The LORD said to Gideon, “You have too many warriors with you. If I let all of you fight the Midianites, the Israelites will boast to me that they saved themselves by their own strength. Therefore, tell the people, ‘Whoever is timid or afraid may leave this mountaint and go home.’” So 22,000 of them went home, leaving only 10,000 who were willing to fight.
The LORD told Gideon, “With these 300 men I will rescue you and give you victory over the Midianites. Send all the others home.” Judges 7:2-3 & 7
We have a tendency to think that God is always going to ask us to choose the path of least resistance. “Surely God wants me to do XYZ because it’s going to be so easy. He must have opened these doors because they’re so…open.”
Sometimes God asks us to do something difficult. And then He decides to make it even more difficult. God told Gideon to lead the army against an enemy that was “like a swarm of locusts. Their camels were like grains of sand on the seashore—too many to count (Judges 7:12)!” And instead of telling Gideon he needed more soldiers, He told Gideon he needed less. On paper, it’s insane. It’s like pouring water on an altar and asking God to set it on fire. It’s like turning to the Disciples and saying, “Here – feed this crowd with this handful of food.” It’s like asking a young woman to fly halfway around the world without her family’s support and ask her to stand in the gap with the orphans in Uganda, including becoming a mother to 13 daughters.
But God seems to work like that sometimes, doesn’t He? Maybe He works like that a lot more than we think. Or want to accept. Because it’s hard. It’s uncomfortable. Sometimes it’s scary. Might even be painful. It’s a whole lot easier to just say that God doesn’t want us to do it unless it’s easy.
I’m not sure that’s the story I see in Scripture, though.