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Dear COA Family,

How would you prepare for a war as a general? Chances are you would want to have a larger and more equipped army than your enemy so that you would have a greater chance of success.

This was exactly what happened with the Russian-Ukraine war. According to the Global Firepower Index, Russia has the second most powerful military in the world.1 With its overwhelming superiority, it invaded Ukraine on 24 February 2022 expecting a swift victory within a few weeks. However, things did not pan out as it had hoped. The war has dragged on for months with neither side looking likely to emerge victorious.

Yet this quest for military superiority, which is common sense to the world, is not how God works or thinks.

In Judges 7, God made an astounding statement to Gideon, who was a rookie general leading the Israelites into a war for freedom against a far superior military power. He said, “You have too many men. I cannot deliver Midian into their hands, or Israel would boast against me, ‘My own strength has saved me.’” (Judges 7:2)

So, the Lord commanded the Israelites to “volunteer” for the war by allowing those who were afraid of fighting to return home. Twenty-two thousand troops (or close to 70% of army) deserted the army immediately.

Yet the Lord was not done. He directed the men to go to the nearby river to drink. Those who lapped at the water, instead of cupping the water with their hands and drinking from them, were chosen to fight.

Now think with me, who in their right mind drinks water by lapping with their tongues? Only dogs (or animals) do that. And therefore, only people who are not smart will drink water in this manner!

And these were precisely the people whom God has chosen – all 300 of them. The vast majority had drunk water like normal people, cupping the water in their hands to drink. In the end, God brought about an overwhelming victory for the Israelites through these 300 men.

This biblical account tells us that God is our ultimate deliverer, whether through many or few. In fact, it is his practice to deliver through less in order to show his power and might. He fed the multitude with five loaves and two fish. He established his kingdom through 12 unremarkable men. He can do the same through you and me.

May we all continue to put our trust not in our own intelligence or strength but in the greatness and wisdom of God working through us!

Revd Ian