Gideon sends word through the camp: "Whoever is afraid of the enemy may go home." The army started out with about 30,000, and 22,000 people went home. Now we are down to about one-third of our original strength. But this actually left the army stronger. All the cowards had gone, and only the brave men were left.
But the Lord interjects again saying to Gideon: "The people are yet too many. You need only a few of the bravest and best men to fight in this battle. Bring the men down the mountain, past the water, and I will show you there how to find the men whom you need."
The next morning Gideon, by God's command called his ten thousand men out, and made they march down the hill, as if they were going to attack the enemy. While they were beside the water, he observed how they drank, and split them into two companies based on this. Why?
When they came to the water, most of the men threw aside their shields and spears, and knelt down and scooped up a mouthful of the water with both hands like a cup. These men Gideon commanded to stand together in one company.
There were a few men who did not stop to take a large drink of water. They continued to hold their spear and shield in their right hands to be ready for the enemy if one should suddenly appear. They simply caught up a handful of the water in passing and kept marching, while lapping up the water from one hand.
What’s the real life application? The first group are the friends and co-workers who really want to be in our corner, and mean us all the best, but they cannot keep their eyes on the prize. They are good friends and great company, but they really only understand the here and now. They can only focus on what is right in front of their eyes.
The second group is in it for the long haul. They know what needs to happen, and they’ll stick it out with you; even when it’s not all fun and games.
God said to Gideon:"Set by themselves these men who lapped up each a handful of water. These are the men whom I have chosen to set Israel free."
Gideon counted these men, and found that he was left with only 300. That’s one percent of our original force. The one-percenters get it! What's the difference? The three hundred were earnest men, of one purpose; not turning aside from their aim even to drink, as the others did. These men also, were watchful; always ready to meet their enemies.
The final plan didn’t need a large army; but it did require a few careful, bold men, who would do exactly as their leader commanded them.
Not bad characteristics: careful, bold, follow commands.
Have you ever found yourself with too much help; so many people giving input that no work gets done? It seems counter-intuitive that smaller, focused groups can move mountains. They are also nimble enough to adjust without a lot of rhetoric.
This is our group. This is the group that is in-sych with what we are talking about and where we are going.
Is your small group, too big?