“They also serve… ”
The soldiers were gathered, 32,000 of them! Why did they come?
Gideon was a nobody. Why follow him? Why come when he called?
Read Judges 6-8. Fascinating story. Israel was surrounded and hounded, ridiculed and harassed by her enemies. Things had gotten bad, really bad. Midian, a pagan country to the far southeast of Israel, had overrun everything and everyone. Stealing herds and crops, they were reducing the population to a life of abject poverty and constant fear.
Why? Well, Israel had been warned about idol worship but they had ignored the warnings. They were reaping what they had sowed.
And then God sent an angel to a nobody, the youngest of his family and least of his tribe. Hiding in a winepress, Gideon was trying to thresh enough grain to keep his family from starving, when the angel showed up.
A series of strange events followed, first to convince Gideon that he was indeed God’s choice to rescue his people, and then to convince those people that Gideon wasn’t crazy, that he had indeed heard from God.
Well, he did a good enough job to round up 32,000 fighters! And then God sent 22,700 of those fighters back home. How weird is that?
But the point of my thoughts today is this: those who went home were following God’s will, too. Those 10,000 who were afraid. Those 700 who didn’t do things exactly right. They were willing to fight, but they didn’t have to. Others fought and some of those died, but the battle was won. It was a huge victory! God got the glory.
And those back at home… what did they do?
They probably prayed, we’re not told. They didn’t get any thanks, any awards for valor, any recognition for a job well done. But they obeyed Gideon and God, and their return home was just as necessary as Gideon’s 300-man army.
They were obeying God’s will, too.
Remember that, when it seems like God hasn’t called you to do anything spectacular. “They also serve who only stand and wait.” *
* John Milton, 1655. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/When_I_Consider_How_My_Light_is_Spent
Here are a few more posts about Gideon: