Summary: Gideon and the 300 take on an army of 135,000 with trumpets, jars of clay, and torches and win.
Gideon - The Conqueror Part 2
Martin Luther King Jr. said, "Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase."
The Lord had spoken to Gideon each step of the way. Gideon’s faith had grown. The angel of the Lord had called him and he listened. The command was to destroy the Baal altar, he doubted, was afraid, but he acted, obeyed, and destroyed the altar.
The Spirit of the Lord came upon him and he blew the trumpet and the army of Israel had arrived. The Lord sifted the army of 32,000 down to 300. Why, so Israel could not take credit for the victory.
Gideon’s faith had increased dramatically from the pit where he was sifting wheat. Each step of the way the Lord gave him a greater challenge. Gideon’s initial reaction was doubt and fear but his final action was faith in the Lord. Gideon’s faith in the Lord had won out over his fear.
Had Gideon been faced with his next decision at the beginning of his walk with the Lord he might have obeyed his fear and doubt. But the Lord was growing him to become the mighty warrior just as the angel of the LORD had said when he was at the bottom of the well, the pit hiding. The Lord grows our faith in the same way today.
Again, Gideon was faced with a decision. The Lord had commanded him to attack a force of 135,000 with only 300 men. The victory over the Midianites was assured. The LORD had given them into his hands. Verse 9 says,
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.
(numbered from Part1)
6. Recon of Midianites - v. 10 -
George Seaton said, "Faith is believing in things when common sense tells you not to."
Gideon was faced with a task that was beyond reason and beyond the capabilities of the 300 men. The Lord knew he would be afraid and filled with doubt. Who wouldn’t? But the Lord gave him a way to be encouraged.
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 was afraid. He had doubt about the outcome of the battle. The Lord had said they were "given into his hands" but Gideon doubted the "given". The valley below did not look good for the 300 Israelites. The enemies were gathered together and were "thick as locusts. Their camels could no more be counted than the sand on the seashore." No wonder Gideon doubted and was afraid.
The Lord gave Gideon an opportunity to strengthen his faith. He and Purah were to sneak into the camp and listen to what the Midianites were saying about the approaching battle. All he had to do was go.
Does the Lord give us opportunities to strengthen our faith when the enemies are all around? The answer is yes. He has given us other believers to encourage us each time we gather together. He gives us Bible studies to learn more of His great promises a victories of old. The problem is some are not willing to gather regularly. No wonder many believers live defeated lifestyles.
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.”
Gideon overheard a conversation just as he got to the camp. A "dreamer" was telling what he had seen in his sleep; a loaf of barley bread and a tent. The bread came down and crushed the tent in the middle of the camp.
The two symbols in the dream, the bread and tent, are significant in understanding the interpretation of the dream. Barley bread was the bread of slaves. It was cheap and made from ingredients that in the end it could barely be eaten by men. It was vile and disgusting. The bread or cake symbolized the nation of Israel who had become slaves to the Midianites.
The tent in the middle of the camp represented the Midianites and their leaders. They would be struck down by the loaf of bread as it came tumbling down the mountainside.