Vol. 6, No. 8
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In Judges 6-8, we learn about Gideon. God chooses Gideon to deliver his people from the Midianites. Gideon calls the Israelites to war against the Midianites. Thirty-two thousand men respond to his call. Twenty-two thousand go home because they are afraid to fight. God tells Gideon that there are still too many men. God does not want the Israelites to believe that they defeated the Midianites. He wants them to know that they defeat the Midianites only because God is on their side.
Gideon is told to have the men go to the water and drink. Those who drink from the water by lapping water from their hands will be the ones who fight. Only 300 men drink water this way. Gideon takes these 300 men and divides them into three companies. The three companies then surround the Midianite camp in the middle of the night. Each man has a trumpet, an empty pitcher and a torchlight. At the appointed time each blows his trumpet and breaks the pitcher. And each shouts, "The sword of the Lord, and of Gideon."
The Midianites are surprised and end up fighting among themselves. Many kill each other. The rest run for their lives. It is a huge victory for the Israelites. They win the battle without having to use swords.
It is interesting that in chapter 7, verse 21, we read, "And they stood every man in his place round about the camp..." Each of the 300 men had his appointed place to stand. Each had his job to do. Their success depended on each staying in his place.
Those in the church have a place. Each person is needed if the church is to be successful in the community. God expects us to all work together to evangelize our community. God is the one who wins the battle, but each of us must do our part.
In 2 Kings 19:3-4, we read what King Hezekiah sent in a message to the prophet Isaiah. King Hezekiah is in Jerusalem, which is surrounded by the Assyrians. The Assyrians have conquered the northern tribes of Israel and are now conquering much of the kingdom of Judah. The king of Assyria has sent his top messengers to give King Hezekiah an ultimatum. Hezekiah is to submit to the king of Assyria or die.
Hezekiah is very disturbed. He knows that he does not have a large enough army to defeat the Assyrians. He knows that if they refuse to submit that they will either be starved to death by the surrounding Assyrian army or that the Assyrians will attack and kill them in battle. So, he sends a message to Isaiah telling him of the trouble and asking what God will do for Judah.
In the message we read, "...for the children are come to the birth, and there is not strength to bring forth." Hezekiah is paralleling the people of Judah in Jerusalem with a baby in its mother's womb. The Israelites are the children of God. And Hezekiah is saying that they are like babies compared to the power and might of God. When a baby has been in the mother's womb for the right amount of time, the process of birth takes place. The baby comes out of the womb and is born into the outside world. But if the mother is very sick, or if the baby is very sick, there may not be enough strength in them for the birth to take place. When this happens, the baby will die.
Hezekiah is saying that if the "babies" of Judah in Jerusalem are not given the proper strength by God, that they are going to die. He is admitting that the children of Judah cannot come out of Jerusalem and live without the help of God. God sends a message that he will not allow Judah to die. Hezekiah receives this word and is encouraged. There is more to this story but I will let you study that for yourself.
There are times when each of us may feel like there is no hope. Circumstances may make us feel like Hezekiah. We may see no way of continuing without God's help. What we must remember is that if we are in the right relationship with God, we will always win. God will always take care of us. God is always ready to hear our prayers.
I am glad that we have such a God. And I know you want to be able to always have that right relationship with God. So continue to study your Bible. Learn what God wants you to do. And if any of this is hard to understand, ask an adult to help you.