Daily Devotional

The Sword of the Lord

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Scripture: (Judg 7:20 NKJV)  Then the three companies blew the trumpets and broke the pitchers; they held the torches in their left hands and the trumpets in their right hands for blowing; and they cried, "The sword of the LORD and of Gideon!"

Observation: Gideon’s large army had been pruned down to a very small number, particularly when compared with the army of the Midianites.  Then, they surrounded the Midianites and at the right moment they broke the pitchers, blew the trumpets, and lifted the torches at the same time as they shouted, “The sword of the Lord...”  To the half-asleep Midianite army, the noise, sights, the lights must have seemed like millions, and that caused great panic and confusion which led to their great defeat.  While on my last visit to Israel, several years ago, I remember our guide telling us that during the war with Syria over the Golan Heights, one lone Israeli tank operator did a very heroic feat.  He would drive up to the ridge and fire against the Syrians, then drive down, move to another location, drive up the ridge, fire, and repeated the same action from several locations.  Down below, on the Syrian side, they could see tanks going up and down and firing upon them and they though it was an entire combat unit, and those actions slowed down just enough for the Israeli army to come to the Golan Heights to defend that strategic site.  I imagine something similar took place during the battle when Gideon led the Israelites against the Midianites. . . who knows, maybe the Israeli tank soldier remembered this battle and knew that even a few can win a battle over the most.  Then again, it was God fighting on the side of Gideon and his army, not just the military tactics they employed.

Application: Today we’re enjoying family togetherness as our younger daughter, who studies at Andrews University in Michigan, is home for spring break.  Our older daughter, who lives nearby, is joinging us, and the four of us plan to spend the day together.  Those opportunities don’t come by too often nowadays, so we praise and than God for it.  As I think of the battle of Gideon’s army, I can’t help but think of the battles we as parents have to fight for our children.  The enemies of our children are great and many and at times we are overwhelmed and shaken to think of these seemly insurmountable foes.  But maybe that’s why this story is here, to remind us as parents that we may be small and seemly powerless, but if we blow the trumpet and lift up the torch (God’s word), victory will be ours and our children’s.  I would like to liken blowing the trumpet to our living testimony, and lifting the torch to studying the Bible – I suppose if you want to take the analogy further, you could say that breaking the pitchers is eliminating those negative influences that threaten to enslave us and our children.  But we do know and must be fully convinced of is that the Battle is the Lord and we need to commit ourselves and our children to Him if we’re to gain the final victory.
     I know the following passages are not directly related to what I just concluded, but they are very inspiring nonetheless.
  “The leader whom God chose to overthrow the Midianites occupied no prominent position in Israel. He was not a ruler, a priest, or a Levite. He thought himself the least in his father's house. But God saw in him a man of courage and integrity. He was distrustful of himself and willing to follow the guidance of the Lord. God does not always choose for His work men of the greatest talents, but He selects those whom He can best use. "Before honor is humility." Proverbs 15:33. The Lord can work most effectually through those who are most sensible of their own insufficiency, and who will rely upon Him as their leader and source of strength. He will make them strong by uniting their weakness to His might, and wise by connecting their ignorance with His wisdom. 
     If they would cherish true humility, the Lord could do much more for His people; but there are few who can be trusted with any large measure of responsibility or success without becoming self-confident and forgetful of their dependence upon God. This is why, in choosing the instruments for His work, the Lord passes by those whom the world honors as great, talented, and brilliant. They are too often proud and self-sufficient. They feel competent to act without counsel from God.”  {Ellen G. White, Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 553} 
     “The Lord is willing to do great things for us. We shall not gain the victory through numbers, but through the full surrender of the soul to Jesus. We are to go forward in His strength, trusting in the mighty God of Israel. There is a lesson for us in the story of Gideon's army. . . . The Lord is just as willing to work through human efforts now, and to accomplish great things through weak instrumentalities.  {Ellen G. White, Conflict and Courage, p. 127}

A Prayer You May Say: Father, give the courage to go through this conflict and win the final battle against your foe.  But also give us the victory with and for our children that we together may enjoy the rewards of eternal life together.

Used by permission of Adventist Family Ministries, North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists.


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