“And it came to pass the same night, that the LORD said unto him, Arise, get thee down unto the host; for I have delivered it into thine hand. But if thou fear to go down, go thou with Phurah thy servant down to the host: And thou shalt hear what they say; and afterward shall thine hands be strengthened to go down unto the host.” (Judges 7:9-11a)
With only three hundred men remaining, Gideon’s army was out numbered by four hundred fifty to one. Humanly speaking, it would be almost impossible to win. Even Gideon must have had some qualms, and God recognized that, telling him to go down and listen to what the Midianites were saying.
"Then went he down with Phurah his servant unto the outside of the armed men that were in the host. And the Midianites and the Amalekites and all the children of the east lay along in the valley like grasshoppers for multitude; and their camels were without number, as the sand by the sea side for multitude.” (Judges 7:11b-12)
With over a hundred thirty five thousand warriors, the Midianites and Amalekites were not expecting much difficulty. They had brought extra camels to carry off the grain and other loot they planned to take. They were pretty confident and their guards were not overly alert, but it must have been intimidating to approach their camp.
“And when Gideon was come, behold, there was a man that told a dream unto his fellow, and said, Behold, I dreamed a dream, and, lo, a cake of barley bread tumbled into the host of Midian, and came unto a tent, and smote it that it fell, and overturned it, that the tent lay along.
And his fellow answered and said, This is nothing else save the sword of Gideon the son of Joash, a man of Israel: for into his hand hath God delivered Midian, and all the host.” (Judges 7:13-14)
When they arrived at the camp, Gideon overheard one of the Midianites describing a dream he had had. In the dream, a simple every day loaf of barley bread, about the size of biscuit rolled into the camp and knocked down one of the tents. Their tents were designed to withstand the wind and dust storms of the open desert, and such a small thing would not be expected to have any impact.
His partner’s interpretation of the dream was that Gideon and his tiny army was going to wipe out the Midianite army in a similar unexpected fashion, because of the power of God. The Midianites were as psyched out as the people in Jericho had been in Joshua 2:9-11.
“And it was so, when Gideon heard the telling of the dream, and the interpretation thereof, that he worshipped, and returned into the host of Israel, and said, Arise; for the LORD hath delivered into your hand the host of Midian.” (Judges 7:15)
What an encouragement to find out that the Midianites didn’t really expect to win. Gideon stopped to thank the Lord for what he had showed them, then returned to his men, confident of victory. His confidence would infect his men as well, overcoming their reservations. Sometimes it is amazing what God uses to encourage us.