One of my favourite male characters in the Bible is Gideon. His story is found in the book of Judges. The first time we see Gideon he is in hiding, threshing wheat in a winepress to keep it from the Midianites. They plagued the Israelites for seven years. Whenever the Israelites planted, the Midianites like swarms of locusts would invade the land destroying every living thing. No produce, no sheep, no cattle, no donkeys left for Israel.
Israel did evil in God’s sight and God gave them into the hand of Midian for seven years. Israel was reduced to grinding poverty and they cried out to the Lord for help. God’s answer to deliver Israel came in a surprising package, Gideon, the reluctant leader.
He had no inkling what was about to be set in motion. You’ll find his backstory in Judges Chapter 6. If you are ready to read on, let’s dive into what the Lord taught me a few months ago- the 7 P’s in Judges 7.
“Then Jerubbaal (that is, Gideon) and all the people who were with him got up early, and camped beside the spring of Harod; and the camp of Midian was on the north side of them by the hill of Moreh in the valley.
And the Lord said to Gideon, “The people who are with you are too many for Me to hand Midian over to them, otherwise Israel would become boastful, saying, ‘My own power has saved me.’ Now therefore come, proclaim in the hearing of the people, saying, ‘Whoever is afraid and worried, is to return and leave Mount Gilead.’” So twenty-two thousand from the people returned, but ten thousand remained.” Judges 7:1-3 NASB
Then God said there are too many people with Gideon, lest Israel boast their own power has rescued them. So, God told him tell anyone who was afraid to turn back and leave. 22,000 men left . Judges Chapter 7 verse 1 started off by stating that all the people that were with him got up early and camped... These people were intentional and acted. Judging by that action alone of getting up early and camping, you would say the people were really with Gideon. Yet God knows the people who are really assigned to go all the way with you on your journey
Imagine if you had 22,000 followers unfollow you in one fell swoop. That would be highly concerning to say the least. All the people that you thought were for your brand, suddenly gone. With 10,000 men remaining, God tells Gideon that there are still too many people with you. Bring them down to the water and I will show you how to identify the ones who are with you. (Judges 7:4-7)
For what God wants to do in our lives, we need to be able to identify those who are really with us. We need to discern those assigned to go with us and be part of our journey. Father, open my eyes to those you have assigned to me. Help me to listen to the directions you are giving me by your Holy Spirit.
“The people who are with you are too many for Me to hand Midian over to them, otherwise Israel would become boastful, saying, ‘My own power has saved me”
Let’s not get it twisted, it’s not our own power that will deliver the results that we need and seek. And rather than we start straying into the zone of thinking and saying- I have done such and such by my own power, God will remove the people and the props that cause us to boast in ourselves. Jesus said, “no man can receive anything except it is given him by Heaven”.
His power enables us, His, not our own, therefore our ability to achieve anything worthwhile comes from Him.
God doesn’t want us to boast about our own power but in Jeremiah 9:24, he tells us what exactly to boast about.
“Let not the wise boast of their wisdom
or the strong boast of their strength
or the rich boast of their riches,
but let the one who boasts boast about this:
that they have the understanding to know me,
that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness,
justice and righteousness on earth,
for in these I delight,”
declares the Lord.“
“Now therefore come, proclaim in the hearing of the people, saying, ‘Whoever is afraid and worried, is to return and leave Mount Gilead.”
In this season and the next season of our lives we must proclaim what the Lord has spoken to us. We won’t know what to proclaim unless we hear what He has for us. Receiving what to proclaim comes from a place of intimacy with the Lord. Spending time with him – talking with Him, reading and studying the Bible so that we may recognise how He speaks to us, cultivating friendship with the Holy Spirit. What he tells us to proclaim is key to the next move of God in our lives. As a result of what Gideon is told to proclaim, his band of followers shrunk from 32,000 to 10,000.
Then God tells him 10k followers are still many. More sifting is still needed to select the right candidates. God further tells Gideon what sifting parameters to use – and the 10, 000 shrink to 300 men. Great! Now we are getting somewhere. Gideon, I will save you with the 300 men and will hand over Midian over to you.
You could say, roughly, that’s 1 percent of the men he started with. And as we later read in Judges 7, that 300 is enough. So, if you are reading this and you look around you and what you have looks like 1% of what you think you would need. Worry not, let Gideon’s story encourage you; with God, one is majority.
“So the three hundred men took the people’s provisions and their trumpets in their hands. And Gideon dismissed all the other men of Israel, each to his tent, but retained the three hundred men; and the camp of Midian was below him in the valley.” Judges 7:8 (AMP)
For what you need to accomplish, you will need provision; You will need supplies. I remember parents and carer’s visiting days at my brothers’ boarding school with a smile. They were always glad for the provisions our parents brought on those visits. Those visiting days were not complete without the provisions – which were mostly edibles. I didn’t feel the gravity of having provisions the way they did. Theirs was not my school, I was only visiting. But to them, those provisions meant everything.
Provisions … the action of arranging in advance what’s needed… providing beforehand. How would you know what you need for a journey that you haven’t taken before? Wisdom will show you what you need. People are part of the provisions you need for the next stage of your journey. Gideon’s story is there to give assurance that God will help you identify the people and things you need. The 300 men were shortlisted and selected, and they took people’s provisions and trumpets, what they needed to amplify their message.
