Summary: Vigilance is very essential in these last days. The Bible says, “Be sober.” That is, “be quiet,” “be calculative,” “have a sound mind,” “be humble,” “be attentive,” “be careful.”
REARRANGING THE PROBLEM
Dr. D. K. Olukoya
Judges7: 1-7says,“Then Jerubbaal, who is Gideon, and all the people that were with him, rose up early, and pitched beside the well of Harod: so that the host of the Midianites were on the north side of them, by the hill of Moreh, in the valley. And the Lord said unto Gideon, The people that are with thee are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel vaunt themselves against me, saying, Mine own hand hath saved me. Now therefore go to, proclaim in the ears of the people, saying, Whosoever is fearful and afraid, let him return and depart early from mount Gilead. And there returned of the people twenty and two thousand; and there remained ten thousand. And the Lord said unto Gideon, The people are yet too many; bring them down unto the water, and I will try them for thee there: and it shall be, that of whom I say unto thee, This shall go with thee, the same shall go with thee; and of whomsoever I say unto thee, This shall not go with thee, the same shall not go. So he brought down the people unto the water: and the Lord said unto Gideon, Every one that lappeth of the water with his tongue, as a dog lappeth, him shalt thou set by himself; likewise every one that boweth down upon his knees to drink. And the number of them that lapped, putting their hand to their mouth, were three hundred men: but all the rest of the people bowed down upon their knees to drink water. And the Lord said unto Gideon, By the three hundred men that lapped will I save you, and deliver the Midianites into thine hand: and let all the other people go every man unto his place.”
Israel had fallen into the sin of idolatry and this time as judgment, God permitted a vast herd of the Midianites to invade their land and rob them of their harvest. However, God raised Gideon to deliver them. The book of Judges is a book of problems, the kind of problems people encounter when they make God the tail and make themselves the head. Anytime you put God behind, there will always be problem. That was how the Israelites got into trouble.
The Lord commissioned Gideon to lead the Israelites in battle against the Midianites. In response to the Lord’s command, Gideon assembled an army by the well of Harod while the Midianites encamped somewhere in the north. Gideon had 32,000 men while the Midianites had 135,000. You can check the figures in Judges 8. That means that Gideon was facing 135,000 Midianites with 32,000 people, a ratio of about 4-1. Imagine Gideon’s feeling when God told him that his men were too many. He asked those who were afraid to go home and 22,000 of them departed leaving Him with 10,000 men to face the 135,000 Midianites. Yet to the greater astonishment of Gideon God told him that the people were still too many. Then those who went down on both knees to drink water were eliminated and those who lapped as a dog were to go for the battle.
This takes us to the issue of lack of vigilance which is one essential characteristic in people that the enemy holds tight to enable him re-arrange problems in the lives of many. I Peter 5:8 says, “Be sober, be vigilant: because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” Picture the soldiers who bowed on their knees to drink from the well, they could be attacked easily because they would have laid aside their weapons to be on their knees. They would not have seen the enemy approaching because they would have their faces buried inside the water, and the enemy would have overcome them. So, God removed them and left those who lapped like dogs. When a dog drinks inside water it does not bury its nose inside the water, it just stretches out its tongue and laps. The men who lapped went down on one knee while retaining their weapons with one hand. So, they were vigilant. In their posture, they remained alert watching for any surprise attack by the enemy.
Only 300 of the 32,000 men passed the test and the ratio now became 450:1. They started with the ratio of 4-1 but by the time the Lord had dealt with them, the ratio fell to 450-1.
We have some lessons to learn from this. The Lord says “Be vigilant.” The devil does not go on sabbatical. He never takes a holiday. When you think you need to relax and put your weapon down, the devil will release an unanticipated arrow.