The Lord told Gideon, “With these 300 men I will rescue you and give you victory over the Midianites. Send all the others home.” So Gideon collected the provisions and rams’ horns of the other warriors and sent them home. But he kept the 300 men with him. (Judges 7:7-8)
Now the Lord has what He wants. He has Gideon and 300 men. We have a tendency to focus this whole story on Gideon and miss the small miracle of these 300 warriors.
We don’t know a lot about them except that they passed two tests. They were brave, in that when given an opportunity to go home and not fight this battle, they stayed. This does not mean they were not afraid — fear is human — it means they were willing to stay and fight because they believed something was up, and they wanted to be a part of it. The God of Israel was on the move. Secondly, they were alert; they were awake to what was going on around them; they were tuned in. When you consider that they did not have, as Gideon did, the benefit of an angelic appearance and two fleece tests, it’s pretty remarkable what they did.
The Midianite camp was in the valley just below Gideon. That night the Lord said, “Get up! Go down into the Midianite camp, for I have given you victory over them! But if you are afraid to attack, go down to the camp with your servant Purah. Listen to what the Midianites are saying, and you will be greatly encouraged. Then you will be eager to attack.”
So Gideon took Purah and went down to the edge of the enemy camp. The armies of Midian, Amalek, and the people of the east had settled in the valley like a swarm of locusts. Their camels were like grains of sand on the seashore — too many to count. Gideon crept up just as a man was telling his companion about a dream. The man said, “I had this dream, and in my dream a loaf of barley bread came tumbling down into the Midianite camp. It hit a tent, turned it over, and knocked it flat!”
His companion answered, “Your dream can mean only one thing — God has given Gideon son of Joash, the Israelite, victory over Midian and all its allies!” (Judges 7:8-14)
What a surprise. Gideon has had three miraculous signs so far, all of which he asked for, and even apologized for taxing God’s patience with the last request — “This time make the fleece dry and the ground wet” — and God decides to throw in a bonus confidence-builder. He sends Gideon into the Midianite camp with the express purpose of overhearing a conversation about a prophetic dream in which Gideon, son of Joash (by name), defeats them. (It appears that rumors about Gideon had already been circulating around the camp; God was planting fear in the enemy’s heart.). God is going the extra mile here to assure Gideon that he is going to be victorious. This is nothing short of God’s grace to Gideon to give him a sign he didn’t even ask for.
When Gideon heard the dream and its interpretation, he bowed in worship before the Lord. Then he returned to the Israelite camp and shouted, “Get up! For the Lord has given you victory over the Midianite hordes!” He divided the 300 men into three groups and gave each man a ram’s horn and a clay jar with a torch in it. (Judges 7:15-16)
Gideon worshiped God over this, which, of course, is God’s favorite part. He interacts with us and receives our praise, which is something He truly desires in our relationship with Him.
So Gideon wakes up his soldiers and issues them strange weapons. All this happens in one night, by the way. God woke Gideon up and he, in turn, woke up his 300 men. That’s all the sleep they’re going to get tonight. No matter; they’re on nervous energy and God’s strength now.
And what’s with these strange weapons: a ram’s horn and a clay jar with a torch in it? They seem more like party favors than weapons of war, but this is God’s plan, and Gideon is merely following it. This is more proof of the fact that, for Gideon as well as for us, this is the Lord’s battle, not ours. You don’t get this stuff in military training. God often puts strange things in our hands because He wants there to be no doubt that the victory was, and is, His, and not ours.
Something is up and we want you to be a part of it. We’re asking God for 300 of you who will be brave and alert and who will follow us into battle to spread the gospel of welcome and turn grace outward to the world. Become 1 of 300 today by clicking here. We need your consistent support in order to continue to serve you and inspire and train others like you.