And the LORD said to Gideon, The people that are with you are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hands…
Nothing more impressive than the secrecy observed by God in bringing on his kingdom. He is not lavish of signs and wonders. Sufficient for the occasion, and no more. Not always asserting himself. So unobtrusive, that vain and empty minds are ready to conclude him non-existent or inoperative. "Verily thou art a God that hidest thyself, O God of Israel, the Saviour." The place of God at the beginnings of things - the springs and roots; and the spiritual nature of God accounts for much of this He loves to work by despised instruments and obscure agencies. "Thy gentleness hath made me great."
I. HOW PRONE THE NATURAL MIND IS TO THIS IMPRESSION. Israel, as here stated, was constantly imagining it. The moral systems, ancient and modern, social and political nostrums and panaceas, of men show this. The glorification of courage, intellectual gifts, material resources.
II. ITS MISCHIEVOUS EFFECTS. Egotism; materialism; intellectual and moral pride. "For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God" (Romans 10:3). "Ye will not come to me, that ye might have life" (John 5:40).
III. PROOFS THAT MAN CANNOT BE HIS OWN SAVIOUR.
1. The miraculous deliverances of Israel. The weakness of luxurious and materially enriched times. The providences of life. The soul's inner experiences.
2. The true conception of salvation. A spiritual more than a material fact. Our relation to the law of God. "Not by works of righteousness which we have done," etc. (Titus 3:5). "And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness," etc. (Philippians 3:9). Inward witness - "By the grace of God I am what I am" (1 Corinthians 15:10). - M.
Parallel VersesKJV: 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.