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 17
From last lesson: This is the essential basis of all Christian conduct. In short, a known salvation is the basis; the Holy Ghost indwelling, the power; and the word of God, the directory of all true self-surrender.
But what did Gideon and his companions know of these things? Nothing, as Christians now know them. But they had confidence in God, and further, they did not make their own refreshment or comfort their object, but simply took it up by the way as a means to an end. Herein they teach a fine lesson even to those whose privilege it is to walk in the full light of New Testament Christianity. If they, in the dim twilight in which they lived, could trust God, and surrender self for the moment, even in measure, then what shall we say for ourselves who, with all our light and privileges, are so ready to doubt God and seek our own things?
Is it not painfully evident that, in this day of light and privilege in which we live, there is but little moral preparedness for the path of service and conflict which we are called to tread? Alas! Alas! We cannot deny it. There is a deplorable lack of genuine trust in the living God, and of the true spirit of self-surrender. Here, we may rest assured, is the deep secret of the whole matter. God is not practically known and habitually trusted; self is exalted and indulged. Hence our unfitness for the warfare, our failure in the day of battle. It is one thing to be saved, and quite another thing to be a soldier; and we cannot shake off the painful conviction that, in this day of widely extended profession, the proportion of workmen and warriors would not be found even a little bit greater than it was in the days of Gideon and his companions. The fact is, we want men of faith, men whose hearts are fixed and their eyes single; men so absorbed with Christ and His cause that they have no time for anything besides. We greatly fear that, if the double test which was applied to Israel in the days of Gideon, were to be applied now to those who stand on the very highest platform of profession, the practical result would not differ very materially.
The close of Judges 7 shews us Gideon and his companions completely victorious. “The cake of barley bread,” and “the broken pitchers,” proved a match for all the power of the Midianites, although they “lay along in the valley like grasshoppers for multitude, and their camels were without number, as the sand by the sea-side for multitude.” God was with those represented by the cake of barley bread and broken pitchers, as He will ever be with those who are prepared to take the low place; prepared to be nothing, but to make Him their all in all; prepared to trust Him and to sink self. This, let it never be forgotten, is the great root principle in all service and in all conflict. Without it, we can never succeed; with it, we can never fail It matters not what the difficulties, or what the numbers and power of our enemies, all must give way before the presence of the living God; and that presence will ever accompany those who trust Him and sink self.
Nor is this all. Not only is firm trust in God and self-surrender the secret of victory over external enemies; it is also the secret of overcoming, disarming, and melting down proud and jealous brethren, though these latter are often far more difficult to deal with than open enemies. Thus no sooner had Gideon reached the point of victory over the uncircumcised, than he was called to encounter the petty and contemptible jealousy of his brethren. “And the men of Ephraim said unto him, Why hast thou served us thus, that thou calledst us not when thou wentest to fight the Midianites? And they did chide with him sharply,” – Judges 8:1.
All this was most uncalled for and unworthy. Had they not heard the sound of the trumpet calling Israel to the battle field? Had they not heard that the standard was unfurled? Why had they not rushed to the battle at the first? It was an easy matter to come in at the close and reap the spoil, and then find fault with the one who had been God’s real instrument on the occasion.
To Be Continued