Title: Judges 7. Gideon, part 23: Removing the careless. Spirituality and alertness in God's work.
Spirituality is not overt, but in the soul. It is a transaction between God and the human heart. Only such a heart will see God's will for works.
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
If God prepared them beforehand then no man knows them, only God does. We must be spiritual in order to commune with God so that He will supernaturally communicate them to us. Of course, none of the works that God has for us are in the manner of sin or include sin, therefore, we at least know His commandments for the church age believer and we are to follow them as spiritual men and women.
Spirituality is the new life imparted and nourished by the Holy Spirit. We cannot obey the commands of God or do the works of God without complete reliance on the Spirit.
Its beginning is spiritual union to the Lord Jesus; its growth is in fellowship with Him. Outward means have indeed their important use. Outward means are channels by which the rivers of living water flow out of Christian and the world beholds the person of Christ, but if the channel is empty and the flow is not living, then nothing is seen but flesh of the person. Heaven must fill the river of living water.
We are empowered by the Holy Spirit to do the will of God only. We must be spiritual in order to see that will. This is why God is so often helping Gideon with his faith.
Now we turn to again consider the three hundred. They were alert and all believers are called to be constantly vigilant and alert.
The British looked to be on a road to an easy victory. The American cause had grown desperate and hopeless. All was proceeding towards certain ruin. Something had to be done. Something bold. To do nothing would mean certain defeat to the cause of American liberty. Washington decided to attack Trenton on Christmas night.
On Christmas night 1776, three detachments were to cross the Delaware river for the early morning attack on Trenton. Due to the severe weather, only one detachment made it across, which was headed by General Washington. "It was as severe a night as I ever saw," wrote one of the officers.
The entire 2,400 on the march kept together for five miles, as far as a little crossroads called Birmingham, where the army divided, Sullivan's column keeping to the right on the River Road, while Washington's and Greene's force veered off to the left on the Pennington Road, both routes slick with ice and snow. The distance to Trenton was the same either way, about four miles. Men and horses kept slipping and sliding in the dark. That night, two of the men froze to death.
When handed a message from General Sullivan saying that the men had found their guns too soaked to fire, Washington answered, "Tell the general to use the bayonet." None but the first officers knew where they were going or what they were about to do. Washington wanted absolute secrecy for the surprise.
The two columns reached their assigned positions outside Trenton at about the same time, a few minutes before eight, and hour after daylight and three hours later than they had planned.
Trenton had about a hundred houses, an Episcopal church, a marketplace, and two or three mills and iron furnaces. There was a large two story stone barracks built during the French and Indian War, and the bridge over Assunpink Creek below town. But in the early light of December 26, in the white blur of the continuing storm, it was difficult to distinguish much of anything about Trenton.
Most of the townspeople had fled, taking as much as possible of their belongings. In the bare houses and the stone barracks were quartered the 1,500 Hessian soldiers who occupied the town. Their commander, Colonel Rall, had established himself in an ample frame house that contained an iron furnace.
Colonel Rall would be roundly criticized later by some of his junior officers for being lazy, lax, indifferent to the possibility of surprise attack, and a drunkard. The night before, Rall had attended a Christmas gathering at the home of a local merchant and was playing cards when, reportedly, a servant interrupted to deliver a warning message, the second one that he had received that day, about the possibility of an attack, and he thrust the note into his pocket. It was later said that he had quite a bit to drink that night.
The next morning at 8 o'clock, 2,400 Americans, having been on their feet all night, wet, cold, their weapons soaked, went into the fight as if everything depended on them. In the town the Hessians came rushing out of their houses and barracks into the streets; totally being taken by surprise. Drums beat, the band played, officers shouted orders in German, and as fast as the Hessians began forming up, American cannon opened fire with deadly effect from a position of high ground at the head of King and Queen streets.
