"Before I formed you in the belly, I knew you."
Apart from those divinely assigned to journey through life with us, as it pertains to calling and purpose, a number usually measurable on one hand, there are times when God intentionally thins out our support groups. These times are most uncomfortable as they often trigger a personalization of events, generating such questions as, “Was I the cause of any offense?” Continuing our focus on the warrior hero in Judges 7 will perhaps reveal deeper truths surrounding the There are Too Many Season!
"The Lord said to Gideon, “You have too many warriors with you. If I let all of you fight the Midianites, the Israelites will boast to me that they saved themselves by their own strength” (2 NLT).
The moment Gideon gathers an army against the enemy, whose mission is to annihilate them, God announces, “There are too many!” To the human the "thinning out process" almost always occurs at a time when support and true friendship are greatly needed and desired! I imagine Gideon wanting to scream out, "Lord, don't worry, I'll make sure they know it was You! Just please don't take anyone away! We really need to win this!”
Yet, I submit, that there are established principles that govern these seasons of There are Too Many. First, God is always working according to his good pleasure, to advance His kingdom agenda, as seen in both the Old and New Testaments: “You can make many plans, but the Lord’s purpose will prevail” (Proverbs 19:21 NLT). “Furthermore, because we are united with Christ, we have received an inheritance from God, for he chose us in advance, and he makes everything work out according to his plan” (Ehpesians 1:11 NLT).
Second, God refuses to share his glory as in Isaiah 48 (NLT), "I am the Lord; that is my name! I will not give my glory to anyone else, nor share my praise with carved idols" (8). "Let the whole world glorify the Lord; let it sing his praise" (12).
It’s difficult for us to understand how a loving God, who demonstrated unconditional love by granting salvation through the sacrifice of His only begotten Son, be provoked to jealousy, as depicted when his glory and worship are lavished on another, whether animate or inanimate (Exodus 20:5, 34:14, Deuteronomy 4:24, 5:9, 32:16, Joshua 24:19, Psalm 78:58, 79:5). Yet, God describes Himself as jealous!
David, who gave God glory for his victories, had the right perspective, as a champion giant-killer in his own right. “You come to me with sword, spear and javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies-the god of the armies of Israel, who you have defied. Today the Lord will conquer you, and I will kill you and cut off your head…and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel! And everyone assembled here will know that the Lord rescues his people, but not with sword and spear. This is the Lord’s battle, and he will give you to us!” (1 Samuel 17:45-47 NLT)
The truth is that God alone is the Bible’s hero, and He seeks those whose worship results in the surrendering of their very lives to Him for service, partnering in His kingdom efforts. This requires the ability to relinquish one’s claim to fame, glory and praise.
Third, God is so committed to His redemptive plan for His earth and its contents, including you and I, that as sovereign King, He guards and keeps it from all that would oppose His purposes. "It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure" (Psalm 18:32 NIV). Isaiah 62:6,7 depicts watchmen who are appointed and assigned until God’s plan concerning Jerusalem prevails.
In the Jerubbaal narrative (Judges 7), God is portrayed as One orchestrating things behind the scenes to bring about His good pleasure. Those who were fearful were initially disqualified, followed by those overtaken and distracted by their personal needs, revealed by the manner in which they drank water from the brook. What remained was a remnant of warriors who were boldly courageous and super focused. God said with these 300, meaning few in Bible language, I will deliver the Midianites into your hands. With this He insured His glory and His victory!
May you find comfort and clarity in the season of There are Too Many and celebrate its significance! We WIN folks! #eshetchayil