Epic: victory by lack of numbers?

Often we think when it comes to victory in battle, the winning army has the greatest numbers. Often that is true. There have been, however, battles that have been won, not by numbers, but by the might behind the army. Gideon is one of those examples from the Bible that most people do not even know about.

In Judges 6:11-8:35, the account of Gideon can be found. The Israelites had been in a rough situation, under the control of the Midianites (and other people groups). One day Gideon was approached by the Angel of the Lord and asked to do something about the Israelites’ current situation. Wondering how God could use him, the youngest from the weakest clan , Gideon questioned his calling. [How often do you question what God can do in your life?] Gideon, however, decided to trust God and made a sacrifice to him, which was consumed entirely. During the middle of the night, Gideon, knowing the idolatry and pagan attitude of his people and the Midianites, he tore down the Asherah pole and the altar of Baal [one of the false gods]. The next morning, as the town awoke, they quickly realized that their beloved altar of their god [which had never actually done anything for them] had been torn down! Though they were angry, they believed that Baal would contend for himself if he were indeed a god… he did not. Gideon became a man that desired nothing less than to be obedient to God’s call on his life, in spite of any limits anyone placed upon him, including himself.

Then the battle came…about 30,000 men joined forces with Gideon to try to defeat the Midianites and other oppressors. However, God told Gideon to lessen the numbers to prove that God would be the one to bring victory, not the Israelites; it kept them from being falsely proud. 22,000 men left the battle field because of fear, leaving only 10,000 men yet even then God said there were too many men for battle.  Gideon then tested the remaining men in the most unlikely way. They went to a spring to get water. Those that lapped the water like a dog were chosen to stay. Why? Simply because that is what God asked them to do. So those 300 men were divided into 3 companies, each given trumpets and glass jars with torches inside. They went out at night and encircled the Midianites’ camp. With a single motion, it would seem, the men all smashed the jars, blew their trumpets and had their torches ready. The entire Midianite army [and others] fled their camps! The princes of the enemies were captured and before Gideon and the Israelites. Several other victories happened with small numbers. During the days of Gideon, the Israelites lived in peace. They were obedient to God. Gideon died in rest and peace.


This story is one of victory because of obedience and confidence in God above all else. Numbers are not a priority or even a requirement. Trust in God and obedience is the key to this kind of victory.

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