"Jerub-Baal (Gideon) got up early the next morning, all his troops right there with him. They set up camp at Harod's Spring. The camp of Midian was in the plain, north of them near the Hill of Moreh. God said to Gideon, "You have too large an army with you. I can't turn Midian over to them like this - they'll take all the credit, saying, 'I did it all myself,' and forget about me. Make a public announcement: 'Anyone afraid, anyone who has any qualms at all, may leave Mount Gilead now and go home.'" Twenty-two companies headed for home. Ten companies were left. God said to Gideon: "There are still too many. Take them down to the stream and I'll make a final cut. When I say, 'This one goes with you,' he'll go. When I say, 'This one doesn't go,' he won't go." So Gideon took the troops down to the stream. Three hundred lapped with their tongues from their cupped hands. All the rest knelt to drink. God said to Gideon: "I'll use the three hundred men who lapped at the stream to save you and give Midian into your hands. All the rest may go home." After Gideon took all their provisions and trumpets, he sent all the Israelites home. He took up his position with the three hundred. The camp of Midian stretched out below him in the valley."
At this point Gideon is not just courageous, he is obedient. He's had his fleece and now he's committed.
For the first time in a long time the nation of Israel was banding together to go into battle. They had remembered that they were family; that they belonged to one another. They had remembered that God was FOR them and WITH them. Something larger than one man's faith was forming life out of dry dust again. God was speaking and they were responding.
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Still, God was not just looking to deliver the Israelites. God's intention was more than that. He wanted the world to know that He had gone before them. He wasn't leaving room for retaliation. He was clearing the way for a life of peace for Gideon's people; a life without threat, or the false assumption that they had delivered themselves.
So he culls the army. He doesn't shame, or reject, the men who are afraid - he just sends them home. Even from the fearless he draws out the ones who are the most aware - never letting down their guard. He knows that battle requires a single attention. He knows that they need men who won't let down their guard or run from fear. He knows that courage is a testament of faith and faith will move mountains.
Courage is not blind and willy nilly. Courage isn't rushing into battle unprepared. Rather courage is a wise and deliberate assessment of who you are entering in with. Living a life that doesn't look to the left or to the right requires living a life with like-minded warriors. Like Gideon we must learn to trust that God will intentionally provide us with other men and women who serve the same calling as we do. In our seasons of cleaving into his promises we sometimes feel a little short-staffed in the friend department. Know that God knows just who, and what we need, to overcome.