The battle of Gideon was an amazing example of victory that was won through God's power and not through man's power. There are spiritual lessons that God provides in His Word through this battle. Often times, the smallest detail in a scripture can be a life-changing revelation as it is applied spiritually to our daily lives and to the various battles that we face.
Let's begin the study of the Battle of Gideon by looking at something that occurs before the battle when God first directs Gideon to pursue the Midianites. What Gideon does reminds me of what we often do when God calls us to do something for His Kingdom. In Judges 6:12 you see that the angel of the Lord appeared to him and said, “The Lord is with thee, thou mighty man of valor.”
Gideon in Judges 6:13 then responds by saying, “O sir, if the Lord is with us, why is all this befallen us?” That sounds just like something we would say today: “God, if you are with me, then why am I going through what I am going through?”
The Lord does not answer his question, but tells him in verse 14, “Go in this your might, and you shall save Israel from the hand of Midian. Have I not sent you?” In other words, God was saying, “Hello! Gideon! Did you not just hear Me? I, the all-powerful, mighty God, has sent you! What don't you understand?”
Just Quit Doubting What God Said!
Gideon turns right around and says, “Oh Lord, how can I deliver Israel? Behold, my clan is the poorest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my fathers' house” (vs. 15). So, in modern day terms he may have said something like this: “Lord, how can I witness to others? How can I impact the Kingdom of God? I don't have much money to contribute. I'm not important. I don't have the talents or skills to do that.”
God again patiently states, (vs. 16) “Surely I will be with you, and you shall smite the Midianites as one man.” At this point I can only imagine that Gideon needs a spiritual spanking. But he still does not stop doubting!
Gideon asks God (vs. 17), “If now I have found favor in Your sight, then show me a sign that it is You Who talks with me.” Wow! Doesn't sound just like modern Christians of today? “God, if that is really You talking to me...If that is really You who is actually standing right in front of me... Give me a sign God if that is true.” To me if we doubt and question what God has said, it is almost like we are telling God He is a liar. That sounds harsh, but if we are questioning what He said, aren't we basically wondering if He is really telling the truth? We may not actually be thinking that, but that is what seems to be insinuated. What more does God have to do to make His will and plan clear to us? God will not force us to step forward. We must step forward in faith.
Just to satisfy Gideon and shut him up so he would obey God's words, He gives him the sign of making fire appear on the offering that Gideon had prepared for the Lord. This finally makes it evident to him that the Lord really did appear to him and speak to him (vs. 22). But what is amazing is that in verses 36 through 40 that Gideon asks God for two more signs with a fleece of wool, which God does!
We need to stop listening to the flesh and just step forward in faith and believe what God said. Just like the old saying goes, which we should do: “God said it. I believe it. That settles it.” God's Word says that we live by faith (Romans 1:17). So, we should stop questioning what God says and obey. But thank God for His mercy, grace, and forgiveness for us when we let doubt slip in. We would be in a real mess without it!
Preparing for Battle
Now we move on to God preparing Gideon and the army for battle. Normally, when going to battle you would ordinarily think that the more soldiers you have the better off you are. Well, in the natural that is true. But God wanted to teach them (and us) some important spiritual elements about trusting God and letting God get all the glory. The Lord told Gideon in Judges 7:2 that he had too many soldiers!
“The Lord said to Gideon, The people who are with you are too many for Me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel boast about themselves against Me, saying, My own hand has delivered me.”
No Room For Fear
So, the Lord tells him to send home any man who is scared. There is no place in spiritual battles for fear. Fear will hinder God from working. We have to bind and cast off that spirit of fear that would try to hold us in bondage. As a result of being given the okay to desert the military operation, 22,000 men high-tailed it and went home while 10,000 remained. That is about two-thirds of the army that went home!
But that was still too many God said! The next set of men who He sent home had to do with sending home soldiers who did not know how to stay aware at all times of the enemy. Judges 7:6-7 says,
“6And the number of those who lapped, putting their hand to their mouth, was 300 men, but all the rest of the people bowed down upon their knees to drink water.
