Wednesday, May 27, 2015

An Impression

O. T. #525 "An Impression"
May 27, 2015
Judges 7-Part 3
And they stood every man in his place round about the camp: and all the host ran, and cried, and fled.  Judges 7:21


I often say or think, "Not all things are as they appear." Sometimes I think I see or hear  one thing, but it was actually something else. So it was in the case of the Israelites in today's passage. Here was a small, 300 man army attacking a 135,000 man army. The difference was God was on their side. Then the impression which Israel gave to a sleepy, huge army was phenomenal. Want to see how it happens? Let's go. 

We left Gideon worshiping God after overhearing two Midianites talking one night. One man had dreamed that a loaf of barley rolled into a tent and destroyed it, and the other interpreted the dream as meaning Gideon's army would destroy them by the sword of Gideon.
With this encouragement, Gideon commanded his 300 men army to arise for the LORD was delivering the Midianites into their hands. Can you see them, jumping up, one by one, gathering their things, ready for war? Now they were raring to go, hopefully. (On the other hand, they may have been too afraid to leave with the first group of 22,000.)

What was the victory strategy as Israel faced an army of 135,000?
Liberty Bible Commentary explains:
  • Gideon divided his 300 men into 3 companies, so they could surround their enemies.
  • Next, he gave each man 3 items to take to war: a trumpet (ram's horn), an empty pitcher containing lamps (torches).
  • God's battle plan was for the small Israeli army was for each man to conceal the torch within the open-topped pitchers until the last possible minute, when they would break the pitchers, wave the torches, and blow the trumpets, giving the enemy the impression that a great host was coming down upon them.
  • It was a normal custom in those days for armies to rarely fight at night (see 1 Sam. 17). Usually if they did attack at night, only a few men carried the torches to light up the battlefield. Then, only a certain number of men would carry and blow trumpets during the conflict.
  • So when the Midianites awoke that night, to the sight of 300 torches lite and hearing 300 trumpets from all directions, they assumed that thousands upon thousands were attacking them.
  • Then  the 300 cried the midnight cry, "The sword of the LORD and Gideon." 
This noisy midnight assault, with trumpets signaling the call to battle, the breaking of pitchers simulated the clash of arms, and the Midianites assumed they were outnumbered. The battle cry would strike confusion into Israel's enemies, especially since they spoke at least three different language dialects.

What resulted in this? The Lord caused the Midianites to attack one another in the confusion of the night. (verse 23)

Do we see how trusting in our God can result in victory? And an easy one at that.
Yet how many times do we doubt when it appears that we are outnumbered, that we give up the fight of faith?


Wait, the story isn't over yet, so don't close your Bible.
How did it end?
  • Apparently, the Midianite army high tailed it out of Dodge, and pronto. (Well, maybe not in those words.) At least, Israel pursued after them. (verse 23)
  • Panic followed shock. Every soldier was on his own, in desperate retreat. (MacArthur)
  • Gideon sent messengers for help from the men of Ephraim to help them near the Jordan River at Bethbarah. (verse 24)
  • Keep in mind that this Israeli army consisted of men only from the tribes of Naphtali, Asher, and Manasseh.
  • With the extra help, Israel was able to cut off the escape routes leading toward the Jordan River.
  • Also, the Isralite army captured Oreb and Zeeb and brought their heads as trophies of victory back to Gideon on the other side of Jordan. This proved that it was an actual historical event and not merely an actiological explanation, since it is recounted in Isaiah 9:4; 10:26.  (Falwell)
There we have it, folks, the recount of how Gideon's army of only 300 men defeated the 135,000 allies of the Midiantes with God's help.

Not one man had to draw a sword to defeat the enemy. Gideon's warriors simply watched as the army of Midian fell into panic, confusion, and disordered retreat. Gideon's army could never have brought about such a victory in its own strength. God wanted to demonstrate to Israel that victory depends not on strength or numbers, but on obedience and commitment to Him. (Life Application Study Bible)

Those of faith, though inadequate by human weakness, gain victory only through God's power. God gains the glory by making the outcome conspicuously His act and, thus, no sinful pride is cultivated. (MacArthur)

This was no coincidence nor a display of luck. The Midianites may not have known who God was, but they knew there was a man from the Lord named Gideon. We get the spoils of victory though Jesus won the battle for us. (Guzik)

Here was an inexperienced army man, with God's leading and power, beat the odds and won back their land. Wait a minute, it isn't over yet. This fat lady isn't singing yet. In chapter 8 we read of 15,000 Midianites still around. Gideon can't stop now. There are more enemies to defeat.

Never give up...


Trust God with the smallest details.

Trust God when the odds are against me.

Give Him the honor rightfully due.

Never give up. God will provide a way.

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