Alright, let’s reconvene on the scene.
As we get further into the story of Gideon, we see how God selectively dwindled down his forces from thirty-two thousand to three hundred men. First, those men who were visibly frightened, he told to go back: twenty-two thousand down. Second test: he took the men down to the water to drink, those who lapped like dogs vs. those who used their hands (three hundred)–he kept those. This was exactly what the Lord wanted. He wanted this to be a humanly impossible battle, so that Israel’s God would get the credit, and here God promises Gideon, “With the three hundred men that lapped I will save you and give the Midianites into your hands.” (7:7) Again, it is practical suicide but followed by a promise from God nonetheless.
We see God’s hand even in the instruments chosen to defeat this enemy described as being as thick as locusts, their camels too numerous to count. And what weapons do you think Gideon placed in his soldiers’ hands? An empty jar, a torch inside that jar and a trumpet. Hmmm. I know God was in control here, but as one of those three hundred soldiers, I would have been seriously doubting Gideon’s sanity as well as my own at this point. Faith Test #2: Pass.
The Midianite camp was situated below Gideon’s people in the valley. The night before Gideon was to take his three hundred men in to battle, the Lord instructed him to sneak into the enemy camp with one of his servants to listen to what the men in the camp were saying. God said that what he would hear would encourage Gideon once he got into battle. So Gideon and his servant snuck down into the enemy camp and overheard the following: two men were talking, one explaining a dream that he had: “A round loaf of barley came tumbling into the Midianite camp, the loaf struck the tent with such force that the tent overturned and collapsed.” (7:13) His friend kindly interpreted: “This must mean that our camp will be defeated by Gideon and his men.” When Gideon overheard this, he could do nothing but worship God. He returned to his own camp, woke up his troops and divided his army into three parts. He instructed his men, “Follow my lead. When I get to the edge of the camp, do exactly as I do. When I and all who are with me blow our trumpets, then from all around the camp blow yours and shout, ‘For the Lord and for Gideon.’” (7:17)