Growing with God: A daily devotional with Tonia Slimm.
Judges 7:2-3 (NIV)
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.’ 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.
Judges 7:2-3 (MSG)
God said to Gideon, “You have too large an army with you. I can’t turn Midian over to them like this—they’ll take all the credit, saying, ‘I did it all myself,’ and forget about me. Make a public announcement: ‘Anyone afraid, anyone who has any qualms at all, may leave Mount Gilead now and go home.’” Twenty-two companies headed for home. Ten companies were left.
“Then the Lord said to Gideon, “There are too many people with you for Me to hand over Midian to them, otherwise Israel will boast [about themselves] against Me, saying, ‘My own power has rescued me.’ So now, proclaim in the hearing of the people, ‘Whoever is afraid and trembling, let him turn back and leave Mount Gilead.’” So twenty-two thousand men returned [home], but ten thousand remained.” -AMPLIFIED
Gideon is finally ready to take on the appointment and challenge that God has given him; well sort of. Gideon had surrounded himself with 32,000 men to confront the Midianites and Amalekites. Now mind you, though we do not have a specific number count for the Midianites and the Amalekites we do have a little information that inclines us to think that there were many of them. Scripture tells us, “Now the Midianites and the Amalekites and all the sons of the east were lying [camped] in the valley, as countless as locusts; and their camels were without number, as numerous as the sand on the seashore.” -Judges 7:12 (AMP)
Meanwhile, Judges 7:1 tells us, “Then Jerubbaal (that is, Gideon) and all the people who were with him got up early and camped beside the spring of Harod; and the camp of Midian was north of them by the hill of Moreh in the valley.” -(AMP) Gideon was surrounding himself with numbers, but God informed him that the victory was not going to come in the great numbers; lest the people think that they had conquered the enemy in their own strength. God had a different plan. Actually, God had a better plan.
God tells Gideon; “You have too many warriors for Me to allow you to defeat the Midianites. As it is now, the people of Israel would just deny Me the credit and claim they had won the victory on their own.” (Voice) Lest Gideon and the people forget who truly was the One who gave them victory God is going to lessen their numbers. God wanted Gideon and the people to rely on Him; not on their own strengths and abilities. God tells Gideon to send home any and all who were afraid. Guess what? Twenty-two thousand men grabbed their gear and headed home.
Ten thousand men remained to stand with Gideon now. And guess what? God told Gideon he still had too many men. Scripture tells us, “God said to Gideon: “There are still too many. Take them down to the stream and I’ll make a final cut. When I say, ‘This one goes with you,’ he’ll go. When I say, ‘This one doesn’t go,’ he won’t go.” So Gideon took the troops down to the stream.” -Judges 7:4-5 (MSG)
We find the ten thousand men who were left trooping down to the water’s edge. There God told Gideon to have the men go down to the water to drink and watch HOW they drank. If they cupped the water in their hands and lapped it; set those men to one side. Those who get down on the ground and put their faces in the water to drink; put them on another side. Once the men had been separated God told Gideon that those who cupped their hands and drank from them; those would be the ones who would be Gideon’s army. Guess how many were left…three hundred; three hundred against a group that was referred to as countless locust. Oh My!
There has been much discussion of why God would choose the lappers and not the slurpers. My feeling is that God was looking for those who would be alert and aware of their surroundings. When one is lying on the ground with your face in the water you really are not aware of what is happening around you. Those who cupped the water and lapped it from their hands would be watchful and aware of what was happening around them.
God tells Gideon, “I will use these 300 who lapped from their hands to deliver Israel and to give the Midianites into your hand. Send all the rest home.” -Judges 7:7 (VOICE)
God had whittled down the number of Gideon’s army considerably. Now they were ready to confront the enemy; for now they were totally dependent on God. God often bring us to that place too. That place where we can count on no one else, but Him and that is exactly as He would have it be too.
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” – Psalm 46:1
Lord, I am relying on you; not me, not someone else, not the government and not even the leaders. I am trusting and relying wholly and completely on you. Help me not to focus on circumstances and numbers, but on YOU. You are the only One who will bring me through victorious to the other side of any and every challenge in my life. You are BIGGER than any problem that I ever will have and you are ABLE to take care of every need that I have. Nothing is impossible for you, dear Lord; so I am relying on you!