Do more with less
So the Spirit of the LORD came upon Gideon and took control. Gideon blew a trumpet as a call to arms (Judges 6:34).
Judges 7:9 Now the same night it came about that the LORD said to him, “Arise, go down against the camp, for I have given it into your hands.
During the battle of Britain, the German Luftwaffe greatly outnumbered the RAF. It was seemingly a case of diminishing returns. Hermann Goring figured it was only a matter of time that Britain’s forces would be wiped out. However, that was simply not to be.
August 5, 1940, was coined “The Greatest Day” when the Luftwaffe mounted the largest number of raids of the entire air offensive. Of 115 bombers and 35 fighters sent, 75 planes were destroyed, and many others were damaged beyond repair.
Winston Churchill brilliantly summed up the battle for all time, “Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.” Pilots who fought in the battle, “The Few,” had done more with less.
The book of Judges covers 300+ years of the history of Israel from the time of Joshua and to the time of Saul. During this time, Israel was ambivalent and flip-flopped between rebellion and defiance against the Father. They were like a toggle switch, flipping back and forth between off and on. Again and again, Israel’s reoccurring propensity for rebellion raised its ugly head. The result was seven episodes of apostasy, seven periods of servitude, and seven obedience and recovery. The cycles were marked by the recurring refrain, “Then our sons Israel did evil in the Sight of the Lord” (Judges 2:11, 3:7, 3:12, 4:1, 6:1, 10:6, 13:1).
Each rebellious flareup resulted in discipline from the Father. When the judgment fell, the people would feel the pain. They would turn to Him and pray for help. However, something was missing. “There is no hint of repentance, only a cry of pain” (Block).
18 Whenever the LORD raised up a judge over Israel, he was with that judge and rescued the people from their enemies throughout the judge’s lifetime. For the LORD took pity on his people, who were burdened by oppression and suffering.
19 But when the judge died, the people returned to their corrupt ways, behaving worse than those who had lived before them. They went after other gods, serving and worshiping them. And they refused to give up their evil practices and stubborn ways.
Each cycle would bring about restoration and a period of peace and prosperity. But the rescued generation failed to impart the dire consequences of their rebellion against the Father to the next generation. The next generation simply forgot and so the cycle repeated itself again and again.
Judges 21:25 In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.
However, do not be too harsh in your assessment of the people of Israel. Why? Sadly, the children of the King today are not significantly different than they were then. The history of Israel simply mirrors our personal history. “Actually, the Bible tells the story of our lives, only it uses different names! If you and I had lived in those days, most of us would have fit right in with Israel’s ‘on again’ and ‘off again’ relationship with the Lord!” (Larry W. Wilson).
The rebellious nature of humanity is sadly predictable and consistent. If you have any doubts consider your own “on again” and “off again” relationship with the Father!
REFLECT & PRAY
Zechariah 4:6 “It is not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies.
Father you can always do more with less.Encourage me to have confidence and be faithful.
Judges 5 records the people of Israel’s deliverance from 20 years of oppression. They were euphoric and praised and worshiped the Father for what He has done. Then there was peace in the land for forty years (Judges 5:31).
But when that rescued generation died off; the people reverted to their rebellious, apostate ways. “The pull of Canaanite worship was too strong and Israel’s resistance to it already too weakened by past lapses. Israel reverted to its old ways, and a dark shadow fell over the land once again” (Barry G. Webb).
Judges 6:1 The people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the LORD. So the LORD handed them over to the Midianites for seven years.
The people cried out to the Father. He heard and responded. He sent a prophet. He was harsh. He bluntly delivered the Father’s message.
8 The LORD sent a prophet to the Israelites. He said, “This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: I brought you up out of slavery in Egypt.”
9 “I rescued you from the Egyptians and from all who oppressed you. I drove out your enemies and gave you and their land.”
10 “I told you, ‘I am the LORD your God. You must not worship the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you now live.’ But you have not listened to me.”
Next, the Father sends an angel to call Gideon service. He is to be the next Judge of Israel.
Judges 6:12 The angel of the LORD appeared to him and said, “Mighty hero, the LORD is with you!”
What would you expect to happen next? Generally, when an angel of the Lord comes, people are awed and tend to fall to the ground in reverence. Not so Gideon. He is defiant and full of questions and complaints. He is a bit whiny, can you hear him?
Why this? Why that? Why, why, why? Why has the Lord abandoned us? He could have taken care of the Midianites on day one. But no, we have been suffering and starving. Where has He been? Surely, He has forgotten His people and His covenant with them. In
Judges 6:13 Gideon replied, “Lord if the LORD is with us, why has all this happened to us? And where are all the miracles our ancestors told us about? Didn’t they say, ‘The LORD brought us up out of Egypt?’ But now the LORD has abandoned us and handed us over to the Midianites.”
The angel of the Lord is undaunted by Gideon’s whining. He undoubtedly stands in front of him like a World War II Army poster saying, “I Want You.”
Judges 6:14 Then the LORD turned to him and said, “Go with the strength you have, and rescue Israel from the Midianites. I am sending you!”
Gideon was unimpressed and throws up more questions, complaints, and excuses. Gideon sounds like a motorboat: but, but, but.
Judges 6:15 “But Lord,” Gideon replied, “how can I rescue Israel? My clan is the weakest in the whole tribe of Manasseh, and I am the least in my entire family!”
The angel essentially says problem solved! Not only do I have your back, but I will also be with you and I will destroy your enemy.
Judges 6:16 The LORD said to him, “I will be with you. And you will destroy the Midianites as if you were fighting against one man.”
That sounds really great on paper, but Gideon is still full of doubts. Under his breath, he no doubt mutters something like, “I don’t know about that.” He wants proof. So the angel obliges him. Consequently, Gideon is convinced that the angel was sent by the Father.
Judges 6:22 When Gideon saw that he was the angel of the LORD, he said, “Alas, O Lord GOD! For now, I have seen the angel of the LORD face to face.”
For his first mission rather than taking a large army, Gideon took only 10 men and tore down an altar of Baal. When the men of the city saw what happened they were very limited. They come looking for Gideon. Gideon’s father Joash defends him. And Joash, no doubt with a bit of a smirk on his face, delivers a great one-liner.
Judges 6:31 “Will you contend for Baal, or will you deliver him? Whoever will plead for him shall be put to death by morning. If he is a god, let him contend for himself, because someone has torn down his altar.”
Next comes the pericope regarding the fleece (Judges 6:34-40). As a result, Gideon is convinced that the Father will deliver Israel through him. So he gathers an army of over 30,000 people from several of the tribes of Judah to become the Father’s army. But the Father being God does not need 30,000 soldiers. So He winnows down the crowd until only 300 fighting men are left. They blew their trumpets and the rest is history.
Gideon had learned how to do more with less.