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BEING WITH THE HEAVENLY FATHER -
......DEVOTIONS FOR LAMBS.
No. 150
From Wendy Howard [Editor of Despatch magazine], Sunshine Coast, Qld, Australia.
Access Online  http://www.despatch.cth.com.au/Main/tabco_main

Getting to know God together.

GIDEON - A MAN OF COURAGE.
The first thing Gideon, the son of Joash, did was to get rid of Israel’s false god!
The Midianites has brought a horrid god called Baal. Israel now had an altar to Baal. So Gideon destroyed that altar and put up an altar to the real God Almighty. The men of the city were angry, but the Lord was with Gideon and they could not stand against him. But the Midianites gathered an army in the valley of Jezreel (Judges 6:33). They wanted to destroy Gideon. It was this danger that made Gideon put out the fleece (the sheep skin) to be sure God was with him (Judges 6:37-40). He said to God:
“If thou wilt (will) save Israel by my hand, as thou hast said.” (Judges 6:36).

Gideon called a huge army together (Judges 6:35). But God did something very strange! I wonder if you can guess why God did this odd thing? Read on and think hard. Why would God do this? What was it about? God said, “ Who-so-ever is fearful and afraid, let him return and depart (go) early from mount Gilead.” What!  If the soldiers are frightened send them home? Do you know 22,000 men went back to their homes. But God wasn’t finished yet. He got rid of another 9,700 men by using a very strange test. See if you can work out what the test showed:

“So he brought down the people unto the water: and the Lord said unto Gideon, Every one that lappeth of the water with his tongue, as a dog lappeth, him shalt thou set by himself; likewise every one that boweth down his knees to drink.
And the number of them that lapped, putting their hand to their mouth, was three hundred men, but all the rest of the people bowed down upon their knees to drink water.” (Judges 6:5,6).

God only chose the 300 who lapped from their hands! Now Gideon only had 300 fighting men! From thousands who had come in the first place. God firstly sent all those men  home because He wanted to show that when the battle was won it was GOD who had won the battle for Israel, not a large army. But the water drinking test was something different. Did you see what that test showed? There were only 300 men who were on the alert. They did not bend down when the enemy was around, they stood up drinking from their hands so they could look around and see if they might be attacked or not. So God chose the very best of men for the army of 300. The ones who were ready and smart. Gideon attacked the Midianites by night, and they all ran away! It is a very exciting story.The enemy army looked like a mass of grasshoppers, there were so many of them. Thousands and thousands of soldiers (Judges 7:12). How could the army of God, 300 men, defeat them?

God sent Gideon down to the camp of the Midianites in the night. There he heard soldiers talking about one man’s dream. The dream was that Gideon would defeat them because God was with him!  (Judges 7:14).  “Ha, Ha! “thought Gideon. So he, very encouraged,  went and divided his little army into three groups. Then he sent them to the camp of the Midianites at night. God’s army went in the dark blowing trumpets and breaking water jugs with a big crash! And they sang out, “the sword of the Lord and of Gideon!” They had lamps in their hands. They looked and sounded like a huge army, and the enemy just got scared and fled!  “And they (the 300 men) stood every man in his place round about the camp: and all the host (great crowd) ran, and and cried, and fled.” (Judges 7:21).
See what a mighty God we serve? He is the same today as He was then. He will protect you and I too, if we serve Him and have faith in Him. He gave Gideon the victory. He can give us a victory too!
“I will love thee, O Lord, my strength.
The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust...” (Psalm 18:1,2).

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