Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 21 (1906)


Ms 89, 1906

Humility, an Essential Qualification for Christian Service

St. Helena, California

October 22, 1906

Portions of this manuscript are published in 7MR 152.

“And the Lord said unto Gideon, The people that are with thee are too many for Me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel vaunt themselves against Me, saying, Mine own hand hath saved me. Now therefore go to, proclaim in the ears of the people saying, Whosoever is fearful and afraid, let him return and depart early from mount Gilead. And there returned of the people twenty and two thousand. And the Lord said unto Gideon, The people are yet too many; bring them down unto the water, and I will try them for thee there: and it shall be that of whom I say unto thee, the same shall go with thee; and of whomsoever I say unto thee, This shall not go with thee, the same shall not go. 21LtMs, Ms 89, 1906, par. 1

“So he brought down the people unto the water: and the Lord said unto Gideon, Every one that lappeth of the water with his tongue, as a dog lappeth, him shalt thou set by himself; likewise every one that boweth down upon his knees to drink. And the number of them that lapped, putting their hand to their mouth, were three hundred men: but all the rest of the people bowed down upon their knees to drink water. And the Lord said unto Gideon, 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. So the people took victuals in their hands, and their trumpets: and he sent all the rest of Israel every man unto his tent, and retained those three hundred men. And the host of Midian was beneath him in the valley. 21LtMs, Ms 89, 1906, par. 2

“And it came to pass the same night that the Lord said unto him, Arise, get thee down unto the host; for I have delivered it into thine hand. But if thou fear to go down, go thou with Phurah thy servant down to the host: and thou shalt hear what they say: and afterwards shall thine hands be strengthened to go down unto the host. Then went he down with Phurah his servant unto the outside of the armed men that were in the host. And the Midianites and the Amalekites and all the children of the east lay along in the valley like grasshoppers for multitude; and their camels were without number, as the sand by the sea-side for multitude. 21LtMs, Ms 89, 1906, par. 3

“And when Gideon was come, behold, there was a man that told a dream unto his fellow, and said, Behold, I dreamed a dream, and, lo, a cake of barley bread tumbled into the host of Midian, and came unto a tent, and smote it that it fell, and overturned it, that the tent lay along. And his fellow answered and said, This is nothing else save the sword of Gideon, the son of Joash, a man of Israel: for into his hand hath God delivered Midian, and all the host. 21LtMs, Ms 89, 1906, par. 4

“And it was so, when Gideon heard the telling of the dream and the interpretation thereof, that he worshiped, and returned unto the host of Israel, and said, Arise; for the Lord hath delivered into your hand the host of Midian. 21LtMs, Ms 89, 1906, par. 5

“And he divided the three hundred men into three companies, and he put a trumpet in every man’s hand, with empty pitchers, and lamps within the pitchers. And he said unto them, Look on me, and do likewise: and, behold, when I come to the outside of the camp, it shall be, that as I do, so shall ye do. When I blow with a trumpet, I and all that are with me, then blow ye the trumpets also on every side of all the camp, and say, The sword of the Lord, and of Gideon. 21LtMs, Ms 89, 1906, par. 6

“So Gideon, and the three hundred men that were with him, came unto the outside of the camp in the beginning of the middle watch; and they had but newly set the watch: and they blew with the trumpets, and brake the pitchers that were in their hands. And the three companies blew the trumpets, and brake the pitchers, and held the lamps in their left hands, and the trumpets in their right hands to blow withal: and they cried, The sword of the Lord, and of Gideon. And they stood every man in his place round about the camp: and all the host ran, and cried, and fled. And the three hundred blew the trumpets, and the Lord set every man’s sword against his fellow, even throughout all the host: and the host fled to Beth-shittah in Zererath, and to the border of Abel-meholah, unto Tabbath.” [Judges 7:2-22.] 21LtMs, Ms 89, 1906, par. 7

The Bible account of God’s dealings with His people is of special value to us. He would teach men that without His special help, they can but fail. Every testing experience is designed to develop the character. The Lord permits calamities to come, that men may understand the sinfulness of their course, and turn to the Lord with humble confession. Often, men who were in darkness have, through trying circumstances that the Lord has permitted, been awakened and turned to Him. They have become men whom the Lord can use in the proclamation of His truth. Their minds are not poisoned by flattery, and their influence and usefulness reveal the inward working of God upon their heart. 21LtMs, Ms 89, 1906, par. 8

Self, if not restrained, will swell to large proportions; therefore the Lord especially warns His people not to put their trust in men, nor make flesh their arm. Those who are self-sufficient will be tested and tried. When tested by the Word of God, they are found to be unqualified for His service. Others who are humble will be raised up by the Lord and appointed to important posts of duty. They who will not seek to exalt themselves are the ones whom God can most safely entrust with responsibilities. 21LtMs, Ms 89, 1906, par. 9

I am given a special warning for those who have had much light, and great evidence of the truth, but who have not prepared themselves to be laborers together with God. The Lord Jesus will leave such workers to their own supposed wisdom. The laborers in God’s service need to be humble men, men who will walk and work with Jesus. They must meet difficulties, not in a spirit of independence, but in humility and with trust in God. 21LtMs, Ms 89, 1906, par. 10

There are men who will heed the Word of the Lord in spite of all opposition. Difficulties cannot turn them aside from the straight path of rectitude. God will give to men of humility a knowledge of His truth and make them to understand their duty. Such men will act under God, and their labors will result in the conversion of many souls. Those who are willing and obedient God will fit for His work. 21LtMs, Ms 89, 1906, par. 11

But let no man think to control those whom God is teaching and guiding. There is a place in the cause of God, not for those who desire to control, but for those who purpose to do the will of God. We need men with sanctified minds and hearts. God will employ in His service many new men, who in His name will go forth, conquering and to conquer. By continuance in well-doing, constantly seeking to be made more Christlike, they will be victorious. They will be humble-minded, having strong faith in the Word of God, and they will be willing learners of Christ. Amid poverty and trials, He will be their guide. Men are to be fitted for the service of God, and humbly they will work for the uplifting of fallen humanity and for the glory of their Redeemer. Through the power of the Holy Spirit they will perfect a character after the divine similitude. 21LtMs, Ms 89, 1906, par. 12

Many who profess to be disciples of Christ know not the path in which He traveled. They have lost sight of Him who said, “He that will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.” [Mark 8:34.] Men are not called by God to care for the spiritual health of His church until they have put on the yoke of Christ and learned His meekness and lowliness of heart. It is by wearing His yoke that men will be fitted for great and noble deeds. It is through the influence of the Holy Spirit, and by looking unto Jesus, who gave His life that we might be fashioned after God’s own image, that we shall be changed into His likeness. 21LtMs, Ms 89, 1906, par. 13

We need by kindness and mercy to commend ourselves, and we are to give full esteem to those whom the Lord has chosen. All self-glorification is unbecoming. Let every man esteem others better than himself, putting away all envy, all evil surmising, all contention. “Take My yoke upon you,” says the Lord Jesus, “and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.” [Matthew 11:29, 30.] 21LtMs, Ms 89, 1906, par. 14