Focal Passages: Judges 7:1-8, 19-23
When we first looked at Gideon two Sundays ago, we learned
the importance of seeing ourselves from God’s perspective. We saw Gideon
portrayed as a fearful farmer hiding from the Midianites; but when the Lord
appeared to Gideon, He declared Gideon to be a mighty warrior.
Last week, before going to war, Gideon tested God twice with
the fleece. In our lesson for today, it is God’s turn to test Gideon.
In Judges 7:2, God shocked Gideon: “The troops with you are
too many for me to give the Midianites into their hand. Israel would only take
the credit away from me, saying, ‘My own hand has delivered me.’”
Gideon must have questioned, “What Lord? Too many men?”
Gideon was the commander of an army with 32,000 troops, while the Midianite
army numbered at least 135,000 (Judges 8:10).
When given the opportunity, 22,000 men left Gideon’s army
because they were too afraid to fight. The 10,000 that remained were taken to
the river for a drink. Some knelt on the bank, put their faces in the water,
and lapped like dogs. Some of the soldiers bent over, cupped their hands, and
brought the water up to their mouths.
From this exercise, the Lord shrank Gideon’s army to 300
Gideon must have really been scared now, facing those
thousands of enemy troops with just 300 men. How could he possibly experience
victory against such crushing odds?
Haven’t we found ourselves in similar situations?
Many centuries later the apostle Paul wrote that God is more
concerned with our spiritual strength than our physical power. Paul illustrated
it with his own example, revealing his request of God to heal him from a
physical debilitation. God did not heal Paul, but responded: “My grace is
sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor. 12:9).
For this battle, the Lord told Gideon to use a form of
psychological warfare. Each soldier was given a trumpet and a torch enclosed in
a jar. In the middle of the night they surrounded the enemy. When the signal
was given, the soldiers broke the jars, revealed their torches, blew on the
trumpets, and shouted, “A sword for the Lord and for Gideon!”
Gideon led the attack, but God was leading Gideon as the
Israelites were victorious in battle. Like Gideon, may we learn to be obedient,
facing our battles in trust that God will lead us through in His way to His
(EDITOR’S NOTE — Coming soon readers will see the Oct. 2
lesson for Explore the Bible lesson, a curriculum published by LifeWay. The
Sept. 25 Formations lesson will be the last lesson from Formations, a
curriculum printed by Smyth & Helwys Publishing. LifeWay’s Bible Studies
for Life will continue to be printed.)