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Sunday, April 3, 2016

A Small Band of Soldiers and God (Judges 7:9-11, 14)

"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. If you are afraid to attack, go down to the camp with your servant Purah and listen to what they are saying. Afterward, you will be encouraged to attack the camp. . . . 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."

Two men from opposite sides of the battle see the same situation from different perspectives. All Gideon has is a very small army and the promises of God (6:16; 7:17). The Midianite army is compared to "swarmed locusts" and "thick as locusts" with a countless number of camels. Though severely outnumbered and outmatched Gideon prepares to battle the Midianites.

God emboldens Gideon’s faith by encouraging him via an overheard conversation. God sends Gideon and his servant down into the enemy camp to eavesdrop on a conversation between two Midianite soldiers about a dream one of them had. And what he hears totally energizes him.The enemy is afraid of his little band of 300 warriors AND God. The presence of God in Israel's midst more than makes up for the 21,700 dismissed soldiers. Victory doesn't depend upon the size of the army but upon the presence of God.

Churches today depend upon large budgets, large staffs and large congregations thinking that effectiveness is due to size. God isn't impressed nor is the enemy. God is looking for a little band of men and women who are aware of their inadequacy but depend on the Living God. God doesn't need powerful people to accomplish His work; He looks for those who are weak who'll simply trust Him to show His power on their behalf.

So, if you are feeling small you are in good company. Gideon, with his small army, had the promise of the presence of God. We too, have the promised presence of God. He will never leave us nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). 
Questions for today's Chronological Bible reading: Joshua 5:1-7:25
  • What role do songs play in the life of Israel?
  • What do you learn in this song about the tribal involvement of Israel in the battle with Sisera and his army?
  • According to the song how does God help Israel win the battle against Sisera?
  • Describe the Israelites oppression in the 4th sin cycle.
  • What was Gideon's view of God?
  • What does it cost Gideon to step out in obedience to God?
  • What does God have Gideon do which seems totally illogical?
  • How does God validate His promise to Gideon?
  • What does Gideon's obedience to God do for him?
  • What does Gideon learn about God through his battle with the Midianites?
Turning truth into prayer:
Ask the Lord to show you where you are relying on your own strength and wisdom instead of trusting Him. Appropriate the presence of God in the midst of your battle.