Judges 7 Commentary
Hidden in the lines of chapter 7 is an important contrast that can help us decipher what the LORD is trying to do. Coming up against Gideon is a league of nations, led by Midian and so numerous that they could not be numbered. So really, the thirty-two thousand that Gideon marshaled are a drop in the ocean and clearly a joke against such a formidable enemy.
Any general should be looking at increasing his military strength but not Gideon. The LORD’s instruction to Gideon is the very opposite; “You have too many men. I cannot deliver Midian into their hands, or Israel would boast against me, ‘My own strength has saved me.’
While Israel is looking at physical deliverance, the purpose of this victory is deep. The LORD wants to re-establish His name again in Israel. The LORD wants to be the only hero.
By this miracle, the LORD seeks to heal the leaky roof as opposed to simply providing more buckets. We are like Israel when we fail to see the real problem. The real problem here is not the league of nations assembled to impoverish Israel. The problem is a lack of an acknowledgment of who God truly is among Israel. So the victory is designed to elevate the name of the LORD.
“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” The key message in this story seems to be an emphasis on a return to the LORD.
When the enemy attacks your income, don’t see your empty bank account as the problem. Don’t even see the enemy as the real problem. An obedient and humble walk with the LORD is all that is required for the battle of life. So the LORD directs an entire operation in a way that convinces Gideon that the LORD is behind it all. The initial instruction to demolish Baal’s altar and erect an altar to the LORD was meant to explain to Israel what went wrong and what needed fixing – chapter 6.
As we learn here, Gideon couldn’t fix it all by himself. Faith can be such an expensive commodity! Who doesn’t need help here? “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” This cannot be a stupid prayer at all.
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