Arguably the weakest man in all of Israel, God chose Gideon to deliver the Israelites from the Midianites who had been oppressing the Israelites savagely for years. God asked Gideon to gather an army. When 32,000 men had gathered, God had this seemly unworthy leader tell his soldiers that if they had any fear to leave – 22,000 did so. God saw this number too great and instructed Gideon to lead his troops to the water’s edge. The Lord instructed him to “separate those who lap the water with their tongues like a dog from those who kneel down to drink.” Those who lapped with their tongues were instructed to return home. Only three hundred soldiers remained. Three hundred Israelite soldiers against what is believed to have been hundreds of thousands of Midianites. Though the Bible is not specific about the number of Midianite soldiers, Judges 7:12 tells us that the enemy “had settled in the valley, thick as locusts. Their camels could no more be counted than the sand on the seashore.”
Why would God do this? Wouldn’t it make sense for a loving God to give His chosen people the best possible chance of victory? It is so difficult for us to remember that while we were created in the image of God, our ways are not His ways.
Gideon proved victorious in his battle. Many time it appears that we are alone – one against the world. God wants us to see that it is not through mortal strength that we will find victory, it is through our dependence on Him.