God Honors our faith

. God honors our faith (Jdg. 7:15b–25)
“But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Heb. 11:6, NKJV). Faith means more than simply trusting God; it also means seeking God and wanting to please Him. We don’t trust God just to get Him to do things for us. We trust Him because it brings joy to His heart when His children rely on Him, seek Him, and please Him.
How did God reward Gideon’s faith?
God gave him wisdom to prepare the army (7:15b–18). Gideon was a new man when he and his servant returned to the Israelite camp. His fears and doubts were gone as he mobilized his small army and infused courage into their hearts by what he said and did. “The Lord has delivered the camp of Midian into your hand,” he announced to the men (v. 15, NKJV). As Vance Havner said, faith sees the invisible (victory in a battle not yet fought) and does the impossible (wins the battle with few men and peculiar weapons).
Gideon’s plan was simple but effective. He gave each of his men a trumpet to blow, a jar to break, and a torch to burn. They would encircle the enemy camp, the torches inside the jars and their trumpets in their hands. The trumpets were rams’ horns (the shofar) such as Joshua used at Jericho, and perhaps this connection with that great victory helped encourage Gideon and his men as they faced the battle. At Gideon’s signal, the men would blow the trumpets, break the pitchers, reveal the lights, and then shout, “The sword of the Lord and of Gideon!” God would do the rest.
Gideon was the example for them to follow. “Watch me....Follow my lead....Do exactly as I do” (v. 17, NIV). Gideon had come a long way since the day God had found him hiding in the winepress! No longer do we hear him asking “If—why—where?” (6:13) No longer does he seek for a sign. Instead, he confidently gave orders to his men, knowing that the Lord would give them the victory.
It has been well said that the Good News of the Gospel is we don’t have to stay the way we are. Through faith in Jesus Christ, anybody can be changed. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Cor. 5:17, NKJV). Jesus said to Andrew’s brother, “You are Simon [“a hearer”]....You shall be called Cephas [“a stone”]” (John 1:42, NKJV). “You are—you shall be!” That’s good news for anybody who wants a new start in life. God can take a weak piece of clay like Simon and make a rock out of him! God can take a doubter like Gideon and make a general out of him!
God gave him courage to lead the army (vv. 19–22). Gideon led his small army from the Spring of Harod (“trembling”) to the Valley of Jezreel, where they all took their places around the camp. At Gideon’s signal, they all blew their rams’ horns, broke the jars, and shouted, “The sword of the Lord and of Gideon!” Finding themselves surrounded by sudden light and loud noises, the Midianites assumed that they were being attacked by a large army, and the result was panic. The Lord intervened and put a spirit of confusion in the camp, and the Midianites began to kill each other. Then they realized that the safest thing to do was flee. Thus they took off on the caravan route to the southeast with the Israelite army pursuing.
God gave him opportunity to enlarge the army (vv. 23–25). It was obvious that 300 men couldn’t pursue thousands of enemy soldiers, so Gideon sent out a call for more volunteers. I’m sure that many of the men from the original army of 32,000 responded to Gideon’s call, and even the proud tribe of Ephraim came to his aid. To them was given the honor of capturing and slaying Oreb (“raven”) and Zeeb (“wolf”), the two princes of Midian. The story of Gideon began with a man hiding in a winepress (6:11), but it ended with the enemy prince being slain at a winepress.
Gideon’s great victory over the Midianites became a landmark event in the history of Israel, not unlike the Battle of Waterloo for Great Britain, for it reminded the Jews of God’s power to deliver them from their enemies. The day of Midian was a great day that Israel would never forget (Ps. 83:11; Isa. 9:4; 10:26).
The church today can also learn from this event and be encouraged by it. God doesn’t need large numbers to accomplish His purposes, nor does He need especially gifted leaders. Gideon and his 300 men were available for God to use, and He enabled them to conquer the enemy and bring peace to the land. When the church starts to depend on “bigness”—big buildings, big crowds, big budgets—then faith becomes misplaced, and God can’t give His blessing. When leaders depend on their education, skill, and experience rather than in God, then God abandons them and looks for a Gideon.
The important thing is for us to be available for God to use just as He sees fit. We may not fully understand His plans, but we can fully trust His promises; and it’s faith in Him that gives the victory.

Wiersbe, Warren W.: Be Available. Wheaton, IL : Victor Books, 1996, c1994 (An Old Testament Study), S. 64
  May 2018  
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