“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.’” (Judges 7:2)
The Angel of the Lord had already appeared to Gideon, a rare privilege. One might think a visit from the Angel of the Lord to be sufficient proof of the Lord’s favor, support, and blessing. But a visit from the Angel of the Lord was not good enough for Gideon. There had to be a fleece with dew on it in the morning, though the ground be dry. Wait! There had to be a second fleece that was dry in the morning while the ground had dew on it. Oh, the patience of God towards men. It is a proof that God is indeed all powerful. Is the Word of the Lord, who cannot lie, delivered by the Angel of the Lord Himself, not enough for us? Gideon wanted more proof, more assurance, two miracles that he could indeed defeat the armies of Midian, that the Lord was indeed telling the truth. Yet even after the kindness and patience of the Lord and the two miracles, Gideon still doubted the Word of the Lord.
Gideon believed the Lord enough to muster up as large an army as possible to fight against the Midianites. This reveals that his faith was very small. He thought he would defeat the two kings of Midian by the power of his army. But God is not restrained to save by many or few (I Sam. 14:6) for the battle belongs to the Lord (Prov. 21:31). The Angel of the Lord Himself could have defeated the entire Midianite army (II Kings 19:35). Gideon, little of faith, gathered the largest army he could in order to accomplish what only God could do and which the Lord had already promised and verified by miracles. Believer, is this not what we often do? We start in the Spirit but try to end in the flesh (Gal. 3:3)? We know what spiritual tasks God’s Word says we must strive to accomplish, but we pull out fleshly weapons, our own methods, our own thoughts, our own plans, our own resources. We forget we are in a spiritual battle and that “the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses (II Cor. 10:4).” “It is not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit says the Lord” that we accomplish what the Lord commands for His glory (Zech. 4:6).
Gideon gathered his huge army, but this would not do, for a victory by great numbers would be a huge temptation for men to boast in themselves and their strength. “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 (Jdg. 7:2).’” All glory must go to the Lord (I Tim. 1:17). The Angel of the Lord had Gideon reduce his army from 32,000 to 300!
“Oh,” one might say, “this is an impossible number! This will never do! Three hundred men cannot defeat the multitudes of Midian! It cannot be done! It would be a suicide mission. It would take a miracle for 300 men to conquer the armies of the two kings of Midian!” Indeed.
Believer, God wants the glory (Isa. 48:11). He knows how sinful our hearts are, how quick we are to boast in ourselves, our strength, our wisdom, and our resources. The Lord knows that we often turn first to ourselves for deliverance before we seek His face. And so, like Gideon, He often puts us into impossible situations and trials in order to deliver us in ways we never expected, by means we never foresaw, so that He alone gets all the glory!
Believer, has the Lord promised to be with you (Mt. 28:20)? Has He promised to provide for you (Ps. 37:25)? Has He told you to seek first His kingdom and righteousness and that all these earthly necessities will be added unto you (Mt. 6:33)? Has He told you to be generous, to give, to make friends for yourself with your earthly riches and that He himself would multiply your harvest (Lk. 6:38; II Cor. 9:8)? Yes, and many more promises such as these. But if the Lord has allowed you to live in prosperity, it’s easy to trust in your job, your paycheck, your savings account, your platinum credit card, your hard work, and ingenuity. And when that happens, who often takes the glory? You do! “Is this not Babylon the great that I have built by my own power and might” was the boast of a very proud, prosperous, and powerful king Nebuchadnezzar who needed to be humbled (Dan. 4:30).
All glory must go to the Lord (I Cor. 10:31). If we will not give Him glory in our prosperity and ease, God often puts us into impossible situations so that we will be forced to look to Him, pray to Him, and trust Him for deliverance. And then the Lord will deliver us in life or death (Rom. 14:8). The three youths threatened with death in a fiery furnace if they would not commit idolatry, proclaimed to Nebuchadnezzar, “If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up” (Dan. 3:17-18).
“How foolish!” someone in the crowd might have said, “It will be the end of them. They will die a terrifying death. All they need to do is worship the golden image, commit a little idolatry, and they will save their skin.” But all glory must go to the Lord (Col. 3:17). Therefore, the Angel of the Lord showed up in the furnace and delivered Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, honoring their faith and trust in the Lord, even if it meant death. As a result, they and Nebuchadnezzar gave glory to God (Dan. 3:29).
Many martyrs throughout history have died terrible deaths and were not delivered from dying physically. Yet they were all delivered! They are all still alive, right now in glory, and will rule and reign with Christ forever! They will all praise their King for their deliverance from sin and eternal death for all eternity. The Lord will get the glory (Rev. 15:3-4).
Abraham and Sarah could not have a child in their old age, Sarah being barren all her life! And yet, they had a child. The people of Abraham could not escape the clutches of Pharaoh, King of Egypt, but they left Egypt. They were subsequently cornered by Pharaoh’s army at the Red Sea. It was impossible for them to escape, but they crossed the Red Sea on dry land. Some three million people were lead out into the wilderness where there was no food or water. It was impossible for them to survive, yet they did. One merely needs to read through the Bible to see that all glory must go to the Lord, and if we will not give Him glory in our prosperity and strength, He will get glory for Himself in our poverty and weakness.
Believer, give glory to the Lord in all you do (I Pet. 4:11). Trust Him in all your endeavors (Prov. 3:5-6). Ask Him for help, even in your prosperity and strength, for our God is a jealous God and a consuming fire (Deut. 4:24). He will not give His glory to another (Isa. 42:8). And when you find yourself in that impossible situation or trial, the Lord says, “Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I shall rescue you, and you will honor Me (Psa. 50:15).”