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Message of the Day: When the Battle Is Won, Before It Is Fought! (The Power of the Few)

Text: Judges 7:1-8:28

Key Verse: Judges 7:9

It happened on the same night that the Lord said to him, “Arise, go down against the camp, for I have delivered it into your hand.” (NKJV)

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More than 3,000 years ago, after the period of Joshua’s and before the era of the Kings, fifteen different Judges ( 14 men and 1 woman) ruled Israel. The Judges were more like tribal chieftains or deliverers than the judges that we know today. For over a period of 110 years they led the tribes and fought against pagan armies of the Philistines, Moabites, Canaanites, Ammonites and Amalekites.

One of these Judges was Gideon. He was found by an angel threshing wheat in a winepress (Judges 6:11), and making excuses like Moses (Judges 6:13-17), but he did eventually live up to the angel’s greeting by mightily delivering Israel in spectacular manner. Indeed, he was a mighty man of valor!

Th story of the battle between the 300 men of Gideon and the Midianites begins with a graphic portrayal of one of the most striking facts of life in the Fertile Crescent: the periodic migration of nomadic people from the Aramean desert into the settled areas of Canaan. Each spring the tents of the bedouin herdsmen appeared overnight almost as if by magic, scattered on the hills and fields of the farming districts. Conflict between these two ways of life (herdsmen and farmers) was inevitable.

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In the Biblical period, the vast numbers and warlike practice of the herdsmen reduced the village people to near vassalage. Gideon’s answer was twofold: (1) religious reform, starting with his own family; and (2) military action, based on a coalition of northern Israelite tribes.

At the bottom of present day, Mount Gilboa is Ein Harod, or the “Spring of Harod.” This is the pool where Gideon selected his 300 warriors out of the 22,000 men, to engage the Midianites. The men were selected based on how they drank water (Judges 7:1-8). Those who lapped the water like dogs were dropped, and the 300 men who drank with a cupped hand were chosen and became Gideon’s warriors. These were the warriors who dared engage the 135,000 Midianites.

The “Spring of Harod” marks the beginning of great battle. The battle is justly celebrated for its strategic brilliance. Denied the use of the local water source, the Midianites camped in the valley and fell victim to the small band of Israelites, who attacked them from the heights of the hill of Moreh.

Upon receiving God’s word that “he had delivered the Midianites into his hands,” Gideon prepared his men for attack. The main battle took place north of the hill near the village of En-dor at the foot of Mount Tabor. The Midianites were thrown into confusion when they were awakened in the middle of the night by the alarming sound of rams horns blasting, water jars breaking and Israelites yelling. When they saw lights all around the camp, they thought that Israel’s army was upon them. In their panic may began swinging their swords at anything they saw move in the darkness, not realizing that they were killing their own soldiers. Others tried to escape.

Fleeing by way of the Jordan Valley, the Midianites were trapped when the Ephraimites seized the fords of the Jordan from below Beth-shan to -barah near Adam.

God reduced Gideon’s army to three hundred so that Israel might know that victory was not by military power but by God’s power (7:2).

Gideon must have felt that he was but the thin, weak, limp man; that there was a ludicrous disproportion between the means at his command and the work he was to accomplish. But then, behind him was the unseen but mighty wind of God’s Spirit, that swept him on irresistibly and made him invincible.

This was Gideon’s encouragement, and this must be the encouragement of each one of us in all our daily task. When we are confronted by “battles” bigger than us, let us allow the Spirit of God to move and carry us to victory. Through our faith in God we will know the objects towards which he is willing to help us.

We will know what God himself aims at and wishes done, and though we cannot reach those objects by our own strength, yet if we set our face towards them, if we make them our real aim, God’s Spirit cannot miss us – we will be caught and carried along and won the battle before it is fought!


MySword for Android. Riversoft Ministry, 2011-2019.

Olive Tree Bible Software, 1998-2020.

Zondervan NASB Study Bible. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 1999.

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