I have continued to spend the last few days parked in Judges 6-7. A few days ago, I talked about some of the characteristics of God that we find in just a handful of verses in Judges 6:11-16. As I continued to read chapters 6-7, it’s only a few verses later that once again, we read God doing what only God can do. God changes PEOPLE and He changes SITUATIONS.
In Judges 6:27, we read not once, but TWICE, how again…Gideon is afraid. By Chapter 7, Gideon has begun to trust God enough to fight the Midianites (the same people he was previously hiding from in a wine press a few verses before). However, Gideon’s trust in God is limited to his ability to gather EVERY SINGLE man he can find to help him battle against this army. Nervously optimistic, Gideon is able to convince over 32,000 men to join him in attacking the vast armies of Midian, Amalek & other nations.
But God, being God, changes the situation and tells Gideon not once but twice to scale down his men…by verse 7, God has decreased Gideon’s numbers from 32,000 down to a mere 300. Only God would think 300 men were adequate to fight an enemy that numbered so large they looked like ‘locust in the valley’ and whose ‘camels alone could no more be counted than the sand on the seashore.’
But God, being God, doesn’t stop there. In Judges 7:16, we read: “He divided the three hundred men into three groups and gave each man a trumpet and a clay jar with a torch in it.” Did you catch that?? God not only DOESN’T need 32,000 men to take on this ‘vast locust army’, but he also DOESN’T need the 300 to even do the fighting. Instead of holding a sword, or shield, or club, or any weapon whatsoever, God instructs the men to hold a trumpet in one hand and a clay jar with a torch in the other.
God has changed the rules of the game. He doesn’t NEED you or me or Gideon’s army to DO anything. He only asks that we obey. Whatever He instructs us to do…just be obedient in it…no matter how crazy it might sound. This terrified man has changed..the same man that felt he was the ‘least’ of all and was ‘FEARFUL’ is now trusting God to secure a victory through a handful of people who are holding NO weapons.
When I read this passage, what struck me was this. Chris (and our family) are in the midst of a war. We’re battling diseases upon diseases and things too numerous for us to count. While both Chris & I have always tried to ‘fix’ things, this is something we cannot fix. We do not have the tools or resources to battle our ‘vast, locust army’; only God does. God has taken the tools we normally would use, our weapons, out of our hands and in their place put a trumpet and a jar with a torch inside. Basically, if God does not battle for us, we’re defenseless.
What I loved most about this verse were the 2 things God specifically put in their hands; a trumpet and a torch. Throughout the Bible, God has used the blowing of a trumpet to signal He’s on the move. Walking through this journey, I’m thankful that God has allowed it to be a ‘trumpet’ of sorts to sound for others that He’s still on the move. And the torch? When Gideon attacks, it’s in the middle of the night. God calls each of us to be His ‘light’ in the darkness. I cannot imagine a better visual than hearing the trumpets declaring God is on the move and then seeing His light surrounding the vast armies of darkness. I firmly believe that God is using Chris and our story to be just that..a beacon of light in so much darkness.
And if you’re curious what happened to the ‘vast armies of locust’, verse 21 says: “Then they just stood and watched as the whole vast enemy army began rushing around in a panic, shouting and running away.” Gideon didn’t even need an army..the Midianites defeated and killed themselves.