Good Morning! My name is Bill Barrick and I was asked to give a devotional thought from the book of Judges, Chapters 7 and 8.
Judges 7:2 “In order that Israel may not boast against me that her own strength has saved her…”
“You have too many men…”
Imagine hearing those words from your Commander before leading your army into battle against your arch enemy. “Too many men?” you think to yourself. “How about NOT ENOUGH men!” But the supreme Commander’s orders are clear – you have to reduce your forces.
“Trust me,” says your superior, “my strategy will bring you victory, but not in your own power.” His orders are to allow any soldier who feels fear to leave. You obey and watch as twenty-two thousand men head for home, leaving you with an army of only ten thousand.
“There are still too many men!” your Commander calls out. He separates your men yet again and, to your astonishment, only three hundred soldiers from your once mighty army remain to fight this great battle.
“With all due respect, Sir, we don’t stand a chance,” you say.
“It only appears as if all is lost,” the Commander replies. “Trust me, my plan will work.”
You keep any doubts to yourself.
“With the three-hundred,” the Commander assures, “I will save you and give you total victory. Then you will know that without Me, without my perfect plan – you cannot succeed.”
The enemy was encamped in a nearby valley. It was time to begin the attack. But when you lead a reconnaissance mission to assess the enemy’s strength you discover a massive army spread as thick as locusts across the valley. The prospects of victory look dim.
To someone unfamiliar with the Commander’s reputation, this battle is certain suicide for your underdog army of three hundred. But in the past, the Commander had performed many miracles on the battlefield and achieved victory for his armies time after time against insurmountable odds – in spite of their history of disobedience and doubt.
You lead this small band of nervous men, each armed with only a trumpet and a torch, into the valley and surround the enemy’s encampment while they sleep. According to the Commander’s plan, the men light their torches and begin crying out, followed by a simultaneous, continuous blast on their horns. The enemy awakens into a fit of fear and total confusion – fighting and killing each other as they flee the valley in total defeat.
Your tiny, weaponless army of three hundred achieved the impossible – overcoming a powerful, well-equipped force of thousands. Had you engaged your enemy with your original force apart from the Commander’s perfect plan, half of your men would surely have been killed – even in victory. A corrupting sense of pride, independence and over-confidence would have infected your men – disastrous for any army fighting evil.
Later, after several more victorious battles, the families and men in the original army plead with you to be their new leader. But your allegiance is to the One who promised and delivered victory against all odds: your faithful superior, your Commander. You answer simply, “I will not lead you, our Master and Commander will!”
This, of course is the epic account of Gideon – a man of faith, courage and obedience – and his battle against the Midianites. As Gideon, you experienced how God strips away all the worldly and imperfect power we possess and replaces it with total dependence on Him and His plan. When we’re reduced to our lowest, God can raise us to His highest. If we had a mighty army – or the world’s riches – or everything we ever wanted – we would be ripe for Satan’s deception, thinking the credit was ours, a counterfeit glory. We would never be conscious of our great need for God and His salvation. We should look at those times of great need as opportunities to let God, our Commander, perform a great work in us.
Thank you for being a part of the Route 66 Challenge. Thanks for reading, and you have a blessed day.
In Christ, Bill Barrick
SAVED: Age 22
FAVORITE BIBLE CHARACTER: Paul
FAMILY: Spouse: Jane, Sons: Matt, Henry (wife Amber), Wilbur, and Steve in Heaven
OCCUPATION: Vocational Graphic Arts Teacher
HOBBIES: Travel, writing, piano
AREAS OF MINISTRY: Encouragement, teaching
FAVORITE BOOK IN BIBLE: Genesis
DREAM VACATION: Back to Italy