Judges 7 – Part 2QUESTION: Fleece and Subtraction - 2ANSWER:Judges 7 – Part 2
by Pastor Nathan Shepherd (Dive Chapel, Candle Key, Florida)
“Most of you guys are too young to remember this, but back in the 1970’s and 80’s, Burt Reynolds was a super-popular actor. We all thought he was great, mainly because he was from Florida. He’d played football at Florida State and he usually played a hilarious, kind of redneck hero in his movies. In one movie, I think it was called ‘Hooper’, Burt and a buddy of his are about to get in a fight against Terry Bradshaw and about six other guys. Burt counts the opponents and says to his friend, ‘I don’t think this is a very fair fight.’ To which his buddy says to the head bad guy, ‘Yeah, you need to go get some more people to make this even.’ It got a laugh, but that’s sort of what God’s getting ready to say to his ‘buddy’ Gideon.
“Look at verse 2. God says, ‘The people who are with you are too many for Me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel claim glory for itself against Me, saying, ‘My own hand has saved me.’ Wow. Do we have a tendency toward that? I know I do!
“If we turn back to Deuteronomy 20, don’t go there right now, but it gives four reasons why men might be allowed to stay home from a war. By the way, that’s a really cool chapter that gives principles for how the good guys should conduct themselves in battle. But, four reasons to stay home are: if you’ve built a new house and not yet dedicated it to the LORD; if you’ve just planted a vineyard and have not yet tasted of its fruit; third is if you’re engage to a woman and have not yet married her; and fourth – get this – if you are ‘fearful and fainthearted’ you need to go home.
“Man. Back to Judges 7:3, God just goes right to the fourth one. He tells Gideon to ask the men which of them are scared, and to send those fraidy cats home. When Gideon asks, twenty-two thousand guys raised their hands. Can you believe that? I mean, I guess honesty is a good thing. But Gideon just lost almost 70 percent of his army.
“So there are 10,000 men of Israel left. But they are going up against 135,000 of the enemy. Ouch. However, if you remember back to Judges 4, Deborah and Barak smeared the army of Sisera – the guys with the 900 tanks – with 10,000 men. So General Gideon is probably thinking that things are okay because he still has the magic number of men that were needed by Barak.
“But wait. Look at verse 4. God says there are still too many men. This is really great. The LORD tells Gideon to take every one of his 10,000 men down to the lake to get a drink. And to watch how they go about it.
“Generally, men drink from a lake or a stream in two ways. One is to get down flat on your front side, knees, belly, chest on the ground, and put your mouth in the water. The other is to scoop up water in both of your hands and ‘lap it like a dog’. God tells Gideon to divide the men based on how they drink.
“So it’s kind of like when your basketball coach says, ‘Okay, team, you look thirsty, go get a drink and everybody dashes for the water fountain. As it turns out, 9,700 guys drink with their mouths in the water and 300 drink by dog-lapping.Judges 7 – Read Part 3!