Gideon, An Unlikely Hero – 15

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gs - c.h. mackintosh

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 15

From last lesson: Like the blast of Gideon’s trumpet, so the clear testimony which has widely gone forth of late years has attracted many; and while we quite feel that there is real ground for thankfulness in this, we also feel that there is ground for very serious reflection indeed.

Truth is a most precious thing, if it be truthfully found and truthfully held: but let us remember that in exact proportion to the preciousness of the truth of God so is the moral danger of moving forward without a self-judged heart and an exercised conscience. What we really need is faith—unfeigned, earnest, simple faith, which connects the soul, in living power, with God, and enables us to overcome all the difficulties and discouragements of the way. Of this faith there can be no imitation. We must either possess it in reality or not at all. A sham faith will speedily come to the ground. The man who attempts to walk by faith, if he doesn’t have it, must speedily stumble and fall. We cannot face the hosts of Midian unless we have full confidence in the living God. “Whosoever is fearful and afraid, let him return.” Thus it must ever be. None can go to battle save those who are braced up by a faith that grasps the unseen realities of eternity, and endures as seeing Him who is invisible. May this faith be ours, in larger measure, beloved reader.

It is full of instruction for the heart to notice the effect of the first test upon the host of Gideon. It thinned his ranks amazingly. “There returned of the people twenty and two thousand, and there remained ten thousand.” This was a serious reduction. But it is far better to have ten thousand that can trust God than ten thousand times ten thousand who cannot. Of what use are numbers, if they be not energized by a living faith? None whatever. It is comparatively easy to flock around a standard raised by a vigorous hand; but it is a totally different thing to stand, in personal energy, in the actual battle. Nothing but genuine faith can do this; and hence when the searching question is put, “Who can trust God?” the showy ranks of profession are speedily thinned.

But there was yet another test for Gideon’s companions. “And the Lord said unto Gideon, The people are yet too many; bring them down unto the water, and I will try them for thee there: and it shall be, that of whom I say unto thee, This shall go with thee, the same shall go with thee; and of whomsoever I say unto thee, This shall not go with thee, the same shall not go. So he brought down the people unto the water: and the Lord said unto Gideon, Every one that lappeth of the water with his tongue, as a dog lappeth, him shalt thou set by himself; likewise every one that boweth down upon his knees to drink. And the number of them that lapped, putting their hand to their mouth, were three hundred men: but all the rest of the people bowed down upon their knees to drink water. And the Lord said unto Gideon, By the three hundred men that lapped will I save you, and deliver the Midianites into thine hand: and let all the other people go every man unto his place.” – Judges 7:4–7.

Here then we have another great moral quality which must characterize those who will act for God and His people, in an evil day. They must not only have confidence in God, but they must also be prepared to surrender self. This is a universal law in the service of Christ. If we want to swim in God’s current, we must sink self; and we can only sink self in proportion as we trust Christ. It is not, need we say, a question of salvation; it is a question of service. It is not a question of being a child of God, but of being a proper servant of Christ. The thirty-one thousand seven hundred that were dismissed from Gideon’s army, were just as much Israelites as the three hundred that remained; but they were not fitted for the moment of conflict; they were not the right men for the crisis. And why? They could not trust God and surrender self. They were full of fear when they ought to have been full of faith. They made refreshment and comfort their object instead of conflict.

Here, reader, lay the true secret of their moral unfitness. God cannot trust those who do not trust Him and sink self. This is pre-eminently solemn and practical. We live in a day of easy profession and self-indulgence. Knowledge can, now-a-days, be picked up at very small cost. Scraps of truth can be gathered, second hand, in all directions. Truth which cost some of God’s dear servants years of deep soul-ploughing and heart-searching exercise, is now in free circulation and can be intellectually seized and flippantly professed, by many who know not what soul-ploughing or heart-exercise means.

But let us never forget—yes, let us constantly remember—that the life of faith is a reality; service is a reality; testimony for Christ, a reality. And further let us bear in mind that if we want to stand for Christ in an evil day—if we would be men for the crisis, genuine servants, true witnesses—then verily we must learn the true meaning of those two qualities, namely, confidence in God, and self-surrender.

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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