Taking Purah

The story of Gideon reads like a roller-coaster. First, he’s afraid of everything, hiding in a winepress. Then he gets a call from God to lead Israel’s army, but he puts God to the test by throwing out some fleeces and asking them to be both wet and dry. Then when he’s got the assurance he needed, God dwindles down his army from 32,000 to 10,000 and then to 300.

300!

And those 300 were facing a Midianite army that were “like locusts.” And that those locust-like numbers had “camels more than the sand on the seashore.”

Up. Down. Up. Down. I can imagine Gideon getting sea sick. Then God told him this:

“Get up, go down against the camp, because I am going to give it into your hands.  If you are afraid to attack, go down to the camp with your servant Purah  and listen to what they are saying. Afterward, you will be encouraged to attack the camp” (Judges 7:9-11).

When the two men got there, they overheard a conversation where one enemy soldier told another one about a dream he had. The other responded that the dream meant without a doubt that Gideon (yes, he mentioned Gideon by name) and his army were going to come and rout them. Gideon must have been dumbstruck. Talk about a confidence-booster!

But here’s the question: Why did God tell him to take Purah with him down into the camp?

Maybe it was to carry his sword. Or a canteen. Or to keep Gideon from running away. Or maybe just for company.

Or maybe God told Gideon to take Purah because of our tendency to forget, or doubt, the things we hear.

Let’s face it – we have heard some pretty unbelievable stuff:

“There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”

“He who knew no sin became sin for us so that we might become the righteousness of God.”

“The Lord rejoices over you with singing.”

“What manner of love is this that we should be called the children of God?”

And then there are those things that are equally powerful but for a different reason:

“Pray continually.”

“Blessed are the poor.”

“Flee from sexual immorality.”

“Woe to you when all men speak well of you.”

We are forgetful and doubting people. Sometimes because what we hear is too good to be true; sometimes because it would be easier to forget what we heard. That’s why we need Purah – someone in our lives who has heard the same things we do, and in those moments when we doubt or forget, can stand beside us to remind us of the word of the Lord.

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