Friday, April 21, 2017

fear, faith, and psychological operations

Then the three companies blew the trumpets and broke the jars. They held in their left hands the torches, and in their right hands the trumpets to blow. And they cried out, “A sword for the Lord and for Gideon!” Every man stood in his place around the camp, and all the army ran. They cried out and fled.
Judges 7:20-21

With broken pottery, torches, and ram's horn trumpets, the 300 man "army" of Israel prevailed against an innumerable camp of Midianites and Amalekites. How did this happen? It happened by the work of God in a strategy that would only work if God fought for Israel. When Gideon drafted his army, 22,000 conscripts came to be trained for battle. God sent 12,000 back home for lack of courage. Then God sent all but 300 back home. And with this meager group, God routed the enemy of Israel, using the enemy's own fear as the most destructive and effective weapon.

God's strategy was novel surprise. By having Gideon attack at night (not a warfare tactic of that time), rousing the confused enemy from their tents in a panic, the fear and fog of war kicked into overdrive for the opponent. And Israel quickly dispatched the demoralized, fear-filled foe. The rulers were eventually captured, and the full victory took place in the most incredible way possible. The war stories would begin, "you aren't gonna believe this, but..." 

Thus God got the credit for the victory. His strategy, though totally unconventional, defeated the enemy.

So with Gideon as a faith-filled (yet sometimes tentative with uncertainty) trusting leader, Israel shook off an oppressor. God used Gideon, who trusted God even in his own faith struggles, to lead Israel to trust God fully. No way they would have won with that crazy strategy unless God was in it! And the faith of the nation, and of Gideon, was proven. God fought and His people were free. They only needed to trust in Him. Their faith despite their fear, was rewarded. The enemy's fear despite what seemed a certain strength, was their undoing. Do not fear. Only trust God. The God of Gideon's army reminds us of this.

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