Gideon's Attack

Bible Book: Judges  7 : 15-22
Subject: Will of God; Victory; Gideon; Faith; Faithfulness

In 1 Corinthians 10: 31, Paul exhorts us with these words: "Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God." This familiar passage of scripture sums up the purpose of every Christian's life: To bring glory to God. It almost goes without saying that we all fail miserably in this area. But that does not change the fact that glorifying God should be our ultimate goal in life.

Too often however, Christians have the mistaken idea that they must be "somebody," possess great abilities or talents in order to bring glory to God. The truth is that God isn't looking for ability, but availability. God is looking for those who will submit themselves wholly to God, so that He can use them for His purposes and plans.

When God first approached Gideon about being His instrument of Israel's deliverance from the Midianites, he protested, saying that he could not possibly save his people from bondage, since he and his family were insignificant among God's people. But God wasn't looking for a significant man, just a submitted man-a man whose life was surrendered to God.

You see, folks, God doesn't use those who are significant in their own eyes to bring glory to His great name. Gideon was nothing and had nothing. However, that was all God required, because He is everything. God only needed an insignificant instrument through which to demonstrate His power. Paul brought out this very idea when he said: "But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;" (I Cor.1: 27).

The story of Gideon is an amazing account of a man whom God called to be the instrument of His glory, in an impossible and hopeless situation. And in spite of insurmountable odds, God promised Gideon the victory. "Why would God do a thing like that?" you might ask. It was because when all the smoke cleared, the only explanation for the victory of God's people over their enemies would be God Himself. Only God would receive the glory.

Folks, God wants to show Himself strong in the difficulties of our lives, not only to teach us how to trust and follow Him, but also to bring glory to his matchless name. God's Word says, "For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him..." (2 Chron.16: 9a).

"I am the Lord: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images" (Isa.42: 8).

Is your life revealing the glory of God? That should be the goal of every child of God's life. As God's glory was revealed through Gideon, He can reveal His glory through you.

I. Gideon Encouraging His Army By Means Of Faith

Judges 7:15, "And it was so, when Gideon heard the telling of the dream, and the interpretation thereof, that he worshipped, and returned into the host of Israel, and said, Arise; for the Lord hath delivered into your hand the host of Midian."

When Gideon heard the interpretation of the enemy soldier's dream, "he worshipped." As the truth began to dawn upon his heart, he could not help but thank and praise God for what He was about to do. Gideon, like Abraham before him, was now "fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform" (Rom. 4:21).

Fortified by faith, Gideon slips back into Israel's camp and said to his little band of 300, "Fellahs, there's good news. The enemy is defeated." About that time one sharp individual must have piped up and said, "But Gideon, we haven't even gone to battle yet." "Yes," Gideon replied, "but you see, I've received a report from God tonight, and He says the enemy is defeated." Folks, the Bible says, "Now faith is the substance (ground or confidence) of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen" (Heb. 11:1). By faith Gideon was convinced of the victory, and claimed it.

Sometimes, when things get rough, we need some encouragement. God encouraged Gideon by sending him down to the host, to let him hear the enemy testify to the fact that God had already given Israel the victory over the Midianites.

During quail season in Georgia, an Atlanta journalist met an old farmer hunting with an ancient pointer at his side. Twice the dog ran rheumatically ahead and pointed. Twice his master fired into the open air. When the journalist saw no birds rise, he asked the farmer for an explanation. "Shucks," grinned the old man, "I knew there weren't no birds in that grass. Spot's nose ain't what it used to be. But him and me have had some wonderful times together. He's still doing the best he can and it'd be mighty mean of me to call him a liar at this stage of the game!" Bits & Pieces, August 20, 1992, pp. 15-16

II. Gideon Equipping His Army With Strange Weapons For Fighting

Judges 7:16-18, "And he divided the three hundred men into three companies, and he put a trumpet in every man's hand, with empty pitchers, and lamps with the pitchers. And he said unto them, Look on me, and do likewise: and, behold, when I come to the outside of the camp, it shall be that, as I do, so shalt ye do. When I blow with a trumpet, I and all that are with me, then blow ye the trumpets also on every side of all the camp, and say, The sword of the Lord, and of Gideon."

