Sustained by God’s Word of Faith
Judges 7:1-25: The LORD tells Gideon to reduce the size of his army and gives him instructions for doing so. Though outnumbered, the Israelites are successful in attacking the Midianites at night and capturing and killing the two Midianite chiefs, Oreb and Zeek whose Hebrew names mean “Raven” and “Wolf.” (The raven was considered by the Israelites to be unclean, and the wolf was a feared killer of flocks and herds.)
[Gideon said:] “Get up! The LORD is giving you victory over the Midianite army!”
1One day Gideon and all his men got up early and camped beside Harod Spring. The Midianite camp was in the valley to the north of them by Moreh Hill.
2The Lord said to Gideon, “The men you have are too many for me to give them victory over the Midianites. They might think that they had won by themselves, and so give me no credit.3 Announce to the people, ‘Anyone who is afraid should go back home, and we will stay here at Mount Gilead.’” So twenty-two thousand went back, but ten thousand stayed.
4Then the Lord said to Gideon, “You still have too many men. Take them down to the water, and I will separate them for you there. If I tell you a man should go with you, he will go. If I tell you a man should not go with you, he will not go.”5Gideon took the men down to the water, and the Lord told him, “Separate everyone who laps up the water with his tongue like a dog, from everyone who gets down on his knees to drink.”6There were three hundred men who scooped up water in their hands and lapped it; all the others got down on their knees to drink.7The Lord said to Gideon, “I will rescue you and give you victory over the Midianites with the three hundred men who lapped the water. Tell everyone else to go home.”8So Gideon sent all the Israelites home, except the three hundred, who kept all the supplies and trumpets. The Midianite camp was below them in the valley.
9That night the Lord commanded Gideon, “Get up and attack the camp; I am giving you victory over it.10But if you are afraid to attack, go down to the camp with your servant Purah.11You will hear what they are saying, and then you will have the courage to attack.” So Gideon and his servant Purah went down to the edge of the enemy camp.12The Midianites, the Amalekites, and the desert tribesmen were spread out in the valley like a swarm of locusts, and they had as many camels as there are grains of sand on the seashore.
13When Gideon arrived, he heard a man telling a friend about a dream. He was saying, “I dreamed that a loaf of barley bread rolled into our camp and hit a tent. The tent collapsed and lay flat on the ground.”
14His friend replied, “It's the sword of the Israelite, Gideon son of Joash! It can't mean anything else! God has given him victory over Midian and our whole army!”
15When Gideon heard about the man's dream and what it meant, he fell to his knees and worshiped the Lord. Then he went back to the Israelite camp and said, “Get up! The Lord is giving you victory over the Midianite army!”16He divided his three hundred men into three groups and gave each man a trumpet and a jar with a torch inside it.17He told them, “When I get to the edge of the camp, watch me, and do what I do.18When my group and I blow our trumpets, then you blow yours all around the camp and shout, ‘For the Lord and for Gideon!’”
19Gideon and his one hundred men came to the edge of the camp a while before midnight, just after the guard had been changed. Then they blew the trumpets and broke the jars they were holding,20and the other two groups did the same. They all held the torches in their left hands, the trumpets in their right, and shouted, “A sword for the Lord and for Gideon!”21Every man stood in his place around the camp, and the whole enemy army ran away yelling.22While Gideon's men were blowing their trumpets, the Lord made the enemy troops attack each other with their swords. They ran toward Zarethan as far as Beth Shittah, as far as the town of Abel Meholah near Tabbath.
23Then men from the tribes of Naphtali, Asher, and both parts of Manasseh were called out, and they pursued the Midianites.24Gideon sent messengers through all the hill country of Ephraim to say, “Come down and fight the Midianites. Hold the Jordan River and the streams as far as Bethbarah, to keep the Midianites from crossing them.” The men of Ephraim were called together, and they held the Jordan River and the streams as far as Bethbarah.25They captured the two Midianite chiefs, Oreb and Zeeb; they killed Oreb at Oreb Rock, and Zeeb at the Winepress of Zeeb. They continued to pursue the Midianites and brought the heads of Oreb and Zeeb to Gideon, who was now east of the Jordan.
Why did the LORD instruct Gideon to reduce the size his army? Reread verses 4-8. What instructions did the LORD give to Gideon for separating the men? (Soldiers who lapped water from their hands were probably better prepared to grab their weapons at a moment’s notice, whereas those who knelt and put their faces directly into the water might not see an enemy approaching.) Prior to attacking the Midianites, what instructions did the LORD give to Gideon (verses 9-11)?
All-Powerful God, you are the source of all victory. All honor, glory, and praise belong to you.
In your holy name, I pray. Amen.
Those in the armed forces serving in places of danger
Judges 8:1-35: The Israelites seek to make Gideon their ruler.