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Biblical Illustrator Judges 7

Biblical Illustrator Judges 7

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Published by GLENN DALE PEASE

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Jul 19, 2011
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BIBLICAL ILLUSTRATOR JUDGES 7CHAPTER VII.Vers. 1-8. Gideon . . . pitched beside the wall of Harod. — Gideon*$ army :— I. The Lord callbd him to fioht. The world must see, now and then, thegigantic crimes of a mere man turned back by rival arms upon both idol andidolater, and that by the voice of the Almighty. Well said Victor Hugo," apoleon had been impeached before the Infinite." The groaning of the bond-CHAP, vn.] JUDGES. 127man in our own land entered into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth. Arrogance,lust, and greed combined to challenge the eternal laws, and thousands went downtogether into silence, till we could learn the unwelcome fact that God is no respecterof persons. But out of the awful strife came praying souls, and a regeneration inthe sources of influence and power. God is known to speak in the crisis, in thehero — yes, even in the rebel. II. The Lord called Gideon to success. We maynotice the conditions. 1. Careful preparation. There must be selection whendaring deeds are to be performed. This is a principle in the Divine government asin the human. God husbands and adapts His resources, though seeming to scatterHis treasures lavishly. Have you sifted out the real from the visionary and foundthe abiding truths which wiU not fail you in that hour of trial which must come toaU living ? They may be ominously reduced from all that promised well, as wasGideon's army, but, like it, be enough. 2. Obedience. The open heart learns soonand plainly the Divine will. As, amid all the roar of iagara, the practised earcatches the sweet notes of birds singing in the grove above, so, in the confusion of tongues, the willing soul may hear the clear voice of its Maker, instructing, guiding,cheering. 3. Humility. othing develops a nation's pride like military success.Parade of troops, battalion after battalion in all the splendour of equipment andmight of bearing, satisfies the popular ideals of greatness and strength. War isBtiU an honourable trade, and, while it is, meekness will be despised. But, nonethe less, the King of kings " pours contempt upon princes, and weakeneth thestrength of the mighty." 4. Faith. Belief in the need, the call, the power, themethod, the victory of Jehovah, was all-important with Gideon. {Sermons by theMonday Club. ) Gideon's army : — I. The Lord fighting foe and with His people.God is the author of war, and He causes men to fight, in the same way that law isthe author of sin and causes men to become transgressors. Were there no lawthere would be no transgression, and were there no God there would be no conflict
 
of righteousness with unrighteousness. War is God's whip for sinful nations ; it isHis rod of iron with which He wUl dash them in pieces as a potter's vessel. Thereis a Divine retribution following nations, and sure to overtake them if they areworkers of iniquity. And there is a Divine deliverance waiting for nations and forindividuals, sure to come when they repent of their evil ways and cry unto God forHis salvation. H. The army made ready. When God has some great work to bedone, or some hard battle to be fought, He chooses the men who are best able tofight or work. 1. The fearful were suffered to go back. Moral courage is aChristian virtue. Men are commanded to have it. Only " be strong and of a goodcourage." " Be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed : for the Lord thy God iswith thee." When God is with a man he has nothing to fear. Even Grecian andEoman heroes, when they showed great courage and wrought brilliant exploits,believed themselves to be acting under the influence of a Divine inspiration. Itwas the power of some god in their arms, they thought, that enabled them to smitegreat blows ; and it was the courage of some god in their hearts that enabled themto face undaunted the most terrible foes. 2. The next process was to rid the armyof the rash and unreliable. Audacity, no less than want of courage, unfits men forthe highest service. Among aU the qualities needed in a soldier of Jesus Christ,among all traits of character essential to true manliness, none perhaps is moreimportant than a certain command of one's self, a certain keeping of the bodyunder and holding back of adventurous impulse. Those whom God will lead tovictory must be " steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of theLord." m. The three hundred called to great exploits (ver. 7). Here isthe key to human history. Common, ease-loving men are, by their own wish,excused from glory, from heroic deeds, lasting renown, and high fellowship withGod in fighting the great battles of humanity and righteousness. They arepermitted to return to their own places. They sink down into obscurity andoblivion. Three hundred heroes are chosen to be their deliverers and to smite forthem the host of Midianites. Side by side with Leonidas and his three hundredSpartans, the immortal heroes of Thermopylffl, will we place Gideon and histhree hundred Hebrews, the immortal heroes of Mount Gilboa, asking for them nogreater glory than belongs to the Grecian company, and beheving that they areworthy to stand together as the immortal six hundred. {Edward B. Mason.)The best work of the world done by the few : — When did God ever complain of having too few people to work with ? I have heard Him say, " Where two or threeare gathered together in My name there am I." I have heard Him say, " One shedlchase a thousand, and two shaU pat ten thousand to flight." But I never heard128 THE BIBLICAL ILLUSTRATOR. [chap. vn.
 
Him say, " Tou must get more men, or I cannot do this work ; yon must increasethe human forces, or the Divine energy will not be equal to the occasion." I hearHim say in the case before us, " Gideon, the people are too many by somethousands. If I were to fight the Midianites with so great a host, the peoplewould say, after the victory had been won, ' My own hand hath saved me. ' "The work of the world has always been done by the few ; inspiration was held bythe few ; wealth is held by the few ; poetry is put into the custody of but a few ;Wisdom is guarded in her great temple but by a few ; the few saved the world ;ten men would have saved the cities of the plain; Potiphar's house is blessedbecause of Joseph; and that ship tossed and torn upon the billows of the Adriaticshall be saved because there is an apostle of God on board. Little child, you maybe saving all your house — your father, your mother, your brothers, and yoursisters.(J. Parker, D.D.) The sifting : — And was this the upshot of all the talk, andpreparations, and professions they had made? Who more eager apparently torush to battle, who more loud in their bravados, than the very cravens who nowslunk, with so cowardly a heart, from the shock of actual collision with the foe ?We may readily suppose that Gideon, while making his proclamation inaccordance with the Divine command, would not fail at the same time to remindthem of the positive promise which he had received of the Lord, that He would bewith them, and of the remarkable signs whereby that promise had been sealed.or in all probability would he neglect to point out to them the deplorableconsequences which would certainly ensue to themselves and their families in theevent of a defeat. And, if so, it might have been expected that all of them withone accord, would, in the chivalric spirit of high-toned patriotism, have scorned thebase idea of deserting their colours, especially at such a crisis. What a mortificationmust this defection have been to Gideon ! Yet, mindful of our own weakness andlove of carnal ease, let us not too rashly or censoriously judge these men. It wereonly fair to take into consideration how surely bondage and subjection to a foreignyoke tend to crush the spirit of a people, to degrade and lower their mortal tonedown to utter eileminacy. or ought it to be forgotten that a large proportion of these men had for some time past cast off their allegiance to the one living and trueGod, and that it is not improbable that conscience, which makes cowards of thebravest, might have had something to do with the retrograde movement which theyso rapidly adopted. At the same time, however it may be palliated or accountedfor, there can be no doubt that the conduct of which they were guilty was extremelyreprehensible, and that it affords fitting occasion for just animadversion on theconduct of too many professed followers of Christ, who are ready enough to cast intheir lot with Him so long as there is no immediate appearance of suffering or of sacrifice for His name's sake, but who, the moment that real danger stares them inthe face, take the earliest opportunity of slinking away and renouncing theprinciples to which they formerly in words adhered. Such disciples are totally

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