The Arrogance of Fools
“Thus the people took their foodstuffs in their hand and their shofars, and each man of Israel departed, every man to his tent; and the 300 men were strengthened. And the camp of Midian was in the valley below.”
Even though this passage is predominantly about the departure of the masses, it seems that we also learn a good bit about the Midianites, namely that they have set up camp in the valley. On a practical level, this would be the most expedient way for a large army and its baggage train to travel; it is hard to take a large army with pack through the mountains and rough terrain — ask Hannibal!
Yet, expediency is rarely a valuable tactic when it comes to war. And, this particular case is no exception to the rule. Tactically, you want to hold the high ground, not be stuck defending the low ground. This was especially true when you know that the remnant of the Israelite military had set up camps in the caves of the mountains (Judges 6:2).
Does this mean that the Midianites were foolish? Indeed, they were foolish in the Biblical sense (see Psalm 53:1). Strategically, then? Were the Midianites that foolish strategically, they would have never built the empire that they had built. A better answer is that this shows them to be rather arrogant. The philosophy goes something like this: Israel is not a real threat, so lets move so much down into position that we will overwhelm them — the “shock and awe” tactic put into practice in the ancient world. And given that they don’t expect any serious threat, why worry about the terrain one takes? But soon, the Midianites will learn not to underestimate the God of Israel. God loves to mock the arrogance of man (Psalm 2:4).
How the nature of the wicked has not changed. Throughout the ages and even today the wicked seem to take pleasure at belittling the followers of God. The question is, “How do we respond?” You see, just as the nature of the arrogant has not changed, neither has the nature of our God. Yet, Christians oftentimes cower before the wicked rather than boldly proclaiming the truth before a watching world that God would be glorified. Christian, don’t settle for being mocked and ridiculed. Do not be silent in the face of injustice. Our God is a mighty God and none can stand before him.