Why You Need “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.


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?

It’s almost given as an allowance to Gideon. As in, he shouldn’t be afraid to do what he had been commanded to do. Not after what he was going to hear, but Gideon did not have the greatest faith track record up to this point. He had, after all, asked for further verification of God’s promises time after time. And perhaps that’s why the offer was made – take Purah with you, just in case.

And if that is the case, then this allowance given to Gideon ought to mean something to us as well. It should be meaningful because we, like Gideon, are pretty forgetful people. And we forget things relatively quickly. Yes, we forget things like where we put our keys and where we park the car, but we also tend to forget what God has told us.

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

  • There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Rom. 8:1).
  • He who knew no sin became sin for us so that we might become the righteousness of God (2 Cor. 5:21).
  • The Lord rejoices over you with singing (Zeph. 3:17).
  • What manner of love is this that we should be called the children of God? (1 John 3:1).

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

  • Pray continually (1 Thess. 5:17).
  • Blessed are the poor (Luke 6:20).
  • Flee from sexual immorality (1 Cor. 6:18).
  • Woe to you when all men speak well of you (Luke 6:26).

We tend to forget all these things. Sometimes we forget because our circumstances are so overwhelming that we can’t find a way to see the work and mercy of God through them. Sometimes we forget because our priorities are out of whack. Sometimes we forget because we are afraid. Or anxious. Or even too prosperous and comfortable. In all these cases, we tend to forget what God has already told us in His word. We are, by nature, forgetful and doubting people.

And that’s why we still need “Purah.” We need people in our lives who have heard the same things we do. We need those who can cut through our own fog of fear, anxiety, or prosperity and say once again to us, “The Lord has already said.” We need each other to help us remember.

If, then, you are feeling forgetful today – then perhaps the best thing you can do is find a Purah around you. Find them, and let them help you remember.

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