The LORD said to Gideon, “You have too many men, I cannot deliver Midian into their hands, or Israel would boast against me, ‘My own strength has saved me.’ . . . So twenty-two thousand men left, while ten thousand remained.
But the LORD said to Gideon, “There are still too many men. Take them down to the water, and I will thin them out for you there. If I say, “This one shall go with you, he shall go; but if I say, ‘This one shall not go with you,’ he shall not go.”
. . . Three hundred of them drank from cupped hands, lapping like dogs. All the rest got down on their knees to drink.
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 the others go home.” Judges 7:2-7
There is strength in numbers! That is very true under most circumstances but not necessarily so in every situation. There are times when numbers can become a spiritual hindrance to victory!
God was about to deliver one of the most astonishing victories in all of Scripture to His people. Gideon had assembled a force of thirty-two thousand. Quite impressive! But God was totally unimpressed! God asked Gideon to drastically reduce the number. In fact, God Himself gave the criterion for inclusion and reduced the size of the army from thirty-two thousand to a mere three hundred men! This was less than one percent of the original number! With that lean fighting force, God dealt an astonishing defeat to the Midianites under the leadership of Gideon.
Could God have used the larger fighting force to secure the victory? Absolutely! But God gave a reason for preferring the smaller force: “You have too many men, I cannot deliver Midian into their hands, or Israel would boast against me, ‘My own strength has saved me.’
That is spiritually insightful! God knows how prideful we can be! He does not need our pride!
God desires to deliver and bless His people but He does not want us to boast in any shape, form, or fashion about what we have accomplished. God has made it clear that He would never share His glory with anyone. The truth is: Because humans are made in the image of God, we are on a constant quest to share God’s glory with Him. Somehow, we have a restless propensity to share the limelight with God. God would have none of that. The glory belongs to Him alone!
Food for thought: First, could it be that the reason God hasn’t “moved” in your life is simply because He is waiting to reduce “your fighting force” from thirty-two thousand to three hundred so you would not take all the credit and glory for yourself? Are you listening to Him?