Day 8

Gideon’s Army

from the Judges reading plan


Judges 7:1-25, Isaiah 41:10, Ephesians 6:10

BY Guest Writer

Scripture Reading: Judges 7:1-25, Isaiah 41:10, Ephesians 6:10

When was the last time you were in a battle you could not win without divine intervention?

It’s hard for me to find an answer. Sure, I enjoy the occasional challenge, but I like to keep those challenges to a minimum, so I can feel capable and in control. And if I’m honest, I’m happy with this life of manageable risks—enough to create some drama, but not so much that it requires great faith. There’s an underlying pride to living like this, because when things go well, I can answer, “Oh that’s easy. I did it myself.”

News flash: God doesn’t need me, and He doesn’t need you.

I know that sounds harsh, but that’s kind of the point of Judges 7. I wonder if that’s what Gideon told his men that day as they prepared to face down the greatest enemy of their time. “Are you scared? You can leave. God doesn’t need you.” In that one moment, two-thirds of Gideon’s army walked away. Can you imagine? You’re standing there, covered in armor, and the person to your left and your right both leave. The field must have felt very empty.

But God wasn’t done whittling down the troops. He told Gideon to take his men to the water and split them into “kneelers” and “lappers.” Commentaries disagree about the “How do they drink water?” test; some argue that it was an arbitrary way to narrow down the fighting force quickly, while others wonder if the “lappers” let down their guard. Could it be that God chose to use the most irresponsible men to make the victory that much more miraculous? Regardless, what was a force of more than 30,000 at the beginning of the day had been narrowed to just 300.

We know how this story ends, but the men in Gideon’s army did not. And as much as God reassured them, on paper it was a suicide mission. This risk didn’t require strength or chariots or better weapons or more “hustle.” It required faith in divine intervention. It required them to rely on God alone, to “be strengthened by the Lord and by his vast strength” (Ephesians 6:10).

The men who went into the valley needed faith, but the men who were sent away needed it just the same. I can imagine their startled disbelief as Gideon pointed them away from the water. “Wait! We’re the fearless ones! Surely God needs us!” But He didn’t, and those men needed to know where their power came from. For the men who left and the men who went down into the valley, God’s strength combined with their faith led to an epic victory.

God loves you, but He doesn’t need you. And that isn’t harsh news—it’s freedom. No matter how deep the valley, no matter how big the army you’re up against, He’s not waiting for you to build some spiritual muscle in order to handle that challenge. He already has the strength. All He needs if for you to have faith in Him—whether He’s calling you to face it or walk away.

Gideon wasn’t the only warrior who God sent seemingly outnumbered into battle. In the war for our souls, God sent His Son Jesus to take down humanity’s greatest enemy. Jesus went into the valley alone,  voluntarily laying down His life, taking the punishment we deserve, so we could claim His victory over death as our own. This is how strong our God is. Nothing can stand up to Him. Not even death itself.

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Claire Gibson is a writer whose work has been featured in publications including The Washington Post and Entrepreneur Magazine among many others. An Army kid who grew up at West Point, New York, Claire is currently growing roots in Nashville, Tennessee, with her husband, Patrick, their son, Sam, and their dog, Winnie. Her debut novel, Beyond the Point, will be published next year.

Post Comments (90)

90 thoughts on "Gideon’s Army"

  1. lily Horler says:

    God loves you, but He doesn’t need you. And that isn’t harsh news—it’s freedom. No matter how deep the valley, no matter how big the army you’re up against, He’s not waiting for you to build some spiritual muscle in order to handle that challenge. He already has the strength. All He needs if for you to have faith in Him—whether He’s calling you to face it or walk away.

    Wow needed to hear this big time as I often fall to the lie of needing more spiritual muscle for me to gain favour with the Lord and him to help me. I need to remember he already favours me more than I could ever imagine, he has me in the palm of his hand and his will, will lead the way.

  2. Lauren Patterson says:

    Lord, did I need this today. Feeling a little overwhelmed by the amount of scripture I assigned myself to this month. Was literally just telling my husband that I just need a little “break” but kept trekking on when I opened my next study to Judges 8. ‘Exhausted yet pursuing’ ❤️

  3. a says:

    God used the responsible men. Those who drank from their hands were 300, their heads were up and therefore remained alert. They werent gonna let their guard down even for a minute by putting their head/mouth to the water. look at different versions of the bible on biblehub for verse 6. We are constantly told through scripture to remain alert.

  4. Taylor says:

    I had asked a friend for prayer last week in developing more patience. Every day that has followed, something big/unexpected/frustrating has happened – how like God to give me a crash course. Last night I was complaining to my husband that, yes, I had asked for more patience, but I felt like God had given me the trials before I had enough patience to deal with them gracefully. This is a perfectly timed reminder that God bears the weight of the trial, the heat of the battle, on my behalf. I am definitely not His strongest warrior, but He already knows that. I am certainly outnumbered, but that only shows His grace and character all the more because there is nothing I can show for myself. God is my victory and my patience.

  5. Alyssa McQuillen says:

    My dad recently passed away. 2 months tomorrow. I can remember the first couple of weeks following his passing….the pain and void seemed unbearable. Time wasn’t slowing down, but I was stuck on 6.7.18. Waiting for everything i once knew to catch up. Then i started to pray. Pray for signs that Dad was okay….and my prayers were answered. Every day I got some sort of sign. I think I saw a cardinal for the most I’ve ever seen one these past couple of months. Restoring my faith and relationship God. Been going to church. Reading scriptures. Praying. All of it….been helping me with healing. Grief is the price of love. But i know Dad is with Him, resting eternally.

    1. Dorothy says:

      Alyssa also remember you will be with your dad again one day. Prayers for you. I lost my dad a little over a year ago and remember the first few months were hard. I also know we will meet again in heaven. <3

    2. Taylor says:

      Praying for you this morning, Alyssa. I am so sorry. Thankful to God on your behalf that He has shown you His love.

    3. She Reads Truth says:

      Alyssa, we’re so sorry to hear this. Thank you for sharing and our team will be praying over you and your family during this time for peace and comfort. We’re grateful that you’re here. -Margot, The SRT Team

  6. Natasha Reyes says:

    There are so many teachers in this group! You are all in my prayers today. My teachers in high school have significantly contributed to the person I am today. Know that you are appreciated and loved. As you start another school year, remember that our commander in chief has it covered!

    1. Sylvia says:

      Thank you so much for this! I am meeting parents and students for the first time at a new high school and I definately feel overwhelmed. Reading this passage has been helpful as well as seeing your comment.

  7. Dorothy says:

    The Lord is the army that I will always need I just need to remember that. Many times I have felt like I have been fighting a battle by myself when I should have called on the Lord for strength. I am so grateful I can run to the Lord and no matter what I have done He is there for me. When I am in need He is there for me. The Lord is always there He has no “on/off switch” even though at times we may think He is not listening.

  8. Brent L says:

    My wonderful wife sent this article to me today. Just what I needed. Been battling in my own strength for too long and I know better. So good!

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