Let the Lord Fight Your Battle: A Wool Fleece, Too Many Men, and a Barley Cake

January 14, 2019 No comments exist

                                                           

After Gideon pulled down the altar of the false god Baal, the Midianites, Amalekites, and people of the East joined together to fight against the children of Israel. However, the Spirit of God filled Gideon, and he called for soldiers to fight on behalf of the children of Israel. When he blew the trumpet, the Abiezrites came. Then, messengers went out to spread the word to soldiers in Manasseh, Asher, Zebulun, and Naphtali. They all met together to prepare for battle with Israel’s enemy.

Before the battle, Gideon was not sure if God would bless them to lead Israel to a win. Gideon asked God for assurance. Gideon laid a wool fleece on the threshing floor. He asked God to make the fleece wet with dew but not the floor. Then, he would feel confident that God would lead him to the win. God did as Gideon asked. The next morning, the fleece was full of enough water to fill a bowl while the floor remained dry.

Even though God had fulfilled Gideon’s request, he asked God again to show a sign that he would lead Israel to the win. This time, Gideon asked God to make the floor wet but keep the fleece dry. God did it. Afterward, Gideon went out to battle.

Gideon and the soldiers traveled until they were close to the Midianite army camp. When they arrived, God told Gideon that he had too many men. With so many soldiers, the children of Israel would claim it was their army’s might that won the battle. However, God was the one who would save the children of Israel. God decided to reduce the number of men to ensure the children of Israel understood who won the victory.

First, God told Gideon to let all the scared people go home. Twenty-two thousand left. Ten thousand remained. But God said that there were still too many people. God said let them go to the water and drink. This was a test. Some lapped the water from their hand like a dog. Others kneeled and drunk from the water. After they finished drinking, Gideon separated the soldiers based on how they drank the water. Three-hundred lapped the water like a dog from their hand. This is who God chose to go against the Midianite army. All the others went back home. The three-hundred men took the supplies and prepared to fight. Yet, they would not fight the way they thought.

The Midianite camp was in the valley.  Gideon and his men stood above them. That night, God told Gideon to go up against the Midianites. Yet, Gideon still had some doubt.  God told Gideon he could sneak in the Midianite camp with his servant Purah. When he snuck in, God reassured him that he would come back with strength. Gideon did as God said. 

When Gideon came into the camp, he saw that the Midianites, the Amalekites, and the people of the East greatly outnumbered his men, like locust, and the number of camels looked like endless sand on the beach. Nevertheless, as Gideon came int the camp, a man was talking about his dream. In the dream, he said a barley cake rolled into their camp and gave their tent such a mighty blow that the tent laid flat to the ground. The man’s comrade responded that the dream foretold that God had given Gideon the win over the Midianite camp. After Gideon heard this, he worshipped God and returned to his own camp to ready his men.

Instead of swords, Gideon asked the men to pick up trumpets, empty jars, and torches. They marched to the outskirts of the Midianite camp. When Gideon gave the signal, all three hundred men blew their trumpets, smashed their glasses, and shouted, “A sword for God and Gideon.” This caused great confusion in the Midianite camp. The Midianite camp started fighting one another. Those who survived the fight fled. Then, the call went out to all the soldiers who fought for Israel to pursue the Midianites and their allies. Gideon and the Israelite soldiers defeated the Midianites and their allies.

Source: Judges 6:32-40; Judges 7:1-25

Discuss

  1. How do you feel when someone asks you the same question repeatedly?
  2. What is reassurance?
  3. In the story, God reassured Gideon many times that he would win. How did God reassure Gideon?
  4. Have you ever sought reassurance repeatedly? Why?
  5. Did you feel more confident with each reassurance?
  6. Do you think you could show the patience God showed Gideon?
  7. Why do you think Gideon felt he needed reassurance?
  8. In the end, God used a “strange technique” to help the children of Israel win. What did he do, and why did he do it?
  9. How often do you think people take credit for what God did? Can you give an example?
  10. What did Gideon do when he finally accepted that God was going to give him and the children of Israel the victory? Why is it important for us to do this?

Key Scriptures

  1. The Lord said to Gideon, “The people with you are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hand, lest Israel boast over me, saying, ‘My own hand has saved me.’ Judges 7:2 ESV
  2. That same night the Lord said to him, “Arise, go down against the camp, for I have given it into your hand.  Judges 7:9 ESV
  3. When Gideon came, behold, a man was telling a dream to his comrade. And he said, “Behold, I dreamed a dream, and behold, a cake of barley bread tumbled into the camp of Midian and came to the tent and struck it so that it fell and turned it upside down, so that the tent lay flat.”And his comrade answered, “This is no other than the sword of Gideon the son of Joash, a man of Israel; God has given into his hand Midian and all the camp.” As soon as Gideon heard the telling of the dream and its interpretation, he worshiped. And he returned to the camp of Israel and said, “Arise, for the Lord has given the host of Midian into your hand.” Judges 7:13-15 ESV 

Thoughts

  1. God is an assuring God. If He said it, it is done.
  2. The battle is won! We only need to accept that it is won to receive the victory.
  3. When you have received what God has promised you, give honor where honor is due. Worship Him.
  4. When God wins your battle for you, it is won in a manner that no doubt exists that you have won.

Prayer

Father God, thank you for reassuring grace. Thank you for your patience. Each day of our lives, we ask that you open our eyes to see how you are helping us win battles, and may we serve as a witness to you to all people. We ask this in Jesus’s name. Amen.

Challenge

Rest in God’s assurance. 

Comment

After reading this story about Gideon, what did you learn and how will you apply what you learned to your life?

Print the Bible Study Lesson. Click below.

Let the Lord Fight Your Battle – A Wool Fleece, Too Many Men, and a Barley Cake

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