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Gideon’s Army: 300 Fervent Fighters

Sean originally wrote and published this to Facebook on 4 February 2020. It is republished here with additional Scripture, links, etc.

God likes to deploy small numbers

During the day, today, I reread the first seven chapters of the Book of Judges, as a means, primarily, to revisit the account of Gideon’s army, which God had Gideon reduce from 32,000 to 300 fervent fighters. I did the calculation (300 divided by 32,000). God had more than 99 percent of the men who had answered Gideon’s initial call to arms return back to the camp, keeping less than 1 percent to go forth into battle. That reminds us that although we had “only” one dozen folk publicly commit to joining our 24 hours of fervent prayer and fasting that that’s actually around 5 percent of the whole membership, as figured by those who are in this Facebook group. God likes to deploy small numbers. He doesn’t require that we have hundreds of thousands of YouTube or Facebook followers. He only, ever, requires a relative tiny few who are, truly, on fire for Him.

The rest he would rather return to their camp, as unfit for duty, ill-equipped for battle:

And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God. (Luke 9:62)

Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. (Hebrews 10:38)

For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire. (2 Peter 2:20-22)

He, alone, is responsible for the victory

For in this way, He can demonstrate — beyond any shadow of a doubt, at least amongst those who have received the love of the truth (2 Thessalonians 2) — that He, alone, is responsible for the victory. So that even we who engage in the spiritual battle cannot puff ourselves up as the Pharisees, the Sadducees, the doctors of law, the scribes and the elders — the synagogue of Satan (Revelation 2:9; 3:9) — perpetually do, as do a great number of those ensconced within the Reformed tradition, who love, as do the former, the praise of men, and to hold their favorite theologian-philosopher-author in high esteem, rather than to put all of their trust in the Lord and His holy and perfect Word.

We prayed for all of you — for those who were fervently praying and fasting alongside us, and for those who stayed behind — as well as for the whole of the true body of Christ, the true spiritual Israel. We prayed that the faith of each and every one of us be strengthened, that the true church returns to the foundation of God’s true Word, that false doctrines (like dispensationalism and the pre-tribulation rapture) are burned up like chaff amidst a raging fire of unadulterated Biblical truth, and that we are all, thereby, encouraged, equipped and empowered — in truth — for the difficult days of spiritual battle ahead, in which the very best will fight loving not their life unto the end, but are more than willing to lay it down for the sake of their brethren and for God and His kingdom.

An odd assortment of arms

When Gideon’s three hundred men went into battle against the massively outnumbering Midianites, He told Gideon to arm each man with a trumpet, an empty pitcher, and a lamp within that pitcher.

An odd assortment of arms, to say the least! No horses, no chariots, no spears nor bows and arrows, etc. Just one trumpet, empty pitcher and lamp per man, arrayed in three companies of one hundred each.

Before Gideon’s army had stealthily surrounded the host of the Midianites in the middle of the night, Gideon had ordered his men to follow his lead, that when he blew forth his trumpet (held in his right hand) outside of the enemy’s camp and broke his pitcher to reveal the lit lamp (held in his left hand), his three hundred men were to do likewise at the very same moment.

Luke 11:36
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The sounding forth of the everlasting gospel

This strategy prefigures the going forth — in these ever-darkening last days within which we’re all living — the sounding forth of the trumpet, that is, the preaching of the everlasting gospel of Jesus Christ to all the world. The earthen vessel of our very own body is likewise prefigured by the warrior’s empty pitcher within which is held a lamp which was lit before Gideon’s army moved to surround the enemy camp.

Those of us who are truly equipped for the spiritual battles to come have within our clay vessels the burning light of truth, which is Jesus Christ, fueled by the oil of the Holy Spirit which dwells within us. We’d do well to begin walking in that Spirit, letting our vulnerable clay vessels break now — or be broken in the future — such that we identify with our true selves as true children of God who are already in possession of everlasting life (through our Spirit-quickened souls) rather than to identify with this mortal frame.

Further, these God-chosen men were all to simultaneously cry out, “The sword of the LORD, and of Gideon”, and stand in place. Not rush the enemy, but to let the God-instilled fear itself undo the enemy such that the Midianites turned their swords on one another, thereby destroying themselves.

The sword of the LORD is another name for the sword of the Spirit, God’s true Word (Ephesians 6:17), the Bible — in the English language, the King James Bible. You don’t want to go into spiritual battle with a counterfeit “modern” “bible” all of which are the death-inspired work of the very enemy we’re meant to be arrayed against — the original counterfeiter, Satan himself. Seasoned warriors insist on their weapon of choice being well-battle-tested long before they are called to wage war, as their lives depend upon it:

And Saul armed David with his armour, and he put an helmet of brass upon his head; also he armed him with a coat of mail. And David girded his sword upon his armour, and he assayed to go; for he had not proved it. And David said unto Saul, I cannot go with these; for I have not proved them. And David put them off him. (1 Samuel 17:38-39)

Prepare, now, for the spiritual battles ahead

Whether you were amongst the relative few who participated in the first-ever day of fervent prayer and fasting, there is always next time. But that “always next time” is, one day soon, not going to hold true. Every single one of us who considers ourselves a true Bible-believing follower of Jesus Christ is called upon to prepare, now, for the spiritual battles ahead as the days within which we all live continue to darken and circumscribe our available options.

As Richard Wurmbrand said after his release from fourteen years of communist hell, if you haven’t long beforehand prepared yourself for the spiritual warfare and literal torture ahead, then you’ll in no way endure it when it comes.

You might have the mightiest faith in the world, but if you are not prepared to suffer, then when you are taken by the police, you will get two slaps and you will declare anything. So the preparation for suffering is one of the essentials of the preparation of underground work.

In other words, you’ll be putty in the hands of the torturers who will insist that you give them the name of every single person with whom you had any contact in your work as a follower of Jesus Christ. And in your unprepared state, you’ll, thereby, issue forth an arrest, torture and death warrant not only for every person you agree to name, but, in addition, their spouse, their children, and various other folk within their circle of loved ones, work and ministry colleagues, friends, et al.

We are no longer living in a world in which we can be casual “Christians” or lukewarm Bible believers.

The time is at hand in which we are called to fully prepare ourselves for the unspeakably difficult days ahead.

Matthew 10:22
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We are, in Christ Jesus, victorious already

The wonderful news is that we are, in Christ Jesus, victorious already — if we endure to the end (Matthew 10:22). Yet the Bible shows us that a great many will fall away from the faith in these last days. The question is whether you are going to be one of them, or whether you’re going to begin spiritually preparing yourself, now, for the battles that are not only ahead but which are already, today, at the door.

Yet more wonderful news follows, and which we must always keep in mind:

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. (2 Timothy 1:7)

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. (1 John 4:18)

Let us who are members of recommit ourselves, today — right now — to be, truly, on fire for God each and every day for the remainder of our time in this wicked world. And let us continue to inspire, encourage and otherwise edify one another, now and forever, such that we are all well-equipped to save the lost and to quickly raise up new and old believers, alike, as true disciples of Jesus Christ such that these folk can, in turn, become well-equipped fishers of men (Matthew 4:19), and so on.