Zebah and Zalmunna,
the two kings of Midian,
fled, but he pursued them
and captured them,
routing their entire army.
Gideon, walking into victory, completes his journey up the path and confronts Zebah, Zalmunna and their army. These two kings, as seen in verse 11, were caught off guard by Gideon and his troop. It is unclear why they were surprised, but they let their guard down for a period of time that was long enough to allow Gideon to execute his plan.
Though they had the numbers, the text tells us that they fled. Here two kings are, previously victorious in battle, now retreating, and fleeing to save their lives. Their encounter with Gideon and God has taught them that God can make your advantage a disadvantage.
Previously, God had confused the army, causing them to take the lives of each other through what we would label friendly fire. Each one turned on each other at the sound of the trumpets. They are fleeing from 300 troops because fighting them turned their advantage against them. They suffered such a loss, that it was is though they were facing the 50 to 1 odds.
The text informs us first that they were kings. Here these powerful men are fleeing someone who is accompanied with 300 troops and most importantly a call on his life. You have two kingdoms, again coming face to face with the Kingdom of God, and they make the choice to flee.
This is so encouraging!
When you are facing insurmountable odd, the balance of power if shifted towards the one representing the most powerful kingdom. Which kingdom do you represent? Maybe the reason we have lost some, and fallen short in other battles is that we are fighting for the wrong cause, wrong reason and wrong king!
Who’s your king?
Gideon was representing the King of Kings, and though he had to fight two kings, he knew that the true battle was the Lords. He knew that God would go before him, and where he needed to fight, God would prepare his path, provide a plan, power his people, and prove him victorious.
Knowing this, its no surprise that Gideon’s response to them fleeing, was to pursue them. Gideon knew this opportunity was a great one, because God had given him the plan and the opportunity. Gideon, though leading a weary troop, drew power from his God, and pursued! I love this pursue, because it still speaks of the hope and faith he had. He pursued as though he had already obtained, but had to maintain faith while he laid claim to his goal!
Gideon teaches us also to pursue until…
The word says He “pursued them and captured them”! He was not going to stop until they were captured. How many of us are pursuing like this? This means that their capture is the conclusion, even if the pursuit continues beyond this point. Capture is the condition that will not be negotiated. He will not quit until he has obtained his goal.
Pursue with Determination
The capture of what you desire depends on the passion and persistence of your pursuit. He was able to have given into his hands, two kings, and with 300 troops, was able to destroy his entire army.
I envisioned a chess board with all the pawns, horsemen, bishops and castles, set aside with the queen with nothing protecting it. I see the king laying on its side, surrendering to an eventual death, because it has nothing to cover or deflect from putting it into check. We must remain confident that God will do what He said. We must look at our circumstances as unfolding stories with many chapters. The text says that Gideon was able to win “…routing their entire army”.
The word “routing” gives us an image of this battle. This was not a close affair! The 300 were able to overcome the 15,000 troops easily. Those watching witnessed this entire army be defeated not by turning on each other, but by being taken over by those empowered by the Holy Spirit! So we pursue though weary, knowing our strength is in God. He will allow us to overpower the enemy.