As I read this chapter today, I wondered about the interpretation of the Midianite’s dream by his friend. What explanation was there for a round loaf of bread knocking down a tent being representative of the defeat of the Midianite’s army by Israel? So I did some further reading.
It turns out that in the original language, the round loaf of bread is a barley cake that hit the tent so hard that it turned it upside down and lat flat.
What’s the difference? It’s subtle, but I think it matters.
Barley was thought of as the food of poor people and animals. The Midianites had long terrorized the Israelites and had most likely destroyed any of the crops that Gideon had been known to tend. So they had been reduced to having to eat barley. Also, the way in which a barley cake was probably prepared was that just a little of the barley flour was mixed with water to make the batter, and then thrown on the coals, producing a not very desirable, very humble meal. And the thought that such a humble little cake could tumble down a hill and hit a Midianite tent with such force that it could overturn and flatten it would seem unlikely and miraculous.
Makes a little more sense now, doesn’t it?
And we know that God prefers to use the humble and unlikely to accomplish His goals. Knowing what you now know about the humble barley cake, take heart if you, dear listener, feel less than qualified to be used by God. In fact, that is right where He wants you. When He calls you, He will enable you, just as He did this tiny group of 300 men willing to follow God.
Don’t you just love hearing the Word of God and digging just a little deeper? I know I do.