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 13
Having broken down Baal’s altar, Gideon is now led to encounter Midian’s hosts. “Then all the Midianites and the Amalekites and the children of the east were gathered together, and went over, and pitched in the valley of Jezreel. But the Spirit of the Lord came upon Gideon, and he blew a trumpet, and Abi-ezer was gathered after him. And he sent messengers throughout all Manasseh, who also was gathered after him; and he sent messengers unto Asher, and unto Zebulun, and unto Naphtali; and they came up to meet them.”
In short there was a thorough awakening. The tide of spiritual energy rose majestically, and bore hundreds and thousands upon its bosom. The work which had begun in Gideon’s heart was extending itself far and wide, throughout the length and breadth of the land. The Spirit of the Lord was displaying His mighty energy, and multitudes were stirred up to gather round the standard which the hand of faith had unfurled.
But just at this point, it would seem that Gideon’s faith needed fresh confirmation. It may be his spirit was overawed when he saw the mighty host of the uncircumcised mustering before him; and then, for a moment, his courage failed, and his heart craved a fresh sign from the Lord. “And Gideon said unto God, If Thou wilt save Israel by my hand, as Thou hast said,” alas! The poor heart can place its unbelieving “if” right in front of the word of God who cannot lie, “behold, I will put a fleece of wool in the floor; and if the dew be on the fleece only, and if it be dry upon all the earth beside, then shall I know that Thou wilt save Israel by mine hand, as Thou hast said.”
How marvelous! And yet we need not marvel if we know anything at all of our own hearts. Anything for the poor human heart but the naked word of the living God. A sign, a token, something that the eye can see. The word of God is not enough for unbelieving nature.
But oh! The matchless grace of God! His un-reproaching love! His tender considerateness! He graciously meets the weakness of His poor servant, for “It was so: for he rose up early on the morrow, and thrust the fleece together, and wringed the dew out of the fleece, a bowl full of water.” What condescending grace! Instead of severely rebuking Gideon’s unbelieving “if,” He graciously confirms his wavering faith by superabounding evidence.
And yet all this sufficed not. Gideon seeks still further confirmation. “And he said unto God, Let not thine anger be hot against me, and I will speak but this once. Let me prove, I pray Thee, but this once with the fleece; let it now be dry only upon the fleece, and upon all the ground let there be dew. And God did so that night: for it was dry upon the fleece only, and there was dew upon all the ground.” Such is the abounding grace and patience of the God with whom we have to do. Forever adored be His holy Name! Who would not trust Him, and love Him, and serve Him?
Continuing on we see Gideon’s companions are brought before us; and their history, as well as that of their leader, is full of interest and profit for us. They had to be trained and tested as well as he. Let us ponder the narrative.
“Then Jerubbaal, who is Gideon, and all the people that were with him, rose up early and pitched beside the well of Harod: so that the host of the Midianites were on the north side of them, by the hill of Moreh, in the valley. And the Lord said unto Gideon, The people that are with thee are too many for Me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel vaunt themselves against Me, saying, Mine own hand hath saved me.”
The clear and soul-stirring blast of Gideon’s trumpet had drawn around him a very large and imposing company; but this company had to be tested. It is one thing to be moved by the zeal and energy of some earnest servant of Christ, and it is quite another thing to possess those moral qualities which alone can fit a man to be an earnest servant himself. There is a vast difference between following in the wake of some devoted man of God, and walking with God ourselves, being propped up and led on by the faith and energy of another, and leaning upon God in the power of individual faith for ourselves.
To Be Continued