The Soldier's Dream
Judges 7:9-14
And it came to pass the same night, that the LORD said to him, Arise, get you down to the host; for I have delivered it into your hand.…

There is a little incident in connection with Christ's resurrection which merits careful notice. We allude to the following words: "Then went in that other disciple." Unconsciously men influence each other mightily for good or evil, The incident before us illustrates this. A soldier wakes and tells "his fellow" of a curious dream which he has had; the latter volunteers an interpretation of it. How little they thought that the commander-in-chief of the enemy was eagerly listening outside! Still less did they imagine that their conversation was the means of nerving him to new courage. More than that: the brief talk of these heathen soldiers was a link in the chain of events by which the destiny, not only of Israel, but of mankind, was effected. Truly, "no man liveth unto himself."

I. GOD CONDESCENDS TO HUMAN INFIRMITIES. Gideon had a direct, distinct assurance that in the coming battle he should be triumphant. "I have delivered it into thine hand." What more could he want? But see how graciously the Most High came down to the tent of His servant. If a sign or "token" will do what a promise cannot, then, although it ought not to be necessary, it shall be granted. In His dealings with us God "knoweth our frame." Brightly does this fact shine out in the life of the Incarnate One. After His resurrection Thomas was sceptical. He must see and feel or he "will not believe." In this he was quite wrong. All the world over, testimony is accepted as a sufficient ground for faith. The evidence sought was granted.

II. GOD ADAPTS HIS REVELATIONS TO OUR SPECIAL NEEDS. Think of Gideon's position. It is the night before the battle: the forces of the foe are "like grasshoppers for multitude," the Hebrew army is stringently limited to three hundred men. Under such circumstances, the temptation of the Jewish generalissimo would be to think that an attack by such an unequal, fearfully disproportionate host would result in defeat. What, then, does he require? A conviction to the following effect: that in the impending conflict numbers will count for nothing. And that is exactly what, in singular and indeed grotesque style, the dream teaches him. The barley-cake flung against the tent upsets it, stakes, pole, canvas, and all. Well may we pause to admire this exquisite adaptation of Divine revelation to human requirements. The ascended Redeemer has "gifts for men," not one gift but many, and none shall seek a suitable gift in vain. In a certain Austrian city there is a bridge in the parapets of which stand twelve statues of the Saviour. He is represented in various relationships — Prophet, King, Priest, Pilot, Physician, Shepherd, Sower, Carpenter, and so forth. The country people coming into the city in the early morning with produce from the market, pause before the Sower, or Shepherd Christ, and offer their worship to Him. Two hours later, the artisan, coming to his workshop, bends before the Carpenter. Later still, the sailor prays to the heavenly Pilot. And in the warm sunlight of the forenoon, the invalids, creeping out to enjoy the fresh air, rest and adore under the image of the Great Physician. Christ has a manifestation of Himself to fit all human needs. Indeed, what is true of Him holds good also of the whole Bible: it is adapted to all: whatever our peculiar circumstances, we may find in it something to meet them.

III. GOD TEACHES US TO GET HELP FROM THE ENEMY. Who were the instruments of Gideon's encouragement? Not allies but adversaries: the reassuring voices came not from an Israelitish home but from a Midianite tent. Unwittingly, the heathen arrayed against him proved his timely stimulus. Here is another valuable lesson for us: make your very foes your aid. Satan is an enemy. Learn from him and his artifices where much of your moral strength is to be found, namely, in the Bible. "The devil can quote Scripture for his purpose." A careful, painstaking, sympathetic knowledge of Scripture is the grand panacea for heresy and the true palladium of our faith. Temptation is a foe, otherwise we should never have been taught to pray, "Lead us not into temptation." Albeit, it is often one of our best friends. "Blessed is the man that endureth temptation." Vanquish it and you are mightier than you were before. The ancient Scandinavians believed that the power and the prowess of each foe they felled to the dust entered into them, and, unquestionably, new courage and fresh zeal are the portion of him who overcomes sin. Again: St. Paul speaks of those as "enemies of the Cross of Christ" "who mind earthly things." The worldly are foes of the gospel; whether they mean it or not, they retard its glorious progress. Yes: but what a lesson those "enemies of the Cross" read us who are believers in it! Their intelligence and earnestness about business, education, pleasure, may well put to shame the slow advances that we make, with heaven itself in view.

(T. R. Stevenson.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: And it came to pass the same night, that the LORD said unto him, Arise, get thee down unto the host; for I have delivered it into thine hand.

WEB: It happened the same night, that Yahweh said to him, "Arise, go down into the camp; for I have delivered it into your hand.

The Midianite Soldier: the Power of the Little
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