Daily Devotional – March18, 2021
“The LORD told Gideon, ‘With these 300 men I will rescue you and give you victory over the Midianites. Send all the others home.’” (Judges 7:7)
During the pandemic things have changed for the Church—much of our ministry has gone online, many congregations have shrunk in size or even closed their doors forever and resources have also seen a reduction. The ‘shrinking’ does not concern me nearly as much as the apparent loss of commitment. The story of Gideon reminds me that God does not need big numbers to accomplish big tasks.
We find the story of Gideon in the book of Judges. The Israelites had turned their back on God and once again found themselves suffering oppression by an invading people. God allowed the Midianites to cause problems for the Israelites, whose influence was much like that of a perpetual locust swarm. For seven year, this group of people made it really hard for the Israelites because they stole all their food and even trampled the food growing in the fields. The Israelites were starving and they pleaded with God to help them. God chose Gideon to lead the people, but He wanted to make certain that the people understood that it was God who would provide the rescue not a new judge.
God told Gideon that He wanted him to attack the Midianites and drive them away. Gideon gathered 32,000 men, which was a pretty small group compared to the Midianite army. They had only one man for every four Midianites—the odds were definitely stacked against them—but God told Gideon he had too many men. So, as instructed, Gideon told all the men who were frightened that they could go home—22,000 took up his offer and left, leaving Gideon with an army of only 10,000. But again, God told Gideon he still had too many men. So next, Gideon divided the men as God instructed him. As they drank from a river, Gideon was to send everyone home who bent down and drank water directly from the river. He was only to keep the men who scooped up the water in their hands to drink—this left Gideon with only 300 men. If they won this battle against the Midianites, it would have to be a miracle from God!
And what exactly were these 300 men to do? Divide into three groups around the Midianites, blow horns, break jars and shout. Like the instructions given to Joshua to march around the walls of Jericho, there is no logical way to understand this as a winning strategy. But the men obey Gideon’s instruction and then watch as God throws the entire Midianite army into chaos so that they end up killing one another. One man to every 426 of the enemy are impossible odds, but those kinds of numbers mean nothing to a miracle-working God when He has a committed group to work with and through. The same is true today, which is why small numbers don’t worry me. On the other hand, we still require commitment to God’s purposes or risk all we hold dear if the faithfulness of the faithful proves tepid at best.
~ Pastor Jane
First licensed for pastoral ministry in 1994, Pastor Jane Peck has served in camp and church ministries in three denominations, five provinces and in a variety of roles. Her most recent position is that of Pastor at Hope Chapel which she began in 2020. She is excited to see what God can and will do in the days to come!