Judges 6 starts out with the Israelites hiding in caves in the mountains. Their enemy, the Midianites, would attack and take everything they had, from crops to livestock. Israel was starving and cried out to God for His help. Gideon had set up a threshing floor for wheat in an abandoned winepress. Normally, wheat was threshed out in the open, up on a hill so the wind could naturally blow away the chaff. But Gideon was threshing inside, where he could stay hidden and protect his food source from the enemy.
A principle we regularly see in Scripture is that God often chooses the guy who believes he is last in line for anything. Gideon certainly made his lack of belief in himself clear by declaring himself a wimp when God saw a warrior.
Fast forward to Judges 7. Theologians believe that the Midianite raiding parties numbered over 100,000 men strong. Gideon had managed to pull together an army roughly one-third the size. But God was about to create some interesting math with his new warrior leader.
With 32,000 men, God told Gideon he had too many warriors because even at three-to-one odds, they would take the glory for themselves if they were victorious. So Gideon announced that if anyone was afraid, they could leave and go home with no consequences. And 22,000 guys got up and walked away, leaving just 10,000 men.
Again, God again told Gideon that there were too many warriors. He gave Gideon instructions in a crazy way to cull them, and 300 men passed God's test. God essentially said, “Okay, you’re good now. You’ll win.” Little did Gideon know that God had devised a plan where not a single Israelite would do battle.
There are seasons in life when we start to believe that we must have certain people on our team to win a battle. Or we think a certain goal can be reached only by a certain number of people. Using Gideon’s opening scene as an analogy, we can also be hiding in fear in a winepress when we should be up on the hill threshing in faith.
The key to Gideon’s story is found in Judges 6:16: “The LORD said to him, ‘I will be with you.’”
Is there a circumstance in your life where fear may be keeping you from believing God has called you a mighty warrior?