Aug. 4, 2020 by Bob Whitaker
Maybe you have heard a saying like this, “your greatest weakness is actually a strength overdone.” As with many catchy statements like this there is some truth to them even if they are incomplete. At the very least they grab our attention. This statement, however incomplete, has an application for those who live by faith. I’m reminded of Paul’s famous statement – his strength is made perfect in my weakness. There is also a story in the Old Testament that illustrates this well in the life of Gideon (Judges 6-7). There are at least three examples in this story of how less is actually more. The first example is when God comes to Gideon and calls him a mighty warrior. This was simply not true of Gideon. He was not a soldier experienced in war and because of that he questioned the angel messenger. In effect he said “you’ve got the wrong man.” Of course, God doesn’t make mistakes so in spite of Gideon’s self-doubt God was correct. He would be a mighty warrior in the cause for which God had chosen him.
A second example of less being more is when God prepares Gideon for battle with the Midianites. They outnumber the Israelites dramatically! The scripture says it was impossible to count them because the numbers were so numerous. Gideon knows there is no way humanly possible for Israel to prevail against the hordes of Midian. Yet once again God uses less, namely a small army from Israel, and makes them greater than their enemies.
The third example of less being more is when God directs Gideon to design a battle plan. Gideon goes about it in a reasonable manner, calling on as many men as possible to enter the battle, but God changes the plan. He reduces the number of troops from 32,000 to 10,000. If that is not drastic enough, he calls Gideon to reduce the number again. Before it is all over Gideon has only 300 soldiers to face the gigantic, numberless army of the Midianites.
But there is even more … now Gideon provides some strange instructions to his 300 soldiers. They are directed to surround the enemy camp at night, break the pitchers that contained torches and shout the For the Lord and for Gideon. After that shout they are instructed to rush into the camp and fight. Can you imagine being one of the soldiers hearing these instructions – this is crazy! Of course, the end of the story is that Gideon defeats the huge army.
There are several things we learn from this story. You don’t have to be big for God to use you. You don’t have to be strong for God to use you. You don’t have to be smart for God to use you. God strips us down to prepare us.
Here are some questions for us to ponder today: 1) God, what are you doing in my life? 2) What are you trying to teach me? 3) What do I need to surrender in order to follow?