The Flame Within the Jar


Under Gideon's leadership, Israel defeated the Midianites, despite their seemingly poor preparation. Many of you recall the story of how Gideon started with 32,000 men, but narrowed this down to a mere 300, against an army of 135,000! It was God's intention that the victory be clearly seen as a miracle, and with those numbers, only divine intervention could secure Israel a victory.

Not only were the numbers in Israel's army low, their “weapons” were rather unusual. Each man held a shofar (a trumpet made from a ram's horn) in one hand and a clay jar in the other. We'd hardly consider these to be weapons of mass destruction.

Gideon's men came to the camp of the Midianites at midnight. All at once, under Gideon's leadership, they all smashed their clay jars. Within each man's jar was a flaming torch. After smashing their jars, and holding on to their torches, each man blew his shofar, and shouted,“The sword of the LORD and of Gideon!” When the Midianites were roused from their sleep by the loud sounds of the shofars, the shouts of 300 men, and the sight of 300 blazing torches, the Bible tells us that the LORD sent confusion in the camp, causing each man to attack the other, or flee the camp entirely.

The flame within the jar in this story has many applications in our own lives. Let's look at a parallel passage in the New Testament:

“For God, who said, 'Let light shine out of darkness,' made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” (II Corinthians 4:6-7)

In this passage from II Corinthians, Believers are likened unto Gideon’s army's jars of clay. While those jars may have seemed to be quite ordinary, they contained lit torches, which ultimately gave them tremendous victory. So too with us. God has given each of us His power within our hearts, no matter how ordinary we may seem on the surface. Our goal in life is to do as Jesus told us in Matthew 5:16: “...let your light shine...”

So, like Gideon’s men, go forward with your jar of clay, knowing that the key to victory in life is within – the flame within the jar.

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