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9 Fruits of the Holy Spirit (9) Fruit of Gentleness
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쏝ut the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Gal. 5:22-23 ...
       
 
  
 

Like Gideon''s 300 Men

Manmin News   No. 119
8585
March 25, 2008


"...When 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 cried, "A sword for the LORD and for Gideon! Each stood in his place around the camp; and all the army ran, crying out as they fled. When they blew 300 trumpets" (Judges 7:15-23)

Gideon, who was named Jerubbaal (Judges 6:32), was the son of Joash and the fifth judge of Israel who governed the country for 40 years. When the people of Israel called out to God upon being attacked by Midian, God called upon Gideon as a valiant warrior.
When the Midianites, the Amalekites, and the sons of the east camped against the Israelites, Gideon asked from God for "a sign" that He was indeed working through him to deliver Israel. God subsequently reaffirmed His will to Gideon time and again (Judges 6:33-40). Afterwards, in obedience to God's word, Gideon selected 300 troops out of the 32,000, and defeated Midian only with pitchers and torches.
How could Gideon and his 300 men score such a convincing victory?

1. Gideon's 300 Men Victorious in the Battle

In Judges 7 is a scene in which Gideon's 300 men fight against the Midianites. At the time of the battle, Israel was at a tremendous disadvantage, a condition that was described as follows: "Now the Midianites and the Amalekites and all the sons of the east were lying in the valley as numerous as locusts" (Judges 7:12a).
At first, Israel had 32,000 men but God gave Gideon an instruction that caught Gideon off guard. Even though the Israelites was heavily outnumbered from the beginning, God told Gideon to reduce the size of his force; He did not want the people of Israel to become boastful and say, "My own power has delivered me" (Judges 7:2).
When Gideon sent away those who were "afraid and trembling," 10,000 remained. Afterwards, God instructed Gideon to bring the troops down to the water to test them for him there. God then told his warrior to separate everyone who lapped the water with his tongue as a dog lapped, as well as everyone who knelt to drink. The number of those who lapped, "putting their hand to their mouth," was only 300 (Judges 7:6).
What do you think went through the minds of Israel's troops when they saw some of their comrades leave the battlefield, especially when the outlook of the battle seemed bleak even when they numbered 32,000? Do you suppose they became discouraged, expecting to die in a battle with a very little chance of winning?
Without concerning themselves with the size of the enemy, Gideon's 300 men trusted in God's word of promise, "Arise, go down against the camp, for I have given it into your hands" (Judges 7:9), and went to the frontline. When night came, Gideon divided his 300 men into three companies and placed trumpets and empty pitchers into their hands, with torches inside the pitchers; they then surrounded the Midianites' camp. At the sound of Gideon's trumpet, the 300 men smashed the pitchers that had been in their hands. They then lifted the torches high, blew the trumpets, and cried, "A sword for the LORD and for Gideon" (Judges 7:20)!
When the Midianites, who had been asleep, came out of their camps, they saw torches set ablaze on every hill approaching them, and felt as though a tremendous force was advancing on them. Scared out of their wits, Midian's forces fled, striking each other with swords in the process, and, seizing the opportunity, Gideon's 300 men could subdue the Midianites.

2.Becoming Warriors of Faith Like Gideon's 300 Men

1)One must offer positive confessions and have deeds of faith.

In Mark 9, we come across a father whose son was possessed with a spirit which made him mute, and Jesus' disciples, who had been unable to drive out the evil spirit, arguing with the scribes.
When the father of the boy possessed with an evil spirit pleaded with Jesus, "But if You can do anything, take pity on us and help us!" Jesus replied, "'If You can?' All things are possible to him who believes." In other words, the father of the boy came before Jesus not with the spiritual faith by which he could receive God's answers but only with faith as knowledge after hearing the news of Jesus.
Many people profess their faith in the almighty God but when faced with extreme difficulties, we see how they utter negative comments, place blame on Him, and complain against Him. Instead of trusting in God's promise, "This I will accomplish," they fix their eyes only on what they see with their naked eyes and try to resolve the problem with their calculations based on speculations and the ways of man. This is faith merely as knowledge, not whole faith. In such instances, one must call out to God in prayer, the way the father of the evil spirit-possessed boy, "Help my unbelief!" had done. The more fleshly thoughts remain, the less spiritual faith will settle in one's heart.
Therefore, in order to be wholly reborn as a warrior of faith, one must first rid himself of the experiences he has had in this world, as well as his speculations, arrogance, pride, ego, and worldly desires. Only then will our fleshly eyes fixed on the reality be shut and the spiritual eyes with which we can see by faith be opened.
How could Joshua have destroyed the city of Jericho? At the time, Jericho had every available source of defense defending it. Invasion was impossible as the city had two-fold walls and sat on a steep inclination. Joshua and the Israelites, however, did not doubt God's word of promise, "I have given Jericho into your hand, with its king and the valiant warriors" (Joshua 6:2). As God had commanded them, they marched around the city 13 times for seven days and shouted with the sound of the trumpets. Then the impregnable fortification that was the city of Jericho came crumbling down to the ground and Joshua and the Israelites could enter the land of Canaan.
Even what seems inexplicable to the ways of man can be accomplished by faith when one offers positive confessions and show God deeds of faith by believing in God's word from the heart.

2)One must possess strength and boldness by which he can sacrifice even his own life for God's Kingdom.

The term "strong" is used to describe people who are absolute about forming and ending relationships, people whose insistences and arguments are always clear, people who do not compromise or yield, and people who cannot stand unrighteousness. Yet, "strength" with which God is pleased refers to the ability to sacrifice even his own life for the truth and the things that are true.
The best example is found in Jesus, who displayed His strength through His meekness as He did not quarrel, cry out, break off a battered reef, or put out a smoldering wick (Matthew 19:19-20). Furthermore, even though the apostle Paul was a citizen of the Roman Empire that ruled the world, he did not resort to exercising that privilege at will but instead prayed for those who persecuted him. With a devoted love for other souls and an earnest hope for heaven, he overcame and endured all sufferings and persecutions in gratitude.
When we abstain from every form of evil and pursue goodness and the truth in perseverance, we will become spiritually meek and truly strong. With a heart that enables us to sacrifice even our lives for God's kingdom and righteousness, we will receive the authority and power to loosen the bands of wickedness and rule over the darkness.
What, then, is "boldness"? In fleshly terms, it refers to one's being reckless, fearless, and courageous. However, spiritual boldness settles in one's heart when he believes in God from the heart and trusts in Him.
For instance, when a lion or a bear came and took a lamb from his father's flock, David went out after him, attacked him, and rescued the lamb from his mouth. In addition, he struck down Goliath, whom even the king and all of Israel's troops feared, only with a stone and a sling (1 Samuel 17:31-49).
Atop Mount Carmel, Prophet Elijah prevailed against 450 prophets of Baal and 400 prophets of the Asherah, and this victory was made possible by Elijah's spiritual faith by which he wholly believed and trusted in God (1 Kings 18:16-40).

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, military strength is indeed important in determining the outcome of a battle or a war, but the more significant factor is each soldier's morale and mental strength. Therefore, may each of you become a warrior of faith not only with positive confessions and deeds of faith but also with the strength and the boldness by which you can sacrifice even your life for God's kingdom, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ I pray!


 

 

 
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