Bruce Collins, Evangelist

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A Very Unusual Victory

Meditation for the week of April 11, 2010

Judges 7:19-20
So Gideon and the hundred men who were with him came to the outpost of the camp at the beginning of the middle watch, just as they had posted the watch; and they blew the trumpets and broke the pitchers that were in their hands. Then the three companies blew the trumpets and broke the pitchers-they held the torches in their left hands and the trumpets in their right hands for blowing-and they cried, "The sword of the LORD and of Gideon!"

Gideon was a man very much like many of us.  He was grieved by the the oppression of Israel by Midian.  He didn’t understand how God could do all those miracles when the Israelites were delivered from Egypt, but now there were no miracles and no deliverances.  Even so he did what he could, he stayed busy threshing wheat and hiding it from the Midianites.  He seems to have been a man of little faith.  When God told him that he would deliver Israel from Midian through him, he had difficulty believing God.  He was from Manasseh,  a tribe that was not known for anything.  He considered himself the most insignificant man in his family.  We don’t know if he was humble or just depressed; but either way, he was at a very low point in his life.  But when he finally had the courage to obey God, God did work a miracle through Him and three hundred men.

God tested his faithfulness by asking him to tear down his Father’s altar to Baal.  He was then told to build an altar to the Lord and to offer his own father’s bull on that altar.  He did what the Lord asked him to do.  In doing that he put worship before service and the Lord before his family.  Miraculously, his father seemed to think that Baal should be able to defend himself if he was really a god.  Gideon’s father actually defended what Gideon had done.

But then Gideon tested God, not once, but twice.  He asked for a sign that the message he had heard was real.  Jews seek after signs to convince them of God’s reality.  Gentiles seek after wisdom or logic. So he put a fleece out at night twice to see if he had understood God properly.  Once it was wet when all around the ground was dry.  Once it was dry when all around the ground was wet.  Both conditions were unusual answers to prayer and should have given Gideon complete confidence In what the Lord had said.

Then comes the really hard part.  Gideon only had 32, 000 men.  The Midianites, however, had joined with the Amalekites and the peoples of the East so that they were a great multitude.  But God sent home those  Israelites who were fearful.  They didn’t have a proper appreciation of God.  That left him 10,000 men, but 9,700 of those drank water by getting on their knees and putting their faces down into the water.  They didn’t have their eye on the enemy.  Apparently, they were self confident and didn’t properly appreciate the power of the enemy.  That left Gideon with only 300 men who drank water from their hands, lapping it like a dog would.  These were vigilant, keeping their eye on the enemy while at the same time not fearing the enemy because they had confidence in their God.

Gideon really needed additional encouragement after sending most of his army home so God sent him and his servant into the enemy camp.  He found out that the enemy had more confidence in God than he did.  One of the soldiers had a dream that he told to his friend while Gideon was listening.  The friend realized through that dream that Midian was going to be delivered into the hands of Gideon.  Apparently, somehow the enemy had heard about Gideon.

But now Gideon is told to fight the battle in a most unusual way.  He is to fill the hands of his soldiers with trumpets and with empty pitchers that have lit torches in them.  When Gideon gives the signal, they blow their trumpets and break their pitchers.  They cry out, “The sword of the Lord and of Gideon!”  Looking at the soldiers holding up torches and trumpets, one can almost see a man being crucified rather than a soldier fighting an offensive battle.  When they did what the Lord asked them to do, the Midianites got confused and killed each other.  The battle was won by the Lord for the children of Israel.  Gideon now had his miracle.

I would like to think that the Lord still uses broken vessels, that is, people who have been humbled so that they get out of the way of His work.  If we have the light of the Gospel in us (2 Corinthians 4:4), it can shine out if we are broken.  He still likes to use the trumpet which I think speaks of the heralding of the Word of God.  And He still likes people who have been “crucified with Christ (Galatians 2:29),” and whose hands are so filled with His Light and His Word that they cannot fight an offensive battle with the world’s weapons.  It is then and only then that the Lord can save in such a way that He gets all the glory.

Bruce Collins

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