Hey Everyone! I’m Roger Hamilton and I oversee the training and development of our Eagle Lake staff. I have been with the Navigators for 33 years! I love helping our staff grow in their knowledge and love of God and the Bible. One thing I don’t like are blogs. So, I prefer to call it a B-Log, as in Bible log. I’ll be back as your trusty Eagle Lake B-logger every other week, at least until you get sick of me. Did you miss the last post? Read it here!
God tells Gideon that he is going to conquer an army of 135,000 with only 300 men!
Today we’re focusing on how God stinks at math, yes you heard that right. God STINKS at math (see above) – keep reading to find out why and what might supersede some equations…
In our last B-log, we learned cool stuff about Gideon in Judges 6, where God had to get past Gideon’s fears and insecurities. But He was just getting warmed up, and Judges 7 shows us that the God of the universe wouldn’t pass your little brother’s 4th grade math class!
In Judges 6:14 God tells Gideon to “go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand.” So Gideon gathers his army of 32,000 men to fight 135,000 Midianites and their allies.
Already the numbers don’t add up: the Israelites are down 103,000! God wants to make sure the people don’t try to take credit, so He tells Gideon, “You have too many men. Let anyone who trembles with fear go home,” and 22,000 Israelites leave. Then He tells Gideon to separate his troops by how they drink water: one group has 300, one group has 9,700.
Equation 1: Midianites of 135,000 > Gideon’s Israelites of 32,000.
Does God command Gideon to send 300 home and keep 9,700? No! He sends 9,700 home and keeps only 300.
Equation 2: 9,700 > 300
Now God tells Gideon that he is going to conquer an army of 135,000 with only 300 men! To put it in perspective, each Israelite would be responsible for defeating 450 Midianites. Knowing Gideon’s fearful tendencies, God kindly encourages Gideon to go down to the Midian camp and listen. Gideon hears a man talking about his dream, in which “God has given the Midianites and the whole camp into his hands.”
Equation 3: Ratio 1 man to 450 men…bad odds.
And that’s just one of MANY situations in the Bible where the numbers don’t add up. Jesus feeds 5,000 with 5 loaves of bread and two fish (Matthew 14:13-21). BUT then he needs 7 loaves and a few fish to feed in Matthew 15.
Equation 4: 5+2=5,000
Equation 5: 7+ a few=4,000
Is Jesus slipping a bit in His ability to do a miracle? No! Clearly the math here is not important.
What IS important is that God glorifies Himself in our challenges and difficulties by making it impossible for us to take the credit.
Lynn (my wife) and I have seen this clearly in our 33 years of ministry with the Navigators! When our autistic son was 3 years old, we were offered a spot in a therapy program that we knew would help him tremendously. Only one problem: it was going to cost TWICE our annual salary! We didn’t even have the required $1,000 for the initial consult with the psychologist.
I was in Colorado for a meeting when Lynn called me from our home in Wisconsin to tell me some incredible news. My college roommate Dave and his wife called and asked Lynn, “Do you need $1,000? God is telling us to give you $1,000 and we don’t know why.”
From there God provided every penny we needed for our son’s therapy- for two and half years!
Have you seen God do something wild and crazy in your life? With your family? Did you give Him the credit? Is there something you will soon be facing that only God can figure out?
God delights in doing “immeasurably more than we could ask or imagine.” This makes me rejoice. What about you?
Read and Journal!
- Read the following passages and journal your observations and key lessons: Matthew 14:13-21 and 15:29-39; Isaiah 43:1-5.
- Pray through a Psalm like Psalm 27 or Psalm 86. Can you relate to the emotions conveyed by the author? Is there math in your life that seems too complicated for even God to solve?
- Is the Lord bringing someone to mind who needs to be encouraged or comforted by what you’ve been learning about His faithfulness and miraculous provision? Make a plan to reach out to them this week!
This has been the second B-Log in an ongoing series of ROGER THAT. If you found this interesting, share it below!