Scripture teaches time and time again that bad choices lead to bad outcomes. Man’s disregard for God and His Word leads to destruction. Throughout the Old Testament, Israel chose to do evil in God’s sight, turning from Him and worshiping idols. Such was the case in the book of Judges.
For seven years, God gave His people into the hands of their enemies, the Midianites (Judges 6:1). Each year at harvest, the Midianites would invade Israel from the east like swarms of locusts and ravage the land, taking its grain harvest. Impoverished, the Israelites fled to the mountains to hide in caves, clefts, and strongholds.
When we visit the Spring of Harod (Gideon’s Spring) today at the base of Mount Gilboa, the account of Gideon and his 300 men comes into focus. Gideon gathered 32,000 Israelites at the spring (Judges 7:1–3). Across the valley, four miles to the north, the Midianite army of 135,000 was encamped on the hill of Moreh.
Gideon and his men had a direct line of sight to this terrifying Midianite army that outnumbered Israel’s army four to one. But Gideon didn’t have to trust in his own strength. God told him to send the fearful men home; and 22,000 departed, leaving 10,000 men (v. 3). Then He told Gideon to take the rest to the stream flowing from the spring and have them drink water. God chose only those who lapped the water, leaving Gideon with only 300 men. “By the three hundred men who lapped I will save you, and deliver the Midianites into your hand” (v. 7).
That night, Gideon’s 300 men took trumpets, along with lamps shielded by pitchers (but no weapons), and surrounded the Midianite camp. They blew their horns, broke their pitchers, and shouted, “The sword of the LORD and of Gideon!” (v. 20). Every man stood in his place as God confused the Midianite army and turned their swords against one another (vv. 21–22). Thus, the Midianite army was defeated without Gideon or his men wielding a single sword.
The lesson of Israel’s victory is clear: The God who judged Israel for doing evil is also the God who saves Israel. When the “battle” ended, no one but God could take the credit. Gideon’s Spring reminds us how much we need God. He alone provides salvation from judgment for us through His Son, Jesus Christ.
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