A Peculiar Vessel for a Peculiar Purpose (continued)
But it may be that there are those here, perhaps many of this company, who are not in that enjoyment.They are just striving to eek out a spiritual existence. As we say, "to make ends meet, to find something upon which to subsist and keep going," they're living on a very poor fare. They're hungry, longing for more, and it may be that you do not feel it is altogether helpful to be told about the things that there are for you. What you want to know is, how you can get them and how you can come into that enjoyment. Well, we are saying some things about that, but that is not our particular point tonight. We may be moving more in that direction later, as you see.
But the other thing that is before us, the other main thing, is that the Lord is showing to have moved from time to time during the history of His people when they have been in state of ... poor state spiritually, weakness, and starvation, poverty, and defeat. He has moved to bring into relationship with himself in a peculiar way; some instrument, sometimes an individual, sometimes a company, who have come into such a knowledge of Himself in this fuller way. In the greater fullness of Christ that they could be instrumental in bringing more of the Lord's people into that good. The Lord must have instruments with which to do His work and vessels through which to reveal Himself. He has moved like that and shall we not say that He is seeking to have such an instrument in our time, seeing that the need is so great. And there is really so little real knowledge and experience of those greater fullnesses that are in Christ. Would He not being a people near to Himself and working them in a peculiar way, that there they are. He might make people envious, envious, looking on their food and coveting it, looking upon their wealth and longing for it. Yes, by expression, by example, by manifestation to bring His people into a better position and a better condition. Well, those are the things that are engaging us in these gatherings.
Now this evening and in that setting I have a word which will be a very simple word indeed. But its simplicity does not mean that it is not very important. It springs out of the passages of Scripture which I read to you just now, particularly as illustrated in that incident with Gideon who was such an instrument laid hold of by God for the deliverance of God's people from their poor condition. The incident of securing a company, a band, by which the Lord could accomplish that deliverance and secure unto His people their rights of inheritance in Himself. You remember, Gideon blew the trumpet and there gathered unto him a great host, over 30,000 men, of course even at that it was a poor, poor thing compared with the Midianites and all the rest. Nevertheless, it was 30,000. The Lord said, "Gideon, the people that are with thee are too many, too many for Me to deliver the Midianites into their hand, lest Israel vaunt themselves against Me." Terrible, terrible possibility saying mine own, mine own arm, mine own power saved me.
Well, the first test was whosoever was fearful and afraid, let him depart. We, I think have to admire these people for one thing if we cannot admire them for everything. They were at least honest, ready to admit that they were afraid of this business. Well, they had good reason to be afraid you know. It says that these enemies, these enemies were like locusts among them, spreading themselves right over the whole land, filling it. They had good reason to be fearful and afraid. And they honestly in act said, "we are, and we glad of the opportunity of going home, thank you." And away they went. Ten thousand remained, still the Lord had got His basic difficulty, that he had to say to Gideon that there were still too many. Bring them down to the water and I will try them for thee there.
You know the rest of the story just what happened. The 10,000 were brought down to the water, to the river, and then the Lord whispered in Gideon's ear, "if you had let the people know that would've given the whole thing away". And they kept the whole thing and just quietly aside said to Gideon, "Now then, tell them to have a drink. Now you watch, how they drink. Those that lapped like a dog, you just set them on the side. And those that stepped down to it on their hands, and knees, and faces and wallow in it, you put them by themselves." And so Gideon gave the order that the whole army could have a drink, and they did. And their drinking all unbeknown to themselves; as a test. The Lord said that it was a trying of them. "I will try them for thee there." The word "try" here is the word which means, "tested under an ordeal." The same word is used in another place "thou hast tried us as cinder is tried in the fire." An ordeal to discover something, to bring something to light, to bring something to the surface. "I will try them for thee there," This water scene is said to be a "trying."
(continued with # 24)