The Sword of the Lord, and of Gideon

Today’s Passage – Judges 7 – 8 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – 1 Peter 1 – 5Proverbs 22Psalms 106 – 110

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song –  Psalm 47:1

Read a previous post from this passage – “Little is Much.”

Read the “0322 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“20 And the three companies blew the trumpets, and brake the pitchers, and held the lamps in their left hands, and the trumpets in their right hands to blow withal: and they cried, The sword of the LORD, and of Gideon.” (Judges 7:20)

In Judges six, we saw God’s calling of Gideon to lead Israel against the Midianites who had been oppressing them for seven years. Though Gideon is insecure and reluctant, God assures him that he is the man that God has chosen, and the man that God will equip and bless to bring victory to Israel. God gives Gideon three assurances in chapter six:

            He asks the Angel of the Lord to give him a sign (v. 17), which the Angel does by consuming with fire the sacrifice and the unleavened cakes that Gideon placed upon a rock.

            He also asked God to make his fleece wet while the ground remained dry.

            Finally, he asks God to keep the fleece dry while the ground around it is wet.

Chapter Seven

Here, in this chapter, we will see that God will once again encourage and assure Gideon that he is doing exactly what God wants him to do.  

I        The Lord Culls the Crowd (vs. 1 – 8)

God does not need a big crowd to win His battles or to fulfill His will. God wanted to be sure that the people knew that the victory came from Him. 

The army of Israel started out with 32,000. Gideon invited the fearful to leave and they immediately lost 10,000 and were down to 22,000. By the way – it is an amazing thing that Gideon did not leave. Then the Lord set up a test at the watering hole, and there he lost almost the entire army, leaving only 300 left to fight against the huge numbers of Midianites. 

This world is enamored with big numbers. big churches, big businesses. Growth is good if God is in it, but growth should not be the primary goal. We want to reach people, and we want to see people saved, for the Lord’s sake and for their good, not just so we can inflate our egos. God should be our primary goal, not numeric growth. If we are faithful to the Lord, He will probably give the increase, but if He doesn’t, we should still be content. Little is much when God is in it. God does not need big numbers. God’s people need a big God.

“And Joab answered, The LORD make his people an hundred times so many more as they be: but, my lord the king, are they not all my lord’s servants? why then doth my lord require this thing? why will he be a cause of trespass to Israel?” (1 Chronicles 21:3)

“And Jonathan said to the young man that bare his armour, Come, and let us go over unto the garrison of these uncircumcised: it may be that the LORD will work for us: for there is no restraint to the LORD to save by many or by few.” (1 Samuel 14:6)

We learn from Judges 8:10 that there were 135,000 Midianites that they were about to go up against.

God does not need gifted people, either:

“Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence.” (1 Corinthians 1:25-29)

“And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:7-10)

But, be sure about this: the three hundred men that Gideon had left were all in. I would rather have 50 people who were sold out for the Lord than 5000 who were all about themselves. These 300 men that were left were being watched, and God liked what He saw in them. Warren Wiersbe said:

“Make every occasion a great occasion, for you can never tell when somebody may be taking your measure for a larger place.”[1]

II       The Lord Cheers Up Gideon and Causes the Midianites to Fear (vs. 7 – 15)

The dream was God’s way of assuring Gideon that everything was OK; that he was doing exactly what God wanted him to do, and that all would be well. Gideon was a little bit insecure. This is now the fourth time that God reassures him.

III       The Lord Conceives a Strange Attack Plan (vs. 16 – 22)

Note – “middle watch” in v. 19 is from 10 PM – 2 AM.

God does not do things our way. 

“O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!” (Romans 11:33)

Notice also that Gideon leads by example (v. 17)

IV      Israel Chases the Enemy (vs. 23 – 25) 

Gideon chases the enemy completely to the other side of the Jordan River. Sometimes, we win the battle, but we fail to drive the enemy completely out of our lives, which allows them to regain strength again. 

Notice the story starts with Gideon hiding by a winepress and ends with the enemies of Gideon being slain by a winepress.


