Gideon was the leader of the Israelite army when God told him that it was time for the Israelites to defeat the Midianites. So, early in the morning, Gideon and his men camped out at the spring of Harod, near the Midianite camp.
The Lord said to Gideon, “You have too many warriors with you. If I let all of you fight the Midianites, the Israelites will boast to me that they saved themselves by their own strength.” God then told Gideon to release all the soldiers who admitted to being afraid. Thus, 22,000 of the 32,000 soldiers went home. This left only 10,000 soldiers to fight the Midianite army. However, God still said that there were too many. He told Gideon to take the soldiers to get water and watch how the men drank from the stream. The men that lapped water from the water source were sent home and the ones that brought the water to their mouths with their hands stayed. There were only 300 soldiers that stayed. Gideon obeyed the instructions of the Lord and prepared to defeat the Midianites with only 300 men.
During the night Gideon heard the Lord speak. He told him to go down to the Midianite camp and listen to what they had to say. So Gideon and his servant, Purah, snuck down into the camp and overheard a conversation between two Midianite men. One man was relaying a dream to the other and as he explained his dream the friend responded, “This can be nothing other than the word of God, son of Joash and the Israelites. God has given the whole Midianite camp into his hands.” This encouraged Gideon greatly and he went back to the camp and told everyone that the Lord had given the camp to the Israelites.
Gideon continued to listen to the voice of the Lord and divided the men into three camps. He placed trumpets and empty jars in each of the soldier’s hands with torches inside. On Gideon’s command they blew their trumpets and broke the jars, shouting, “For the Lord and for Gideon!” When they did this, God caused confusion to come into the Midianite camp and the Midianites began to turn on one another with their swords while the Israelites stood their ground.
Gideon’s small army of 300 defeated the Midianites. And everyone knew that it was only by the power of God that they were able to. Truly, nothing is ever too big for God… ever.
Ryrie Study Bible Expanded Edition. Charles Caldwell Ryrie, Th.D., Ph.D., editor. Chicago: Moody Press 1994.
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