Reading in Judges the past few days and today, we have the stories of Deborah and Gideon. God used them in amazing ways to rescue Israel from oppressors. That oppression came from sin and God selling Israel to tyranny. When they cried out to God, He sent Judges. Two have amazing stories – Deborah and Gideon.
Diving into the practical, lets study the operations and tactics. I promise not to geek out to much with my Army Field Artillery brain. Israel’s oppressors had two fascinating skills that Israel lacked. The Art of Iron and the Art of maneuver. Using Iron chariots at the speed of horses, they would ride down Israel’s fighting men and outmaneuver slow elements limited to the speed of their feet. Outflanked and outmaneuvered, the slaughter of Israel was horrific.
Here’s the deal. Teaching a man to fight with spear, shield and bow takes a generation. Facing enemies equipped with chariots and iron on the battlefield, Israel often lost in a day the investment of a generation. The numbers of enemy armies were larger because driving chariots over infantry is a skill taught in weeks. The Canaanites and Midianites could quickly raise armies that did not require a generation to teach hand to hand weapons. Retreating to the hills and mountains, Israel starved, licked its wounds, and wept until they called on the Lord.
Deborah called Israel to her on a mountain. That’s key because chariots are top heavy and cannot maneuver on slopes of hills and mountains. They are limited to the flatter ground where their advantages in speed destroyed all enemies. When Sisera, the vaunted commander of the enemy arrogantly tried to attack Israel on the steeper slopes of Deborah’s mountain, the battle devolved to Israel’s strength, an Infantry fight. Sisera could not maneuver to the flanks, his chariots impeded by the slopes. We also read in Deborah’s song that rivers overflowed, swept away Sisera’s Chariots and all that was left was slaying the enemy in hand-to-hand. A woman with no training in arms… a wife… a mother in Israel… Was the Woman who God used to mastermind Israel’s victory over their enemies. To defeat Operational maneuver with Asymmetric strategies. To defeat a culture of Tyranny
Gideon’s battles have a very different flavor. It’s ironic that fearing the culture and the people, Gideon snuck out at night to tear down his father’s altar of Baal, replacing it with God’s altar, and sacrifice a bull. Sort of like what too many Christians today try to do… Bolting their church doors and homes against the outside world and working in secret to try and build God’s altars in the middle of a culture going to hell. Culture is going to Hell. But it does not matter because culture has no soul. The people in it have souls and desperately need God’s word. Back to Gideon. His first act of defiance happened at night. Then God humorously sent Gideon – at night – against the Midianites. In the confusion of an asymmetric Special Forces battle, the Midianites and their allies did a great job of killing each other before they could get on their chariots and ride down Gideon’s paranoid 300. Even in the mop up, Gideon moved against the Midianites with small forces who’s skills in hand to hand won the day.
This was THE tool of the warrior culture of Israel’s enemies. Several centuries after Gideon, David on the run lived with the Philistines several years. My theory is that David and his men learned iron. How to extract it from ore, refine it, and forge into weapons. Using a tool of culture, God used David to transform Israel into a nation. We have the equivalent of Iron, today. It’s called the Internet, Information, Big Data, Industrial Revolution 4.0… Things that in of themselves are amazing and usable for great evil. Yet, these are the tools of the faithful, as well. Working across the velocity of information and business, the tools of the faithful are available. Yet, like David and his men, we must master them. Then use them with imagination and innovation framed in revelation to be like the sons of Issachar, discerning the times. We can’t hang out in the night wringing our hands. Like the Switchfoot song, we must step into the light… Bringing these tools with us to step into the Balkanization of Civilization along the axis of the Internet to protect the innocent, defend the defenseless, and rescue the poor from wickedness.
Watching the Sun light up Pikes Peak