Can you imagine the looks on these guy's faces as Gideon started passing out trumpets, empty pitchers, and torches? I can almost hear some guy say, "Uh, Gideon, sir. You remember when you said earlier, that anyone who was afraid should go home? Well, I wasn't afraid then, but I'm really, really, scared all of sudden. Can I go home now!!!?"

All of this must have looked very foolish to many of those anxious men. But that's not unusual, for God's Word says that, "...the foolishness of God is wiser than men" (I Cor.1: 25a). God's Word also says, "God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise" (1 Cor. 1:27a). However, God's plan will always work if we work God's plan.

From a practical standpoint, the military strategy laid down by Gideon, was an excellent one. It was actually a type of psychological warfare.
Gideon deployed his men in such a way as to give the impression of a simultaneous attack on three sides.

The blast of the trumpets would have implied a signal to charge and engage the enemy. To a bunch of men being startled out of a dead sleep this would be psychologically devastating.

The breaking of the pitchers would have sounded a lot like the clash of swords. The startled Midianites awakened thinking that the battle was already upon them.

One can only imagine the panic created by the sudden trumpet blasts, followed by the breaking of the pitchers: first Gideon and his one hundred men, and then the other two companies of one hundred men. Then suddenly, flashes of light sliced through the eerie darkness that clung to the valley that night. The impression would be that a much larger force than what was really there was attacking them.

III. Gideon Engaging His Adversaries And Putting Them To Flight

A. Notice The Timing Of The Attack

Judges 7:19, "So Gideon, and the hundred men that were with him, came unto the outside of the camp in the beginning of the middle watch; and they had but newly set the watch: and they blew the trumpets, and brake the pitchers that were in their hands."

According to one commentator, "The night was divided into three watches of four hours each, the first beginning at 6:00 p.m." (Charles F. Pfeiffer and Everett F. Harrison, Editors, The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, published by Moody Press, Chicago, Illinois; pg. 248). That being so, the second (middle) watch would have begun around 10:00 p.m.

B. Notice The Terror Of The Adversary

Judges 7:20-21b, "And the three companies blew the trumpets, and brake the pitchers, and held the lamps in their left hands, and the trumpets in their right hands to blow withal: and they cried, The sword of the Lord, and of Gideon - and all the host ran, and cried, and fled."

There's a significant thought to be considered here. It is conceivable to me that Gideon and his men could have blown those trumpets all night long and still have lost the battle. The victory came when the vessels were broken and the light within allowed to shine forth.

God often uses the battles and trials of life to break the hardness of our hearts, so that the flame of God's holiness and purity can be seen. It is then that we begin to experience victory in our Christian walk.

C. Notice The Triumph Of God Almighty

Judges 7:21-22a, "And they stood every man in his place round about the camp: and all the host ran, and cried, and fled. And the three hundred blew the trumpets, and the Lord set every man's sword against his fellow, even throughout all the host..."

"...Every man stood in his place" (Judges 7: 21a). I like that. But what can we draw from this? What was every man's place?

1. It was the Place of Faith

If Gideon and his men had not been willing to trust God, they would never have gone out to battle. However, because of their faith in God, "...they stood every man in his place..." (Judges 7: 21a)-they stood on the ground of faith.

2. It was the Place of Obedience

When Gideon told his band to go into battle, trusting only his word that God had promised the victory, they did just that (Judges 7: 15 & 19). When they were told to watch Gideon, and do as he did, they obeyed (Judges 7: 17-19b).

3. It was the Place of Victory

As every man stood in his place, God routed their enemies. Paul exhorts us to be, "...stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord..." (I Cor.15: 58).

We must be careful to stand in our place. Only then will God be glorified.