The 300

I know what you’re thinking! Your mind is going to that epic Gerard Butler movie from 2006, where three hundred buff Spartan dudes held off the entire Persian army at the Battle of Thermopylae and saved the country. While that was an actual historical battle, they took theatrical liberties in the film. What I’m talking about is the story of three hundred regular guys, which probably won’t make it to the big screen. This battle happened about seven hundred years earlier. Most of us are familiar with the Biblical story of Gideon and his defeat of the Midianite army with a band of only 300 soldiers handpicked by God for him.

“Now the angel of the LORD came and sat under the terebinth at Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, while his son Gideon was beating out wheat in the winepress to hide it from the Midianites. And the angel of the LORD appeared to him and said to him, “The LORD is with you, O mighty man of valor.”

Judges 6:11-12, ESV

So, here’s a little background information. The Midianites were oppressing Israel because they had forsaken the Lord. Gideon was hiding out and threshing wheat, possibly in a cave. The Angel of the Lord, the Preincarnate Christ, came to him and said, “The LORD is with you, O mighty man of valor.” In my military mind, Gideon was not the best prospect for delivering Israel from their oppressors. I would look for a “Stonewall” Jackson, a George S. Patton, a “Chesty” Puller (only a Marine can relate), or a “Stormin’ Norman” Schwarzkopf – not some wimp hiding in a cave.

But God’s ways are not our ways.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

Isaiah 55:8-9, ESV

You see, you and God make a “majority”. Paul said,

“If God is for us, who can be against us?”

Romans 8:31, ESV

Well, we know who is against us: Satan, the god of this world. But we also know who is for us –  the Captain of the Lord of Hosts! Our problem is that we look at OUR weaknesses rather than HIS strengths.

Gideon didn’t just go right out and start “whupping” on the bad guys. He asked God to show him what to do. Gideon put the call out and thirty-two thousand Israelites responded. God whittled the numbers down to a mere three hundred regular guys; guys like you and me. As a career Marine officer, I can tell you that is not a viable or realistic military strategy. In offensive combat, the standard is you need a two-to-one ratio to ensure a chance of victory. BUT GOD!

The Lord of Hosts does not call men to failure and defeat. He calls us to battle and assures victory to those who will humbly walk in obedience to Him. Not the digitally enhanced buff dudes in 300, but average Joes who will follow their King into the fray.

So, the question is, where am I hiding from the oppression of the enemy today? In my “man cave” behind my remote; behind the “busyness” of home, work, or the kid’s (soccer, football, baseball, recital, whatever) schedule? God is calling out a generation of Christian men to be “Men of Valor”. Jesus once said,

“For many be called, but few are chosen.”

Matthew 22:14, ESV

Here’s the deal – all who accept the call are “chosen”! God is calling you! Will you heed the call?

What say you, Man of Valor?

Adapted from Men of Valor Devotional by Ron Helle, 7 June 2024

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