The experience of Gideon proves that God does not need great numbers to accomplish His work. The army of 32,000 was practically wiped out when all the frightened ones were invited to go home. Gideon must have been devastated as he watched 22,000 soldiers leave the ranks and run for home. He saw no way of routing the enemy with the remaining 10,000 men. But God saw that there were still too many, so He ordered another test to be applied. On the way to battle every man paused at the river to get a drink of water. All but three hundred of the soldiers carelessly got down on their knees to sip water from the flowing river, making it impossible to keep their eyes on the enemy. The elite three hundred did not drop on their knees, but quickly scooped water into their hands, and lapped it with their tongues. The Lord said:
“By the three hundred men that lapped will I save you, and deliver the Midianites into thine hand: and let all the other people go every man unto his place.” Judges 7:7. We know the story of God’s great victory
that day which He wrought through a small company of Israelites. With lamps and pitchers, and trumpets they shattered the mighty strength of the Midianite army.
What is the lesson for us today as we face our final war of deliverance? There is a beautiful parallel with Gideon’s experience. We shall be, literally, a remnant of the remnant, just like the sifted and shaken residue of Gideon’s forces. The lesson is that God cannot use COWARDS, and He cannot use CARELESS ones in the crucial battle just before us. We have presented incontestable evidence in this book that God requires bold, courageous followers who will deal with sin in the spirit of Elijah and John the Baptist. Those who give the loud cry under the latter rain, will not fear what man can do to them. They will lay bare the sins of Babylon, and also preach the straight testimony to the slumbering Laodicean church. They will give the trumpet a “certain” sound.
Can careless ones be a part of the sealed saints in the day of battle? All the evidence says no. Our enemy is not the Midianites; our enemy is the world.
“Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.” James 4:4.
Have we found it at all possible to accommodate the world and still be sealed during the loud cry? None whatsoever. Those who are carelessly compromising with the world will fall prey to false teaching, because their ability to discern truth and error has been destroyed.
Right now the test of Gideon is being applied to the remnant church, and the exodus is beginning to take place. The cowards and careless are being forced to show their hand as the straight testimony of the True Witness begins to be heard throughout the Seventh-day Adventist Church. This message will not be sounded by those outside the church, but by those within who are sighing and crying for the abominations which exist among the members.
Never forget that the victorious three hundred in Gideon’s day did not win by virtue of numbers or equipment. They were armed with two things only-a lamp in a pitcher and a trumpet. Here is the scenario of victory for the little remnant. The lamp with its oil represents the Holy Spirit in the latter rain which falls only upon the fully obedient, sealed ones. The trumpet symbolizes the bold sounding of the warning against Laodicean worldliness and compromise. Perhaps the comparison of 300 to 32,000 may be significant as to the “small portion” who were described by Sister White. They were the only ones who did not give up the Sabbath and join the opposition. (Testimonies, Vol. 1, p. 608.)
Will the organized church be receptive to the call to regent and renounce the apostasy which has been allowed to develop? In 1888 she was not willing to receive the same message which was described as the beginning of the latter rain. It will never be easy to pull back up to a higher standard. Every lesson of our past teaches us that the downward cascade will continue. But this time the normal, predictable pattern will be broken and changed. It will be a terrible and traumatic decision because it will seem to threaten the entire structure and fabric of the church. All will appear ready to fall and disintegrate, but the church does not fall. The Spirit of God provides the power for a clean break. No one can predict how painful this experience will be. As we have seen, God will raise up many of the common people to replace the brightest lights who will go out. The work will then be finished quickly by those who are ready to depend upon divine power rather than “the training of literary institutions.” (The Great Controversy, p. 606.)
The solemn question which faces each one of us right now is whether we will be in that special little group who will accept the Laodicean message of repentance and reformation. Even though many rejected the message when it came in 1888, are we more humble and receptive now to such a call? Do we recognize the breakdown of standards, and grieve over the worldly drift of the church? What about your own heart? Does it welcome the call to a deeper cleansing and consecration of life?
“If the professed people of God find their hearts opposed to this straight work, it should convince them that they have a work to do to overcome, if they would not be spewed out ... Those who come up to every point, and stand every test, and overcome, be the price what it may, have heeded the counsel of the True Witness, and they will receive the latter rain.” Testimonies, Vol. 1, p. 187.
“The church is in the Laodicean state. The presence of God is not in her midst ... What a terrible thing it is to exclude Christ from His own temple! What a loss to the Church! Our Redeemer sends His messengers to bear a testimony to His people . . . But many refuse to receive Him, because they fear that He will be an expensive guest . . . they fear that He will require something from them. And so Jesus of Nazareth passes by. He longs to bestow on them His richest blessings and gifts of grace, but they refuse to accept them.” Brown Leaflet Series, Education, No. 6, 1898.
“The Laodicean message is full of encouragement; for the backslidden church may yet buy the gold of faith and love, may yet have the white robe of the righteousness of Christ, that the shame of their nakedness need not appear. Purity of heart, purity of motive, may yet characterize those who are halfhearted and who are striving to serve God and mammon.
They may yet wash their robes of character and make them white in the blood of the Lamb.” Bible Commentary, Vol. 7, p. 966.
“The sin of ancient Israel was in disregarding the expressed will of God and following their own way according to the leadings of unsanctified hearts. Modern Israel are fast following in their footsteps, and the displeasure of the Lord x is as surely resting upon them.” Testimonies, Vol. 5, p. 94.
Remind yourself often that there is a tremendous parallel between ancient Israel and modern Israel. We have been warned of the terrible danger of following the course pursued by the Jewish nation, which culminated in their rejection as God’s people. All that happened to them was for our “admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.” (I Corinthians 10:11.) God pleaded with them often to separate from the nations around them, and reject any compromise with Baal worship. Said He:
“My people hath been lost sheep: their shepherds have caused them to go astray, they have turned them away on the mountains: they have gone from mountain to hill, they have forgotten their resting place.” Jeremiah 50:6.
The prophet portrays the grief of God over His poor people who find no place to rest. They are led away by their own pastors into strange paths. Then comes God’s call again through the prophet Jeremiah:
“Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein.” Jeremiah 6:16.
Until God’s Israel today returns to the landmarks of truth and restores the old paths-the good way-they will never find that resting place for their souls.
In summary, we can say that the doctrinal confusion in our church is largely the result of worldly compromise. The compromise was generated by a Laodicean lukewarmness which was spawned by the neglect of a personal relationship with Christ. Every link in the chain of apostasy leads right back to the great, basic problem of not taking time to pray, study, and give Jesus first place in the life. Thus the true remedy for Laodicea is announced to be gold, white raiment and eyesalve, representing the elements of true personal religion. Faith, the Holy Spirit, and the righteousness of Christ will generate such individual revival that it will make a clean sweep of Laodicea, purging and purifying from top to bottom.
What a prospect! God will have a people who reflect the image of Jesus fully. This message will close on a glorious note of triumph. All the powers of hell will not be able to prevail against the church which is built upon the Rock of enduring truth. Out of the crucible of loneliness, betrayal, and persecution God will bring forth a residue of faithful ones who will vindicate His character before the universe.
They will be the ones who gathered strength from the defections of others. They will be the faithful group who looked to Christ rather than men, and would not alter their convictions to please the crowd. These are the loyalists who did not leave the ship because it shook and trembled. True as a needle to the pole their consciences would not bow to the blowing winds of compromise or smooth doctrine.
Do you see yourself, by faith, standing with that shining company upon the sea of glass? God grant that we shall be a part of that precious remnant.