Saturday, September 09, 2006
THE DEFEAT OF MIDIAN
7:1-8a God Seeking His Glory
More than 30,000 men responded to Gideon’s call. But God did not want that. God wanted the victory to be clearly his, so that Israel would not boast that it had won the battle in its own strength. God said, Isaiah 42:8, he would not share his glory with another. We should always be careful to give the Lord glory for what he accomplishes and not try to take the glory for ourselves. It worked out badly for Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel 4.
So Gideon lets the fearful ones go back home, which turned out to be two thirds of the force, or 20,000 left. That left 10,000 men, but God again said it was too many, so the army was reduced to 300 men. As nervous as Gideon has been, you have to figure this was pretty nerve wracking, even though God told him he would bring the victory. This is especially true as you realize there were at least 135,000 of the enemy present.
This process was actually prescribed in Deuteronomy 20:1-9.
7:8b-14 Further Assurances
God told Gideon he was ready to attack and that he would win, but offered him further assurance. He sent him to the camp. At the camp, Gideon overheard a man tell of a dream and his friend’s belief that it symbolized the victory of Gideon over Midian. It is sort of like Balaam’s donkey delivering the message. God used a pagan to convey a message, and Gideon is more fired up than when God told him directly.
7:15-25 Victory From the Lord
Gideon’s first response to the dream is to worship God. It is as if he finally believed. God. His second response is to obey God. With his 300 men, armed with trumpets, jars and torches, they attacked. The Midianites panicked and turned on each other. The Israelites pursued them. The tribe of Ephraim came and captured two of the Midianite leaders, Oreb and Zeeb. They killed them and beheaded them, bringing the heads to Gideon.
We have this treasure in earthen vessels (2 Corinthians 4:5-10).