What is the Lesson of Gideon and His 300-Man Army?

Carey Kinsolving

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"Gideon used fire because the electricity ran out. God said blow the horns and crash real big, and he would give them electricity, " says Weston, 4.

I'm sure Gideon and his band of 300 would be surprised to know they solved Israel's energy crisis in the late 11th century B. C. The problem in Gideon's day, however, was a spiritual energy crisis. God called the most unlikely man to lead a spiritual revival that began with the destruction of idols.

Dustin, 4, has another version of what we can learn from Gideon: “I learned you don't have to hit or fight. You just smash the jars and show the light. Then you win!"

Add 300 trumpets, and you've got the picture. God's battle plan for General Gideon has to be one of the most unusual in all of military history. The only plans that rival it are the conquest of Jericho and the defeat of Pharaoh's army at the Red Sea.

Gideon and his 32,000 men were outnumbered by more than four to one. God told Gideon he had too many in his outnumbered army. Gideon announced that if anyone was scared, he could go home. When 22,000 soldiers hit the road, the look on Gideon's face was probably a Kodak moment. That left 10,000. God ran the numbers again. Still too many.

Next came the etiquette test. If you drink like a dog, you could stay. But if you get on your knees to drink from the water, start packing. Read it for yourself in the Book of Judges, chapter seven. General Gideon was left with 300 dog-faced soldiers, or soldiers who drank like dogs.

Ashley, 8, explains the way God does math: “God didn't want Gideon to have too many people because they would all brag. "

God knows that men are great posers. Often, they choose machismo rather than humility that finds its strength in God. As for bragging rights, God reduced their numbers and crafted a battle plan that would leave no doubt about the source of their victory.

"You can learn from this that you can do anything through God, " says Marshall, 11.

God has a way of taking something small and doing something big. People without God have a way of taking something big and doing something small.

Remember David and Goliath? It was small versus big. Don't forget the widow's two mites (Luke 21:1-4). Jesus said it was a small amount of money, but a big-time reward in God's kingdom because she gave all she had.

"God is going to fight the battle for Gideon's army. I believe that God also is willing to fight my battles for me, " says Emily, 8.

Today, many churches and Christians approach service to God with a public relations mentality. Everything must be huge, splashy and well-funded.

Gideon didn't graduate from West Point. The angel of the Lord found him hiding from enemy forces in a wine press threshing wheat. The poor guy was just trying to make some bread without someone stealing it.

"The Lord is with you, you mighty man of valor!" said the angel of the Lord to Gideon. Another Kodak moment. I fully expect the next verse to read, “You talkin’ to me?"

In the ensuing dialogue, we learn that God is the angel of the Lord. And only God can cause us to be truly courageous when we're scared out of our wits.

Think about this: God specializes in overcoming seemingly insurmountable odds. Almost 2,000 years ago, all the forces of hell assembled against a man crucified between two thieves. On Sunday morning, Jesus conquered them and the greatest enemy of all: death.

Memorize this truth: “The Lord is with you, you mighty man of valor!" (Judges 6:12).

Ask this question: Does God want to use you to overcome something very difficult?

Carey Kinsolving is a syndicated columnist, producer, author, speaker and website developer. To see more articles like this one, visit http://www.KidsTalkAboutGod.org/ColumnArchive.aspx . The Kids Talk About God website contains free, online content for children and families. See Carey’s Kid TV Interviews. Print free lessons from the “Kids Color Me Bible" and make your own book. Let an 11-year-old girl take you on a trip around the world in the Mission Explorers Streaming Video. Print Scripture verses illustrated by child artists. Receive a complimentary, weekly e-mail subscription to our Devotional Bible Lessons.

Bible quotations in this Bible lesson are from the New King James Version.

Copyright 2006 Carey Kinsolving


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