Judges 7* Gideon's army reduced. (1-8) Gideon is encouraged. (9-15) Thedefeat of the Midianites. (16-22) The Ephraimites take Oreb andZeeb. (23-25) #1-8. God provides that the praise of victory may be wholly tohimself, by appointing only three hundred men to be employed.Activity and prudence go with dependence upon God for help inour lawful undertakings. When the Lord sees that men wouldoverlook him, and through unbelief, would shrink from perilousservices, or that through pride they would vaunt themselvesagainst him, he will set them aside, and do his work by otherinstruments. Pretences will be found by many, for deserting thecause and escaping the cross. But though a religious society maythus be made fewer in numbers, yet it will gain as to purity,and may expect an increased blessing from the Lord. God choosesto employ such as are not only well affected, but zealouslyaffected in a good thing. They grudged not at the liberty of theothers who were dismissed. In doing the duties required by God,we must not regard the forwardness or backwardness of others,nor what they do, but what God looks for at our hands. He is arare person who can endure that others should excel him in giftsor blessings, or in liberty; so that we may say, it is by thespecial grace of God that we regard what God says to us, and notlook to men what they do.9-15 The dream seemed to have little meaning in it; but theinterpretation evidently proved the whole to be from the Lord,and discovered that the name of Gideon had filled the Midianiteswith terror. Gideon took this as a sure pledge of success;without delay he worshipped and praised God, and returned withconfidence to his three hundred men. Wherever we are, we mayspeak to God, and worship him. God must have the praise of thatwhich encourages our faith. And his providence must beacknowledged in events, though small and seemingly accidental. 16-22 This method of defeating the Midianites may be alludedto, as exemplifying the destruction of the devil's kingdom inthe world, by the preaching of the everlasting gospel, thesounding that trumpet, and the holding forth that light out ofearthen vessels, for such are the ministers of the gospel, #2Co4:6,7|. God chose the foolish things of the world to confoundthe wise, a barley-cake to overthrow the tents of Midian, thatthe excellency of the power might be of God only. The gospel isa sword, not in the hand, but in the mouth: the sword of theLord and of Gideon; of God and Jesus Christ, of Him that sits onthe throne and the Lamb. The wicked are often led to avenge thecause of God upon each other, under the power of theirdelusions, and the fury of their passions. See also how Godoften makes the enemies of the church instruments to destroy oneanother; it is a pity that the church's friends should ever actlike them. 23-25 Two chief commanders of the host of Midian were taken andslain by the men of Ephraim. It were to be wished that we alldid as these did, and that where help is needed, that it werewillingly and readily performed by another. And that if therewere any excellent and profitable matter begun, we were willingto have fellow-labourers to the finishing and perfecting thesame, and not, as often, hinder one another.
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