Gideon was about to face his greatest fear. We’ve seen him asking God for reassurances, a few times.
• He knew how great his enemies were, having been tormented by them for 7 years.
• Jud 7:12 says they were “thick as locusts” and “their camels could no more be counted than the sand on the seashore.”
God assured him that He is with him, double-confirmed by the signs of the fleece. Gideon was kind-of ready for the task.
• He got 32,000 men. Greatly out-numbered but at least, better than nothing and God is with them.
• But then came the shocker. God says, “You have too many men…” (Jud 7:2) “Too many men FOR ME to deliver Midian into your hands.”
• God doesn’t NEED so many men. God’s strength is not in numbers.
Gideon’s perspective of God needs to be BLOWN OPEN. He is going to experience God’s presence and power in a way he had never experienced before.
• Isaiah 55:8-9 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. 9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
THE NEED TO ENLARGE OUR VIEW OF GOD
“God is not who we think He is; He is who He SAYS He is.”
Many of us have a very limited view of God; limited TO our understanding.
• In fact, some may even have wrong or distorted views of God. We expect God to do things this way or that way (basically, OUR way).
• We box God up, in a box that we created (in our mind).
Gideon was asked to cut down the size of his force, not once but twice.
• He tells those who are afraid to go home and 22,000 did. That’s more than 2/3.
• He was left with 10,000 and the Lord said, “There are still too many men.” Gideon cut them down further to 300 men.
• This group was identified by the way they drink water from the spring. With 300 men, the Lord says, “I will save Israel!”
Do we know how big the force of the Midianites is? If we read Jud 8:10 it says that “120,000 swordmen had fallen” that day.
• That’s 400 times their size. And this was only the number who died in the war.
• Chapter 8 tells us Gideon was pursuing a group that was fleeing, and Jud 8:10 says there were about 15,000 of them.
All these figures are absurd. And that’s what the Lord wants us to see.
• Gideon’s original group of 32,000 against 135,000 would already mean they are outnumbered 4 to 1. But yet they were able to overcome them with 300.
THE NEED TO STRETCH OUR FAITH IN GOD
We see God making things more difficult for Gideon.
• He was already struggling to believe God, and now that he had agreed to lead the fight, God reduced his fighting men.
• How can you do that? That’s precisely what God did to strengthen his faith.
Like muscles, faith grows when stretched. James 1:2-4 “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
• We tend to think the other way around – faithful Christians don’t face much adversities because God bless them. In God’s perspective, adversities produce faithful Christians.
• Those who are strong in faith are those who have FOUGHT the good fight of faith.
• If we have lives of ease without opposition, trials or pain, we will never really know God, because we will never need God.
Gideon’s faith is going to be tested by this difficult war. Through it, he is going to know God and His power.
• Without it, all he has is mere talk and head knowledge of God. When what we believe is never tested, it remains head knowledge.
• We won’t truly know God because we have never experienced Him.
See how God helps Gideon. Knowing that he would possibly be more afraid now, God gave him another sign. This time, without his asking.
• God says, “If you are afraid, you can go down to the camp with your servant Purah, and listen to what they are saying.” (cf. 7:10)
Gideon went down to the enemy’s camp and arrived just in time to hear a man tells his friend a dream.
• And then hearing his friend giving his take on the dream, as being Gideon’s victory over them.
• He has just heard his enemies mentioning his name and telling about what is to come. Gideon heard a prophecy that came from the mouth of his enemies!
Gideon was so overwhelmed that he worshipped God (Jud 7:15).
• That must be a silent worship! Imagine the scene as he spied on them.
• This is a beautiful picture of worship, when Gideon’s mind was led away from the fear and problems of an impending war, to dwell upon the One who alone rules and has already determined the outcome.
Gideon was liberated from his fear and frailty, to look upon the One who is enthroned and who alone has already determined the victory.
THE NEED TO SEE THE GOODNESS OF GOD
When we are overwhelmed by the circumstances of life, worship God and focus on the One who reigns.
I shared this at the FPM in March. It left a deep impression in my heart.
• Revelation 1 talks about apostle John was thrown onto the island of Patmos (as a prisoner) because of the Gospel. He was alone and separated from the church.
• Yet in the midst of all the hardships and loneliness, he worshipped in the Lord’s day (Rev 1:10) and saw visions of the Lord and heard from Him.
It was on the Lord’s Day (v.10) that he received the visions. He was “in the Spirit” because he was in worship.
• Which is real? The harsh circumstances you are in or the glorious sight of Jesus enthroned? BOTH ARE.
• But the problem with us is, we tend to see only the CIRCUMSTANCES of life. These are more real to us. The heavenly scene is not there.
• In worship, we will SEE Him and HEAR Him. In fact, the Lord TOUCHED him (Rev 1:17) because he fell at His feet as thought dead.
All this happened when John was in worship on the Lord’s Day, all alone!
• No one knew the earthly Jesus better than John, yet despite the familiarity, he was overcome with a sense of awe when he saw Him.
Look at Gideon’s experience. Look at the great work of God! He has already started working among the Midianites, even before the war starts.
• The morale of the enemies were already going down, hearing their conversation.
• God gave a Midianite soldier a specific dream, and led Gideon right up to a specific spot, behind this man’s tent (out of thousands of tents), at just the precise moment when he has woken up and started telling his dream.
• And then a friend shared his take on the dream and Gideon overhear its meaning. How good is that!
God has everything planned out. Gideon needs only to follow His instructions and he would taste victory!
When I was in the Polytechnic we learn about production management and we were taught to look at the 4 M’s – manpower, machine, material, and method.
• To be efficient and to produce good results, you need to watch these M’s.
• I tried applying these 4 M’s to this situation.
Manpower – God used 300 against a force of at least 135,000 (450 times)
Machine – weapons? Trumpets (ram horns) and jars
Material – the oil for their torches
Method – smashing jars and blowing horns
None of these make sense. It does not because God made it happen.
• God has been doing that in Israel’s history. Crossing the Red Sea does not make sense. Walking across River Jordan does not make sense. Having the walls of Jericho falling down because of a shout does not make sense.
• God did all of these deliberately. He wants us to see the absurdity of it all.
Why? There is a need for us to enlarge our view of God, to stretch our faith in God and to see the goodness of God at work in our lives today!
Are we seeing that? Or are we blinded to it? Have we lost faith in God?
WORSHIP HIM! Humble yourself and worship Him! Let Him touch you and heal you. There is no other way.