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Drink Deeply “The people are still too many; bring them down to the water and I will test them for you there.” Judges 7:4a Up against the mighty army of the Midianites, God told Gideon to take His people down to the water before they could enter into battle. From 32,000 men, 22,000 left the fighting ranks because of fear. Yet, still with 10,000 remaining, the Lord instructed, “the people are still too many.” At the water came the separation. The Lord is still testing and proving us at the “water”. Let us go to the water and drink. The thirst in our spirits craves to be quenched. More Lord, More! God is calling us to come to the water as He pours out His refreshing and fills our thirsty souls. First there must be a responding. Go to the water and drink freely. “Ho! Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters” (Is. 55:1a) “And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost. (Rev. 22:17b) Yet, was the drinking freely what qualified “Gideon’s Army?” Surely it was more than quenching a thirsty soul. God looks not at the outward appearance, but at the heart” (1 Sam. 16:7b). He was looking into the heart of each as they went to the water. What was the posture of the ones who the Lord separated for the attack? How did He prove the ones who would persevere in this Spirit led battle? “You shall separate everyone who laps the water with his tongue, as a dog laps, as well as everyone who kneels to drink.” 300 put their hand to their mouth, while the rest kneeled to drink. “I will deliver you with the 300 men who lapped...” (Judges 7:5, 7) There God separated the warriors. Both groups were thirsty. Both were eager to drink. Both were obedient to the command. Yet, those who knelt to drink could see only their own reflection. While those who put their hands to their mouths kept their eyes from just seeing their own faces and were free to look up and be alert to what was on the horizon. The battle will soon rage. God is calling and separating those who will be on the front lines from those who are “let to go, each to his own house.” Fear reduced the initial multitude of warriors. The rest, gazing at their reflection, were dismissed from the final number to reveal those qualified and selected. Many are called, yet few are chosen (Mt. 20:16b). Self is the veil. Even in the midst of drinking at the waters of the Lord, self tries to seek its own reward. Self-reliance, dependence, gratification, consciousness, and the list continues. Self always hinders our being strategic and effective warriors in the battles of the Lord. The 300 men, with trumpets in hand and empty pitchers hiding torches, stood surrounding the enemy’s camp. Upon the blowing of the trumpet (the voice of the Lord) and shouting “The sword of the Lord and of Gideon” (declaring the Word of Truth and judgment) the battle began. Upon smashing the empty pitchers (holding no credence in our own ability as earthen vessels), to reveal the bright torches inside (the treasure within, the very Spirit of the Living God), the victory was won! God is preparing and separating those who will be the warriors in this Spirit led battle to deliver many from the hand of the enemy. Drink freely. Drink deeply. Yet, keep your eyes from gazing upon the reflection. Continue to be filled that the cup may overflow, courageously going where He leads. Rev. Sharon Carlson