Stand in Your Place!
Bulletin Article -- Sunday, August 29, 2021
Like locusts, the Midianites descended on the land of Israel, eating everything in sight. They took what they wanted of crops and animals, leaving God’s people hiding out in caves and dens in the mountains.
After seven years, the Angel of the LORD (the pre-incarnate Jesus Christ; cf. Judges 6:11, 14, 16, 21-23) came and sat under a tree where Gideon was threshing wheat in a place where he could hide it from the Midianites.
The Lord identified Gideon as a “ mighty man of valor” and commissioned him to become the next judge of Israel to deliver Israel from the oppressive Midianites. “And the LORD said to him, “Surely I will be with you, and you shall defeat the Midianites as one man” (Judges 6:12, 16). This means, as if he were one man.
Gideon would need an army. The call went out for anyone willing to fight. Thirty-two thousand men gathered before him. God said this was too many. The number was narrowed down by telling everyone who was afraid to go back home. Twenty-two thousand left. Again, God said this was still too many. The Lord wanted Israel (and their enemies) to know the battle would not be won by human strength.
The remaining number of fighters was cut back by the way they drank water from the stream. Only 300 men were left to face the Midianites and the Amalekites who had joined them. “Now the Midianites and Amalekites, all the people of the East, were lying in the valley as numerous as locusts; and their camels were without number, as the sand by the seashore in multitude” (Judges 7:12).
Gideon’s small army had specific instructions involving breaking pitchers, holding up torches, blowing trumpets, and yelling, “The sword of the LORD and of Gideon!” God defeated the enemy armies by catching them off-guard and creating confusion. In fear they ran in every direction, drawing their swords and killing each other.
A critical component of this story is Gideon’s men standing in their appointed places around the enemy camp. Their success was dependent on each one remaining in his position and doing his job.
In the church today, each member has a place to be. Every Christian has a job to do which benefits the whole body of Christ. Paul said, we are “fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit” (Ephesians 2:19–22).
We should read 1 Corinthians 12 as well. The context of Paul’s discourse was miraculous gifts of the first century, which we no longer have. But it teaches us how each person is needed if the church is to be successful as a functioning body. It is necessary for our salvation and those who have yet to hear the good news of Jesus Christ.
We cannot win the battle if we are not standing in our place doing the work God intended for each of us to do. —Chris