The most frequent complaint we hear from sidewalk outreach directors across the nation is there are not enough people to fill the sidewalks and intercede for the unborn. The teams are too small. As I studied this passage from the Book of Judges, I felt a growing sense that God may desire small teams. He certainly knows the struggles across the nation to fill the sidewalk. It could be fully filled if that was His ultimate plan. So I began to question what benefit there might be in a battle with a very small army.

God Says There Are Too Many People for Him to Work 

Notice what God says early in this passage. He says, the people are too many for Me to give the Midianites into their hands.” He cannot work with so many people. I have glossed over that point many times without examining it. What an astonishing statement!

Then, God even tells us why. He says if the army is large, and the victory is won, the people will take credit. But who does the credit belong to? God! So the first take-away from this important passage is when the teams are small, we depend less on each other or ourselves, and more upon God. Additionally, we are more inclined to give the credit to God.

God Winnows Out Those Who are Fearful

Look at the number who deserted the ranks when God asked for those to leave who were fearful and afraid: 22,000! That is a LOT of people who choose to leave at the first opportunity!

10,000 remained who did not leave when God gave them an out if they were afraid. I think that it is possible that those who remained were not necessarily free of fear. I suspect their sense of the purpose of what they were fighting was greater than their fear. No one goes into battle without some level of fear. But the brave ones are those who would rather die in the battle than give in to their fear because they know the goal is worth it.

God Winnows Out Those Who Are Not Vigilant

Of the 10,000 who claim not to be afraid, God says this is still too many. The team is still too large! He now sets a curious test in order to winnow the remaining army. He watches how they lap water from the nearby river. Those who lap like a dog on their hands and knees, He sends home. Those who bring water up to their mouth with their hands, He keeps. Now whittled down to 300 men, this is the army by which God will save Israel.

Those who bring the water to their mouths with their hands are in a posture of focused vigilance. They are alert and, presumably, looking around as they lap their water. Those lapping water on their hands and knees are vulnerable and unaware of what is going on around them. Those who lap water while erect, looking around, are the ones who have a healthy respect for the enemy. They will not be outwitted by surprise attacks. They are fully committed and focused on the mission, as evidenced by their vigilant posture. 

Maybe we are desiring the wrong things when we are looking for larger teams. 

Maybe we need to be looking for the very few whose fears are smaller than their desire to follow God‘s plan. Their fears are balanced by a healthy respect for the enemy. They are focused and determined to the tiniest detail. The mission matters more than their comfort or safety.

The Focus was Not on Traditional Weapons

Finally, notice what those 300 chosen people took in their hands as they prepared for battle. The passage does not say they picked up the sharpest, longest sword and sturdiest shield. They took provisions in one hand, and a trumpet in the other. This is an odd detail of a tiny army marching against a formidable enemy. Again the focus is not on the skills or weaponry of the team, but on the God that they serve. His methods are often inscrutable and unexpected.

The Enemy is Defeated

In the end, Gideon’s small army secures the victory. The result is clearly a miraculous deliverance by God Himself. The message to us as tiny Sidewalk teams is encouraging. It is not by our might, our numbers, or our skill. The victory is from the Lord and our willingness to believe that His purposes are perfect and worth every ounce of our service and obedience. Even when His ways are beyond our understanding, we can trust Him.

“Then Jonathan said to the young man who bore his armor, ‘Come, let us go over to the garrison of these uncircumcised; it may be that the Lord will work for us. For nothing restrains the Lord from saving by many or by few’ (1 Samuel‬ 14‬:6‬).”

Vicky Kaseorg

Vicky Kaseorg

Vicky Kaseorg is a missionary with Love Life. An author of over 25 books, she is ardently pro-life and deeply desires to share the hope and truth of the Lord Jesus Christ through her work, writing, and life. Read her personal blog at


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