Summary: Last week I highlighted that Cornerstone has lost some people over the last year. Although that can be discouraging, there are still plenty of reasons to be positive about the future of our church. Let's continue our story about Gideon and see what happens next.
A BIG VICTORY BY A SMALL ARMY (part two)
Last week I started by highlighting the fact that Cornerstone has lost some people over the last year. And although that can be discouraging, there are still plenty of reasons to be positive about the future of our church. We started to look at the story of Gideon and how God whittled down his army from 32,000 down to 300. That's quite a drastic decrease.
But God whittled down the army to show that the victory would be achieved by God's power and not by man's. God will do the same thing in our lives too. God will allow us to be in situations where it seems like a no-win situation so that we can see what he is capable of. Let's pick up our story where we left off and see what happens next as Gideon and his small army take on the massive Midianite army and learn what we can take away from that.
1) 300 vs. a googol? No problem.
Judges 7:9-15, "During that night the LORD said to Gideon, “Get up, go down against the camp, because I am going to give it into your hands. If you are afraid to attack, go down to the camp with your servant Purah and listen to what they are saying. Afterward, you will be encouraged to attack the camp.” So he and Purah his servant went down to the outposts of the camp.
The Midianites, the Amalekites and all the other eastern peoples had settled in the valley, thick as locusts. Their camels could no more be counted than the sand on the seashore. Gideon arrived just as a man was telling a friend his dream. “I had a dream,” he was saying. “A round loaf of barley bread came tumbling into the Midianite camp. It struck the tent with such force that the tent overturned and collapsed.”
His friend responded, “This can be nothing other than the sword of Gideon son of Joash, the Israelite. God has given the Midianites and the whole camp into his hands.” When Gideon heard the dream and its interpretation, he worshiped God. He returned to the camp of Israel and called out, “Get up! The LORD has given the Midianite camp into your hands.”
Here we see God's instruction to Gideon to provide encouragement and authenticity that what God said would happen was true. Gideon's army had a certain element of fear going on, and understandably so. These 300 were the bravest of the brave but they still needed some encouragement. We can be faithful and courageous but that doesn't mean we won't need some encouragement now and then.
Gideon and his servant sneak over to the enemy camp. And here we get a picture of what they were up against. The number of soldiers are likened to a swarm of locusts. One of the plagues in Exodus was locusts. It says in Ex. 10:5 that the covered the land so that the ground could not be seen. Having a swarm of locusts was no small thing. Their camels like the sands of the seashore.
In other words, this is 300 vs. Google. We all know the search engine giant, Google. This comes from the word googol, meaning an unfathomable number. I don't know how long Gideon looked at the size of the enemy's army before he heard the dream but thankfully, God didn't let him get overwhelmed by what he saw and instead became encouraged by what he heard. Thankfully, there are times when we don't have enough time to get overwhelmed by what happens to us before God swoops in and provides encouragement.
So, Gideon overhears this enemy soldier tell about his dream. "Barley bread". Barley bread was known as the poor man's bread. This is meant to imply its seeming insignificance. Small and insignificant yet it was about to accomplish something amazing. The small barley loaf rolled in and overturned everything as if it was a giant boulder.
And it's interesting that they were able to interpret the dream. God allowed this so they would know what was going to happen. They had enough cognition to know that the implications of this dream were serious and not something to dismiss. This would greatly aid Gideon's army.
"He worshiped God". We see Gideon's first response after hearing the encouraging interpretation was to worship. When God does something great our first reaction should be worship. We should acknowledge that God is responsible for the outcome and any increase and we are blessed just to be a part of his plan.
"Get up". It's interesting that the beginning of this passage has God telling Gideon to get up and at the end of the passage Gideon is telling his army to get up. God is telling us to get up. Encouragement from the Lord should incite us to action and inspire others to act also. God's revelations motivate us to get busy doing his will so we can be a part of his work and to see the results.