Jud 7:32-God Plus One
Question: “How could there be “too many” for the Lord to use to deliver Israel from oppression? Isn’t more better?”
It makes sense in the material world that the best force to bring against another would be superior; superior in strength and in number. This is the whole reason military leaders count heads and compare their numbers with the best intelligence they have of the other side. Jesus observed:
“Or what king, going to war agianst another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace.” (Luke 14:31-32).
His point was the necessity of counting the costs; it would be foolhardy to attempt the campaign without it.
God had Gideon gather his troops and count heads and perhaps even begin to imagine how he might lead them in throwing off the Midianites. So far, so good.
But, none of that takes into consideration the fact that, as someone has observed, “God plus one, makes a majority.” It is His strength that makes the superior force; and that, of course, is the point. God can deliver by many or a few; the specific number makes no difference in God’s ability to deliver. This calls to mind Jonathan’s statement to his armor bearer:
“. . . it may be that the LORD will work for us: for there is no restraint to the LORD to save by many or by few” (I Sam. 14:6).
In Jonathan’s case, the Lord delivered the host into his hand, and energized the rest of Saul’s army.
The problem with Gideon’s army was not a problem of numbers; it was not just that there were too many men for God to deliver. It all came down to how credit for the victory would be given. It was far less important the number they took into battle, and more important Who they followed into battle. God didn’t need any of them; He had chosen to use them, just as He had with Gideon. But it was critical that they not conclude wrongly, that they had won the deliverance of the nation. Without God, Gideon would still be threshing wheat in the winepress.
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