Myth-Busting a “Myth-Conception!”
The Myth about Gideon’s Victory—while Praying for Ukraine
One of my favorite programs was “Myth-busters”—a program that would examine whether a Hollywood script trick could actually happen in reality. The fun of the program was watching the testing team set up the conditions for the test, weigh the evidence (usually by blowing up that car, or lighting that fuse, etc.) have the TV audience watch and then, as a team, render a judgment!
The answer was sometimes “yes,” sometimes “no,” and sometimes “well, maybe.”
Well, it is time for old myth to die.
Well, not to die, but to be put in proper perspective—this one is partly right. Lots of truth, and usually a wrong conclusion.
It is about Gideon’s army of 300 dealing with an army of invaders of tens of thousands.
The myth was that Gideon’s army of 300 utterly destroyed the vastly superior army of Midian with their tens of thousands of invaders who brought them very low—300 guys (in 3 groups of 100, surrounding the enemy camp) blowing trumpets, and raising a shout against those thousands, leading to the complete and total defeat of the invader.
Well, that is exactly how it started. Here is what the Bible says happened in that initial moment:
When they blew 300 trumpets, the Lord set the sword of one against another even throughout the whole army; and the army fled… Judges 7:22a NASB
Lots of sermons, and many devotionals have been written on that exciting moment. Yet that is not where the story ended. Trouble is that most of the writing stops there. The next several verses contains the remaining details:
The men of Israel were summoned from Naphtali and Asher and all Manasseh, and they pursued Midian.
Gideon sent messengers throughout all the hill country of Ephraim, saying, “Come down against Midian and take the waters before them as far as Beth-barah and the Jordan.”
So, all the men of Ephraim were summoned, and they took the waters as far as Beth-barah and the Jordan. They captured the two leaders of Midian… Judges 7:23-25a NASB
The squad of 300 began the defense.
Then the leader of the 300 called out for all those who could to rise up and finish the job! And tens of thousands rose up to get it done at the decisive time.
Gideon’s army was very, very, small for one battle, and one battle only—and then the world (of reluctant allies) rallied around them to defend the helpless, after an evil invader (Midian) had destroyed their lands for generations, wiping out their crops, stealing their goods and destroying their infrastructure.
I can’t help but bear this in mind as I pray for Ukraine—a small country, oppressed for generations, finally free, just getting its feet under it, overrun by a vastly superior army, of the bully nation that had plundered them all throughout their history.
Their small army has done valiantly, and to the surprize of the entire planet, their fierce, staunch resistance against the invader has inflicted terrific losses against the attacking Russian army.
Yet they fight alone.
I am praying that those reluctant allies who have the power to stop this, rise up to intervene. The prayer is that we not simply watch from the sidelines as the bully nation destroys hospitals, and fires missiles at people’s homes, and attempts to assassinate their democratically elected president. I am praying that their "Gideon’s army" inspire the rest of the earth to rise up, to defend the helpless against the invader.
I’ve been praying a single verse from Psalm 147 as I ponder this. My paraphrase goes like this:
The Lord raises up the oppressed who have been thrown down to the ground.
The Lord throws down to the ground those who wounded the oppressed.
Psalm 147:6 (DCV paraphrase)
God, let this Scripture be found true in these perilous times.
© David Chotka 2022