The Lord said to Gideon, “The people with you are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hand, lest Israel boast over me, saying, ‘My own hand has saved me.’ 3 Now therefore proclaim in the ears of the people, saying, ‘Whoever is fearful and trembling, let him return home and hurry away from Mount Gilead.’” Then 22,000 of the people returned, and 10,000 remained.
4 And the Lord said to Gideon, “The people are still too many. Take them down to the water, and I will test them for you there, and anyone of whom I say to you, ‘This one shall go with you,’ shall go with you, and anyone of whom I say to you, ‘This one shall not go with you,’ shall not go.” 5 So he brought the people down to the water. And the Lord said to Gideon, “Every one who laps the water with his tongue, as a dog laps, you shall set by himself. Likewise, every one who kneels down to drink.” 6 And the number of those who lapped, putting their hands to their mouths, was 300 men, but all the rest of the people knelt down to drink water. 7 And the Lord said to Gideon, “With the 300 men who lapped I will save you and give the Midianites into your hand, and let all the others go every man to his home.” 8 So the people took provisions in their hands, and their trumpets. And he sent all the rest of Israel every man to his tent, but retained the 300 men. And the camp of Midian was below him in the valley. – Judges 7:2-8
Judges 7 is the story of God using Gideon, a humble man from a humble family, to give victory to God’s people, Israel, over the oppressors of Midian. Now, you may recall that Gideon had a large force of men, and God cut that number down to just 300.
In Judges 7:2 it says, “The LORD said unto Gideon, The people that are with thee are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel vaunt themselves against me, saying, Mine own hand hath saved me.” God wanted Israel to know that they did not win a victory on their own, God gave it to them.
How many men would Gideon have wished to take against the Midianites? Gideon probably would have liked a number at least equal to and maybe much greater than the Midianites, yet God cut the numbers down.
How many soldiers did Midian guess were coming up against them when Israel attacked in the middle of the night? Remember, God had given Gideon an odd plan. Each man was to have a trumpet and a torch covered by a pitcher. At the signal they were to break the pitchers, releasing the light, and blow on their trumpets, yelling, “The sword of the LORD and of Gideon.” I am guessing that in the all the chaos, if it was one trumpet to a division, the disoriented Midianite soldiers would have guessed that this was a huge force they were up against.
Whom did Midian fight that night and for whom did Midian fight that night? The Bible tells us that God set every man’s sword against his fellow. The Midianites turned on one another. God turned their own strength against them.
In all this there is an important lesson: you can be too big for God to use, but you can’t be too small. In Midian’s case, they were so big that they were actually a detriment to themselves because God turned their own power against them.
Friend, there may be things that you can’t do, but there is nothing today that you can’t do that God can’t do. God will deliver as we are obedient. God is simply looking for someone who is humble, not someone who is high. You can be too big for God to use, but you can never be too small.
– Wil Rice