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 9
From last lesson: Thus it has been with all those who have ever been called to occupy a prominent place in the Lord’s work; and even the blessed Master Himself—though surely needing no training or discipline, inasmuch as He was ever perfect,—to set us an example, spent thirty years in retirement before He came forth in public.
All this is full of most wholesome instruction for our souls. Let us seek to take it in and profit by it. No one can ever get on in public work without this private teaching in the school of Christ. It is this which gives depth, solidity, and mellowness to the character. It imparts a tone of reality and a steadfastness of purpose most desirable in all who engage in any department of the Lord’s work. It will invariably be found that where anyone goes to work without this divine preparation, there is shallowness and instability. There may perhaps for a time be more flash and show in those superficial characters than in those who have been educated in the school of Christ; but it never lasts. It may create a momentary sensation, but it soon passes away like the morning cloud or the early dew. Nothing will stand but that which is the direct result of private communion with God—secret training in His presence—the excellent discipline of the school of God.
Let us see how all this is exemplified in Gideon’s case. It is very evident that this honored servant was called to pass through deep exercises of soul before ever he took a single step in public action, yes, before he ever unfurled the standard of testimony in his father’s house. He had to begin with himself, with his own personal condition, with his own heart. Those who will be used for others must begin with themselves. So Gideon found it in himself. Let us pursue his history.
“And the Lord said unto Gideon, Surely I will be with thee, and thou shalt smite the Midianites as one man. And he said unto Him, If now I have found grace in thy sight, then show me a sign that thou talkest with me. Depart not hence, I pray thee, until I come unto thee, and bring forth my present, and set it before thee. And He said, I will tarry till thou come again. And Gideon went in and made ready a kid, and unleavened cakes of an ephah of flour; the flesh he put in a basket, and he put the broth in a pot, and brought it out unto Him under the oak, and presented it. And the angel of God said unto him, Take the flesh and the unleavened cakes; and lay them upon this rock, and pour out the broth. And he did so. Then the angel of the Lord put forth the end of the staff that was in his hand, and touched the flesh and the unleavened cakes; and there rose up fire out of the rock and consumed the flesh and the unleavened cakes. Then the angel of the Lord departed out of his sight. And when Gideon perceived that he was an angel of the Lord, Gideon said, Alas, O Lord God! for because I have seen an angel of the Lord face to face. And the Lord said unto him, Peace be unto thee; fear not: thou shalt not die” (Judges 6:16–23).
Here we reach a profoundly interesting stage of Gideon’s preparatory course. He is called to enter practically and experimentally into the great and universal law for the servants of God, namely, “When I am weak, then I am strong.” This is a most precious law, and one which forms an indispensable element in the education of all Christ’s servants. Let no one imagine that he can ever be used in the Lord’s work, or ever make progress in the divine life, without some measure of real entrance into this invaluable principle. We hold it to be absolutely essential in forming the character of the true servant of Christ. Where it is not known, where it has not been felt, where it has not been to some extent realized, there is sure to be a lack of subduedness, unbrokenness, and self-occupation, in some form or another. There will be more or less of self-confidence, and various points and angles turning up here and there, and acting as a sad hindrance to all that is good, useful, and holy.
To Be Continued