sent messengers through all the land to tell the men to come and join
his army and fight against the Midianites. A great number came. Then the
Lord spoke to Gideon and said, (1) “You have too many men.”
(2) “If you defeat the Midianites with this large number of soldiers,
you will say you won the victory, and will not give glory to God.”
(3) “Go out to your army and tell them that anyone who is afraid
may go home.”
Gideon obeyed God’s command, and more than two thirds of his soldiers
left the camp and returned to their homes. Instead of 32,000 men he now
had only 10,000. But the Lord was still testing them and testing Gideon,
also. God said, “Gideon, you still have too many men. Bring them
down to the water, and I will test them for you.”
Of course, to the soldiers it would seem as if Gideon were testing them,
but it was really God. Gideon took the men down to the water. There the
Lord told him, “Separate those who lap the water with their tongues
like a dog from those who kneel down to drink.” Three hundred men
lapped with their hands to their mouths. All the rest got down on their
knees to drink.
The Lord said to Gideon, “With the three hundred men that lapped
I will save you and give the Midianites into your hands. Let all the other
men go, each to his own place.” So Gideon sent the rest of the Israelites
to their tents but kept the three hundred, who took over the provisions
and trumpets of the others.
Now Gideon’s army looked very small. Indeed, it no longer looked
like an army; for only 300 men remained. But Gideon knew God had promised
to help, and he was willing to obey every word God spoke to him.
A busy time was now before Gideon’s army. First, Gideon divided
the men into three companies, with one hundred men in each company. Next
Gideon gave each man a trumpet to blow at the time of the attack. And
last of all, he told every man to carry an empty pitcher with a burning
torch hidden inside the pitcher. So with the trumpets in one hand, and
pitchers in the other hand, Gideon and his three hundred brave soldiers
marched quietly down the mountain-slope toward the enemy’s camp.
Here they parted, and very quietly they took their places around the camp.
Then they waited for Gideon’s signal.
Now the Midianites, except their watchmen, were all sleeping soundly.
At midnight Gideon gave his signal, and when his soldiers heard his trumpet
they all blew a loud, long blast. Then they cried aloud on every side
of the camp, “The sword of the Lord and of Gideon!” and every
one broke his pitcher at the same time. What a glare of light flamed up
from the smoking torches around the camp!
The sleeping Midianites were awakened with a start. “What can this
great excitement mean?” they wondered. Then they thought, “Gideon
has come with a great army and has surprised us. He will kill every one
of us if we do not run away at once.” The Midianites, seeing so
many torches and hearing so many trumpets believed the army itself must
be huge. So away they ran through the darkness, stumbling over each other,
and falling upon each other’s swords. Many of them died, being trampled
upon and wounded by their own people. Others hurried away toward the Jordan
River, beyond which was their own country (Midian).
Gideon did not question the Lord, but obeyed when God told him to send
home many men from his army—for Gideon believed that God knew best.
And Gideon couldn’t brag, when he had only 300 men. So God got all
the glory for this victory.
Trumpets, pitchers, and torches don’t sound like powerful weapons
to us, but this was
God’s instruction to be followed in driving out the Midianites.
You will remember the fall of Jericho. God had given specific orders to
march around the walls of Jericho, and the victory would be Israel’s.
Do you know, boys and girls, that God the Father has given clear instructions
in the Bible that there is one way, and only one way, for sinners to come
to the Father? This is through the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ.
Do you know it was Christ who said, “No one comes to the Father,
but by Me.” That’s a very clear message, isn’t it?
Gideon tore down the idols of Baal and built an altar and sacrificed a
lamb showing there is only one way to God. Ephesians 2:8 & 9 says,
“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of
yourselves, it is the gift of God…” It is through Christ by
faith that you become a Christian and live the Christian life. “...not
as a result of works, that no one should boast.” God wanted the
credit then and still does now for salvation and the Christian walk.
You can thank the Father for sending Christ today if you have never done
so, and ask him to forgive your sins.
Prayer: Lord, please give us
grace to be obedient and to shine for your glory.