Judges 7 - Part 3QUESTION: Fleece and Subtraction - 3ANSWER:Judges 7 - Part 3
by Pastor Nathan Shepherd (Dive Chapel, Candle Key, Florida)
“Now, there is a whole lot of great Biblical discussion about why God divided the men in this way. Some scholars say that the men who drank like a dog were exhibiting humility because dogs were despised in that culture. Others point out that the men who scooped up the water and lapped it were men of priority, because the process was faster and did not leave them vulnerable – flat out on the bellies on the ground.
“What I tend to believe is that the 300 lappers were the lame, fat, old guys who couldn’t get down to the water. It could have been these were the fellows whose backs and knees were out or who were handicapped.
“God set them aside and Gideon was probably thinking, ‘Cool, send those lame, old guys home. We don’t need them holding us back in battle.’
“Until verse 7. God tells Gideon to send the 9,700 tough guys home. What?! Are you kidding? It is like the LORD was saying He wanted to defeat this army of 135,000 Midianites and friends with 300 old, sorry, fat guys – men the world would disdain and laugh at.
“Remember, last week, when we said the Midianites might represent the sin of cowardice? The Almighty LORD is about to show why we should not be fearful, faithless, chicken-whiners.
“That night, God, in His grace, tells Gideon to sneak down to the camp of the Midianites and spy on them. Verse 12 tells us, ‘The Midianites and the Amalekites, all the people of the East, were lying in the valley as numerous as locusts; and their camels were without number, as the sand by the seashore in multitude.’
“Isn’t that an amazing picture. Also, if you’ll remember, the strength and power of the Midianites was in their camel-handling abilities in battle.
“In verses 13 through 15, Gideon hears a man in the Midianite army talking about a dream he’d just had. In the dream, a loaf of barley bread tumbled down into the Midianite camp, struck a tent and the tent collapsed. The dreamer’s friend interprets the dream as follows: ‘This is nothing else but the sword of Gideon the son of Joash, a man of Israel! Into his hand God has delivered Midian and the whole camp.’
“When Gideon heard that he was mega-fortified. It was bigger than ‘Win one for the Gipper’. He bows up and gets his 300-man army together and says, ‘Arise!’ Remember what Deborah said a few chapters ago? ‘Up!’ Here we go.
“Gideon divided the men of Israel into three groups and gave each man a trumpet, an empty pitcher, and a torch. They put the torches inside the pitchers. The pitchers would conceal the light of the torches until just the right moment.
“Verse 18 says, ‘When I blow the trumpet, I and all who are with me, then you also blow the trumpets on every side of the whole camp, and say, ‘The sword of the LORD and of Gideon!’
“Verse 22 says, ‘When the three hundred blew the trumpets, the LORD set every man’s sword against his companion throughout the whole camp; and the army fled.’
“Ultimately, with the Midianites routed, Gideon sends back for all the other men of the Israelite army and they dash down and mop up the remainder of the vast army of bad guys.
“God wants to use us, but He wants the glory. And I will submit to all of you, that there is no better feeling, no higher elation, than winning the battle with the LORD – for His GLORY!”Judges 8 – Go!