Gideon, An Unlikely Hero – 3

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Charles Henry Mackintosh (October 1820 – November 2, 1896) was a nineteenth-century Christian preacher, dispensationalist, writer of Bible commentaries, magazine editor and member of the Plymouth Brethren. In 1843, Mackintosh wrote his first tract entitled Peace with God. When he was 24, he opened a private school where he developed a special method of teaching classical languages. Mackintosh went around preaching the gospel to the poor during school holidays. He wrote to John Nelson Darby on August 31, 1853 that the Lord had “called me into larger service than ever,” and he soon concluded that he must give himself entirely to preaching, writing, and public speaking.

Gideon, An Unlikely Hero Part 3

There is one truth which shines out with uncommon luster in the book of Judges, and that is, that God is ever to be counted upon, even amid the darkest scenes of human history; and, moreover, faith can always count upon God; God never fails a trusting heart—no, never. He never has failed, never will, never can fail the individual soul that confides in Him, that takes hold of His precious word, in the artless simplicity of a faith that trusts Him in the face of man’s deepest failure and short-coming.

This is most consolatory and encouraging, at all times, and under all circumstances. Alas! True it is—man fails in everything. How very true! Trace him where you will; mark him in whatever sphere of action or responsibility he occupies, and it is the same sad tale, over and over again, of unfaithfulness, failure, and ruin. Let man be set up in business, as often as he may, with the largest capital and the fairest prospects, and he is sure to become bankrupt. It has ever been so, from the days of Eden down to the present moment. We may assert, without fear of contradiction, that there has not been one solitary exception to the dismal rule, in the history of Adam’s fallen race. We must never forget this. True faith never forgets it. It would be the blindest folly to attempt to ignore the fact that ruin is stamped, in characters deep and broad, upon the entire of man’s story, from first to last.

But, in the face of all this, God abides faithful. He cannot deny Himself. Here is the resource and the resting-place of faith. It recognizes and owns the ruin; but it counts on God. Faith is not blind to human failure; but it fixes its gaze on divine faithfulness. It confesses the ruin of man; but it counts on the resources of God.

Now, all this comes strikingly out in the interesting and instructive story of Gideon. He, truly, was made to realize, in his own person and experience, the fact of Israel’s fallen condition. The contrast between Joshua and Gideon is as striking as can be, so far as regards the question of their condition and circumstances. Joshua could place his foot on the necks of the kings of Canaan. Gideon had to thrash his wheat in a corner to hide it from the Midianites. The day of Joshua was marked by splendid victories; the day of Gideon was a day of small things. But the day of small things for man is the day of great things for God. So Gideon found it. True, it was not permitted him to witness the sun and moon arrested in their course, or the cities of the uncircumcised levelled with the ground. His was a day of barley cakes and broken pitchers, not of astounding miracles and brilliant achievements. But God was with him; and this was enough. “There came an angel of the Lord, and sat under an oak which was in Ophrah, that pertained unto Joash the Abiezrite; and his son Gideon threshed wheat by the winepress, to hide it from the Midianites. And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him, and said unto him, The Lord is with thee, thou mighty man of valor.” – Judges 6:11-12.

What words were these to fall upon the ear of Gideon, cowering in the winepress, through fear of the enemy! They were words from heaven to lift his soul above the trials, and sorrows, and humiliations of earth—words of divine power and virtue to infuse vigor into his depressed and sorrowing heart. “Thou mighty man of valor!” How hard was it for Gideon to take such wondrous accents in! How difficult to apply them to himself! Where was the might or where was the valor? Most surely not in himself or in his surroundings. Where then? In the living God; precisely where Joshua found his might and his valor. Indeed, there is a striking similarity in the terms in which both these eminent servants of God were addressed. The similarity of the terms is quite as marked as is the contrast in their circumstances. Here are the terms to Joshua: “Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage be not thou afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.” And the terms to Gideon are: “The Lord is with thee, thou mighty man of valor.”

Precious words! Soul-stirring, heart-strengthening accents! And yet Gideon was slow to make them his own—slow to grasp them, in the lovely appropriating power of faith, which so delights the heart of God, and glorifies His name. How often it is the same with us! How constantly we fail to rise to the height of God’s gracious thoughts and purposes towards us! We are prone to reason about ourselves and our surroundings, instead of believing God, and resting, in sweet tranquility, in His perfect love and faithfulness.

To Be Continued

gs gideon unlikely hero

Minor adaptation of excerpts from C. H Mackintosh, Gideon and His Companions. Public Domain.
Unless otherwise noted, Scripture taken from The Holy Bible: King James Version (KJV) Public Domain.

About Roland Ledoux

Pastor of Oasis Bible Ministry, an outreach ministry of teaching, encouragement and intercessory prayer from the Holy Bible, the written Word of God and author of the ministry website, For The Love of God. He lives in Delta, Colorado with his beautiful wife of 50+ years and a beautiful yellow lab whom they affectionately call Bella.
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