My Thoughts . . .
Monday, December 9, 2019
The book of Judges is a record of how fallible men and women walked with our infallible God. However, fallibility can be a rug easily removed! Gideon faced an enemy that was described as being “so many of them that they were like a swarm of locusts . . . they were as many as the grains of sand on the beach” (Judges 7:12). Gideon was successful in raising an army of 32,000. That’s large, but not as many “grains” or “locust” as the Midianites had. God’s word to Gideon, may not have been appreciated at face value! God said, “You have too many men” (v.2). When the odds are 5 to your 1, how can that be too many? Did Gideon question whether or not he had heard correctly? The enemy had “grains” on “a beach” compared with Gideon’s small sandbox!
Most men going into battle are fearful. Some will make promises to God that they may not keep once the battle is over. Right away God gave His permission for 22,000 soldiers to take a furlough. I’m sure when those young men arrived at home, no one insisted that they return to the conflict. If Yahweh wanted to send them home, then home is where they needed to be! Did Gideon wonder how the battle would end with only 10,000 soldiers? The difference is now 13-14 men to their 1! Gideon’s small sandbox had been decreased to a smaller sand pile! But God wasn’t finished. There remained a water drinking contest. 9,700 more men would have some happy parents and relatives welcoming them home! Do you wonder if Gideon looked at his former 32,000 army, now reduced to a measly 300, and saying to himself, “We’re going to whip the Midianites like they’ve never been whipped before”? Of course, the ratio is now 450 to their 1. Most commanders today would have sat down and cried over that depletion and then surrendered.
Why did Yahweh pull that rug of 31,700 soldiers out from under Gideon to leave him with only 300 warriors? How can a few grains defeat an entire beach where the grains are too numerous to count? Have you ever wondered what thoughts occupied the mind of each of those 300? Did they congratulate one another on being in an army that would soon be annihilated? Did they sit down and immediately write that last letter to their loved ones at home? The opposing army would not have to draw a sword to defeat them, they could just trample them to death with their unconquerable numbers! Why did God decrease them from an army of 32,000 to a handful of 300? Maybe they had a chance with 32,000, but what could they do with 300? Yahweh was going to prove something to them. He Gideon,
“You have too many men for Me to give you a victory over the Midianites. I do not want the Israelites to brag, thinking that they saved themselves.” (V.2).
In such circumstances, fallibility does not think that way. Fallibility wants Yahweh to quadruple that 32,000, not decrease it. If 32,000 men have fears, what will 300 entertain? The 300 are badly outnumbered. Will they look upon the coming battle as a victory, or a suicide mission? Do you think there was a single soldier in that small number who thought 300 could defeat 135,000 (Judges 8:10)? They may have had a chance with 32,000, but God whittled that number down to 300! Why? “I do not want the Israelites to brag, thinking that they saved themselves.” If 450 fellows met you one day and said they were going to put you in the hospital, would you have any hopes of whipping them without anyone landing a fist on you? That’s the situation those 300 found themselves in.
Did you know we are in a battle with Satan (1 Peter 5:8)? Do you think you can save yourself with your righteousness (Titus 3:5)? Are you like the Israelites, you think you can save yourself? There are some who believe their unshed blood is equal to the blood shed by Jesus (Matthew 26:28; Luke 22:20). They believe their imperfections are a righteous substitute for Jesus’ perfection (Hebrews 9:28). Their trust is in what they do, not what was done for them by Yahweh through Jesus (Romans 5:1, 6, 8-9).
God whittled Israel’s numbers down to show them who their Savior was. Jesus did the same when he went to the cross. Yet, there are some believers who continue to think that they can put God in debt to them because they are worthy of heaven by saving themselves!