Gideon, the mighty warrior… not. At least that’s what Gideon thought. He thought of himself as the youngest son of the weakest family in his tribe. But God saw him as he could be, if he would only trust God and do what he was asked to do.
And Gideon did. Only he almost always asked for proof, which I think is interesting. When God told him to fight the Midianites, Gideon responded with “okay, but first let me make sure this is really you God. Stay here until I can come back with a present for you”. God promised to stay.
Now Gideon was probably gone a pretty long time since he was preparing a goat with broth and some unleavened bread. I don’t know if any of you have ever prepared goat (I did eat it once- my neighbor’s pet goat! But that’s another story for another letter….) I'm pretty sure it takes a few hours, But God always keeps His promises, and He was there just like He said He would be. Fire sprang up around the food and burnt it all up. (Funny, that’s probably what would happen if I cooked goat!)
Then Gideon knew it was God he was speaking to and decided that he should and could do what He was telling him to do. He also did the old "dry fleece, wet ground" thing too. He wanted to be doubly sure, I guess.
He wanted to fight using 32000 soldiers. There were 120,000 people in the enemy army. That seems like it would still be a tough fight, but with God on your side, doable. Well, God thought it would be too easy. He knew that if the Israelites beat the Midianites using 32,000 people, they would think they did it under their own power. So he told Gideon to shrink his army.
Gideon sent all who were fearful back home. This left him with about 10,000 people. If my math is correct, that means that there was one of Gideon's men to every 12 of the enemy! God still thought that was too many Israelites. So He sifted them out by the way that they drank from the river. If you cupped your hands and drank, you were in, if you dunked your head down and drank straight from the river you were out. A bit unorthodox way to pick your army, eh?
But think of it this way. Those men would be able to move quickly if in danger. They would see it more quickly, and they were already on their feet ready to roll. But not too many men did this. 300 of them were what was left of Gideon’s army.
We are now down to a 1 to 400 ratio! I can just see Gideon's eyes rolling to the back of his head. "Are you kidding me, Lord?"
But Gideon obeyed and Gideon won again in a pretty unorthodox battle.
That's my God. Using weak people and turning them into mighty warriors. winning batttles against seemingly unsurmountable odds, and doing it all in ways that baffle this little finite brain of mine.
Go God! :)