This morning’s devotion, following the Devotional‘s Daily Office guide, comes from the Rev. John Zahl.

The Lord said to Gideon, “You have too many men for me to deliver Midian into their hands. In order that Israel may not boast against me that her own strength has saved her, announce now to the people, ‘Anyone who trembles with fear may turn back and leave Mount Gilead.’” (Judges 7:2-3, NIV)

In this passage we see God preparing Gideon and the Israelites for battle in the oddest way. The Lord tells Gideon that his army is too large, and that he will need to get rid of some of the men if they are going to be victorious. He then proceeds to whittle Gideon’s army down from 32,000 troops to a meager band of 300.


Why would anyone employ such a terrible strategy? God answers, “In order that Israel may not boast against me that her own strength has saved her…” We find this message repeated over and over again in the Bible, that our strength is not very strong, and that at our most impressive, we are still not very impressive. But here in Judges the point is taken further. The problem lies not just in a miscalculation about the reliability of our own strength, but also it lies in the fact that assuming such a posture blocks out our need for God’s help.

From God’s perspective, the prospect of having too much strength is a far more serious problem than not having enough of it. In fact, being weak is a crucial ingredient in true spirituality; it is actually one of life’s most important virtues. As it is said in the New Testament, “The weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength” (1 Cor 1:25).

Do you have any pressing weaknesses? We all do. Where are you stuck? Where do you need help? Today, you might try praying to God by reaching up from the point of impasse, your place of helplessness. It will not take many words.