Tuesday 16 September 2014

Bible Book:

“The Lord said to Gideon, ‘The troops with you are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hand. Israel would only take the credit away from me, saying, “My own hand has delivered me.”’” (v. 2)

Judges 7:2-23 Tuesday 16 September 2014


There are plenty of little sayings to help you: the more themerrier, many hands make light work, or too many cooks spoil thebroth. There seems to be a maxim for every situation, and anotherto contradict it. I wonder what Gideon would have made of these inthe context of today's passage.

Gideon is about to fight the Midianites, having sounded atrumpet summoning the Israelites to assemble for battle (Judges6:34-35). Some 32,000 answer the call, but they are no matchfor the 135,000 of the enemy (Judges8:10). But God's view is that 32,000 is too many. And by onemeans and another Gideon is finally left with 300.

It is easy to feel sorry for Gideon - who has 99% of his troopstaken away from him. Bear too in mind what sort of man Gideon is -someone who struggles with confidence and courage. In Judges 6Gideon doubts the words of the angel and questions that God mightcall someone whose clan is the least in Manasseh and who is theleast in the family (Judges6:15). And he then demands a sign from God as confirmation (Judges6:19-24). But that's still not enough as Gideon asks for asecond sign (Judges 6:36-29), and then for God to repeat it!Poor Gideon. How might you feel if you were in his place?

The reasoning God gives to Gideon for leaving him with only 300men is that if they are too many on his side "Israel would onlytake the credit away from me". No judgement is made against the22,000 who leave Gideon because they are fearful or trembling -their heart is not in it; or the 9,700 who knelt down to drink.(Compare this with Jesus' words in John's Gospel where he speaksabout being the true vine and his Father the vinegrower, cuttingout every branch in me that bears no fruit and pruning otherbranches so that they bear more fuit (John15:1-11).)

In an age when church attendance is in decline (link toStatistics for Mission), what might this passage have to say? Couldit possibly be that it is because God is going to do great thingswith his disciples and if there were too many then the credit wouldbe taken away from God?

To Ponder

  • How do you react to the suggestion that the Church is decliningso that God can do great things with it? Or is this a cop-out?
  • How much reassurance and confirmation do you need whenresponding to God?
  • What is your view of a God who wants to ensure that Godreceives the credit?
  • After a dream (verses 13-14) and signs from God assuring Gideonof victory, Gideon worshipped God (and presumably gave God thanks).But this worship took place before the battle. How good are you atthanking God? And before something happens? 
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