A Peculiar Vessel for a Peculiar Purpose (continued)
And of course that gives some support to the interpretation that has been placed upon this. It does not say so here but the interpretation that has been given to this is, those who got down on their knees to drink were those who were thinking more of their own gratification than of the Lord's interests in the battle. Those who just lapped it in their hands took it and lapped, standing, were those who were not thinking so much of that as they were of the very business on hand. I think that is a genuine interpretation. It certainly did indicate a disposition and it is upon that everything hangs, a disposition. They were all thirsty and in need of refreshment and renewal. There is nothing wrong at all in their drinking of the water, nothing wrong with the water, nothing wrong with their taking a drink of the water, nothing wrong with that. The difference was just this: that some regarded the water as a necessity, while the others the majority, made it an indulgence. Some took it because it was absolutely necessary, but getting the necessity attended to, they were already erect and ready for the real business. The others were having a good time and just giving themselves up to it, so to speak. They were more occupied with the thought of getting as much personal gratification out of this as they could and not wholly and completely concerned with the Lord's interests. The great thing which was at stake at that time: the honor and glory of the Name of the Lord in His people. Now that is the simple message you see, but it is a case of sifting unto vital service, trying with a special vocation in view.
Most of course, in a matter of salvation, the Lord does not always carry things so far, press issues so thoroughly. It seems that in the matter area of salvation all kinds of people get in, every type that you can think of comes into the realm of being "saved", although I think in many, many instances they do not get there without some test. However, I am not talking about the whole mass of Christians and the matter of their being "saved" and the ground upon which they are saved - that may simply be, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved." But I am speaking about something more than that, the great vocation into which we are called as God's saved ones, and the specific work that God needs to have done at a given time and a time such as this.
Dear friends, we shall never be of any use to the Lord beyond the point where we ourselves know the Lord. Real service, real service, listen; is limited to the point of the experience of the servant. You cannot go beyond that, you cannot lead anyone beyond the point where you have gone yourself, you cannot give anybody anything beyond what you have got yourself. That is of real truth, of real value. You get a lot of teaching, but that does not get people anywhere. And if you and I are going to serve the Lord in His very, very serious and solemn need of bringing, leading people of His into the greater fullness of Christ, we have got to be a special kind of people. A 32,00 type won't do and the 10,000 type won't do. It is the three hundred type, alone, the three hundred type. The Lord said, "By the 300 I will save Israel"; this is sifting down, reduction, in order to get to effectiveness. This is a kind of limitation that means Expansion, Enlargement, but it has to take place, it has to take place. And so God applies His tests and brings in His trials to get a peculiar vessel for a peculiar purpose, that I feel is His message at this time. It is not just a general kind of convention and conference for general teaching to Christian people, it is something with a specific object relative to the tragic situation among the Lord's people today, to get something after the order and kind of these three hundred.
Well, what are they like? The Lord has very simple ways and means of trying and proving, and they are often so simple that we do not recognize them as trying's and proving's. This was a very simple thing, was it not? For the whole 10,000, a very simple thing to bring them down to the water and let them drink of it. And the last thing it seems that occurred to any of them was that as they came down to the water and took their drink they were under a Supreme test, the eye of God was upon them, and that eye was leading from them to Gideon. You see! You see! You note that. And they did not realize what was happening, this great sifting and selectiveness for this purpose, was the going on in some very ordinary and simple matter, out of their consciousness. You know, you and I would rise to the occasion if an angel of God came to us and said, "Look here now, you are called to a great piece of work for God, and I want you to give some proof that you are ready for it," why we would rise to it wouldn't we? We would be very, very careful watching everything to see that we did not default, we did not disappoint, we were not set aside, ruled out, right on our toes as we say, about it.
(continued with # 25)