Senior Pastor in April 2015 at TCC after serving as the Director of Children's and Praise Ministries for 9 years. He graduated in 2011 from A.W. Tozer Seminary with a Masters in Christian Leadership. He and his wife, Katie, live in Sequim with their 6 children, 2 dogs, 15 chickens, and 50,000 honeybees.
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