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… 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.”
We were told in Judges 6 that the number of Midianites was literally too great to count, like counted grains of sand on the seashore. When the warriors of Israel, which numbered 32,000 men (v.3), saw how badly they were outnumbered – 2/3 of them fled when given permission. Then God whittled that number down to 300. That’s it. 300 warriors against many tens of thousands of Midianites. But if you read the rest of chapter 7 you’ll see 300 was all God needed to give Israel victory. Mostly God turned the Midianites on themselves before other Israelite warriors saw what was happened, regained their courage, and came to the said of the 300. Crazy.
The point of having so few men lead an attack on so many was to make sure God got the credit for the victory, because there’s no other way that could have happened. It was simply divine intervention, God doing great things through a small number of people. God continues to do things like this today.
I was talking with one of my daughters today. She’s been working so hard to finish her undergraduate degree in biology. Right now she’s facing obstacles that have nothing to do with her academic capacity. It’s frustrating for her because there seems to be one delay after another. Two steps forward, one step back. It can start to feel like she’s never going to finish, much less go on to med school as she hopes to do. There’s a temptation to give up, find something else to do, go get a job and stop the struggle. So we prayed about this and asked God to give her grace to persevere, to keep going when she wants to give up, to trust God to move mountains that seem unmovable right now.
I know what it’s like to be discouraged. To want to give up. Been there multiple times. Maybe that’s you today. Maybe right now is the time to trust God for the impossible. Lord give us grace to stand firm, to lean into you when the odds seem overwhelming. And help us to get up when we get knocked down. Amen.