300 (But with More Slow Motion, Decapitations, and Blood Splattering)

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Tuesday, August 16, 2016 0 comments

by Bill Seng

The Lord said to Gideon, “With the three hundred men that lapped I will save you and give the Midianites into your hands. Let all others go home.” ~Judges 7:7

First of all, okay, maybe I over embellished things with the title… a little bit. You remember the battle of Thermopylae and the 300 Spartans that battled an infinitely larger Persian army to a standstill at a narrow pass, right? If you don’t, that’s because that was embellished a little bit too in the movie that immortalized the 300 Spartans (actually a movie title as well) in the movie 300. In the movie, we are made to believe that 300 Spartans blocked off a narrow pass for three whole days against an incredibly massive Persian force. At times it was mentioned that there were others involved, but they were few in number and unskilled.

The truth of the matter was that King Leonidas led an alliance of what is approximated to have been 7,000 soldiers (Greek and non-Greek). The Persians did vastly outnumber them, nonetheless, but the legendary stand by the 300 Spartans came after the Persian army discovered a path that would allow them to flank the Greek army. The Spartans stayed behind with a contingent of 300 men to fight to the death. It was brutal and the Spartans lost.

But there is a story about another 300 soldiers that has a happy ending. Gideon was commanded by God to go to war against the Midianites who were camped in a valley near a hill. Gideon’s force was enormous, but God did not like that. He wanted to whittle the army down so that it would be known that the Israelites did not conquer the Midianites on their own power. It had to be obvious that the only reason why they were victorious was because of God’s divine help. So, God immediately weeded out 22,000 soldiers from the force. And after eliminating 22,000 from them, God told Gideon that he still had too many soldiers. He then filtered down Gideon’s men again until only 300 remained in the force. The Midianites would greatly outnumber the 300 Israelites, but that was exactly the point.

Sometimes we get frustrated when something doesn’t go our way that undoubtedly should. If you’ve ever watched the first round of the NCAA Basketball Tournament in March, you will see a top-ranked team get defeated by a team who has no business competing on the same court. In those instances, the underdog could boast. On the other hand, it would be silly for a team like Duke to boast about defeating a team like Bowling Green. That should happen every time they play. One of the fascinating things about the little teams, like Butler, is that they often do give glory to God for their victories against legacy teams. And why not? They probably would have lost to them on any other day. But to beat them at the NCAA Tournament draws more attention to the small team and is a perfect opportunity to honor God.

When we struggle with the dilemmas of our lives, we often resort to padding our security blanket more and more in hopes that we won’t be harmed. We resort to trusting ourselves so much that there becomes no reason to glorify God if we are victorious. Instead of keeping one foot in the door and the other foot out, it is often the best idea to go all-in and trust God with the results. David refused King Saul’s armor when he prepared to battle Goliath because it would weigh him down because of its size (1 Samuel 17:38-39). Too often, we choose to wear the worldly armor instead of trusting in God’s armor.

Do you have the courage to take 300 soldiers, selected by God, against an army of 100,000 plus skilled fighting men? That might not be your obstacle, but it is easy to shy away from less intimidating tasks. Remember, when you are on God’s team you have nothing to fear. When he calls you to do something amazing, it will get done if you are available for him to use you. If you make yourself available to God, maybe one day we will be reflecting upon your great act of faith and praising God for how he empowered you to beat the odds.

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