October 18, 2021
Judges 7:4-6 (NIV)
But the Lord said to Gideon, “There are still too many men. Take them down to the water, and I will thin them out for you there. If I say, ‘This one shall go with you,’ he shall go; but if I say, ‘This one shall not go with you,’ he shall not go.”
5 So Gideon took the men down to the water. There the Lord told him, “Separate those who lap the water with their tongues as a dog laps from those who kneel down to drink.” 6 Three hundred of them drank from cupped hands, lapping like dogs. All the rest got down on their knees to drink.
Can you even imagine this?
But the Lord said to Gideon, “There are still too many men. Take them down to the water, and I will thin them out for you there.
The shoe is solidly on the other foot now, isn’t it? We have gone from Gideon testing God to God testing Gideon.
So Gideon took the men down to the water. There the Lord told him, “Separate those who lap the water with their tongues as a dog laps from those who kneel down to drink.”
I’ve heard preachers try to churchsplain this to mean that those soldiers who cupped the water into their hands were the real warriors because they did not drop to their knees but stayed in a battle ready position. Then we get this.
Three hundred of them drank from cupped hands, lapping like dogs. All the rest got down on their knees to drink.
Can you imagine? 300 tongue rappers! Yep! That should do the trick.
Let’s make sure we are doing the same math here. Gideon started with ten servants from his father’s staff. He issued the call to arms and fielded a team of 32,000. He let everyone who trembled in fear go home which reduced the army by 22,000, leaving 10,000. Now we are down to 300.
Here’s the point. This is not a story about Gideon. It is certainly not a story about battle strategy or leadership. It is not even a story about faith (though Gideon does get honorable mention in the famed Hall of Faith. See Hebrews 11:32.) This is a story about God.
In fact, that is what the whole story of the Bible is about: the one true God of Heaven and Earth—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Over and over and over we try to make the Bible about us. Our main question tends to be, “How does this apply to my life? What is this telling me to do? How is this relevant?” It’s just not really the question the Bible is asking nor answering. The Bible aspires first, middle, and last to do one thing: reveal God. The Word of God and the Spirit of God are ever working to reveal the Eternal God to mortal human beings—to lift our eyes to the hills with the clarion query, “From where does our help come?”
Our help comes from the Lord, the maker of Heaven and Earth.
This is a story about God.
There is simply no one like him.
Father, I stand amazed and in awe of you. You God. You, alone. You are amazing, astounding, and the more I see you the more I want to see you more. Thank you for your Word and your Spirit and the gift of revelation. Help me to fathom you more today than I did yesterday, and then again tomorrow. That will be enough. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Think about the last sermon you heard (or preached)? How much of it was really revealing who God is and what God is like and how God works and how much of it was really more about people and at best indirectly about God? As a preacher, I live under conviction a lot on this very point.
For the Awakening,