That same night the Lord said to him, “Arise, go down against the camp, for I have given it into your hand.”
The big football game was just days away, and the mighty Boston Bruisers were getting ready to take on the Nashville Nice Guys. It didn’t look like it would be much of a game because the Bruisers had beefed up their roster to include 100 of the best players in the league. But Nashville had done its best to field a good team. The Nice Guys invited anyone who wanted to play to come and join the team, and 220 players had turned out. Granted, they weren’t all amazing, but out of 220, they had to have some really great ones. And 220 players definitely had a good chance to beat up on 100.
But then the coach of the Nice Guys – someone they just called Big G – made a really strange decision. He said he didn’t want any players who weren’t totally interested in playing. Most of the players went home, and only 70 were left – but they were the best 70 players on the team, and they still had a great chance to win. Until Big G made his next move, and this was one no one understood.
The coach said that he watched the players when they got their water during the break, and only the players who drank their water a certain way could stay. That ruled out everyone but two players. So the big game was going to be played by two Nice Guys going up against 100 Bruisers. This could get ugly very fast…
That’s exactly where Gideon found himself in today’s scripture. The Israelites had to fight off a massive army of 15,000 soldiers, and as the leader, Gideon had managed to assemble an even more massive force of 32,000 soldiers. But God wanted Israel to know that they had won because of Him and not just because they had more troops. So He had Gideon send home anyone who wanted to leave. That left 10,000 men willing to fight, but that was still too many. God wanted to prove to Gideon and to Israel that He was capable of doing something mind-blowing.
When the men got their water, all but 300 of them knelt to put their faces down to drink; the others kept their heads up and drank from their hands. Those 300 stayed to fight. And they won with one of the coolest tricks ever. Instead of fighting a battle the old-fashioned way, each of the 300 men sneaked up to the enemy camp carrying a torch inside of a clay pot and a trumpet. When the time came, they smashed the pots and blew the trumpets and shouted, “A sword for the Lord and for Gideon.” The sudden appearance of 300 burning fires and the noise from the trumpets startled the enemy soldiers, and they started fighting – each other! By the time they were done, the 300 men didn’t have to do much fighting, and Israel had won a major battle.
If the plans had been left to Gideon, he might have devised a great strategy using 32,000 or even 10,000 troops, and Israel probably would have won. But the way it turned out, only God’s plan with 300 men won the day in a way that made sure the people thought of Him.
You probably have some things happen in your life that seem impossible, and you might even sense that God’s telling you to do things that don’t make sense. But if God’s telling you to do it, that’s all you need to know. Trusting God is never wrong, because He’s always right, and he has your best interests at heart. You may come up with some very cool plans, but unless you’re doing things God’s way, you’ll never have the kind of victory He has in store for you.
This week, think about the challenges you have facing you. Pray that God will give you wisdom and direction to tackle them in a way that will not only bring you victory and success, but that will give Him glory and honor as well.
Reflection copyright © 2018 Doug DeBolt
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.