QUALIFICATION FOR SPIRITUAL SERVICE
Gideon was a man raised by God to deliver the Children of Israel at a time when they were greatly oppressed. There was great stress in the land and the people cried to God. The Lord responded by sending them Gideon. He was a weak and ordinary man. But God in His characteristic was ready to use the weak things of the world to confound the wise.
However, Gideon needed men to go to battle with him. Thirty two thousand men came out at the first call. They were reduced to ten thousand when the Lord instructed that those who were fearful should return to their homes. But for God ten thousand were too many. They had to be reduced. Now, that’s where we find some eternal principles for Christian/Spiritual service.
“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 KJV)”
It is very instructive to see how God was going to select those who will be qualified. The first thing I want to point out is that they were all given equal opportunity to qualify for the battle. God is a just God. We all have equal opportunity to be useful in the service of God. But God will not compromise his standards. Only those who are qualified will be promoted and lifted. God had no definite number in mind. Anyone could make it. If four hundred made it; four hundred would be sent to the battle field.
Let it be clear in our heart that every single one of us can become great in the hands of God. Perhaps, those who have become mighty in the hands of God were those who paid the price. They were those who qualified. They were those who by the grace of God did the right things.
‘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.’
The test that was administered by the Lord provides us with useful instructions. There we see a principle that everyone who serves the Lord must comply with. It was the way they drank the water. Those who bowed their knees to drink would be venerable to attack. They were not battle conscious. They were careless and carefree. They were easy target for the enemy. They were not spiritually alert. ‘likewise every one that boweth down upon his knees to drink.’
I see a lot of people like this even today. They are very careless with life. They could pick up fight with anyone at any time. They can speak evil of anyone without being conscious of the grace of God upon their lives. They are careless with prayer. They are careless with the study of God’s word. They do not protect their relationship with men for the glory of God. They do not know that the way they live their entire life affects the Kingdom of God. They are in and out of sinful life.
Nevertheless, there were other men who did the right thing. ‘Every one that lappeth of the water with his tongue, as a dog lappeth, him shalt thou set by himself’ The way they drank the water gave them an advantage. They could see the enemy and respond. They were alert. They are careful with life. They watch every step they take. They are serious minded men. They don’t play with sin or unrighteousness. They were constantly conscious of the presence of God in their lives. They are men of wisdom.
This is a timely instruction. We cannot be careless and carefree and yet expect to do exploit for the Lord. We must live our lives daily with full consciousness of the Kingdom of God. We cannot leave any moment to carelessness. We cannot play with sins. This quality of spiritual alertness is a must qualification for any one aspiring to serve the Lord.
Our God cannot be put under pressure. If only two people meet His requirements, He will make use of the two no matter the enormity of the task. ‘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.’ He went ahead with the three hundred despite the fact that they would be fighting against a host of several thousands. God wants everyone to serve Him but He’s not looking for majority. He is looking for those who have by His grace met His requirement. One with God is a majority. Number is not a problem with God. He will use only those who are ready.
Are you ready? How are you drinking the water of life? We have equal opportunity; the choice is now yours.