My King, I praise You for Your unending faithfulness to me!
Read Judges 7:1–14
Gideon Defeats the Midianites
7 Early in the morning, Jerub-Baal (that is, Gideon) and all his men camped at the spring of Harod. The camp of Midian was north of them in the valley near the hill of Moreh. 2 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.’ 3 Now announce to the army, ‘Anyone who trembles with fear may turn back and leave Mount Gilead.’” So twenty-two thousand men left, while ten thousand remained.
4 But the Lord said to Gideon, “There are still too many men. Take them down to the water, and I will thin them out for you there. If I say, ‘This one shall go with you,’ he shall go; but if I say, ‘This one shall not go with you,’ he shall not go.”
5 So Gideon took the men down to the water. There the Lord told him, “Separate those who lap the water with their tongues as a dog laps from those who kneel down to drink.” 6 Three hundred of them drank from cupped hands, lapping like dogs. All the rest got down on their knees to drink.
7 The Lord said to Gideon, “With the three hundred men that lapped I will save you and give the Midianites into your hands. Let all the others go home.” 8 So Gideon sent the rest of the Israelites home but kept the three hundred, who took over the provisions and trumpets of the others.
Now the camp of Midian lay below him in the valley. 9 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. 10 If you are afraid to attack, go down to the camp with your servant Purah 11 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. 12 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.
13 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.”
14 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.”
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectReflect on your experience of the trustworthiness of God.
We have seen how the narrator of Judges is at pains to emphasize God’s sovereignty amid the chaos of Israel’s recurrent idolatry, and this is clearly the concern of these verses. No one can be certain of the reasoning behind the water tests set for Gideon’s army (4–8), only of their purpose: to reduce the size of the Israelite force to such an extent that there could be no question that the subsequent victory over the Midianites belonged to the Lord (2,14). God knows there is nothing like success to tempt us to idolatrous assertions of self-sufficiency that deny His sovereignty.
Once more the patience of God in accommodating Gideon’s anxieties is apparent – if Gideon is afraid then he should go down to the Midianite camp to hear words of encouragement (10,11). Persistently fearful and inexperienced, Gideon is an unlikely candidate to be Israel’s deliverer; yet God will use him for precisely this purpose. Gideon will experience as a living reality the truth that God’s strength is made perfect in human weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9).
If we are to experience that same truth as a living reality in our own lives then we, like Gideon, must be prepared for God to relieve us of anything that might prevent us – either consciously or unconsciously – from trusting in Him alone.
Meditate on Matthew 6:25–34. What do these words reveal about the character of God? Renew your trust in Him.
Jesus, I choose to seek first Your kingdom and righteousness. Teach me to trust Your heart.