Being a Christian sometimes puts me into a precarious situation where I must live life in a way that is contrary to the expected norms of society. I describe this situation as walking upstream against the current. I recognized quickly living like this that I can’t save myself. Sometimes it is small. I don’t drink because Christ asked me to put that away a long time ago. So when I go to a social situation where drinking is expected I am the odd man out and I get that look from people. “what is wrong with you”.
Sometimes however the norms of society set me apart in big ways. My family homeschools because I think the public schools are breading grounds for lawless behavior especially in the realm of sexual ethics. I don’t want my kids to be naïve but I also want them innocent. Homeschool is the only balance I can find. But it sets me apart from society and even my own family.
Opposite of the World
Gideon in his famous battle to free Israel from Midian does something very odd. He reduces the size of his army because God asked him to make it smaller. If you read Judges chapter 7 there is the moment that Gideon does something that is in worldly terms… stupid. He trims this army based not on skill or usefulness but on how they drink from the stream.
So Gideon took the men down to the water. There the Lord told him, “Separate those who lap the water with their tongues as a dog laps from those who kneel down to drink.” 6 Three hundred of them drank from cupped hands, lapping like dogs. All the rest got down on their knees to drink. Judges 7:5-6 ESV
Sometimes people want to read into the personality traits of how these men drank from the stream as to why Gideon picked one group over the other but honestly this is nothing about the men themselves. This is about cutting the size of the army.
Why would he do this? The world and normal wisdom would say a larger army is needed to beat an existing army. Maybe a smaller better equipped and better trained force can beat a larger army. But I don’t see an effort to get better equipment or time spent training the best of the best. No Gideon follows God’s lead and cuts the army by some random factor.
Why on earth would he do this? What advantage does it bring? How does this action build credibility in a world of skeptical people?
2 The Lord said to Gideon, “You have too many men. I cannot deliver Midian into their hands, or Israel would boast against me, ‘My own strength has saved me.’ Judges 7:2
Christ does not need me or you to accomplish his plans. God has his own strength that the world does not understand. God will be glorified and that is what God wanted from Israel. He wanted the people to understand that they need him for their problems.
11 Give us this day our daily bread Matthew 6:11 ESV
I Don’t Need God
If you are rich in money, power, or influence do you need God? Israel needs God desperately at this time because they are slaves. God wants to free them but he wants them to know that he did it. God wants you and me to turn to him each and every day and ask him for what we need. I am rich and have no need to ask God for my daily bread. My pantry could sustain me for weeks or months. What do I need God for?
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:9 ESV
The Gift of God
Christ saves us. He is the gift and we may be saved through him. God is saving Israel with a handful of men so that everyone involved will recognize that this saving was done by God himself. Give glory to God for everything he has done for you. Thank him for your daily bread. That pantry of food was not secured or maintained by your strength. It is given to you by the grace of God himself.
Beware lest you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth.’ You shall remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth” Deuteronomy 8:17-18 ESV
Dear reader have you been saved from crazy moments in your life by the hand of God working in miraculous ways? Has an opportunity dropped in your lap that transformed your life? Then give thanks to God in humble response to a wonderful God who saves us with his power and his might.
When Gideon heard the dream and its interpretation, he bowed down and worshiped. He returned to the camp of Israel and called out, “Get up! The Lord has given the Midianite camp into your hands.” Judges 7:15 ESV
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