Scripture: Judges 7:2 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.’ 3 Now therefore proclaim this in the hearing of the troops, ‘Whoever is fearful and trembling, let him return home.’ ” Thus Gideon sifted them out; twenty-two thousand returned, and ten thousand remained. 4 Then the Lord said to Gideon, “The troops are still too many; take them down to the water and I will sift them out for you there… 6 The number of those that lapped was three hundred; but all the rest of the troops knelt down to drink water. 7 Then the Lord said to Gideon, “With the three hundred that lapped I will deliver you, and give the Midianites into your hand. Let all the others go to their homes.” 8 So he took the jars of the troops from their hands, and their trumpets; and he sent all the rest of Israel back to their own tents, but retained the three hundred. The camp of Midian was below him in the valley.
Observation: Later in the chapter we’re told the Midianites were so many, they were like “sand on the seashore”. God gave Gideon only 300 men. And these 300 men had no weapons! Why did God do this? Verse 2 tells us. If it were a fair fight, the people would take credit for the victory rather than give glory to God.
Application: When I was in seminary, some 20+ years ago, we lived in a house with no dishwasher, so we would do dishes every night by hand – and our very young children LOVED it. Mostly they loved playing with the bubbles and splashing around in the water. I remember one evening our son Nick, maybe 1 or 2 years old at the time, was “helping” my wife Jana wash dishes. Jana would hold a dish in one hand, then take Nick’s hand in hers and run his hand across the plate. The process was VERY slow, but Nick was having the time of his life. When I came into the kitchen Nick looked at me and said, “Look daddy, I do dishes!” with a great big grin on his face. Mom just smiled. Yes, Nick was doing the dishes. Of course, Nick was doing no such thing. Truth is, it took three times as long to do dishes with his “help”. But the time between mother and child was priceless.
I expect I do a similar thing with my heavenly Father on a regular basis. Things happen by the grace of God and my temptation is to take credit for it. I’m tempted to say, “Look, I’m doing the dishes!” when I’m doing no such thing. When I fail to give God his due, I miss the chance to express gratitude to the Lord. For the truth is, I can do very little of consequence without God guiding me all the way.
Prayer: Lord, this morning I give you thanks and praise for all the ways you allow me the privilege of participating in wonderful things you are doing. Give me grace to avoid taking credit for things. Give me a heart of gratitude that seeks to give you the glory. I pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.