Today’s mini-sermon is the 8th of a 9-part series that is appearing in the Saturday, Sunday and Thursday editions of the Answers2Prayer newsletters.
As we look ahead at VERY uncertain times, the Holy Spirit continually brings certain scriptural passages to my attention–passages that I KNOW are for such times as these, and that I KNOW I am to share with each of you. One such passage is found in Rev.:
“Then I heard another voice from heaven say: “Come out of her, my people” (Rev. 18:4).
In the past 7 mini-sermons, we learned that we need to come out of Babylon. We’ve seen that Babylon represents a church, and we’ve learned that to keep ourselves pure so that we don’t commit “spiritual adultery” with “Babylon”, we cannot put anything above God’s Word. Finally, we discovered a few characteristics of the “Babylonian” church. These include “lukewarm”ness, legalism, confusion, lack of trust, and the condition of having forgotten that Jesus is our best friend.
But come on! I’ve been a devote Christian all my life! I’ve already “come out of” Babylon! Surely this message CAN’T be for me!
Do you remember Gideon?
Gideon? OK. We remember the story. An angel appeared to him while he is threshing wheat, telling him that he will deliver Israel from the hand of the Midianites. Then he called for the men of Israel to come to arms. 32,000 men volunteered! Ok, so what??
Early in the morning, Gideon and all his men camped at the spring of Harod. The camp of Midian was north of them in the valley near the hill of Moreh. The LORD said to Gideon, “You have too many men for me to deliver Midian into their hands.” (Judges 7:1,2)
Too many soldiers! But, Lord, we are ALREADY outnumbered! What do you mean I have to ask some of them to go home? Why would you do that, of all things?
“‘In order that Israel may not boast against me that her own strength has saved her, announce now to the people, Anyone who trembles with fear may turn back and leave Mount Gilead.’ So twenty-two thousand men left, while ten thousand remained.” (Judges 7:3)
Okay. Two good reasons: In order that Israel may not boast against me that her own strength has saved her, and secondly, these men aren’t ready to fight! Gideon was instructed to tell those who trembled with fear to turn back. And 22,000 of them did! God knew that those who were afraid: a) didn’t trust Him; and b) weren’t totally committed to the cause. God couldn’t use men like that, and He instructed Gideon to have them go home.
So there they were—10,000 men to go up against Mideon! I can just hear Gideon: “We’ll be slaughtered for sure, but . . .”
“But the LORD said to Gideon, ‘There are still too many men.'” (Judges 7:4)
What? Lord, There were only 10,000 men who made the “first cut”, and“there are still too many men”! What do you mean, ‘still too many men’? Are you CRAZY? We were outnumbered with 32,000. We will be slaughtered with only 10,000, and You are telling me there are still too many? What you are suggesting is IDIOTIC!
“Take them down to the water, and I will sift them for you there. If I say, `This one shall go with you,’ he shall go; but if I say, `This one shall not go with you,’ he shall not go. So Gideon took the men down to the water. There the LORD told him, ‘Separate those who lap the water with their tongues like a dog from those who kneel down to drink.'” (Judges 7:4,5)
Lap water like a dog . . . A Strange test . . . Have you ever drunk from a stream? I used to do a lot of backpacking when I was young, and I have drunk from a stream both ways. I know from my own experience that I will drink longer and take in a lot more water by kneeling down by the water’s edge. When I just dipped my hands into the stream as I passed through the water, I usually only got a drop or two. Enough to get by, but certainly not enough to satisfy my thirst.
Why would I have ever chose the later method over the former? Good question. The answer? The difference was made by wherever my destination lay. If I wasn’t in any particular hurry, I would kneel down to drink. But if it was nearly dark, and the trail treacherous, the batteries of my flashlight were gone—my desire to arrive at my destination would outweigh my desire to satisfy my thirst, then I only dipped my hands in the water as I splashed through the streams and sucked up the water out of my hands.
Could it be that God could only use the men whose only motivation was to work for Him? Could it be that there was no place in His battle for those who stopped to satisfy themselves first, thus putting their own personal needs and desires above their desire to work for God?
Think about it.
COME OUT OF HER MY PEOPLE! Come out of your self-centered lives. God cannot use you unless your life is “God-centered”—not “Self-centered”!
Did you ever stop to wonder just why it is that Jesus’ 2nd coming is delayed?
In His love,
Lyn Chaffart, Moderator, The Nugget, Scriptural Nuggets ( www.scripturalnuggets.org ), Answers2Prayer Ministries, www.Answers2Prayer.org
(To access the entire “Come out of her, my People” mini-series, please click here.)