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1 Peter 1:16-17
Then, when there were only 10,000 men God said, “There are still too many men!” How do you think Gideon felt? What about when he stood with just 300 men?
To Gideon’s dismay, only 300 men had used their hands to drink. The other 9,700 were sent home. All that remained was a ragtag band of 300 men. But it was as God had commanded.
That night, camped just over the mountain from the enemy, Gideon tossed and turned in his sleep. It made no sense. Surely God needed some help! He couldn’t win the battle without at least a small army. But 300 men was nothing. Fitfully, Gideon woke every few minutes to find that it was not a bad dream—this was reality. He was about to face an army of hundreds of thousands with just 300 men.
In the middle of the night, God spoke to Gideon yet again, “Are you scared, Gideon?”
“More scared than I have ever been!” Gideon cried.
“If you truly are afraid,” God said, “Take your servant Purah and sneak over the mountain into the camp of Midian. Listen to the first voices you hear. You will be given courage!”
Gideon reached over and shook his servant. Purah sat up quickly and rubbed the sleep from his eyes. “Yes, master?”
“Come with me,” Gideon said. “God has told me to sneak into the enemy camp.”
When they reached the camp of Midian, they heard a man wake with a scream. Another man in the same tent asked, “What is it? You nearly scared me to death!”
“I just dreamed that a huge loaf of barley bread rolled into our camp and flattened all of our tents!”
The second man, in a moment of inspiration, answered, “Surely the army of Gideon will sweep in and destroy every last one of us!”
Gideon punched Purah in the shoulder with joy. When they arrived back at their camp Gideon shouted, “Get up! Tonight God has given us victory over the Midianite hordes!”
He gave each man a trumpet and a torch with a jug over it, so it’s light could be seen only at the feet of the man carrying it.
“Do we need our swords?” one of the men asked.
“Yes,” Gideon laughed, “You best bring those too.”
Gideon divided the army into three groups of 100 men. “Each group will go to a different part of the mountain surrounding the Midianite camp,” Gideon said. “And when you see me and my 100 break our jars and hear us blow our trumpets, you do the same. Now move out!”
In the cover of darkness, Gideon’s 300 surrounded the camp of Midian. They watched quietly for the signal. Gideon broke his jar and blew his trumpet followed immediately by the men with him. The other two groups saw and heard the signal and did likewise.
The camp below came to life. Men rushed from their tents still caught in sleep’s stupor. Seeing soldiers running out of every tent, they assumed Gideon’s army was upon them, and they ran their swords through each other. In only a few short minutes nearly all of the Midianite army lay dead in the valley—felled by their own swords.
From the mountainside all around, accompanied by torchlight, a shout rang out, “For the Lord and for Gideon!” And Gideon’s 300 men rushed in to finish what God had started.
How does this story and today’s verses challenge you to be bold in your faith?