Less Is More

Less Is More

  • The narrative of Gideon and the battle with the Midianites is an aspirational story that exemplifies how “less is more.”  
  • Judges 6:11-16  The angel of the Lord came and sat down under the oak in Ophrah that belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, where his son Gideon was threshing wheat in a winepress to keep it from the Midianites. When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.”
    “Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our ancestors told us about when they said, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up out of Egypt?’ But now the Lord has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian.”
    The Lord turned to him and said, “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?”
    “Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.”
    The Lord answered, “I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites, leaving none alive.”
  • The key to understanding our text is Judges 7:2 The Lord said to Gideon, “You have too many men…”
  • Judges 7:3-8 Now announce to the army, ‘Anyone who trembles with fear may turn back and leave Mount Gilead.’” So twenty-two thousand men left, while ten thousand remained.
    But the Lord said to Gideon, “There are still too many men. Take them down to the water, and I will thin them out for you there. If I say, ‘This one shall go with you,’ he shall go; but if I say, ‘This one shall not go with you,’ he shall not go.”
    So Gideon took the men down to the water. There the Lord told him, “Separate those who lap the water with their tongues as a dog laps from those who kneel down to drink.”Three hundred of them drank from cupped hands, lapping like dogs. All the rest got down on their knees to drink.
    The Lord said to Gideon, “With the three hundred men that lapped I will save you and give the Midianites into your hands. Let all the others go home.” So Gideon sent the rest of the Israelites home but kept the three hundred, who took over the provisions and trumpets of the others.
  • What started out as 4:1, went to 13:1, then ended up at 450:1.
  • When we come to the account of the actual events of the battle we find that (1) That no more than 300 men were needed for the task they were to perform; (2) That any more than 300 men would have been a detriment to Israel’s strategy; and (3) That the provisions given the 300 by those who were sent back were exactly what the 300 needed to perform their task.


APPLICATION

  • From God’s perspective, you are in the situation you are meant to be. Some would say God is not with us because we find ourselves weaker in comparison to others around us.
  • But unlike almost all other battles, ours is not a battle between 2 armies —- it is simply something God is using to build our faith and trust by demonstrating His power and authority.
  • There are people and situations that can only change when a change of heart happens. And that is exactly where God works the best.
  • Most of us still rely on what we have to make life better, so Imagine if God took away 99% of what we have and value.  People who are truly dependent on God are used to losing or disregarding a lot — at least in appearances anyway.  Have you ever given something up because you realized God did not need it to accomplish his purpose?
  • Only when there is less of us can there be more of God.

VISION

  • “What is unthinkable and undoable on my own becomes unstoppable when it’s God and me” is the hinge on which everything in life turns.
  • There is a good deal in the Christian life that appears on the surface ineffectual, weak, unimpressive — a talking head preaching the Bible, bread and wine in the Lord’s Supper, a weak, broken, crucified Jewish Rabbi. But the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but spiritual and mighty for tearing down strongholds.
  • Things around us can seem to be swirling out of control, but there’s this inner reality: God is enough. That is why Paul said, I can do all things. I can sit in a prison cell and face anything life has to throw at me through him who gives me strength.
  • God knows about the Midianites in your life. He knows about your worries. He knows about your kids. He knows what you’ve lost. He knows about the marriage. He knows about your finances. He knows about where you are stagnant and where your dreams have died. But he has better dreams for you. If you just ask him, he will be a bigger presence in your life than you have ever imagined.
  • What was true for Gideon and the Israelites – for Moses and the Israelites – for Jesus and the disciples and the cross – is true for us – as 21st century followers of Jesus Christ, with God we have all that we will ever need or want.

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