What provisions are you taking to equip you for your journey?
“Now on the same night it came about that the Lord said to him, “Arise, go down against the camp, for I have handed it over to you. But if you are afraid to go down, go with Purah your servant down to the camp,so that you will hear what they say; and afterward you will have the courage to go down against the camp.” So he went down with Purah his servant to theoutposts of the army that was in the camp.”
There was no doubt that God was leading Gideon. He had been given this divine assignment, the right people identified, the correct provisions sourced, the enemy base located. Operation- deliver -Israel from Midian was underway, yet Gideon was still afraid. He had come a long way since the threshing grain in the winepress days; yet imposter syndrome still plagued him. God who is ever mindful of us, is aware of Gideon’s anxieties and struggles.
If you are afraid, go with Purah your servant… I have assigned someone among those who are with you whom you can share your vulnerabilities with. Someone who is with you not only when you look and sound like a valiant leader, but someone who is with you when you are questioning your right to occupy this position and lead men into battle.
This person won’t be put off by your doubt. They will encourage you by their nearness. They will journey with you until you come to the place where what you hear will cause courage to blaze in your heart.
If you can count at least on Purah like person in your life, then, do thank God for them. They may come shaped as relatives, employees, colleagues, friends, mentors, coaches, spouses, even chance encounters. Their assignment is to deliver you to the place where courage enters your soul and the belief that you were made for this, rings louder in your ears than contrary voices. With Purah by his side, Gideon moves close to the enemy’s camp and he overhears a Midianite tell his friend a dream he had. When the friend hears the dream he said – “Ah my guy, game over, God has given Midian into Gideon’s hand! “– Well, not in those exact words, 😊 but you catch my drift.
The dream and its interpretation caused Gideon’s courage to soar. You may be at a point where you are fearful of the enemy when the reality is, the enemy is afraid of you!
“When Gideon heard the account of the dream and its interpretation, he bowed in worship. He returned to the camp of Israel and said, “Arise, for the Lord has given the camp of Midian into your hands.” He divided the 300 men into three companies, and he put trumpets and empty pitchers into the hands of all of them, with torches inside the pitchers. He said to them, “Look at me and do likewise. And behold, when I come to the outskirts of the camp, do as I do. When I and all who are with me blow the trumpet, then you also blow the trumpets all around the camp and say, ‘For the Lord and for Gideon.’”
So Gideon and the hundred men who were with him came to the outskirts of the camp at the beginning of the middle watch, when they had just posted the watch; and they blew the trumpets and smashed the pitchers that were in their hands. When the three companies blew the trumpets and broke the pitchers, they held the torches in their left hands and the trumpets in their right hands for blowing, and cried, “A sword for the Lord and for Gideon!”
As I considered this “P”, I sensed the Lord give a prophetic word.
You have a pitcher you are carrying; you have a torch you have been given with the pitcher. Your torch cannot stay hidden any longer if you want to be effective. The things which appear to break you are not to destroy you, they are designed to reveal the light that is needed for the completion of your assignment. Don’t get attached to the containers I have given you. What is inside the container is greater than the container.
Some may despise your pitcher; they don’t understand its value, or it use. They may even condemn you for its misuse. I have not given it to them. I have given it to you. In some Bible versions the pitchers are referred to as jars. Like the woman with the alabaster jar (Mark 14 :3-9) misunderstood and condemned for breaking the jar and pouring the expensive perfume on Jesus, her actions were valued and precious to me. She was speaking to a future greater than the moment she was standing in.
Gideon and his 300 men with the trumpets, broken pitchers, torches and their shouts, spoke into the future and the Lord went to work.
As one of my favourite female Bible teachers’ today would say, We get to live in the supernatural by obedience. Gideon told the men with “look at me and do likewise, when I come to the outskirts of the camp, do as I do “. Gideon’s men got to experience the supernatural because they obeyed. We too will experience the supernatural moves of God by obeying what He says.
“Each stood in his place around the camp; and all the army ran, crying out as they fled”
God had called Gideon out of the wrong place and insecure position he was occupying. From threshing wheat in the winepress to keep it away from marauding Midianites to standing at the edge of their camp, ready to fight. When God moves you into position, stand in the place you have been positioned! You have an assignment to send the enemy running.
Yet we have not been called to stand in place by ourselves. In John 14:15, Jesus, gives the disciples and us the promise of the Holy Spirit. The Helper, One without whom we can do nothing. Paraklētos is a Greek word that literally means, “One called alongside.” It functions as a name of the Holy Spirit who comes alongside us in various ways.
After Jesus rose up from the dead, he told the disciples to stay in Jerusalem until the Holy Sprit is poured from on high upon them. He knew they needed to stay in the assigned place to receive the gift the Father promised.
In Acts Chapter 2 “When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.”
We will only be truly effective in the place God has called us to stand through the help and power of the Holy Spirit.
I hope this post blesses you as the Lord used it to bless me.
Thanks for reading.
If you would like to read more posts from The Wellspring Place, please don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter.