From 32,000 to 300 to Victory
By Pastor Ronald Bernier, Master Builder Ministries, Fall River, MA.
Two different scripture readings this morning have converged together in my mind. The first comes from Psalm 57. If you only read the later portion of the psalm, you would not realize the context of the final declaration. The Psalmist finds himself in a battle, where he understands there are enemies that want to take him down, so he cries out to the Lord for His mercy and protection. Then he makes a declaration of trust in the Lord:
"My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast; I will sing and give praise. Awake, my glory! Awake, lute and harp! I will awaken the dawn. I will sing to You among the nations. For Your mercy reaches unto the heavens, and Your truth unto the clouds. Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; let Your glory be above all the earth." Psalm 57:7-11
You see that in the midst of the battle, praise sounds forth. Trust and com mitment is declared. The glory of God is the aim of this psalmist's life. In another passage, years prior to this psalm is the story of Gideon. A judge of Israel, whom the Lord called to deliver Israel from their enemy. When Gideon calls upon the people to show up and get ready for battle, 32,000 men report for duty. But the Lord thinks that is too many. Why, because they would think that they accomplished the victory not the Lord. So the Lord has Gideon dismiss all those who were fearful and afraid of the battle. Can you believe it, 22,000 of the 32,000 left and went home.
God again, has the ranks cut, by testing who drinks from the water in a ready position, and only 300 men are left to face the battle with Gideon, all the others are dismissed and sent home (Judges 7:7). Just when you might think that the odds are now against Gideon, you must also remember Whom is leading Israel to victory. It is the Lord's might that will accomplish the victory along with His faithful servants who trust in His direction and obey His commands.
What is the lesson we need to learn? We do not need large numbers to see a nation transformed, but we do need the power of the Holy Spirit. If you are confident in God, He can work through you as He did through Gideon. And He can cause you to sing to Him among the nations, as the psalmist did. Victory is in the Lord. Let us therefore declare His praises, even in the midst of our situations. For His mercy reaches to the heavens and His truth to the clouds. Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; let Your glory be above the earth.