We left off in part one of Reset and Repositioned discussing how Gideon gave a generous offering, he worshipped, and he obeyed God by removing idolatry. Then in Judges 6:34, the Spirit of the Lord came upon Gideon. As a result of hearing, seeing and obeying, Gideon is now reset and repositioned to defeat the enemy of Israel.
As Israel’s enemies gathered to attack, Gideon assembled an army of 32,000 men. Gideon asked God for confirmation of his success with a fleece and God gives him the confirmation. The Lord then tells Gideon that he has too many men in his army and directs him to send home all who are trembling and afraid, Judges 7:3. So, 22,000 men depart leaving Gideon with an army of 10,000 men! Nearly 70% of his army were too fearful and went home! Fear can be paralyzing and also contagious. Those who were trembling and afraid could very easily be a detriment to the entire army in battle. When fear is overwhelming it is very difficult to hear the voice of God and therefore to trust God. It wasn’t that Gideon and the 10,000 men weren’t afraid, throughout this passage of scripture, it is evident they were. They just overcame their fear for a greater cause.
God is Looking for Faithful Men
After God has Gideon whittle the army down to less than a third, He tells Gideon he still has too many men. This time God’s plan to shave off more men is to give a “test” by how they drink water at the river. The word test can also be translated, “sift”. God wants to sift the 10,000 man army to a smaller number, a much smaller number.
So, the whittling down continues. God tells Gideon to separate everyone who laps the water with his tongue as a dog laps, as well as everyone who kneels to drink.” Now the number of those who lapped, putting their hand to their mouth, was 300 men; but all the rest of the people kneeled to drink water, 7:5-6. The dog lappers did not get down on all fours or on their belly and stick their tongue in the water and lick it up like a dog as you might expect. Verse 6 tells us; they lapped by bringing their hands to their mouth, then apparently licked it up with their tongue like a dog. The kneelers must have done something similar, however, kneeling using their hands to the mouth to drink. God was not using this “test” or “sifting” to choose the less fearful, more watchful or best warriors. The historian Josephus believed the 300 men who passed the test were less watchful, which resulted in a greater recognition of God’s power.
Hearing, Seeing and Obeying
What was God’s reason for reducing the number of men for this battle? He tells us back in verse two; “The people who are with you are too many for Me to give Midian into their hands, for Israel would become boastful, saying, ‘My own power has delivered me’. Pride was the reason. God wanted this victory to be obvious to all that it was Him and His power working through these men that delivered Israel, not their own power. For this particular battle, traditional weapons were not needed. Watchful men were not needed, nor talented, wise, or skilled warriors. God needed faithful men. Men who will hear and obey even when afraid, faced with overwhelming odds and no traditional weapons.
Gideon divided the 300 men into three companies, and he put trumpets and empty pitchers into the hands of all of them, with torches inside the pitchers. He said to them, “look at me and do likewise. And behold, when I come to the outskirts of the camp, do as I do. When I and all who are with me blow the trumpet, then you also blow the trumpets all around the camp and say, for the Lord and for Gideon.” So, Gideon and the hundred men who were with him came to the outskirts of the camp…and they blew the trumpets and smashed the pitchers that were in their hands. When the three companies blew the trumpets and broke the pitchers, they held the torches in their left hands and the trumpets in their right hands for blowing, and cried, “A sword for the Lord and for Gideon!” Each stood in his place around the camp; and all the army ran, crying out as they fled. When they blew 300 trumpets, the Lord set the sword of one against another even throughout the whole army; and the army fled…, Judges 7:16-22.
The 300 men were armed with a torch and a trumpet against the Midianites, Amalekites and all the men of the east as numerous as locusts, camels without number and the sand on the seashore. These men did what they were told and said what they were told at the time they were told. The torch was a fire of light representing “seeing” what God is showing them. The blowing of the trumpet represented the voice of God, or “hearing” what God is saying. So, the torch and trumpet speak to “seeing and hearing” from the Lord so they can say what He is saying and do what He is showing them to do. Their part is to be faithful and obedient to Him and then, and only then, is victory secure.
Torch and Trumpet = Seeing and Hearing
These men followed instructions by trusting and obeying God through their leader Gideon. As it was then so it is today. God needs faithful men who will trust Him, saying what He is telling them to say and doing what He is showing them to do. This is exactly what God is looking for today. In our current climate in the United States, those who are hearing and seeing then saying and doing, faithfully trusting our Father, will cause a reset and repositioning. Not only was Gideon and his men reset and repositioned, but as a result of their faithful obedience to the Lord, the nation of Israel was also reset and repositioned!
Gideons arise in this hour! Ekklesia arise! Faithful and obedient sons and daughters arise!