The Honor and Glory of the Lord's Name (continued)
Gideon was not one of those introverts, always occupied with himself and his poor situation. A young man, a young man. Think of a young man and his prospects in a situation like this - what kind of a life lies before Gideon, a young man? But he does not sit down and nurse the adversities that have come into his life as a young man, be sorry for himself, smothering himself with self-pity, drawing attention to himself and his own unfortunate loss. He was not that kind of man and the Lord does not look toward that kind of person. You can go on like that and you will not find the Lord turning toward you if you are like that. The Lord will turn toward those who ... it is quite true their lot is a difficult one, no doubt about that, and God knows that better than anyone else. But nevertheless, who are turned out for the sake of others, really concerned for others. See his secret activity and exercise to defeat the enemy for the sake of the Name of the Lord, secret activity, secret exercise. In his heart Gideon seems to me to have been saying, "I'll beat them if if I can, I'll outwit the enemy if I can, I'll spoil their plans if I can, I'll see that they have as little success as in need of". That is the spirit, you see, of the heart.
Further, Gideon betrays a real soul perplexity and suffering which it seems to me is the outcome of real heart exercise. When the Lord comes and says, "The Lord is with thee, thou mighty man of valor," he instantly answers, "If the Lord be with us, why is all this come upon us?" Why has all that which our fathers told us of, the former activities and wonders of God. Why? And now that today there was a bit "why" in his heart about the situation, he was exercised about this, he was concerned about this, he was trying to find some explanation, he was reaching out to get the key to this thing. And the situation was creating real pain; I was going to say real bitterness. And you know there is a kind of bitterness of spirit that is permissible, that is not wrong. If we become bitter and sour against the Lord in rebellion, that is a wrong kind of bitterness. But there was a bitterness in the heart of Hannah. Do you remember? When she prayed at the temple and Eli misunderstood the moving of her lips in prayer and charged her with drunkenness and she said, "No, no my lord thy handmaid is a woman of a sorrowful spirit," a bitterness because of the situation in Israel.
Have you got anything that corresponds to that? It is so different from a theoretical position, isn't it? We have got all the doctrine and all the teaching and we know how what people ought to be like and what they ought to do and what they ought to know and we have got the answer to it all, and like that. Oh, no, if it does not come out of a winepress it is no value. It has got to come out of the winepress, it has got to come out of soul travail where we have had deep exercise in this. To such the Lord will look. Do you believe me? Whoever you may be, old or young, it has got to be like that. Don't you go out and think that you are going to save the Lord's Name and honor and deliver his people by doctrines, by theories, by wonderful interpretations of truth, wonderful vistas of spiritual things, not at all, not at all. The Lord is looking for hearts that are breaking over spiritual conditions. Gideon was sore distressed and perplexed and was suffering inwardly. And his cry was not the cry of a recalcitrant, it was the cry of a man in trouble. Why? Oh, what are things like this?
(continued with # 8)