The Value of Vigilance
(Taken from Carl's book Evil Invades Sanctuary)
By: Carl Chinn
Mom was a Sunday school teacher. I recall how she told the story of Gideon’s fight with the Midianites. With the odds already stacked against Gideon by sheer numbers, the Lord wanted him to engage the enemy with even fewer men so there would be no doubt as to Who truly saved the day. The Lord directed Gideon to select the men by watching how they drank water.
I remember how we were spellbound first-graders as she read Judges 7: 5-7;
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." Three hundred men lapped with their hands to their mouths. All the rest got down on their knees to drink. The LORD said to Gideon, "With the three hundred men that lapped I will save you and give the Midianites into your hands. Let all the other men go, each to his own place."
I will never forget how Mom dramatically mimicked a dog lapping water. She delivered a lasting impression of how dogs lay their head almost flat over the water and dip their tongues into it, never taking their eyes away from constant searching for action.
According to Mom, the other men were making everyone vulnerable as they dropped to their knees and looked straight down into the water, laughing and talking as if there were no danger around. Her obvious point was that the Lord is looking for people who are vigilant.
Vigilance is always crucial; attentiveness results in awareness.
On the quiet afternoon of September 7th, 1876, a young man by the name of Henry Wheeler was home in Northfield, Minnesota taking leave from his medical studies at Michigan University. Sitting under an awning in front of his father’s store across from the bank, he watched three strangers ride into town. He saw them stop at the bank and throw their reins over the hitching posts. But they did not tie the reins. Other similar observations resulted in him and others being ready when the first shots were fired by the bad guys in the bank. When the incident was over, the Jesse James / Cole Younger gang would never ride together again. Common townspeople foiled one of the most notorious gangs in U.S. history, because a college student noticed the reins weren’t tied.
Think About It
- Had young Henry Wheeler simply noticed that the reins were untied, and did nothing about it, the results would have been different. More people would have died in future bank robberies from the violent gang.
- Vigilance without being prepared to act is simply watching. Dietrich Bonhoeffer was the Lutheran pastor executed in Germany for his part in plans to assassinate Adolf Hitler. He said, "If I see a madman driving a car into a group of innocent bystanders, then I can't, as a Christian, simply wait for the catastrophe and then comfort the wounded and bury the dead. I must try to wrestle the steering wheel out of the hands of the driver.”