Thursday, September 24, 2020

Unconventional Miracles from an Unconventional God

 Thursday, September 24, 2020   Submitted by Lara Cook

And he divided the 300 men into three companies and put trumpets into the hands of all of them and empty jars, with torches inside the jars. And he said to them, Look at me, and do likewise. When I come to the outskirts of the camp, do as I do. When I blow the trumpet, I and all who are with me, then blow the trumpets also on every side of all the camp and shout, ‘For the LORD and for Gideon.’ Judges 7:16-18

Unconventional Miracles from an Unconventional God

This past Sunday Brother Van wrapped up his sermons on Gideon, and this devotional will be the last one about Gideon for now.  The story of Gideon is so powerful and there are so many lessons we can have taken away from it, and we have just barely scratched the surface.  One very distinct and unusual twist in the story of Gideon is the battle scene itself, which Brother Van didn’t have time to talk about last week.  There are two specific points about the battle scene that really stand out: the strategy and the weapons. 

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. Then the three companies blew the trumpets and broke the jars. They held in their left hands the torches, and in their right hands the trumpets to blow. And they cried out, “A sword for the LORD and for Gideon!”
2 Judges 7:19-20

The Strategy
The bible says that Gideon’s army approached the outskirts of the enemy’s camp at the beginning of the middle watch.  There were three night watches.  The first was from 8:00 pm to midnight, the second or “middle” watch was from midnight to 4:00 am and the last watch was from 4:00 am to 8:00 am.  This makes midnight the beginning of the second watch, which was when Gideon and his men surprised their enemies.  This is the middle of the night, the darkest part of the night and the beginning of the new shift.  Gideon divided his 300 men into three groups of 100 men in each group.  Then he told them to circle all around the camp – the very large camp housing literally thousands of enemy soldiers.  He wanted them to be heard and seen from every direction around the camp.  This is a great idea, but when you take 300 men and stretch them out all the way around a camp that big, in the darkest part of the night, it was almost as it they were all sent out to fight alone.  Some scholars believe they were probably so far apart that they couldn’t even see the person next to them, especially given the darkness. It would feel much like fighting a battle literally all alone.  Not to mention the weapons they were given.

The Weapons
This may be the most unbelievable part.  Here was Gideon’s little army of three hundred going up against this army of thousands and I am sure all of their jaws dropped when Gideon told them what their weapon 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 “normal” weapon, not a sword or even a shield to hide behind. 

These two aspects are so very typical of how God works. He is a miracle worker and wants His power to be evident to all. I believe His power was quite evident to Gideon and his men since the enemy scattered as fast as they could when they started blowing trumpets and smashing pitchers in the dark of the night. I am sure the Midianites were confused and terrified as they were startled out of their sleep by these loud noises coming from all sides of their camp. I would imagine this made 300 men sound more like 300 thousand!

Our God fights our battles using the most unconventional weapons and strategy. If He did things the way we think He should, what would distinguish Him as God? He will not be predictable or conventional. His ways are not our ways – thankfully! When despair takes over, we need a God who can work above and beyond what we can comprehend. It is the limits we put on Him, because of the limits of our human comprehension, that cause us to despair. He is a miracle worker and miracles are only miracles because there is no way in the human mind that we can work it out. If we could figure it out, we would think we can do it in our own power and where would be the miracle in that? Thank Him today for His limitless and boundless power to work unconventional miracles in our lives – power that He never withholds - even when we don’t deserve it.

But Jesus looked at them and said, With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.  Matthew 19:26

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