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From Eternity Past

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    How Could Gideon Be Sure?

    Gideon prayed, “If Thou wilt save Israel by mine hand, as Thou hast said, behold, I will put a fleece of wool in the floor; and if the dew be on the fleece only, and it be dry upon all the earth besides, then shall I know that Thou wilt save Israel by mine hand, as Thou hast said.” In the morning the fleece was wet, while the ground was dry. But now a doubt arose, since wool naturally absorbs moisture when there is any in the air; the test might not be decisive. Hence he asked that the sign be reversed. His request was granted.EP 395.3

    Thus encouraged, Gideon led out his forces to give battle to the invaders. “All the Midianites and the Amalekites and the children of the east were gathered together, and went over, and pitched in the valley of Jezreel.” The entire force under Gideon's command numbered only thirty-two thousand men. But with the vast host of the enemy spread out before him, the word of the Lord came: “The people that are with thee are too many for Me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel vaunt themselves against Me, saying, Mine own hand hath saved me. Now therefore ... proclaim in the ears of the people, saying, Whosoever is fearful and afraid, let him return and depart early from mount Gilead.” Those unwilling to face danger and hardship would add no strength to the armies of Israel.EP 395.4

    Gideon was filled with astonishment at the declaration that his army was too large. But the Lord saw the pride and unbelief in the hearts of His people. Aroused by the appeals of Gideon, they had readily enlisted; but many were filled with fear when they saw the multitudes of Midian. Yet, had Israel triumphed, those very ones would have taken glory to themselves instead of ascribing victory to God.EP 396.1

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