Biblical Selective Reduction
At this point in history, Israel has turned it’s back on God and gone to idol worship. As a result, God has taken his hand of protection off their nation. But, He comes to Gideon, a man still seeking God, and tells him that the Lord is with him. Gideon asks how God can say He is with him when other nations are destroying their land. The Lord’s response shows that God being with us does not mean we will be spared the consequences of our sin.
National sin means national consequence, even when God is with the faithful. But, God still uses the faithful to show mercy to the unfaithful. God can use the weak and the small to rescue a nation.
God tells Gideon how to begin, not by fighting against the consequences of sin but, by standing against the sin itself. Gideon follows the Lord’s instruction to tear down the idol built by his father. He goes after the nation’s sin and he begins with his own family and neighbors. Timid, lacking confidence, and with few followers, Gideon takes his first step of obedience at night to avoid being seen. But, he obeys nonetheless, and the evidence of his action is obvious when the morning comes.
Later, an army amasses to Gideon when he calls for them. But, right away, they were reduced in number by fear. More than two thirds of his army chickened out right out of the gate and abandoned the fight. But God’s hand was in it. Immediately afterwards, they were reduced in number again, this time by God’s observation of their behavior. Out of more than 30,000 men, only 300 remained by God’s direction alone.
Reduced numbers does not mean God is not blessing what we’re doing. We do not need numbers. We need to be following our Lord’s leading when we battle. His strength is perfected in our weakness.