Highlights In Today's Reading:
The nation's repetitious disobedience results in another defeat and domination of the Israelites. Gideon must take a stand against his own father's Baal worship. They battle the Midianites. How did the Lord have Gideon pick his army (7:2-6)?
Gideon, a God-fearing man from the half-tribe of Manasseh where Baal worship was popular, was called of God to go in this thy might (6:14) against a vast invading army of about 135,000 enemy soldiers. Just what was this thy might? Surely God was not speaking of Gideon, who said: I am the least in my father's house (6:15). Gideon's strength — this thy might — rested in one thing, the Lord's promise: I will be with thee (6:16).
But before he could deliver Israel from the Midianites, the altar of Baal had to be destroyed and the worship of Jehovah restored. And the Lord said unto him, Peace be unto thee; fear not: thou shalt not die. Then Gideon built an altar there unto the Lord, and called it Jehovah-shalom. . . . the same night . . . the Lord said unto him, Take thy father's young bullock . . . and throw down the altar of Baal that thy father hath . . . And build an altar unto the Lord thy God upon the top of this rock, in the ordered place, and take the second bullock, and offer a burnt sacrifice with the wood of the grove which thou shalt cut down. Then Gideon took ten men of his servants, and did as the Lord had said unto him: and so it was, because he feared his father's household, and the men of the city, that he could not do it by day, that he did it by night (6:23-27).
Gideon accomplished all that God commanded him. He then issued a call to other tribes of Israel to defend their country. Many thousands volunteered to go to war. The Lord said unto Gideon, The people that are with thee are too many . . . lest Israel vaunt themselves against Me, saying, Mine own hand hath saved me (7:2). The Lord instructed Gideon to reduce his forces. The fearful were sent home; then those who were less alert were disqualified (7:3-6). And the Lord said unto Gideon, By the three hundred men (that were left) . . . will I save you (7:7); thus, God alone would receive the honor.
Like Gideon's 300, the number of men and women who are dedicated enough to accomplish the will of God at any cost is surprisingly small. But the believer's strength to win the battle comes from the Lord, for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal (subject to human weakness), but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds (II Cor. 10:4).
Thought for Today:
God specializes in using the small or insignificant to do mighty things for His glory. He will even use "the least" when we obey Him (I Sam. 17:47).
As the Sword of the Lord (Judg. 7:20). In the Apostle John's revelation of Jesus, out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword (Rev. 1:16). We know that the sword is the Word of God (Eph. 6:17) and that Jesus is the Word of God made flesh (John 1:14).
6:1 into the hand =under the control; 6:3 came up against them =invaded the country; 6:4 increase =produce; sustenance =living thing; 6:11 angel =messenger; 6:13 befallen =happened to; 6:16 smite =strike down; 6:19 unleavened =yeast-free; 6:20 flesh =meat; 6:28 grove =for idols; 6:36 by my hand =through me; 7:3 in the ears =within the hearing.
Pray for International Shortwave Broadcasts in memory of Iva Ann McElroy • Staff: Pam Pendergrast • Government Officials: Gov. Christine Gregoire (WA) and Rep. Don Manzullo (IL) • Country: Eritrea (4 million) in eastern Africa • Major languages: English and Tigrinya • Religious freedom • 51% Muslim; 40% Eritrean Orthodox; 4% Catholic; 1.5% Protestant • Prayer Suggestion: Ask in the Name of Jesus and for His glory, and your request will be granted (John 14:13-14).
Optional Reading: John 15
Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 5:44