For a brief time, a thousand or more Americans and Hessians were locked in savage house to house fighting. It was all happening extremely fast, in wild confusion and swirling snow made more blinding by clouds of gunpowder smoke. The Hessians surrendered. It all happened in about forty-five minutes. Only four Americans had been wounded.
Twenty-one Hessians were killed and ninety were wounded while 900 were taken prisoner and 500 fled. The only American casualties were the two men who froze to death on the way.
The Hessians were taken completely by surprise because their commander was not alert and so all the men were not. Odds were very high against an American attack on Christmas in that weather with a force of 2,400.
No matter what we think may happen in any given situation, we are to always be alert.
Several NT passages admonish us to be alert.
1PE 5:6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time,
1PE 5:7 casting all your anxiety upon Him, because He cares for you.
1PE 5:8 Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
On Paul's third missionary journey, when set port in Miletus, he sent for the elders from Ephesus, entreating them to be alert.
ACT 20:17 And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus and called to him the elders of the church.
ACT 20:18 And when they had come to him, he said to them,
"You yourselves know, from the first day that I set foot in Asia, how I was with you the whole time,
ACT 20:19 serving the Lord with all humility and with tears and with trials which came upon me through the plots of the Jews;
ACT 20:20 how I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you publicly and from house to house,
ACT 20:21 solemnly testifying to both Jews and Greeks of repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.
ACT 20:22 "And now, behold, bound in spirit, I am on my way to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there,
ACT 20:23 except that the Holy Spirit solemnly testifies to me in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions await me.
ACT 20:24 "But I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, in order that I may finish my course, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God.
ACT 20:25 "And now, behold, I know that all of you, among whom I went about preaching the kingdom, will see my face no more.
ACT 20:26 "Therefore I testify to you this day, that I am innocent of the blood of all men.
ACT 20:27 "For I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole purpose of God.
ACT 20:28 "Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.
ACT 20:29 "I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock;
ACT 20:30 and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them.
ACT 20:31 "Therefore be on the alert, remembering that night and day for a period of three years I did not cease to admonish each one with tears.
ACT 20:32 "And now I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified.
ACT 20:33 "I have coveted no one's silver or gold or clothes.
ACT 20:34 "You yourselves know that these hands ministered to my own needs and to the men who were with me.
ACT 20:35 "In everything I showed you that by working hard in this manner you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.'"
Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.
With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints
Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving
1TH 5:1 Now as to the times and the epochs, brethren, you have no need of anything to be written to you.
1TH 5:2 For you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night.
1TH 5:3 While they are saying, "Peace and safety!" then destruction will come upon them suddenly like birth pangs upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.
1TH 5:4 But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day should overtake you like a thief;
1TH 5:5 for you are all sons of light and sons of day. We are not of night nor of darkness;
1TH 5:6 so then let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober.
1TH 5:7 For those who sleep do their sleeping at night, and those who get drunk get drunk at night.
1TH 5:8 But since we are of the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet, the hope of salvation.
1TH 5:9 For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,
1TH 5:10 who died for us, that whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with Him.
1TH 5:11 Therefore encourage one another, and build up one another, just as you also are doing.
JDG 7:5 So he brought the people down to the water. And the Lord said to Gideon, "You shall separate everyone who laps the water with his tongue, as a dog laps, as well as everyone who kneels to drink."
JDG 7:6 Now the number of those who lapped, putting their hand to their mouth, was 300 men; but all the rest of the people kneeled to drink water.
Those who lifted the water to their mouths with their hands represented the good soldiers who, upon reaching a brook before the battle, did not allow themselves time to fall down and satisfy their thirst in the most convenient manner. These good soldiers simply knelt, took up some water with their hands as they remained upright in their military armor in order to be alert to any enemy and be ready to proceed against them without any delay.
By being alert they were not only protecting themselves but also the men near them.
In the same way, each member of the body of Christ has been given a spiritual gift for the common good. In carnality we are no good to anyone as we cannot serve them or assist them or help them bear the burden of trial or failure.