I love this story.
Here we have Gideon, who is actually a really impressive young bloke. I’m not sure, but I feel like sometimes we might misinterpret the fact that he came across a bit doubtful when he was called. Initially was the statement about being the least in his family, in the smallest clan and the smallest tribe or whatever, and then he put the famous fleece out overnight – twice.
The thing is, though, I can’t help but wonder if we sometimes confuse his seeking reassurance as doubting. I remember back to when God called Moses, and he just kept making excuses, to the point where it actually says that God got mad at him. However it doesn’t say that with Gideon.
And the thing is, that Gideon seems to be pretty much a man of action. One word of confirmation from the angel, and he was off tearing down the Asherah poles. Yes, it was night time. Yes, he went off and hid, but it all turned out alright.
Now, he’s got himself an army and they’re ready to take on the Midianites. 32000 or so men.
And God says he has too many people.
I tell you what, can you imagine that? God’s just called you to go down and take on an army, and just before you’re about to leave, he says, “Hold up, you’ve got too many bodies on your side. Send some of them home.”
I’d be telling him we’re off to war, there’s no such thing as too many bodies.
So Gideon turns to the men and tells them that anyone who’s scared can go home.
And 22000 of them take off.
I tell you what, I’d be watching in shock. Two thirds of the army’s just taken off, but Gideon’s still ready to go.
Except that God says he still has too many men.
I can just imagine Gideon looking up at God going, “Are you serious?”
So there’s another elimination, and Gideon’s left with 300 men.
To take on an army.
But it gets better.
They arm themselves with: A pitcher, a torch and a trumpet.
Again: “Are you serious?”
The key to all of this, though, is right back at the beginning.
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.’” ~ Judges 7:2
The point that God was trying to make, was that it wasn’t about the Israelites. The point he was trying to make, was that this wasn’t their fight, it was his – and the victory, therefore, was his too.
How often do we doubt God? How often do we look around and see our army of 32000 men and say to ourselves, “Right, I’m ready for the battle now.”
It’s not about us.
It’s not our battle.
It’s not our victory.
I can tell you that I’m not very good at letting God have control of things in my life. I’d much rather take care of it myself – in my way – with the resources around me.
But that’s not what God calls us to do.
God says to send the men home. He says you don’t need 32 thousand – you only need three hundred.
What would you achieve, if you used less than 1% of the resources you actually thought were necessary to accomplish a task?
God, however – would achieve a heck of a lot.
So next time that you feel like God’s stripping back your resources; or that he’s leaving you a little too vulnerable? Revel in it. Relish the fact that God’s probably about to do something big – and you get to witness it, and maybe even benefit from it.
When we let God do it his way, it’s going to work. Just trust him.