My Own Hand Has Saved Me
Judges 7:2 (ESV) -- The LORD said to Gideon, “The people with you are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hand, lest Israel boast over me, saying, ‘My own hand has saved me.’
We are terrible at taking credit and glory for things. We give ourselves far more credit than we deserve for almost every blessing in our lives. The Lord is the giver of all good things we have, yet we overestimate how much we’ve contributed to the cause. Of course, our gifts, talents, and hard work bring about rewards, but our gifts, talents, and motivation originate with the Lord. So we should ultimately give thanks for everything our hard work has produced for us.
Our passage today shows both how the Lord knows our tendency toward this, and how He trims Gideon’s army down so that He alone can get the glory. We read, “The LORD said to Gideon, ‘The people with you are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hand, lest Israel boast over me, saying, “My own hand has saved me.”’”
Gideon is about to go to battle, but the LORD tells him his force is too big. When God gives them victory, they’ll believe they are responsible for it. So God determines to trim down their numbers so only God can provide the victory. The victory over Midian will belong completely to the LORD. Gideon’s army begins at 32,000, but the LORD sends 22,000 home. But 10,000 are too many, so God reduces it down to 300. From 32,000 warriors to 300. Now a victory for Israel will only be credited to God, and not their size or strength. The heart of the Israelites will naturally believe, “My own hand has saved me.” So God makes that impossible.
We are no different than the Israelites. We often believe our own hand has saved us too. Whether it is salvation, a problem at work, finishing a project, or anything else, we are quick to give ourselves the credit for the win. This story reminds us of our heart’s tendency to take credit for our blessings. Instead, we need to remember it is the LORD alone who provides all we have. And we must fight against the sinful pride that believes our own hand has saved us.
Reflection & Journal:
- Why do we take more credit for our successes than we should?
- What is the point of God reducing Gideon’s army?
- How can we learn from this story in our lives today?
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