The Lord said to Gideon, “You have too many men. I cannot deliver Midian into their hands, or Israel would boast against me, ‘My own strength has saved me.’ – Judges 7:2 NIV
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Gideon, after convincing himself that the Almighty God indeed was with his people, that He was ready to forgive and deliver them from the Midianites who were oppressing them and more importantly, the Almighty God had chosen him to lead the process of the deliverance, started out by cleansing the land and its people of the evil against the Lord that they got themselves entangled in. This he did by tearing down the Altar of Baal and the associated Asherah pole and replacing it with a fresh Altar dedicated to the Almighty God and offering a burnt sacrifice to the Lord on the new Altar using the torn down Asherah pole as fuel for fire for the sacrifice – Judges 6:7-40.
It was only after he had corrected the error of the people that he set out to actualize the deliverance plans of the Almighty God. In order to implement this divine plan, he had camped at the spring of Harod with thirty thousand men to battle the Midianites but the Lord in the foundation scripture for today’s devotion made it clear to him that he would not support him in the battle because he had too many men with him. Yes! Too many men such that He, the Lord will not be acknowledged when they eventually win the battle. He will have to reduce the number of his men if he wanted the support of the Lord. Using the test condition that the Almighty God suggested, twenty thousand of the chosen men voluntarily returned leaving ten thousand men who were willing to go to war. Even that number was too much and the Lord prescribed another test which helped to further reduce the number to a paltry three hundred men – Judges 7:3-8. That was the acceptable number of men with which the Lord wanted to achieve victory over the Midianites.
Gideon, like any other person, must have been scared stiff with this decision to have only this few number of men to face the Midianites in battle but the Lord in an attempt to build his confidence, gave him an opportunity to eavesdrop into the discussion of two Midianite soldiers, which revealed that the entire army were simply waiting for defeat as they had already lost any hope of defeating the Israelites. No doubt this encouraged Gideon who promptly split his three hundred men into three groups, each consisting of hundred men and in an unusual battle strategy, armed them with trumpets and lamps placed inside empty pots. At his signal, they were to all at the same time from different directions make a loud noise conceding victory to the Lord as led by Gideon, break the pots to reveal the lights in them and blow their trumpets. As soon as they did this, the Lord set to work turning the Midianite men in the camp against one another using their swords while some ran for their lives. A victory of great proportion was achieved in a very unusual manner;
- It was achieved with Gideon simply relying on the instructions of the Lord and not dependent on the men he had gathered for the war.
- It was achieved with Gideon and his men admitting that the victory belonged to the Lord and publicly acknowledging it.
- It was achieved with Gideon and his men symbolising the revelation of light in the midst of darkness by breaking the pots to reveal the lamps. There is no doubt that the light will have shown ever so brightly in the darkness of the middle watch – Judges 7:19.
- It was achieved with Gideon and his men blowing their trumpets which in this instance signified the commencement of the battle with the host of angels leading – Judges 7:20-21.
It may be true that the situation you are in is the result of the anger of the Lord at your transgressions but He does not expect you to remain in that situation for long. The essence of His punishment is not to destroy but to produce repentance, have the ones he loves return to Him and save such from the oppressors who are benefitting from the effect of His being angry – 2Cor. 7:10.
However, the intervention of the Lord in that oppressive situation will not commence until the reason for His anger is identified and appropriate correction is effected. It is only then that the Lord’s intervention will commence.
Even with the commencement of this intervention, the Christian should learn to rely more on Him and follow His directives as He will not act in a situation where His role will not be obvious and acknowledged. Any condition that will not allow for Him to take total glory in victory is sufficient to make Him withdraw His support, neither will He want to take glory when all your weapons of battle are the ones you decided on. Let Him decide who to use and what weapon to deploy and you can be assured that taking his instructions will produce victory.
Anyone who intends to have Him lead his/her battle lines must learn to put their trust in His guidance. Trust His recommended weapons and approach to prosecuting your life battles. As much as they may be unusual, they always end up being very effective. When he leads your battle, your only role will be to gather spoils of war as He does all the battling. Although the Israelites implemented His instructions, none of their actions was responsible for the men turning on one another and the others running scared – Judges 7:21-22. All that was done by the Lord because the Israelites simply obeyed his instructions.
Give yourself rest in those battles by adhering to His instructions. May God grant you peace in the midst of battles in Jesus name. Amen.