Every Man In His Place
Judges 15:18 - Judges 20:15
"Those hours in the history of God's heroes, when, on the eve of a grand deed of the sublimest faith,
the spirit wrestles with the flesh,
are holy seasons.
When in such hours the soul is seen to cast its burden upon the Lord,
we feel that we stand on holy ground."
Gideon, one of God's heroes, mighty man of valour, considered himself the least in his father's house. Was it his humility that allowed the Lord to mold him into the hero he was meant to become? With a careful reading we understand that this molding was a process, not an event. A series of moments in which Gideon learned to trust the Lord.
The Lord promised Gideon, "Surely I will be with thee..." (Judges 6:16) and Gideon asked for a sign. The asking must have come from a pure heart, with real intent, for Gideon was not punished for his questioning, but rather taught. First there rose up fire out of the rock. Then Gideon and his ten servants went by night and cast down the altar of Baal without repercussion. Last, Gideon proved the Lord with the fleece of wool on the floor. Within each lesson a measure of trust was forged, until finally Gideon learned to act on the word of the Lord without question. Without doubt. Without fear.
Once this relationship of trust was established, Gideon rose up early and prepared his army for battle. "And the Lord said unto Gideon, The people that are with thee are too many..." (Judges 7:2) The first group that was asked to leave were those who were fearful and afraid...those who did not trust the Lord and His power. 10,000 remained. Still the Lord said unto Gideon, "The people are yet too many; bring them down unto the water, and I will try them for thee there." (Joshua 7:4)
I love the way Alfred Edersheim explains this test. "If we ask about the rationale of this means of distinction, we conclude, of course, that it indicated the bravest and most ardent warriors, who would not stoop to kneel, but hastily quenched their thirst out of the hollow of their hands, in order to hasten to battle. But Jewish tradition assigns another and deeper meaning to it. It declares that the practice of kneeling was characteristic of the service of Baal. Thus the three hundred would represent those in the host of Israel ––all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal."
Now, after this final test, only 300 men remained. This last three hundred would face the camp of Midian, 135,000 people strong.
Talk about trusting the Lord.
But even more astounding is the way Gideon prepared his warriors for the battle. Their weaponry consisted of a trumpet, a pitcher, and a lamp. His counsel to them was clear, "Look on me, and do likewise...as I do, so shall ye do." (Judges 7:17)
In the moment of battle those three hundred men focused on Gideon. One of God's heroes. Mighty man of valour. A man who had proved the Lord. A servant who trusted the Lord. Implicitly. They focused on him, "...and they stood every man in his place." (Judges 7:21)
Is it trust in the Lord that enables us to stand in the place where God needs us to be?
May we always remember this profound lesson:
that we are banner bearers of the Lord Jesus Christ,
upheld by the Holy Spirit of God, faithful and true to the end,
each one devoted to give our all to the cause of Zion
and bound by covenant to stand close together and lift where we stand.