- Gideon’s army of 32,000 was much smaller than the Midianite army of 135,000 (Judges 8:10), but even though it was small, it was still too big for God.
- If Gideon had had a larger army than the Midianites and then won the victory, he could have taken credit for the victory.
- If Gideon had defeated the Midianites with an army of 32,000, people could claim that Gideon was a military-strategic genius. It has happened in the past that a small army won over a large army thanks to a good general.
- But God does not want there to be any doubt that the victory is due to the God of Israel, and not to the many soldiers of Gideon. By reducing Gideon’s army to ridiculous proportions, God proves that it is He who wins the victory for Israel.
- There are many Bible verses on this theme:
- “A king is not conquered by his great army, a hero is not saved by his great power.” (Ps 33:16)
- “Then he said to me: “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might, not by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord of Hosts.” (Zech 4:6)
- “Others rely on chariots and horses, but we glory in the name of the Lord our God.” (Psalm 20:8)
- Perhaps those who had drunk water from their hands were better soldiers than those who had fallen to their knees because they were still supervised when they drank water.
- So God let the Israelis go home first, and then God let the inexperienced soldiers go home.
- In the same way, we can learn today that if we want to actively serve God, we should not be afraid of the enemy, but rather focus on the task at hand.
- When Israel’s army finally numbered only 300, it was suddenly down to just 1% of what it originally was.
- This means that each Israeli personally needs to deal with more than 400 Midianites to win the battle.
- Now Gideon and his tiny army had to rely on God.
- In Judges 6:14-16, God not only sent Gideon, but He also promised to be with Gideon. Here we see this in practice.
- When God calls us to a life-threatening mission, he does not leave us alone but continues to guide us.
- Barley was the food of the poor and the barley loaf symbolized the oppressed and poor Israel.
- In the past, Gideon has been unsure of his calling and therefore asked for confirmation, but this time it is not Gideon who asks for it, but God who in his mercy gives it to him.
- In total, God affirms Gideon’s calling as many as four times!
- Probably Gideon was a very insecure person who needed this extra reassurance.
- When you go into battle, it’s certainly easy to imagine that the enemy you’re facing is much braver and stronger than you are, but often it’s just an illusion. The Midianites were also fearful and insecure.
- There is nothing in the text to suggest that God would have commanded Gideon to do this, but since Gideon has been filled with the Holy Spirit (Judges 6:34), he is naturally guided by God’s Spirit.