7And the Lord said to Gideon, With the 300 men who lapped I will deliver you, and give the Midianites into your hand. Let all the others return every man to his home.” (Amplified Bible)
God took Gideon army from 32,000 men down to 300 men! In the natural the out look for victory with that few soldiers would seem slim. But God was in control and would get all the glory for the victory. To some people getting “fired” from your military position for bending down and putting your face to the water in the stream to drink would seem not fair. But God expects us to be aware, be on guard, and be ready to fight spiritually at all times, even as we conduct daily activities.
Did the Lord wait before setting in motion what He said He would do? No. That same night, the Bible says (vs. 9), He told Gideon to go forth. Procrastinating, putting off until later what God told you to do can hinder the Divine timing for victory to come. When God says to go, we need to move, and arise in faith.
God's Battles are Not Fought With Man's Weapons
According to Judges 7:16 Gideon put into the hands of each of the 300 men, not swords or weapons, but trumpets and empty pitchers, with torches inside the pitchers. God uses the unusual to fight against the usual. What man would consider appropriate weapons in battle, God considered a hindrance. Man's security can become a hindrance in bringing victory. These hindrances can keep God from receiving all the glory and credit for His mighty work.
The empty pitchers, according to Dake's Annotated Reference Bible p. 462, were torches, which would smolder in a jar or pitcher, and burst into flame when taken out and waved. Spiritually relating, we must be emptied of our selves in order to become ablaze or on fire for God. We must empty ourselves of worldly desires or self-ambitions. Then the fire of the Holy Spirit can fill our vessels.
Armed and Ready For Battle
Then, they were finally ready. Armed and ready according to God's instructions, not man's. Judges 7:20 says,“And the three companies blew the trumpets and shattered the pitchers, holding the torches in their left hands, and in their right hands the trumpets to blow [leaving no chance to use swords], and they cried, The sword for the Lord and Gideon!”That scripture shows you that God allows no room in your hands for man's strategies (swords) in your spiritual battle. He expects us to have His light in one hand and His trumpet of victory in the other.
Using our Shattered Vessels
There is something to think about in relation to the shattered pitchers. Shattered glass reflected off of each piece would make it look like multiple pitchers, a large army. Shattering our flesh desires or limited expectations of God, the power of God is magnified and seen by the enemy as multiplied and mighty army in God.
Take Your Position
In verse 21 it goes on to say that, “They stood every man in his place round about the camp, and all the [Midianite] army ran - they cried out and fled.” They did not run around frantically, but stood firmly, their positions against the enemy. They stood in their places “on the wall” surrounding the enemy camp. Everyone in the Kingdom of God has a specific “place on the wall” to fulfill as we go forth in defeating our enemy Satan, in various battles in our lives.
So, what happened? God caused the enemy to be caught off guard and totally confused in such a way that the enemy fled. When we obey God, He will cause confusion in the enemy camp and surround the enemy by the Word of God (Sword of the Spirit) and the power of the Holy Spirit. God is the Deliverer. He deserves all the glory and honor in every victorious battle.
In conclusion, what ever situation you have found
yourself in, what ever battle you seem to have come up against, God
wants to bring victory into your life. He is the Deliverer. He is the
Healer. He is the Provider. He is the Comforter. Whatever the need is,
He is the Great I Am. So, quit doubting or questioning what God has said
and trust Him completely. Let go of anything in your life, any
hindrances, that could keep you from fully depending on God. Do not
allow fear to take root in your life. Become emptied of worldly desires
and self-ambitions so that the fire of the Holy Spirit can fill your
vessel letting the light of God consume the darkness, the enemy, who is
fighting against you. Stand your ground, take your position in battle,
and surround the enemy with a shout of the Word of God. Be patient and
watch God bring the victory.
For a commentary regarding Gideon click the following link:
Commentary About Gideon