Summary: small army . . . big TRUTH!
It was a blockbuster hit. Released in 2006 “300” told the tell of 300 Spartans, who under the leadership of the Spartan King Leonidus, take on the Persian King Xerxes. The result is the historical battle of Thermopylae which took place in 480BC. History isn’t exactly clear but as many as 20,000 men were sent into a pass to remove the Spartans and four 3 days they were unable to move them. Spartans were known for their valor and their fighting ability. Of course the movie overstates this; since history reveals that the Spartans weren’t alone in this fight. The movie makes it appear that only a few men from another region joined them. However, they were joined by forces from other areas that numbered as many as 6,100 soldiers.
Long before this battle took place there was a similar conflict that took place. However, the account we find in Judges 7 300 men and only 300 men actually did take on an overwhelming force. You know that I am of course talking about the account of Gideon and his men. Over the course of the next few weeks I want us to reexamine this account and learn some valuable lessons from it. I want us to start prior to the gather of the 300 men a little and then move forward.
Text: Judges 6:1-2, 11-16, 25-27; 7:1-7
1And the children of Israel did that which was evil in the sight of Jehovah: and Jehovah delivered them into the hand of Midian seven years. 2And the hand of Midian prevailed against Israel; and because of Midian the children of Israel made them the dens which are in the mountains, and the caves, and the strongholds.
11And the angel of Jehovah came, and sat under the oak which was in Ophrah (ya’ll didn’t know she was in the Bible did you? That is as close as she has been to a Bible in a while too), that pertained unto Joash the Abiezrite: and his son Gideon was beating out wheat in the winepress, to hide it from the Midianites. 12And the angel of Jehovah appeared unto him, and said unto him, Jehovah is with thee, thou mighty man of valor. 13And Gideon said unto him, Oh, my lord, if Jehovah is with us, why then is all this befallen us? and where are all his wondrous works which our fathers told us of, saying, Did not Jehovah bring us up from Egypt? but now Jehovah hath cast us off, and delivered us into the hand of Midian. 14And Jehovah looked upon him, and said, Go in this thy might, and save Israel from the hand of Midian: have not I sent thee? 15And he said unto him, Oh, Lord, wherewith shall I save Israel? behold, my family is the poorest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house. 16And Jehovah said unto him, Surely I will be with thee, and thou shalt smite the Midianites as one man.
25And it came to pass the same night, that Jehovah said unto him, Take thy father’s bullock, even the second bullock seven years old, and throw down the altar of Baal that thy father hath (some of you need to cut off and cut down some family things – just because your father or your mother sinned, was addicted, was divorced, was messed up doesn’t mean you have to continue that cycle), and cut down the Asherah that is by it; 26and build an altar unto Jehovah thy God upon the top of this stronghold, in the orderly manner, and take the second bullock, and offer a burnt-offering with the wood of the Asherah which thou shalt cut down. 27Then Gideon took ten men of his servants, and did as Jehovah had spoken unto him: and it came to pass, because he feared his father’s household and the men of the city, so that he could not do it by day, that he did it by night.
1Jerub-Baal (Gideon) got up early the next morning, all his troops right there with him. They set up camp at Harod’s Spring. The camp of Midian was in the plain, north of them near the Hill of Moreh. 2GOD said to Gideon, “You have too large an army with you. I can’t turn Midian over to them like this—they’ll take all the credit, saying, ‘I did it all myself,’ and forget about me. 3Make a public announcement: ‘Anyone afraid, anyone who has any qualms at all, may leave Mount Gilead now and go home.’” Twenty-two companies headed for home. Ten companies were left. 4GOD said to Gideon: “There are still too many. Take them down to the stream and I’ll make a final cut. When I say, ‘This one goes with you,’ he’ll go. When I say, ‘This one doesn’t go,’ he won’t go.” 5So Gideon took the troops down to the stream. GOD said to Gideon: “Everyone who laps with his tongue, the way a dog laps, set on one side. And everyone who kneels to drink, drinking with his face to the water, set to the other side.” 6Three hundred lapped with their tongues from their cupped hands. All the rest knelt to drink. 7GOD said to Gideon: “I’ll use the three hundred men who lapped at the stream to save you and give Midian into your hands. All the rest may go home.”