Friday, July 17, 2020

Unconventional Weapons

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.'" Judges 7:16-18 

Gideon knew something about fighting battles, but God gave him some new knowledge on fighting His way.  The story of Gideon is so powerful and there are so many lessons we can learn from it.  

Unconventional Weapons Gideon was about to lead an army into battle – against an army much bigger - the Midianites. Gideon had started with more men, but God had narrowed his army down to 300 men. Gideon’s little army of 300 was going up against an army of thousands and I am sure all of their jaws dropped when Gideon told them what their weapons would be.  After he divided the men into three groups, he gave them each a trumpet, an empty pitcher, and a torch to go inside the pitcher.  He did not even give a “conventional” weapon, not a sword, bow and arrow or even a shield to hide behind.  These were the weapons that God told Gideon he needed for this battle.  As the verse above says, they were to blow their trumpets, smash their pitchers, hold their torches high and yell “For the Lord and for Gideon”.  That would make quite a display and be a bit startling in the middle of the night. And believe it or not, it worked! When the Midianites heard the trumpets and saw the torches surrounding  their camp, they cried out and fled in every direction, bringing a triumphant victory for Gideon and the Israelites. 

These were not weapons like we think of weapons.  These were common items.  But God takes the insignificant and makes it significant.  These pitchers were not strong.  They had to be able to break upon impact.  This weakness was not a liability like we think of weakness so often.  To serve the purpose God had for them, the weakness was effective.  The pitchers frailty benefited the ultimate purpose – allowing the light to be seen.  We are like broken vessels.  Sometimes our weakness allows Christ to be seen and darkness to be dispelled.  Your weakness is one of your greatest assets.  God’s presence and power are best seen when our large, impressive personalities aren’t getting in the way.   So welcome your weakness and allow God to use it for His purpose.  

Unconventional Wisdom
There are two important things to learn from Gideon, his army, and this battle.  The first is that God is usually not conventional.  The bible tells us that His ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts.  There was nothing conventional or normal about Gideon’s strategy or the weapons.  This was an unusual battle strategy and unusual weapons.  God sometimes gives us unusual weapons for unusual battles.  Even if the weapons don’t make sense to you, God is still in command of the troops.

The second great thing to learn from this story is the fact that Gideon didn’t question God on this.  He had asked for proof from God that God would do as He promised but when God told Gideon how to position his men, what weapons to give them and how to attack, Gideon didn’t even blink.  He went to his men and did as God had said.  He trusted him completely to keep His promise.  His men did not question him either when he told them what their weapons were to be and how they were going to execute the attack.  Not one of the men refused, disdained, or tried to switch the weapons for something more conventional.  No one called Gideon a fool or argued with him on either point, the strategy or the weapons.  Gideon did not question or doubt God’s command and Gideon’s men did not question him either, even though they were outnumbered 450 to 1!  They all trusted completely.  

We are all fighting battles.  We all have giants we have to go up against every day.  Pray to God to reveal His strategy and weapons for the specific battle you are facing.  When it seems like none of it makes sense, trust the commander.  Gideon’s victory was won with unusual weapons which serve as a constant reminder of the Power of God.  He knows the battle and He knows the end of the story.  Don’t try to fight the battle on your own power or with your own weapons.  God calls us to do the impossible, not the easy, but He will equip us for the battle.

…but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, Corinthians 1:27  

By Lara Cook

Devotional Archive