“So, he divided the three hundred men under three heads and gave shophars into all of their hands and empty jars with torches that were inside of the jars. And he said to them, ‘Look to me and also do the same. Behold, when I come to the edge of the camp, as I do, you shall do. When I blow the shophar — and all who are with me — you blow your shophars also from all around the whole camp and say, ‘For Yahweh and for Gideon!”
We now see the tactics that God has impressed upon Gideon. They will divide into three divisions of soldiers — three groups of 100 soldiers each — and they will surround the Midianite camp. The tactic itself is a picture of just how large the encampment in and just how many enemy soldiers are present. Yet, here is the beginning of a raid in the wee hours of the morning. The tactic is non-traditional and impressive in its organization, but let us not forget that it the victory belongs to the Lord, not to Gideon’s tactics.
The statement that will be shouted is interesting. Most of us, were we organizing an attack like this, would be inclined to cry out, “For the Lord!” Why is it important that Gideon’s name is mentioned here? Now, on some level, any answer we might give is speculative, but let me offer an observation. God includes his people in his divine work. He could have just wiped out the Midianites like he wiped out Sodom and Gomorrah and their surrounding cities. He could have, but here he did not. Here, he is choosing to use Gideon and these 300 men to do his work of redemption. This is a blessing to them (they get to be heroes!) and it sends an enduring message to the surrounding nations — “Don’t mess with Israel!” And (this is the speculative part…) as Gideon is going to Judge Israel for years past this event, it is valuable to put the fear of the name of Gideon in the hearts of the Midianites along with the fear of the Lord.
Gideon is a story that captures the hearts of many, the sad thing is that many Christians today act as if they are worshipping a different God than Gideon worshipped. The might read the story of Gideon and pay lip-service to the deliverance that God works, but they don’t think that God still works such deliverances. If they did, you would see more Christians taking bold stands against the evils of our culture. You would see more Christians championing the pro-life movement and the movement to put the teaching of the Bible back into our schools. Indeed, there are some very passionate individuals who lead the charge against these social evils, but can you imagine what our nation would look like if every Christian took up the banner of a cause such as this? Can you imagine if we really understood God’s command that we seek justice (Micah 6:8) and lived it out, recognizing that justice is only ever found in connection with God’s Word and with the Fear of the Lord? We would reform our Land, honoring God first and the vision of our founding fathers second. Yet, the church is too timid, or too distracted, or too focused on its own programs to boldly take up the call. It is as if the church today is beating out the wheat in a winepress all the while telling the Angel of Yahweh to mind his own business. Of course, the work of the True Church is the Angel of Yahweh’s business, for he is Prophet, Priest, and King of the True Church. How many churches are being “spat out” and church members are being told, “Get away, I never knew you”? May God save not just our souls, but the soul of Christ’s church!