The big problems that you have in your life are not big problems to God. The big enemies that you face are not big to God. God is well able to multiple your feeble efforts to fulfill His will. The widow’s mite was an awful lot of money in the hands of God. The little lad’s lunch of loaves and fishes was multiplied to feed 5000 men, and possible 15,000 more women and children. Little is much when God is in it.

Chapter Eight

In chapter eight, we see the conclusion of the campaign against the Midianites, and we learn what happens to Gideon afterwards, and what happens to Israel when Gideon is gone.

I        Gideon Placates the Ephraimites Anger (vs. 1 – 3)

As the Midianites were escaping to the south and east, Gideon called upon Ephraim, which was located to the south of the location of the battle. They were strategically in the right spot to cut off many of the escaping Midianites, and they were able to capture and kill two of the princes of Midian, Oreb and Zeeb.

However, the Ephraimites were upset because Gideon had not initially called them to fight. (See Judges 6:35) I am not sure of the reason that Gideon didn’t call for them at the beginning of the battle, but he assures them that their role at the end of the battle was critical to Israel’s success.

Don’t be offended if you are not asked to do something. It may be that God is reserving you for something bigger later.

Illustrate – I wanted to teach the 4th – 6th grade class but wasn’t asked. Later, however, Pastor Wedemeyer asked me to be his youth director.

II       Gideon Pursues After the Remaining Midianites (vs. 8 – 12)

The men of Succoth and Penuel both chose the wrong side. They calculated that the 15,000 left from Midian should easily conquer these 300 from Israel. They calculated against God. Always a mistake. 

Always take the side of what is right, regardless of what you think the consequences may be. Sometimes it looks as if the devil’s crowd is winning, but you should always side with God’s people.

Note – “discomfited” means “terrified.”

III       Gideon Punishes Succoth and Penuel (vs. 13 – 17)

Gideon teaches Succoth a lesson, and they he kills all the men of Penuel. These cities reaped what they sowed. They were warned, but they made a bad decision, and God was giving them exactly what he warned them that he would give.

IV       Gideon Puts an End to the Princes of Midian. (vs. 18 – 21)

These princes were brutal men who had murdered members of Gideon’s family. 

Notice that Jether was asked by his father to put these princes to death, but he refused. 

It would have been humiliating for (and possibly more painful) for these kings to be killed by Jether, rather than Gideon. Perhaps he was afraid. Maybe, he wasn’t ready. Maybe, he wasn’t gifted to be a warrior.

V       Gideon Produces an Ephod (vs. 22 – 27)

Gideon turns down the offer of being their king. This is the first mention of Israel desiring a king.

The ephod eventually became an idol that the people worshipped.

Hezekiah had the same problem with the brazen serpent. People were worshipping it, so Hezekiah destroyed it. (2 Kings 18:4)

Note – 700 shekels = 42.5 pounds.

VI      Gideon Passes and the People Forget God and Gideon’s Family (vs. 28 – 35)Israel failed to continue to worship the Lord, and they also failed to appreciate Gideon.

[1] Wiersbe, W. W. (1994). Be available (p. 60). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

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Desiree Ann Jones
Desiree Ann Jones
2 months ago

we need to worship with the lord twenty four hours seven days a week. we need to have prayer everyday. with our lord. we need to let god in our hearts and open the doors for god. because he can make a change. in the world today
because of what is going on around the world. we need to be thankful. we need to be able to let god know where we stand. and what we need in our life for the best. god is in control of our daily lives and in the bible. we need to ask god how can we change for the best. what can we do to make a difference in the world. whare is god leading our path. my question is to you. are you worshipping the lord are you praying everyday. are you having open conversations with god. so god can understand you and what you need from him. everyday. what can you do to come in contact with the lord. are you reading your bible faithfully are you doing your bible verses. daily. studying your bible verses taking notes. coming to choir rehearsal. on sundays. everyone should be taking up discipleship to honor and glorify the lord. are you ready to walk with the lord. everyday. we can overcome obstacles and challenges. every day what can you do to come to church faithfully. we ask god everyday what do we want in life. you can go above and beyond in the word of the lord.

Bob Fenton
Bob Fenton
2 months ago

Amen the post.

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