by Joshua Bixler
Judges 7:7: Then the Lord said to Gideon, “By the three hundred men who lapped I will save you, and deliver the Midianites into your hand. Let all the other people go, every man to his place.”
One facet of being a great Soldier that is often overlooked, is the ability to follow orders. Following orders can be hard. A Soldier’s orders may send him or her to a dangerous place or cause the Soldier to be in a situation that is uncomfortable. Failure to follow orders can cause a mission to fail or other negative circumstances to occur.
In earlier Combat Readiness devotionals, faith has been a recurring theme. It is essential to the life of the Christian warrior. When following God’s orders, we may have to take a leap of faith. We have to trust God, even though we do not fully understand His plan.
Gideon had to take a faith leap in the Book of Judges. The Israelites had disobeyed God, and God allowed the Midianites to defeat the Israelites. God chose Gideon to lead the Israelites to victory over their enemies. Gideon had a tough time believing that God would choose him out of all the Israelites. Gideon says in Judges 6:15: “O my Lord, how can I save Israel? Indeed my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.”
God gave Gideon an important set of orders. Even though Gideon was worried he was not good enough, God had called him to complete an important mission. When we believe in Jesus and become Soldiers in His army, God can use us in amazing ways. He can give us tough orders that we would never be able to execute before we were Christians. God reassured Gideon in Judges 6:16: And the Lord said to him, “Surely I will be with you, and you shall defeat the Midianites as one man.”
Even though God restored Gideon’s confidence, the orders became even harder to follow. God was asking Gideon to lead the Israelites against an entire army of Midianites. Logic states Gideon would need an army of equivalent size to carry out his mission. Instead, God wanted Gideon to defeat the massive army of Midianites with only 300 soldiers!
Once again Gideon had his worries, but he trusted God. Even though he was concerned, he had great faith in the Lord, and was willing to carry out His orders. On the night of the planned assault, Gideon said to his army of 300 “Arise, for the Lord has delivered the camp of Midian into your hand” (Judges 7:15).
Faith in God and willingness to follow orders caused Gideon to not lose any men. His tiny army didn’t even have to fight. The Lord honored Gideon’s faith, and caused the Midianites to defeat themselves. Judges 7:19-22 tells us: So Gideon and the hundred men who were with him came to the outpost of the camp at the beginning of the middle watch, just as they had posted the watch; and they blew the trumpets and broke the pitchers that were in their hands. Then the three companies blew the trumpets and broke the pitchers—they held the torches in their left hands and the trumpets in their right hands for blowing—and they cried, “The sword of the Lord and of Gideon!” And every man stood in his place all around the camp; and the whole army ran and cried out and fled. When the three hundred blew the trumpets, the Lord set every man’s sword against his companion throughout the whole camp; and the army fled to Beth Acacia, toward Zererah, as far as the border of Abel Meholah, by Tabbath.
When we have faith in God and follow the orders that He gives us, amazing things happen. Pray that God will give you a heart of faith and a willingness to follow every command He gives you. When we all step out in faith and follow the Lord’s orders, our schools, our workplaces, our churches, and everywhere else we go can transform mightily for God.
Joshua Bixler is a Christian, husband, father, and a Sunday School teacher for 5th grade boys. He is a veteran of two combat deployments to Afghanistan, and loves military history. He and his wife create tabletop RPG gaming products for their publishing label Bix Six Adventures on the DriveThruRPG website.