"That night, God told Gideon: "Get up and go down to the camp. I've given it to you. If you have any doubts about going down, go down with Purah your armor bearer; when you hear what they're saying, you'll be bold and confident." He and his armor bearer Purah went down near the place where sentries were posted. Midian and Amalek, all the easterners, were spread out on the plain like a swarm of locusts. And their camels! Past counting, like grains of sand on the seashore! Gideon arrived just in time to hear a man tell his friend a dream. He said, "I had this dream: A loaf of barley bread tumbled into the Midianite camp. It came to the tent and hit it so hard it collapsed. The tent fell!" His friend said, "This has to be the sword of Gideon son of Joash, the Israelite! God has turned Midian - the whole camp! - over to him." When Gideon heard the telling of the dream and its interpretation, he went to his knees before God in prayer. Then he went back to the Israelite camp and said, "Get up and get going! God has just given us the Midianite army!"
Even after all of Gideon's faith, and obedience, and fleece, and surrender God bolsters him with courage. More courage. He sends him down, into the thick of the enemy's camp to hear what they are saying about him. The Midianites were spread out on the plain - they were certainly much more formidable than Gideon's three hundred men. But they were already afraid in the face of Gideon's army. They knew that this was no ordinary battle. God had handed them over to Gideon before a single battle had been fought.
Nothing had even happened yet. But the Midianites were afraid.
Have you ever noticed that sometimes you just need to stand up? Bullies are often silenced by a simple refusal to go along with their torment. Their words, and their size, may be strong, but their hearts are weak.
Often courage is simply showing up and refusing to let the tormentor go any farther. Courage can come to the smallest of us if we are willing to be brave.
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