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God’s 300 by Jimmy Toney

“And the LORD said to Gideon, By the three hundred men that lapped will I save you, and deliver the Midianites into your hand: and let all the other people go every man to his place.” Judges 7:7 Gideon was the fifth judge of Israel. He played a small but important role in the history of God’s people. Gideon lived during a time when Israel had forsaken God and had worshipped idols. The nation had abandoned its true source of national strength and the source of its blessings much like our own nation has done today. God had withdrawn his blessings and protection, and the nation had suffered. As voices began to call upon God for deliverance, God used Gideon to answer the need. Gideon was a reluctant leader who was finally convinced of the power of God. He ultimately led the children of Israel in victory over their enemies, the Midianites. After God had called Gideon and Gideon had been persuaded to accept the task God gave him, it was time to act. We find the account of Gideon’s defeat of the Midianites in Judges 7:1-8:21. Gideon’s army of 32,000 was reduced in size (vss. 1-8). Already sorely outnumbered (the enemy numbered over 120,000 swordsmen), most would see this as a time to go out and recruit more warriors. But it might be that after the victory the Lord would give them, the people might think it had been by their own strength and ability that they had won the victory. So, the Lord commanded Gideon to further reduce the number under his command “…lest Israel claim glory for itself…saying, ‘My own hand has saved me.'” (Judges 7:2). Any who were “afraid and trembling” were told they could go home. Some 22,000 departed leaving 10,000 to fight the Midianites. So, it went from being outnumbered 4 to 1 to being outnumbered 12 to 1. No doubt Gideon was surprised to hear what the Lord said next: “Then the LORD said to Gideon, ‘The people are still too many; bring them down to the water and I will test them for you there.’” (Judges 7:4). At the site to which the Lord had directed Gideon’s army there was drinkable water. The army stopped to drink and 9,700 knelt down on their knees so they might drink directly from the stream. The other 300 cupped their hands and took water into them, drinking it from their hands as a dog would lap water from his bowl. “The LORD said to Gideon, ‘I will deliver you with the 300 men who lapped and will give the Midianites into your hands; so let all the other people go, each man to his home.'” (Judges 7:7). Gideon attacked the Midianites with his 300 men who took torches, pitchers, swords, and trumpets. (vss. 9-23). “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.’” (Judges 7:9). Gideon’s 300 divided into three groups of 100 each. They spaced themselves around the Midianite camp, and when signaled, they broke the pitchers revealing the torches. They shouted, “The sword of the Lord and of Gideon!” (Judges 8:20-23). There was much confusion in the camp as startled Midianite fought against Midianite in the darkness. That night the Midianites were routed.