Our Battle Belongs To The Lord
Gideon's Great Victory
by Melody Green
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for,
the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders
obtained a good testimony.” Hebrews 11:1-2
Sometimes we have to wait a long time for God to move quickly.
At times our situation is so long and difficult our hope starts to fade. The struggle has weakened us. Our ability to defend ourselves is gone. And we are very afraid.
Many of us are struggling and fighting uphill battles. Don’t think, “If I just had enough faith I wouldn’t be in this fiery trial.” Often those with tremendous faith have to endure much suffering.
Let’s look at how God worked with Gideon in a unique way to fight the enemies he was facing.
Afraid and Overrun
The Midianites were destroying Israel’s land and economy by seizing all of their crops and livestock. Israel was hungry and fearful and the people retreated to live in caves.
Gideon was hiding food when the Angel of the Lord visited and saluted him saying, "The Lord is with you, O valiant warrior.”
Gideon inquired, “If the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? And where are all His miracles… the Lord has abandoned us.” (Jgs 6:12-13)
The Lord said, “Go in your strength and deliver Israel from the hand of Midian. Have I not sent you?” (Jgs 6:14) As if God didn’t know, Gideon said he was the youngest from the smallest tribe.
God likes to pick the weak and make them strong. He calls us to a destiny that’s impossible without His help.
Are you facing giants in your life? God can strengthen you and help you fight. But God has His own divine timing, which is usually slower than ours. We will have victory in some way even if might not look like we wanted it to.
In Gideon’s case, God told him he’d defeat a massive and terrorizing enemy. Gideon needed a sign to prove it was really God talking. Gideon asked Him to wait (quite a while) while he left to cook an offering.
When he came back with his offering the Lord had him put it on a rock. And fire sprang up from the rock and consumed it.
God didn’t mind waiting or giving an assuring sign. Now Gideon was certain God was with him. He was ready to go on his first mission.
God sent Gideon sent to tear down the altar to Baal his father had built. He had to destroy the idolatry in his midst – and in his life.
Pulling Down Idols
We’ve probably torn down obvious idols in our lives years ago. But new and more-subtle ones can slip in along the way. We can slowly begin to believe our security is rooted in those things.
Even good things can become idols of false security. Things like: wealth, property, reputation, appearance, education, talent, social or spiritual status, even a brilliant mind. But all these things can be gone in a flash.
Our blessings are temporary. We can enjoy them but we can’t put our security in our “chariots and horses.” We too need to tear down any new idols that may have crept into our lives.
Our faith must be in God and God alone.
More Signs Please
Gideon was given a big assignment, but God didn’t leave him to figure it out alone. He gave step-by-step instructions.
God’s spirit came upon Gideon to blow a trumpet to gather men willing to fight the enemy. His trumpet blast drew 32,000 men out of hiding to fight!
Gideon must have thought a great victory was near. But he asked for two more signs for further assurance.
Thus the famous “putting a fleece before the Lord” incidents came about. God didn’t mind giving him more miraculous signs.
Obedience and Obstacles
Have you ever taken a huge step of faith only to have unexpected obstacles appear? Obstacles often come after obedience to God.
God reduced Gideon's strength by cutting down his numbers. He said, “The men who are with you are too many for Me to give Midian into their hands. Lest Israel become boastful saying, ‘My own power has delivered me’.” (Jgs 7:2)
With a few readiness tests God cut Gideon’s army from 32,000 men, down to 10,000. Then down to only 300 men! God knew these past idol worshipers (like all of us!) would be proud and not give Him the glory if they felt they won in their own strength.
God protected them by making them small!
Now they really knew without God’s help they faced failure and likely death. God wanted to give them a spectacular victory all along, and helped them be prepared for it in faith and humility.
In Our Weakness He is Strong
In weakness Gideon waited with his 300 men for God’s next instructions. He also knew for sure that God deserved all the glory if they won the battle.
Events fell speedily into place like rows of tumbling dominoes.
God tells Gideon to get up and go fight! That the victory is in his hands. But God also lets him know if he's afraid to just slip down to the enemy camp and he'll hear something to strengthen him.
When Gideon goes down to the camp he sees a massive army, “…as numerous as locusts; and their camels were without number, as numerous as the sand on the seashore.” (Jgs 7:12)
What he saw wasn’t encouraging. But he was told to listen.
Then Gideon hears a soldier relate a troubling dream he’d just had. His friend interprets the dream. “This is nothing less than the sword of Gideon… a man of Israel; God has given Midian and all the camp into his hand.” (Jgs 7:14)
Gideon immediately bows to the ground to worship God.
Divine Strategy for Battle
Gideon is emboldened and rallies his men to go down and fight. And at the very moment he needs it God gives him a unique battle strategy.
The strategy made their size and weaponry seem larger than it really was. Their attack took the enemy by total surprise. Terrified and confused they started killing each other as they fled.
Gideon’s army chased them all the way across the Jordan.
The Lord has a divine strategy for each of us. He also has perfect timing. Sometimes we feel He’s not looking out for us or hearing our prayers for help. Nothing can be further from the truth. God is with us wherever we are. Nothing escapes His notice.
God’s Strategy for Us
Gideon was afraid and weak but God built him up and made him stronger. Then God made him weaker. Then God made him even stronger and filled with more faith than ever.
God doesn’t play games with us. He just makes us ready.
With God’s strategy Gideon triumphed over his enemies – the ones destroying his people and the ones destroying his heart.
In crisis God will draw us closer, teach us new things, and prepare us for any victory that may come. Our humility deepens in these times. We know God is our only hope.
God has a specific strategy for each of us. No matter what battle we face, from the outside or within, God is always preparing and training us in His ways. Nothing goes to waste.
Continuing to trust God and endure, when there’s no relief in sight, is the only answer I know.
If God had used Gideon powerfully before he was equipped to handle it, it would have been to Gideon’s hurt.
God wants us to "wait with Him." As much as He wants us to "move with Him." We just need to listen so we know what to do.
How Will We Be Remembered?
We’re still talking about Gideon’s victory today.
His faith and courage delivered his nation, yet he was delivered personally too. It was so transforming Gideon is mentioned in Hebrews 11 – often called “the faith chapter.”
Not a lot of people made it onto this list.
“For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon and Barak and Samson and Jephthah, also of David and Samuel and the prophets: who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises… out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to flight
the armies of the aliens.” Heb 11:32-34
We might not face leading an entire nation into battle but we all fight battles and have enemies of one kind or another.
Our best battle strategy is to believe in the sovereignty and faithfulness of the Lord – and in His perfect timing.
On earth we won't win every battle in a way that is "fair" by most standards. But if we know God and stay strong in Him we’ve won the biggest and most important battle of our lifetime.
With this in mind, like Gideon, we can all be remembered for our faith and trust in God. And God gets all the glory because He’s the one helping us stand in Him!
Our Battle Belongs to the Lord,
Read all about Gideon in Judges 6-8. I just can’t help but post these other unnamed warriors from Hebrews 11 — those “of whom the world was not worthy.” Jesus remembers and rewards genuine faith in Him.
“Women received their dead raised to life again. Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection. Still others had trial of mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment.
They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted,
were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented
— of whom the world was not worthy.
They wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens
and caves of the earth. And all these, having obtained
a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise,
God having provided something better for us, that they should
not be made perfect apart from us.” Hebrews 11:35-40
Melody Green, 5/7/2012