History tells the story of King Leonidas of Sparta who led 300 warriors into battle against overwhelming odds in the Battle of Thermoplyae in 480 BC. This dramatic tale was popularized in a graphic novel by Frank Miller and later made into a blockbuster Hollywood film. The legend that has grown around these events call for the worship of man. Strong men, fearless men, men with bulging biceps and ripped abs running into battle and heading for a glorious death.
The bible has its own 300 story. It is not nearly as glamorous. The narrative is found in Judges 7 as Gideon is about to face the overwhelming Midianite army. The army of Israel, originally some 32,000 strong is deemed too large by the Lord. You know what happens…eventually only 300 men are with Gideon to fight the Lord’s battle. The glory and honor for this battle belongs to the swift or the strong or the powerful (did any of the 300 have ripped abs?), but to the living God.
I’ve thought a lot lately about how God does things vs. how we think things should be done. We see our society fracturing, we see the rise of atheism, agnosticism, secularism, and humanism. We see churches failing and faltering and we wonder how will we arrest the tide? What mighty army might we marshal?
Wouldn’t it be grand if the top athlete, the top movie star, the top singing sensation were a believer—especially if they were Reformed? What might God do with a converted Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt? And who does God save? See that lady in the jean skirt at Wal-Mart? The one with the long hair and the six kids under 10? Do you see that fella missing all the teeth? Do you see the nothings, the nobodies, the things which are nots? That’s God’s army. And do you know what? It’s been successful through the years. It has toppled kingdoms, it has changed societies. It is actually marching forth right now in many parts of the world. Believe it or not, through some pretty rough and tumble and low characters, Jesus is building His church. And He is doing it in way that astonishes the world and honors Himself.
The world and Hollywood might like their 300 beefcake glamour boys, but I’ll take Gideon’s army any day!Jim Savastio, Pastor Reformed Baptist Church of Louisville