Lessons from the Life of Gideon Part 4: The Source of Your Courage

MESSAGE – Lessons from the Life of Gideon: The Source of Your Courage.

TEXT Judges 7:1-8

I.                    Introduction: The Midianite army along with the Amalekites and another unnamed Eastern nation had encamped against Israel and are preparing to pillage and ruin.  Many have answered the call to help Gideon fight the enemy off.  However, may of them are afraid and 2/3 of them (22,000) go home.  Gideon is left with 10,000 men.  Then God tells Gideon that there are still too many men and he separates the men into two groups (those who lap water like a dog, and those who kneel down to drink)[1].  God told Gideon to go to war with the 300 men who lapped like dogs and 21,700 were sent home. 

II.                 The Enemy is Big

a.       It is easy to assume that in order to go about transforming the world for Jesus Christ, that we will need a large army of disciples.  But if 2/3 of that army is fearful, it will actually have them defeated before they even reach the battlefield.  One naysayer will always ruin the whole atmosphere.  The party-pooper, the negative person, the whiner.  Jesus had people who did not believe, leave the room before he prayed for the dead girl (Matt. 9:24).  When going after the enemy, there is no room for fear.

b.      Narrowing the field down to 300 was next on God’s to-do list.  Perhaps it was the undignified manner in which these men drank that demonstrated a lack of pride.  Perhaps it was their unhindered thirst that caught God’s eye.  I really like this second notion.  Thomas Edison liked to say, “There are no rules here, we are trying to accomplish something.”  We can easily let the way we think is “proper” get in the way of actually getting something done.  Either way, God chose to deliver Israel with a few who had integral character than a multitude who lacked integrity.

III.               Conclusion: If you answer to call of God to respond to the enemy and you go out to meet him in battle, there are prerequisites for victory. 

a.       With God – There is no victory apart from God.  Strength to overcome the odds is not found in numbers, but in God.

b.      Courage – There is no victory in fear.  Courage and metal are not found in the multitude, but in God.

c.       Reckless Abandon – There is no victory in mediocrity. Devotion and commitment are not found in the crowd, but in God.

[1] There is a slight translation issue with how exactly the two groups of men drank and which group used their hands.  Logic dictates that the kneelers did.  However, most manuscripts state that the lappers used their hands.  It is confusing and different versions say different things.  However, in the end, it is clear that God chose the smaller number.  As the first test weeded out the fearful and kept the fewer who were courageous, it also makes sense that this second test was bringing out a certain quality that God wanted in warriors and not a weakness as some commentaries suggest.