Judges 7:1
The geographical situation outlined here cannot be deter?mined with certainty.  The Israelites were in the hills overlook?ing Midianites camped somewhere in the valley of Jezreel.  Israel was out?numbered four-to-one.  Gideon had 32,000 men (v. 3); Midi?an had 135,000 (8:10).

Judges 7:2
The Israelites were vastly outnumbered, but in God’s opinion had too many soldiers.  YHWH knew if His people won the battle with a large army, they would “vaunt themselves” in pride.
Pure and holy angels, conscious of their own unworthiness, bow humbly before God.  Fallen men, however, are always tempted to be boast?ful.  The believer must overcome this temptation.
We never do God a favor by serving Him; rather, our honor is solely in the fact we were selected as vessels through which He works.  “My own hand hath saved me” should never be spoken by any Christian.  Ascribe all glory unto the Lord.
God jealously guards His own honor and will not give His glo?ry to another.  This is the case, not because of selfishness, but due to His great love for us.  God longs for us to recognize Him as our only genuine source of strength.  He wants us to enjoy victory after victory, but this can happen only as long as we seek our strength in Him.  Hence, God not only wants to give us victory, but also desires to teach us “trust in Him.”  If our vic?tories are ascribed to our own strength, they will eventually prove detrimental for us.

Judges 7:3a
The reduction is begun by applying the test prescribed in Deuteronomy 20:8, “What man is there that is fearful and faint?hearted?  Let him go and return unto his house, lest his breth?ren’s heart faint as well as his heart.”  Before a battle the fearful were encouraged to depart.  Fear is contagious.  Pan?ic, once started, spreads swiftly, and causes frenzied confu?sion.

Judges 7:3b
Morale was evidently quite low; better than two-thirds of the army took advantage of this opportunity to leave.  “Twenty-two thousand showed the breadth of their backs, executing strate?gical movements upon home!” (McNeill, in B.I.).  Once the fear?ful departed, there were “fewer persons, but not fewer men” (Fuller).     A large number of men had thought it a good idea to cast off Midian, but very few were brave enough to try and do it.  Many came, but the sight of 135,000 Midianites had caused courage to wane.  “Two out of three were panic struck.  I wonder if the pro?portion would be less in Christ’s army today, if professing Chris?tians were as frank as Gideon’s men?” (Maclaren).  Whenever a noble and difficult task needs to be done, many will say “Good idea!  Do it!” to each one who says “I will help accomplish it!”

Judges 7:3c-4
The odds against Israel have increased from four-to-one to more than thirteen-to-one.  Nevertheless, God is not yet satis?fied.  He will reduce the army even farther by a simple test to be administered at the water.

Judges 7:5a
Do not overlook the spiritual resolve displayed by Gideon.  He was already heavily outnumbered, but obeyed nevertheless.

Judges 7:5b-6
The army will now be divided into two groups based upon the manner in which they drink.  One group would consist of those who lifted the water in the hollow of their hand, and then lapped it into the mouth with their tongue, as a dog does.  The other group would consist of those who fell down beside the water to drink.  Only three hundred men used the first procedure; 9,700 used the latter.  Which group would you have chosen, the three hundred or the 9,700?
The three hundred had given evidence of being good soldiers.  They had displayed more caution and alertness than the 9,700 who dropped down headlong.  The three hundred were obviously more con??cerned with combat than with drinking water on a hot day.  By lapping the water up to the mouth, they were able “to keep an eye out” for approaching enemy soldiers.  The three hundred would have been ready for combat instantaneously.
The 9,700 were more concerned for a moment with satisfying thirst than with fighting.  Thinking solely of the water would make them susceptible to the charge of momentary, military care?lessness.  Nevertheless, 9,700 men far outnumbered three hundred.  Odds of fourteen-to-one sound much better than 450-to-one, but God never worries about the odds.

Judges 7:7
God evidently likes the sound of “450-to-one.”  At Carmel He later vanquished 450 false prophets of Baal through the prophet Elijah (1 Kings 18:22).
YHWH is not impressed by large armies.  He alone reigns su?preme in the affairs of men.  The Duke of Wellington led his troops to victory at Waterloo, but Victor Hugo correctly said, “Napoleon had been impeached before the Infinite.”
God rules, and achieves marvelous things through a few.  Ten men could have saved Sodom.  Potiphar’s house??hold and then all of Egypt were blessed by the presence of one, Joseph.  A few Galile?an fishermen could not be vanquished by all the legions of Rome.  The ship tossed and torn at sea was spared because an Apostle of God was on board.
God never requires a majority.  In fact, He delights to work through a minority.  Man’s extremity is often God’s opportu?ni?ty.
It can be depressing to think of the few who are true to the Gospel, compared to the many who are apathetic.  However, do not get caught in the “numbers trap.”  The Captain of our salvation is for us; who then can be against us? (Romans 8:31).
Success in God’s cause never depends upon numbers.  The great need of the Church is not more members, but members who are yielded to Christ.  We are hindered by members who do not live their faith in earnest.
“God wants His army to be not like a great, big, overgrown cabbage that has run to blades and has no heart in it, but He wants His army to be dense–not extensive, but intensive–sound at the heart, solid as a cannon ball” (Mc?Neill).
The cause of Christ is advanced more by the earnest few than by the careless and undisciplined many.  When you are sure of your task, and know God is for you, neither try to count heads nor fear being in a minority.
“The history of every good cause is the same.  First, it kin??dles a fire in the hearts of two or three nobodies, who are burned in earlier times, and laughed at as fools, fanatics, im?practicable dreamers, in later ages, but whose convictions grow till, one day, the world wakes up to find that everybody believes them, and then it “builds the tombs of the prophets”” (Maclaren).

Judges 7:8
Israel is in the hills, Midian in the valley.  This geo?graphical setting will have much to do with the ultimate result of the con?flict.
Though the command was difficult, Gideon obeyed YHWH and sent the 9,700 home.  At sunrise Gideon had been commander of 32,000 troops; at sunset he had an army of three hundred.  Less than one percent of his original army remained.
Three hundred did not seem like many, but would be suffi?cient.  After their victory, the number “300” would be “immor?tal.”
Something about the few versus the many stirs excitement with?in us.  We often repeat the story of King Leonidas and his 6,000 Spartan heroes.  We never cease to be amazed that they held 500,000 Persians at bay two days in the pass of Thermopylae (480 BC).  Every year thousands of Americans make their way to the Alamo, where occurred what is sometimes called “the Thermopy?lae of America.”  In 1836 Santa Anna’s army of 5,000 was held at bay two weeks by 182 men stationed in the Alamo.
The few against the many–there is a nobility about it.  God grant us courage to be faithful in the most noble cause of all:  the redeemed minority against the unredeemed majority.  May Gide?on’s “300” inspire us all.