Torches Are Mightier Than the Sword (2 of 2)
Good morning. It is Wednesday, June 16, 2021
After Gideon was convinced that God had a plan for him, he gathered 32,000 men. These men were not soldiers, they were not trained. In fact, they had been hiding in the hills, running, defeated at every turn. They were farmers and plow sharers. They were simple folk, not mighty warriors. But God had a plan.
Judges 7 tells us that Gideon and and all the people who were with him rose early and camped beside the spring of Harod...There were 32,000 of them, but the Lord Lord said to Gideon, “The people with you are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hand.”
God went on to say to Gideon: tell these men ‘Whoever is fearful and trembling, let him return home and hurry away…22,000 of the people returned, and 10,000 remained….
Now keep in mind, they are coming against an army of 135,000 men! Let’s think about that; 10,000 farmers against 135,000 trained solders. But God had a plan.
God said to Gideon 7:4-8 …“The people are still too many. Take them down to the water, and I will test them for you there, and anyone of whom I say to you, ‘This one shall go with you,’ shall go with you, and anyone of whom I say to you, ‘This one shall not go with you,’ shall not go.” So he brought the people down to the water. And the Lord said to Gideon, “Every one who laps the water with his tongue, as a dog laps, you shall set by himself. Likewise, every one who kneels down to drink.” And the number of those who lapped, putting their hands to their mouths, was 300 men, but all the rest of the people knelt down to drink water. And the Lord said to Gideon, “With the 300 men who lapped I will save you and give the Midianites into your hand, and let all the others go every man to his home.” So the people took provisions in their hands, and their trumpets. And he sent all the rest of Israel every man to his tent, but retained the 300 men.”
Can you imagine? Remember chapter 6. We read that Gideon’s clan was the weakest in Manasseh, and he was the least in his father's house. What must these men have been thinking?!
It is now 300 against 135,000!
Verse 12 tells us that the Midianites were “like locusts in abundance, and their camels were without number, as the sand that is on the seashore in abundance.” But God had a plan.
Chapter 7:9-12 “That same night the Lord said to him, “Arise, go down against the camp, for I have given it into your hand. But if you are afraid to go down, go down to the camp with Purah your servant. And you shall hear what they say, and afterward your hands shall be strengthened to go down against the camp.”
I love this! After everything the Lord has done to prove himself to Gideon, He tells him “But if you are still afraid, let me show you one more thing.”
Gideon takes his servant and sneaks down to the Midianites camp and overhears the following. From verses 13 and 14 “a man was telling a dream to his comrade. And he said, “Behold, I dreamed a dream, and behold, a cake of barley bread tumbled into the camp of Midian and came to the tent and struck it so that it fell and turned it upside down, so that the tent lay flat.” And his comrade answered, “This is no other than the sword of Gideon the son of Joash, a man of Israel; God has given into his hand Midian and all the camp.”
As soon as Gideon heard the telling of the dream and its interpretation, he worshiped. He returned to his camp and told his men, all 300 of them, “Arise, for the Lord has given the host of Midian into your hand.”
Gideon divided the 300 men into three companies and put trumpets into the hands of all of them and empty jars, with torches inside the jars.
No swords. No spears. No shields to protect themselves. Simply a trumpet in one hand and a torch in the other.
Verses 17 and 18, Gideon told them “When I come to the outskirts of the camp, do as I do. When I blow the trumpet, I and all who are with me, then blow the trumpets also on every side of all the camp and shout, ‘For the Lord and for Gideon.’”
These 3 groups of men, 100 in each group, set up around the enemy’s camp. When Gideon gave the sign, they did as they were instructed.
The Midianites were sleeping, and, in their confusion, they awoke and began killing each other. Chapter 8 verse 10 tells us that 120,000 enemy soldiers died by, what we would call today “Friendly fire.” Another 15,000 fled.
There is much more to this story. Gideon pursued them. Two kings were captured; he threw the remaining army into a panic. And before it was all over, he ended up killing the two kings.
Chapter 8:22, 23 “Then the men of Israel said to Gideon, “Rule over us, you and your son and your grandson also, for you have saved us from the hand of Midian.” Gideon said to them, “I will not rule over you, and my son will not rule over you; the Lord will rule over you.”
Verse 28 ends by saying “And the land had rest forty years in the days of Gideon.”
God took a nobody. The weakest clan, the least in the family, a doubter…brought him against an army of 10’s of thousands and delivered them. He can do the same with us.
He can and will use the uneducated. The single mom. The young, the old. The addicted. The doubters. God can do miraculous things, even when we challenge Him. He wants to use us. The questions is, will you allow yourself to be used? God has a plan.