Daily Lectionary: Judges 7:1-23; Galatians 1:1-24
And the three companies blew the trumpets and broke the jars, holding in their left hands the torches, and in their right hands the trumpets to blow; and they cried, “A sword for the LORD and for Gideon!” (Judges 7:20)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Gideon had a decent army to fight the Midianites: 32,000 men. Gideon, like any warrior, was thinking in terms of strength in numbers. Outnumber your opponent, and you will gain the victory.
But the Lord works in weakness. With an army that large, the Israelites would take credit and say, “We beat them with our own hands,” forgetting that it was the Lord’s hand at work. So God winnowed down Gideon’s forces from 32,000 to 300. That was more than 100 times fewer soldiers! God’s strength is in weakness.
The apostle Paul noted the same thing with the Corinthians as he boasted in his weaknesses. He prayed three times for the Lord to remove a particular weakness, some “thorn in the flesh,” but God’s response was, “No. My grace is sufficient for you; for my power is perfected in weakness.”
Our tendency is to rely upon our strength; God’s tendency is to use our weakness as His strength. We may be ready to draft an army of sword-bearing soldiers to fight for the kingdom of God, but God gains the victory with a handful of soldiers armed with trumpets, torches, and clay jars.
The Church in this world never appears to be very strong. Its strength is Jesus Christ and His cross. At times, the Church may seem to be nothing more powerful than 300 Israelites with trumpets, jars, and torches against a world full of Midianites conspiring against it, but with the Lord, the resurrection victory is always sure.
Jesus conquered sin and death with His solitary death on a cross. He conquers the world with His preached Word, with baptismal water, with Communion bread and wine. Even two or three bending their knee in the Name of Jesus can conquer sin, death, and hell. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
Gracious Lord, teach me the way of weakness that I may conquer in the strength of Your cross. Amen.