I had the opportunity to share an inspiring story in scripture with the men’s basketball team, then on a Sunday morning with Auburn Baseball team.
It is the story of Gideon, found in Judges 6. During this time the Midianites had been oppressing the Israelites over a period of 7 years. They were stealing their crops, taking their land, raping their women and even killing the Israelites.
We read that Gideon was threshing wheat in a winepress to keep it from the Midianites. He was in a winepress! Why? He was in hiding. That is when an angel of the LORD appeared to Gideon and said, “The LORD is with you, mighty warrior.”
Now wait a minute? How is a guy hiding in a wine press a mighty warrior? That is the same question Gideon asked God. Gideon said, “How can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.” The least in his family meant, he was the youngest. But God told him to go in the strength he had and save Israel, that He would be with Gideon.
God saw something in him that no one else saw. He saw the potential in Gideon. Similar to when a coach recruits a player. They see potential and recruit the player NOT for what they are, but what they can become.
God sees the potential in you too!
God isn’t worried about your past. It doesn’t matter where you’re from, God sees you from a different lens. He sees what you can be when you’re obedient to Him.
Who else is scripture do we see hesitate when the LORD asked him to do something big, something he thought was beyond what he was capable of? Moses, David, Noah, Shamgar (from an earlier blog).
Throughout scripture we consistently see God using men who were ordinary to do extraordinary things. Why do you think God uses ordinary men?
They were obedient.
God was preparing Gideon for battle against numerically overwhelming odds: Israel had 32,000 soldiers. The Midianites had 135,000 soldiers (Judges 8:10…1 to 4 odds).
How many guys, on a good day, can take on 4 dudes? (Most of the players were confident they could give it a go!) God also thought Israel would think the same way. Our Lord responds this way…
2 The Lord said to Gideon, “The people who are with you are too many for Me to give Midian into their hands, for Israel would become boastful, saying, ‘My own power has delivered me.’ 3 Now therefore come, proclaim in the hearing of the people, saying, ‘Whoever is afraid and trembling, let him return and depart from Mount Gilead.’” So 22,000 people returned, but 10,000 remained.
One moment he had 32,000 volunteers, and now 22,000 rolled out and he’s left with 10,000. NOW: 10,000 vs. 135,000! (1 and 14 odds) Really 13.5 but still!
How many still think they could win a fight with those odds? (To my surprise, all of the players agreed they could not win in a fight against 14 dudes.) However, God still wanted to make sure they did not think they could win this battle by their own doing. Gideon was in for a really big shock. Listen to what God said...
” You still have too many men to fight the Midianites” (7:4). He asked Gideon to take his remaining men down to the water and let them drink. He said the ones lick the water like a dog (face to the water) send those folks home. The ones that get down on a knee, cup water in their hands and bring it to their mouth, they stay” (Judges 7:4:5, paraphrased).
Unfortunately, for Gideon, ten thousand Israelites welcomed a cool, refreshing drink of water. The overwhelming majority-9,700-got down on their knees, placed their mouths to the water and drank. 300, crouched, cupped water to their mouths with their hands (military standpoint).
From 32,000 to 300. That means he was out numbered 450-1.
Nobody with 450-1 odds is going back to the crib telling their wifey they won. This was something only God could do, something supernatural!
Why did God do this? Verse 7:2 says, a small army proved they needed strength from God. The honor would go to God alone.
The Midianites were asleep in their camp. God gave Gideon the idea to divide the 300 men into three groups, he placed trumpets and empty jars in the hands of all of them with torches inside (vs. 16).
They followed Gideon's lead, surrounded the whole camp, blew their trumpets, broke their pitchers and held the torches high and yelled, “The sword of the Lord and of Gideon!” (7:17-18).
When the 300 men blew their trumpets, the LORD set every man’s sword against each other throughout the camp.
In the darkness the Midianites panicked at the loud shouting and trumpet blasts, pitchers and the sight of touches surrounding them. In their terror and confusion, they fought and killed each other!
Gideon and the Israelites won! This was the FIRST 300!
Playing on the road, especially in large arenas, can feel like 300 hundred vs. 135,000. Us against the world. We just have to trust our coaches prepared us, like God prepared his people.
After the battle the people wanted Gideon to reign as king. And he responds saying,
“I will not rule over you, nor shall my son rule over you; the LORD shall rule over you’. --Judges 8:23
The final question of Bible study was, "Who truly rules over you?"
We settled there for a minute. We talked about what does it mean for the LORD to rule over you. Some of the answers are below.
- Each day dying to yourself and letting God lead you. Paul said,"to live as Christ to die is gain."
- Living as if God is the Lord of your life. God's the pilot not the co-pilot.
- Trusting God. Loving how he loves. Living in faith, and obedience.
- Giving him the Glory! When we pray- Give God Glory- It's not about you, it’s about Him! God wanted the Glory, not to point to themselves.
In Romans 12 the apostle Paul urged the church to live sacrificially for the Lord.
Romans: 12:1-2 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
The first verse deals with commitment, and the second on how to maintain it. We discussed how our thoughts control our actions (music/social media). This is why Paul says RENEW YOUR MIND.
There is NO in-between: If you are not being ruled by God you’re being ruled by SATAN.
If you are ruled by God, you will be obedient to him even when what he asks you to do doesn't make sense, like in the story of Gideon. Be obedient to God and he will take care of the rest.