by Tony Nester

Gideon Defeats the Midianites
Tony R. Nester
Judges 7:1-23

Today we're concluding the story of Gideon which we began last Sunday. We've come to the place in the story where God instructs Gideon to prepare for battle against Israel's enemies. These enemies, the Midianites and Amalakites, were Bedouin tribes who were among the first to use camels to strike with speed from a great distance. They would repeatedly invade and terrorize the Israelites by killing, pillaging, confiscating animals and crops, and leaving the people destitute.

God calls Gideon to deliver Israel from her enemies. Gideon isn't all that confident about being such a deliverer. He repeatedly seeks confirmation that he has heard God correctly, including the famous story of putting out a fleece to discern God's will for him. He is given the assurance that God really has called him to lead the fight against the Midianites.

Now, in Judges Chapter 7, Gideon has assembled a force of 32,000 men for the battle. But Gideon is about to discover that God has unusual ideas about military strategy.

(Judges 7:1-3 NRSV) ''Then Jerubbaal (that is, Gideon) and all the troops that were with him rose early and encamped beside the spring of Harod; and the camp of Midian was north of them, below the hill of Moreh, in the valley. {2} The LORD said to Gideon, ''The troops with you are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hand. Israel would only take the credit away from me, saying, 'My own hand has delivered me.' {3} Now therefore proclaim this in the hearing of the troops, 'Whoever is fearful and trembling, let him return home.''' Thus Gideon sifted them out; twenty-two thousand returned, and ten thousand remained.''

God informs Gideon that Gideon has too many men in his army. That comes as a surprise to Gideon who wants as many men as possible to fight against the Midianites.
It's the Midianites who are the practiced fighters - Gideon's men are untrained and untested.
It's the Midia ...

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