Summary: small army . . . big TRUTH!
Pt. 3 – Cracked Pots
I have been drawing your attention to the now infamous battle for Thermopylae where the 300 Spartans held off over 20,000 Persian hordes for 4 days while inflicting heavy casualties upon the Persians. Of course, if you read your history book or watch the movie you also know that the Spartans weren’t alone. They had assistance from as many as 6100 soldiers from surrounding areas. Another truth that you know is that ultimately the mighty 300 were soundly defeated until every last man, save the one sent back to rally the remaining Spartans to action, was killed. This again is what makes the real 300 so spectacular. They faced even more insurmountable odds at 135,000 to 300 and yet this 300 with the help and assistance of almighty God wins a resounding victory.
We have been going back over the account of Gideon and his mighty men and have learned some lessons. Quickly I want to remind you of these before we conclude our study this morning.
Don’t be surprised if the enemy seeks out your most precious for an attack!
You can’t hide forever!
We must start with us.
Did not fear insurmountable odds.
Convenience doesn’t lead to conquering.
And then last time we learned that when you are involved in battle God will provide.
God’s provision is for war not for waste.
Provision should not distract us from war, but rather prepare us for war.
Praise is a weapon and therefore it must be continual, sacrificial, and always precedes victory.
Finally, others are counting on your praise. We must pick up our trumpet and praise.
There are several other lessons or truths that I could bring to your attention that I just don’t have time to dive into. So just let me mention them in passing before we deal with our topic this morning.
a. I believe that one of the major characteristics of the 300 was and is that they gladly listened to, submitted to, and followed leadership as long as that leadership is moving forward, taking back territory, and refusing to be satisfied with status quo. In other words they were unwilling to follow or to settle for the “same old same old”.
We see this in Judges 7:17 he instructs his army of 300 to “Watch me, follow my lead. When I get to the edge of the camp, do exactly as I do.” And they obeyed. Others may think you are hard headed, rebellious, and unruly. I just think you are looking for someone to lead you who will refuse to settle for mediocre (the best of the worst and worst of the best – half way up the mountain). The challenge is that you have to have enough discernment to notice and realize when you have found that leader. Too many of us have become so accustom to discounting, mistrusting, and resisting every leader in our life until we fail to recognize the one that God sends into our life to harness our abilities, giftings, and help us fulfill our destiny!
b. The 300 confused the enemy. So will you. He won’t understand your sound, your soul, your heart, your fire, your passion! You are on assignment to confuse the enemy so that you can take territory. That means you won’t fit in, you won’t play the part you will be different! Quit trying to fit in. Quit compromising so that you won’t stick out. God has ordained you to be different. That difference will be a weapon.
c. Gideon sent word (Judges 7:24) to the people who lived in the hill country of Ephraim and asked them to join in the route of the enemy. Even though none of the men of Ephraim had passed the test the three hundred had passed Gideon invited them to enjoy the victory.
The men of Ephraim hadn’t felt the rush of adrenaline or twinge of fear that Gideon’s three hundred had experienced as they approached the Midianite camp. They didn’t have to think about all that they could have possibly lost if the attack on the Midianite camp had gone wrong. Yet they were invited to take part in the spoils of victory. The three hundred should have hogged the victory. They should have grabbed the spotlight. They should have made a name for themselves and advertised their ability. They should have kept all the spoils to themselves.
No, one of the major characteristic of this army is willingness to go out of your way to invite people who may not have sacrificed, prayed, fought, or worked like you to enjoy the blessings and spoils of victory. Members of this army are not stingy or egotistical. This victory is not about us or just for us. The victories we win are for the advancement of His kingdom not our kingdom. We don’t need the spotlight or the credit. We are only concerned with winning and the blessing it brings to the Body of Christ. So in other words this isn’t about getting our name in the program! This isn’t about us getting to sing so others will know who we are. This isn’t about us getting to do our thing. This isn’t even about us prospering! No this is about us gaining a victory that we can share with those around us. This is about the kingdom of God growing and bring about a blessing that can flow into every area of our community!