The Faithful 300
Turkey Creek United Methodist Church and Wesley Heights United Methodist Church, Dec. 31, 2023
Judges 6:11–14, 7:1–8, 16–22 (CEB)
Then the Lord’s messenger came and sat under the oak at Ophrah that belonged to Joash the Abiezrite. His son Gideon was threshing wheat in a winepress to hide it from the Midianites. The Lord’s messenger appeared to him and said, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior!”
But Gideon replied to him, “With all due respect, my Lord, if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his amazing works that our ancestors recounted to us, saying, ‘Didn’t the Lord bring us up from Egypt?’ But now the Lord has abandoned us and allowed Midian to overpower us.”
Then the Lord turned to him and said, “You have strength, so go and rescue Israel from the power of Midian. Am I not personally sending you?”
Then Jerubbaal, that is, Gideon, and all of the people with him rose early and set up camp beside the Harod spring; Midian’s camp was north of theirs, in the valley by the Moreh hill. The Lord said to Gideon: “You have too many people on your side. If I were to hand Midian over to them, the Israelites might claim credit for themselves rather than for me, thinking, We saved ourselves. So now, announce in the people’s hearing, ‘Anyone who is afraid or unsteady may return home from Gideon’s mountain.’” At this, twenty-two thousand people went home, and ten thousand were left.
The Lord said to Gideon, “There are still too many people. Take them down to the water, and I will weed them out for you there. Whenever I tell you, ‘This one will go with you,’ he should go with you; but whenever I tell you, ‘This one won’t go with you,’ he should not go.” So he took the people down to the water. And the Lord said to Gideon, “Set aside those who lap the water with their tongues, as a dog laps, from those who bend down on their knees to drink.” The number of men who lapped was three hundred, and all the rest of the people bent down on their knees to drink water, with their hands to their mouths. Then the Lord said to Gideon, “With the three hundred men who lapped I will rescue you and hand over the Midianites to you. Let everyone else go home.” So the people gathered their supplies and trumpets, and Gideon sent all the Israelites home, but kept the three hundred.
He divided the three…