My husband is intrigued by the story of God forming Gideon’s army to fight against the Midianites. We discuss this story together because we crave to be part of the 300 men God uses to show His glory. We all know that God slims down the army of 32,000 so He can ensure that the victory is obviously His alone. However, why does God choose to use those particular men? What is different about them that they are granted the honor of fighting? How can Christians today ensure that we are part of the infamous 300 Club?
Finally, after much conversation and study, my husband and I came up with three characteristics that separate these men from the crowd. I believe every single man among the 32,000 had an opportunity to serve God, but each chose to bow out of God’s plan by A) his lack of trust in God, B) his lack of hunger for God and C) his lack of obedience to God. God wants all of His children to share in His glory, but He gives us free will to choose. Whether or not we are willing to be a part of God’s amazing adventure is up to us.
God first whittles down the army by allowing those who were afraid to leave the fight and go home. Twenty-two thousand men walk out on the amazing demonstration that God is about to perform. I believe that this is the number one reason today Christians do not fulfill their destiny – they are afraid. This fear shows a lack of trust in God, and this lack stops the blessings of God. Psalm 84.12 (NIV) reads, “O LORD Almighty, blessed is the man who trusts in you.” The men who show courage trust that God is about to do something spectacular, and they know that they will share in the bounty.
Only 10,000 men are left after the doubtful leave. These are the men who trust in God and want to do His will, but the question is “Do they thirst for God?” God tells Gideon to have all the men go down to the water to take a drink. Although the Bible doesn’t specify, I believe not all 10,000 men make the trek down to the water. I’m sure many of the men did not feel thirsty, so they decide to stay behind on dry land. Jesus said in Matthew 5.6 (NIV), “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” The men who thirst for God have a desire to do His will, but the men who do not desire Him will stay behind.
Finally, at the water source God separates the men one more time. Not only must we trust God and thirst for Him, we have to be obedient to His nontraditional and sometimes crazy will. Out of all the men who drank water, only 300 of them lapped it up like a dog, and those are the men God could use. Although the entire image of lapping water has many implications, I’m fascinated that God chose the men who go against the norm, who are different. What I’ve learned about God is that He is not predictable, and He doesn’t do things the way the world does. Jesus is the prime example. The world expected a King, but God gave them a Carpenter. Job declares in Job 37.5 (NIV), “God’s voice thunders in marvelous ways; he does great things beyond our understanding.” God does things differently, and if we crave to do His will, we can’t worry about what others are doing. Our obedience to God will cause us to stand out in mainstream culture.
God employed those 300 men to defeat the Midianites in a way that would not be documented in any wartime strategy manual. In fact, if each man did not trust God, thirst for Him and obey Him, the army would never have been able to pull off a victory – everything centered on God’s ability and the men’s compliance. There was no room for fear, selfishness or disobedience. Each man had to be crazy in love with God and willing to execute His bizarre plan. My desire for all Christians is that we make it into God’s 300 Club. We don’t have to be smart, popular or perfect; we just have to want God more than anything. My husband and I are ready to enlist in God’s plan. Will you join us?
Reference: Judges 7