The American patriot Sam Adams once wrote, “It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people’s minds.”
That statement echos a basic truth we find repeated throughout scripture: when we are with God, even the smallest minority becomes the victorious majority. One of my favorite examples of that is found in the sixth and seventh chapters of Judges. There we read how the people of God were preparing to attack their enemies; the Israeli force was 20,000 strong against an even larger opponent. God was going to give the Israelites victory, but it would be on His terms.
You can today in Israel travel to the spring where God had Gideon winnow the troops in what might be one of the more unconventional military tactics in the Bible (and, let’s face it, the Bible is full of them).
First, God told Gideon to let any who were fearful of taking on a powerful army leave. Half did so. Then, He instructed Gideon: “Every one who laps the water with his tongue, as a dog laps, you shall set by himself. Likewise, every one who kneels down to drink.”
There were just 300 who lapped the water; God wanted them. The rest were sent packing. As a quick aside: Would you want to be with those uncouth water-lappers? It’s a reminder God’s army usually isn’t what we’d expect.
It’s no secret why He did this; He was abundantly clear. God said He did not want Israel to “boast over me, saying, ‘My own hand has saved me.’” He wanted them to understand their victory was His working, not theirs.
In the polity of God, He is the unified majority. As was demonstrated at Gideon’s spring, an army of thousands can be routed by 300. But God wants the 300 to understand the true source of the victory.
As we go about faithfully setting “brush fires” of liberty, we must remember our allies are of God’s choosing, and that victory will come in God’s time.