1Early the next morning, Gideon and his army got up and moved their camp to Fear Spring. The Midianite camp was to the north, in the valley at the foot of Moreh Hill.
2The Lord said, “Gideon, your army is too big. I can't let you win with this many soldiers. The Israelites would think that they had won the battle all by themselves and that I didn't have anything to do with it. 3 So call your troops together and tell them that anyone who is really afraid can leave Mount Gilead and go home.”
Twenty-two thousand men returned home, leaving Gideon with only 10,000 soldiers.
4“Gideon,” the Lord said, “you still have too many soldiers. Take them down to the spring and I'll test them. I'll tell you which ones can go along with you and which ones must go back home.”
5When Gideon led his army down to the spring, the Lord told him, “Watch how each man gets a drink of water. Then divide them into two groups—those who lap the water like a dog and those who kneel down to drink.”
6Three hundred men scooped up water in their hands and lapped it, and the rest knelt to get a drink. 7The Lord said, “Gideon, your army will be made up of everyone who lapped the water from their hands. Send the others home. I'm going to rescue Israel by helping you and your army of 300 defeat the Midianites.”
8Then Gideon gave these orders, “You 300 men stay here. The rest of you may go home, but leave your food and trumpets with us.”
Gideon's army camp was on top of a hill overlooking the Midianite camp in the valley.
9That night, the Lord said to Gideon. “Get up! Attack the Midianite camp. I am going to let you defeat them, 10but if you're still afraid, you and your servant Purah should sneak down to their camp. 11When you hear what the Midianites are saying, you'll be brave enough to attack.”
Gideon and Purah worked their way to the edge of the enemy camp, where soldiers were on guard duty. 12The camp was huge. The Midianites, Amalekites, and other eastern nations covered the valley like a swarm of locusts. And it would be easier to count the grains of sand on a beach than to count their camels. 13Gideon overheard one enemy guard telling another, “I had a dream about a flat loaf of barley bread that came tumbling into our camp. It hit the headquarters tent, and the tent flipped over and fell to the ground.”
14The other soldier answered, “Your dream must have been about Gideon, the Israelite commander. It means God will let him and his army defeat the Midianite army and everyone else in our camp.”
There is a story about a man working on a roof who slips and falls and cries out to God for help. When his pants catch on a nail, he says, “That’s okay God, I don’t need your help now.” The roofer did not recognize that God helped him in the situation but thought it was just luck. It is all too easy for us to call out to God, but when the answer comes, we don’t recognize that it is from God.
In the story of Gideon and the Midianites, God wants to make sure that the Israelites will know that their victory came from him and not from their own strength. God actually uses something that seems ridiculous to make his point, how the men drink from the stream. Maybe those who lapped from their hands could remain more alert, or maybe this is just an arbitrary way to select 300 men from the crowd. Be that as it may, God can use any means to make his point; the victory belongs to him. God can use all kinds of circumstances to show his power.
Look in your own life for signs that God is directing you, answering your prayers, or showing you his power. Sometimes God speaks directly to you but often he sends his message through others. God can do a lot in your life if you allow him to.
Dear Father God,
I am excited to know that you can use me. I pray that you will speak to me, use me and show me your power in my life today. Through Jesus Christ, who directed his life to reflect you. Amen.