The God of the Odds
Day: 31 | Plan: Joshua-Judges
Today's Reading: Judges 7
Judges 7:2 (NIV) “The LORD said to Gideon, ‘You have too many men. I cannot deliver Midian into their hands, or Israel would boast against me, “My own strength has saved me.”’”
Have you ever felt like the odds were against you? That you couldn’t possibly overcome the challenges overwhelming you? Gideon was a man who faced difficult odds, but then God made Gideon’s chances of success even more implausible.
But with God, odds don’t matter and chances aren’t “chance.” He is the God of the odds.
Gideon and his army are camped along the spring of Harod, which means “to tremble.” So Gideon, already a shaky warrior, is camped with his army beside “trembling waters.” God’s people were preparing to wage war against the Midianite army, estimated around 200,000 strong.
Before battle, God tells Gideon that Israel’s 32,000 men are too many. He knows that Israel would take credit for their victory over the massive Midianite army. So God shrinks Gideon’s army to an unimpressive 300 men. Then these 300 men sound their trumpets and throw more than 200,000 Midianite fighters into panic so that Israel easily overtakes them.
I love this story. There are times in Scripture where we have to wonder why God acted as He did. Not here. He tells us, explicitly. God will not allow Israel to boast in their own strength and keep glory for themselves.
How well God knows our hearts! Did you notice, God says that He will give Israel victory; He will deliver the Midianites into their hands? It wasn’t their size, even at 32,000, that guaranteed the victory. God would do it!
If Gideon’s full enlistment had fought and beaten the significantly larger Midianite army, would they have seen it as a miraculous victory? Would Israel have seen God’s hand of provision and protection? Would they have acknowledged that He alone deserved the glory?
No, they wouldn’t. Sadly, I’m so much like Israel. The truth is, I’ll look for ways to pat myself on the back and keep some of the glory for me. I like to think I helped God along and perhaps I made a difference. Some of this is selfish for sure. However, some of it comes from a genuine desire to want to be useful and effective for God. But any time I make myself bigger, I make God smaller. Our God refuses to be made small.
And that’s such a good thing. Because look what our big God does! He thwarts massive armies with simply the sound of trumpets. That’s the testimony of Judges 7. But we could tell countless other odd-defying stories of God’s glory, couldn’t we?
He cures cancer.
He restores marriages.
He brings rebellious children back.
He overcomes broken yesterdays to produce faith-filled tomorrows.
These testimonies usually come from circumstances that were desperate and overwhelming. When the odds were impossible. When we had nothing left but God. When we couldn’t keep any of the glory for ourselves.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, I regularly look at my life through the lens of odds and gambles, chances and long shots. Your will is always a sure thing! Thank You for making me desperate, even when I don’t want to be. Thank You that desperate circumstances make me more dependent on you and bring you the glory You deserve. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Judges 7 records another instance where trumpets sounding indicate the sovereign and... Read More
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