Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Gideon and the Midianite army


Bible 1
The Bible tells us of a time when the Midianites, a wicked and warlike people, came like a plague of grasshoppers and swarmed over the land of Israel.
Bible 2
The Midianites just took over the land and, hopelessly outnumbered by their enemies, the people of Israel left their homes and fled for their lives into the wilderness, leaving most of their possessions behind.
Bible 3
Living in the wilderness often meant being hungry and cold. The Israelites had a real struggle for existence. Rich people became poor and poor people became desperately poor.


Bible 4
Israel as a nation was poverty stricken and they cried to the Lord to deliver them from this miserable existence.
Bible 5
We read in the Bible that the family of Gideon was one of the poorest in Israel and Gideon was the youngest son.
Bible 6
That according to ancient custom made Gideon the least important. So Gideon was used to taking orders and to doing plenty of hard work.


Bible 7
When Gideon was told by an angel of the Lord that God had chosen him to deliver Israel from the Midianites, Gideon’s reaction was as much as we might have expected it to be.
Bible 8
‘Me? I’m supposed to deliver my people from the Midianites? Gideon was sure a mistake had been made.
Bible 9
Gideon explained to the angel that his family was poor and being the youngest son he wasn’t very important at all.


Bible 10
The angel told Gideon that no mistake had been made. Gideon was the one God had chosen and God would help him if he would do as he was told.
Bible 11
So on the basis of his personal faith in God, Gideon started to work. The first thing Gideon did was to organize the men of Israel and get them ready to fight. And, all in all, there were 32,000 men.
Bible 12
But when God said that was too many, Gideon spoke to his men and ordered those who were afraid to fight to leave the army and go back home.


Bible 13
When Gideon gave his men a choice of whether or not to fight, many of the men left the camp. Even though they knew God had promised victory to their leader, they also knew the Midianites outnumbered them four to one.
Bible 14
Gideon’s new army was much smaller than before, yet it was stronger. These men were not afraid to fight. But would courage make up for lack of numbers?
Bible 15
Now Gideon only had 10,000 men. And God alone knew how such a small army could conquer far more than ten times their number. Gideon was beginning to realize the true meaning of trust in God.


Bible 16
But God was preparing another test of Gideon’s faith and when Gideon talked to the Lord about the size of his army he got a surprising answer. The Lord said that 10,000 men were still too many. There was only one thing for Gideon to do and that was to trust and obey.
Bible 17
At the Lord’s command Gideon brought his men down to the water and told them to drink.
Bible 18
Most of the men bowed down on their knees and drank right out of the stream. And the Lord told Gideon to put these men aside in one group.


Bible 19
Three hundred men lapped the water from their hands. And the Lord said, ‘By the 300 men that lapped will I save you and deliver the Midianites into your hands. Let all the other people go.'
Bible 20
Now Gideon faced unbelievable odds, 450 to one in the enemies’ favor. One thing was crystal clear, unless the Lord performed a miracle, Gideon and his 300 men were facing certain death.
Bible 21
In the camp of the Midianites, the midnight hour was the time for changing the guard. It was a noisy affair and that provided a wonderful opportunity for Gideon.


Bible 22
While the Midianites were changing guard, Gideon and his men carried out the first part of their plan.
Bible 23
As far as the Midianite guards were concerned, there was nothing surrounding their camp but the emptiness of the night.
Bible 24
Little did they realize that Gideon and his men were stealing through the darkness on a very peculiar mission, each one carrying a pitcher (clay jar) in one hand and a trumpet in the other. And hidden within each pitcher was a lighted fire brand.


Bible 25
At last every man was in position, waiting for the signal from Gideon, ready to do exactly as their leader did.
Bible 26
Then, Gideon blew on his trumpet.
Bible 27
He broke his pitcher.


Bible 28
He held high his torch and cried, ‘The sword of the Lord and of Gideon.’
Bible 29
All around the camp of the Midianites the 300 did as their leader had done.
Bible 30
The Midianite guards were struck dumb.


Bible 31
In a matter of seconds the camp of the Midianites was a scene of fear and confusion. They thought a great army had taken them by surprise.
Bible 32
Their entire camp must be surrounded. Where could they go? What should they do?
Bible 33
Like a herd of wild animals in utter panic, the Midianites began to stampede.


Bible 34
Suddenly, in the midst of all this confusion, Gideon’s men blew loud and long on their horns again.
Bible 35
Then a strange thing happened in the army of the Midianites.
Bible 36
Every man turned blindly on his neighbor and they began to fight one another, for the Lord caused it to happen.


Bible 37
Gideon drove the Midianites clear out of the land and they never came back again. And the Lord gave a tremendous victory to Gideon because he believed in God enough to let him do it.
Bible 38
Gideon learned that where God is concerned, believing and doing go together. But more important still he learnt that one man multiplied by God’s power equals victory no matter what the odds. The Bible says in Phillipians 4:13, ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.’




Gideon and the Midianite army
Gideon trusts in God and defeats the Midianites with just 300 men.
Judges 6 - 7

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