“The Lord said to Gideon, “The people with you are too many
go give the Midianites into their hand, lest Israel boast
over me, saying, ‘My own hand has saved me.’”
– Judges 7:2 (ESV)
It was impossible to contain my excitement as the ten mighty warriors climbed on the bus. After a month of practice in the July heat, my middle school football team had just won their first game of the season in convincing fashion. On the joyful ride home, I could only smile and shake my head as the events of the week replayed in my mind. Twelve determined players had continued to work hard as another season of eight-man football loomed on the horizon. It would be a challenge to compete against teams with superior numbers, but my guys could play multiple positions and I knew they would give everything they had. Early in the week, we lost a player due to injury. Then, on the night before the game, I received a phone call from the mother of my starting quarterback. She felt he needed to be disciplined for poor behavior at home. The options were to miss tomorrow’s game or the game the following week. Everything in my mind was pushing me to postpone the discipline to the next week, but that decision just didn’t feel right in my heart. We mutually agreed that the discipline would have a greater impact if he were not allowed to play in the next day’s game. What appeared to be a weakness, turned into an unexpected strength. The name of the disciplined player was never mentioned before, during, or after the game. Ten mighty warriors simply played like champions!
Gideon, God’s reluctant warrior, must have had his own doubts. Gideon had been given the seemingly impossible task of rescuing the Israelites from the mighty Midianites who held them captive. We can only imagine what was going through Gideon’s mind when the Lord spoke these words, “Go with the strength you have, and rescue Israel from the Midianites. I am sending you!” It took more than a little convincing, but Gideon did as the Lord commanded. With an army of 32,000, Gideon went into action. The Lord reduced Gideon’s army to 10,000 and eventually a mere 300, to prove that any victory would be His only, leaving the Israelites nothing to brag about. Facing overwhelming odds, Gideon’s small army of 300 men defeated the Midianites without lifting a sword. The confused Midianite army turned on themselves and eventually fled in complete panic. Through what appeared to be weakness in the eyes of men, God brought strength.
Heavenly Father, all things are possible through You. Through my weakness Lord, may others see Your strength. Amen.