Day 3 Judges 7 ... Raw Material

Joshua won the battle of Jericho by following orders that defied all orthodox military tactics. Similarly, when the time came for Gideon to strike a decisive blow for the Israelites. God gave instructions that would have daunted a seasoned general, much less a greenhorn like Gideon. He reduced the size of Gideon's army from 32,000 to 300 men, so as to leave no doubt it was he, God of the Hebrews, who would fight this battle.

In those days the Israelites lived at the mercy of marauding tribes of Bedouins, who would help themselves to the produce and wealth of the local farmers. but by following God's commands, Gideon led a great victory and freed his people from oppression.

Gideon's against-all-odds victory shows a pattern that is repeated throughout the book of Judges. At a time when women were regarded as second-class citizens, God chose Deborah to lead. Jephthah, another judge, had led a gang of outlaws before God chose him. In fact, this pattern appears throughout the Bible. God did not seek the most capable people, nor the most naturally "good." He worked with the most unlikely material so that everyone could see the glory was his and his alone.

The apostle Paul marveled over this principle more than a thousand years later, writing, "Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong ... There, as it is written: 'Let him who boasts boast in the Lord'" (1 Corinthians 1:26-31).

Point to Ponder: Why does God so often rely on "cast offs" to accomplish his work? Who are the exceptions?