God Prepares Gideon for BattleVolume 2, Number 25
Created Date: September 9, 2006
Posted Date: September 9, 2006
Vol 2 - No 25, September 9, 2006
Gideon's witness of faith - Part 3:
Our last study left off at the point where the Lord chose only 300 men to accompany Gideon,, to defeat an army of 135,000, . His purpose for using only 300 instead of a much larger force was to make sure Israel would have no reason to boast or glory in themselves but to impress upon them that God gave the victory to them - .
The next few verses of the text demonstrate God's sensitivity to the doubts/fears of Gideon who faced an impossible task, humanly speaking. He had just sent 31,700 men home leaving only 300 with which to face an enormous army but the Lord did not expect him to charge in blindly with no understanding of what lay in store. Accordingly, the night after Gideon sent the majority of his army home the Lord appeared and told him to go down to where the Midianites were camped where he would be able to hear for himself what they were talking about and this would fortify and give him resolve to proceed. We know Gideon was frightened because God told him to take his servant Phurah with him if he feared, and Gideon took Phurah with him -.
When Gideon and Phurah arrived at the enemy camp a Midionite soldier was overheard telling another about a dream just experienced. The two soldiers had probably been recently awakened to stand guard together on the periphery of the encampment when the watch changed. The soldier said he dreamed he saw a loaf of barley bread roll down a hill into the Midianite camp and strike a tent, turning it over -. Just as God had caused this dream in the first soldier He also gave the interpretation thereof to the second soldier who answered: "This is nothing else save the sword of Gideon the son of Joash, a man of Israel: for into his hand hath God delivered Midian, and all the host." . Thus God arranged not only for a foreboding of fear to prevail in the Midianite camp through the soldier's thoughts and dreams but also for Gideon to know of it, giving him the assurance needed to proceed.
Upon overhearing the soldier's conversation Gideon recognized the Lord's work and worshipped Him in thanks. He then returned to his camp and told his men to get up from their sleep because God had already given them victory over the enemy -. Gideon divided his army into three (3) groups of 100 men each and instructed each group to go to a different location at points around the enemy encampment. Each man was to carry a lamp/torch within an earthen/clay pitcher in their left hand and a trumpet in their right. Once the three (3) groups were in place they waited for Gideon to give the signal. First Gideon and the 100 men with him, followed by the other two (2) groups of 100 all broke their earthen/clay pots exposing their torches. Then they blew their trumpets and shouted "The sword of the Lord, and of Gideon." - .
The huge Midianite army, having been mentally prepared by dreams and rumors, was awakened by the sound of trumpets blaring and crashing earthen/clay pots; saw the lights around their encampment and heard the shouting. In a frenzy of confusion in the darkness they struck out with their weapons wounding and killing each other while trying to escape. The word tells us that those who were not killed ran to Bethshittah in Zererath, and to the border of Abelmeholah, unto Tabbath -.
The 300 with Gideon had to have been men possessed with unmovable faith as we consider what they did under the circumstances, but then God chose them for their faith and not for their fighting ability. They themselves did not hear the Midianite soldiers talking but had only been told this by Gideon. So it was faith (the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen,) in the Word of Gideon which motivated and animated them. We can picture them making their way in the dark to the edge of the huge enemy camp where they stood silently holding not a weapon but a torch covered by an earthen pot in one hand and a trumpet in the other. When they heard and saw their leader break his pot and blow his trumpet, they obediently followed suit. They were indeed a cool headed lot and this is a lesson for us today, for as the Apostle Paul wrote: "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works," .
The primary lesson taught by Gideon's experience for Israel at the time, as well as for us today is that the Lord provides through His working and power and not by man's. During His ministry on earth it was revealed that the Lord Jesus Christ is the Light of the World,; 3:19 - 21; 8:12; 9:5; 12:46, etc. Understanding this, the Apostle Paul teaches facts concerning believers living today that are analogous to Gideon's experience: 1) our bodies are but earthen vessels as referred to in (God originally fashioned man from the dust of the ground, , and it is to that state our bodies return upon death); and 2) it is within the earthen bodies of believers that Jesus Christ dwells - I Corinthians 3:16 & 17; 6:19: . As Gideon and his men broke their earthen vessels so their lights could shine Paul teaches: "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service." - .
And by inspiration of the Holy Spirit Paul wrote: "For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake. For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh." -.
God's promises to us in this age of Grace have nothing to do with a miraculous victory in battle like Gideon experienced: "For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;" -. "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." - . Following this verse Paul describes our battle armor consisting of five (5) defensive weapons; truth, righteousness, the gospel of peace, faith and salvation; and one (1) offense weapon which is the Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God - .
The next verse is very important because in it Paul tells us our mission, or what we are to do being armed as just described: "Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;" -. The "all saints" referred to is the Body of Christ living here on earth, which is made up of believers in the Lord Jesus Christ; His called out ones. It is this body of believers that Satan and his cohorts attempt to tear apart and destroy by any means possible. And it is only by being armed with the Lord Jesus Christ and in prayer and watching for our fellow members of the Body of Christ (all saints) that the rulers of the darkness of this world, the spiritual wickedness in high places will be defeated.