Today in Judges we learn that God uses imperfect men and women to accomplish His perfect purposes! Yay, because otherwise I would not be used by God to accomplish anything for Him!
Notice how God worked with Gideon, to bolster his courage against the Midianites. It seems that the army of the Midianites was over 120,000 men, while Gideon’s army was 300 men. He could have had a bigger army, of about 35,000 men, but he obeyed God. Well, in the strength of the flesh, 35,000 is not going to beat 120,000, so better to completely go with God.
God struck the hearts of the Midianites with fear – they all still remembered, even though hundreds of years had now passed, what God did to Egypt. That event, which the modern era dismisses as not even historical, left a huge indelible impression upon the peoples of the ancient world.
So when the Midianites heard the trumpets and crash of the pitchers, and the bright lights surrounding them, they panicked, and started killing each other in their confusion. Gideon’s army didn’t really have to do much but pursue and cut off the survivors. Then notice how the bickering started among the tribes of Israel. Instead of realizing how mightily God was delivering them from their enemies, and banding together to make the certain thing more sure, they fall to petty quarrels with each other. But we would never do that, right? LOL.
When the people wanted to make Gideon king, he refused, saying the LORD would be their king. That is the way God had set up the government of Israel from the beginning, from Moses. But very early on, the people began coveting a king like all the other nations around them had.
Remember that God was worshipped as God and King by the all descendants of Noah, until He gave His first command: separate into your clans and go, fill the earth. They wanted to stay together, so they rebelled under Nimrod and built the Tower of Babel. Nimrod became the first king, when the people rebelled from having the LORD be king over them.
From Babel, the nations of the world were separated, each with their kings, making up a way of iiving which God did not ordain for the children of men. This way is Babylon’s way, Nimrod’s way, man’s way, the world’s way, and all the kingdoms of this world participate in that way.
In opposition to man’s way and the world’s way, God separated (made holy) Abraham from his father’s house and from the Sumerian kingdom he had grown up in, and made of him and his house a nation separated (holy) to God, who had God as their king. The two ways are in opposition to each other. Man’s way and the world’s way are opposite of God’s way and the kingdom of heaven’s way.
So as soon as Israel forgot God’s word and His law, and ceased to listen, pay heed, observe, and teach all that God had done and all that God had said through Moses, Israel fell away and became like the nations around them. And very early on, they began clamoring for a king like the nations around them. But at least Gideon knew enough, and had enough sincere zeal for God, to refuse what the people wanted to do, and keep Israel, however unwilling, on the path that God had set for it.