At this stage of their life, it’s too dangerous for our kids to cross the street on their own.
We let them know it too, so they don’t grow some sort of new found false sense of confidence and run out into the middle of the road only to come face to face with an overly exuberant P-plate driver running late for his first shift at work.
Although we want to see our kids enjoy freedom, there are definite boundaries we place around them to ensure they will live another day! Every now and then we need to remind them that we are the parents (much to their surprise!), and whether they understand it or not, we know what is best (most of the time!).
In the same way, God needed to remind Gideon that He was the One who took care of him, and was the One who would take the hand of Israel and lead them safely ‘across the road’ to defeat their enemies. God’s way of reminding him of this was to cut back the size of his army:
‘The Lord said to Gideon, “You have too many warriors with you. If I let all of you fight the Midianites, the Israelites will boast to me that they saved themselves by their own strength’ – Judges 7:2
God ended up cutting down the size of Gideon’s army from 22 000 to a mere 300 men who came face to face with ‘the armies of Midian, Amalek, and the people of the east [who had] had settled in the valley like a swarm of locusts. Their camels were like grains of sand on the seashore – too many to count!’ (7:12)
God had told Gideon, “With these 300 men I will rescue you and give you victory over the Midianites. Send all the others home” (7:7)
As he followed specific step by step instructions, God led Gideon and his men to victory that could only be attributed to the powerful hand of God.
There are times in our life that it may seem like we have lost too much ground and are on the verge of defeat. We look over the valley of our life and feel surrounded by an army too great and too powerful for us, and are tempted to lose hope.
But just as God did with Gideon, there are times that what feels like a cut back is actually a set up, as we are invited to put our trust in God for the victory instead of our own strength and capacity!