Uniquely His

Oct 8, 2011
Winfield, Mo.
“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” (Judges 7:2). 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 God, 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 Him ourselves; between being propped up and led on by the faith and energy of another, and leaning upon the Father in the power of individual faith ourselves.

This is a serious consideration for all of us. There is always the danger of our being mere imitators of other people’s faith; of copying their example without their spiritual power; of adopting their peculiar line of things without their personal communion. All this must be carefully guarded against—especially the new Christian. We may be very small, our sphere very narrow, our path very retired; but it does not matter in the least, provided we are precisely what grace has made us, and occupying the sphere in which our blessed Master has set us, and treading the path which He has opened before us. It is by no means absolutely necessary that we should be great, or prominent, or showy, or noisy in the world; but it is absolutely necessary that we should be real and humble, obedient and dependent.

Thus our father can use us, without fear of our vaunting ourselves; and then, too, we are safe, peaceful and happy. There is nothing more delightful to the true believer, the genuine servant of the Lord Jesus, than to find himself in that quiet, humble, shady path where the old man is lost sight of, and the glorious light of the Lord Jesus’ countenance enjoyed—where the thoughts of men are of small account, and the invaluable approval of the Lord Jesus is everything to the soul.

Flesh (“old man”; sinful nature with its “motions of sins,” Rom 7:5 -NC) cannot be trusted. It will turn the very service of God into an occasion of self-exaltation. It will use the very name of Him who made Himself nothing in order to make itself something. It will build up its own reputation by seeming to further the cause of Him who made Himself of none. Such is the flesh! Such are we in ourselves (even as reborn, the old man ever attempts preeminence, which requires continual guarding against -NC)! Silly, self-exalting creatures, ever ready to vaunt ourselves, while professing to be nothing in ourselves, and to deserve nothing but the horrors of outer darkness.

Need we marvel at the testing and proving of Gideon’s companions? All must be tested and proved (never so God can know but for our learning -NC). The service of the Lord Jesus is a very solemn and a very holy thing; and all who take part therein must be self-judged (1Cor 11:31), self-distrusted and self-emptied; and not only so, but they must lean, with unshaken confidence, upon the living God. These are the grand qualities that go to make up the character of the servant of God.

- C H Mackintosh
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