For those of you who are movie enthusiasts, I’m not referring to the 2006 hit movie which portrayed how King Leonidas and a force of 300 men fought bravely against the Persians at Thermopylae in 480 B.C. Rather, I’m referring to the victory God gave Gideon and his 300 men against the mighty Midianite army that numbered at least 135,000. Judges 7:1-8.
Although the odds were numerically overwhelming in favour of the Midianites, God did an interesting thing by choosing to whittle down the size of Gideon’s army. He did it in two stages. Firstly, God instructed Gideon to let the men who were afraid go back to their homes. 22,000 men quickly hurried off to be with their loved ones! That left Gideon with 10,000 men. At this point, Gideon must have been concerned about how on earth God was going to win this battle for them. He was in for a greater shock because God took it to another level with His next instruction.
The 10,000 men were led to a body of water and Gideon was asked to observe how they drank. 9,700 men got down on their knees and buried their faces in the water but 300 men crouched and scooped the water with their hands. These were the men that God handpicked to make up Gideon’s army. The odds were 450 to 1! People must have thought that Gideon had lost his mind but God knew exactly what He was doing. He was not about to allow Israel boast about this victory. He was going to take all the glory.
Why did God choose those 300? What was it about them? These men stood out to God because in squatting to drink rather than burying their faces in the water, they showed an alertness and concern for God’s work. They honoured God’s call more than they honoured their personal needs and that caught God’s attention. If such an army were to be picked today, would you make the final cut? Are you a soldier with a cutting edge, always alert to God’s will for your life? I pray we will rightly honour His call.