But there is a third test. God comes to Gideon and says, |You have too many men yet, Gideon.| And Gideon's eyes bulge out a bit. Too many! Yes, this is to be a quality fight. No common fighting here. God works best with the men who come nearest to having His own thought of things. Numbers don't count. You can't count men for service. You must weigh them, and feel the firmness of their fiber.
There is a little running brook down the valley. Gideon gives an order to his men to advance a bit. And he watches them. Most of them as they come to the water stretch out leisurely on the ground and putting their mouths to the water take a good long drink, and another, and again. They seem to say by their action, |Well, there's some tough work ahead, but we must take care of ourselves. A man must look out for number one. We must not get unduly stirred up over the thing. We're not fighting yet.|
But one fellow comes along with a quick, nervous step, and his eye still on the enemy. He is all on tenter-hooks. His eye flashes fire. He reaches down with a quick movement and gathers up some water in his hand, up to his mouth, and hurries on. Then a second fellow, and a third, and more. Gideon is watching. As each of these comes along he calls him off to one side. When the whole number of men have passed the brook there are just three hundred of the hot-hearted, intense-spirited fellows.
God said, |Gideon, keep these men; send the others back.| These thousands sent back were sturdy men. They would make good fighters in many a campaign, but they would not do for this higher kind of campaigning planned for that day. The little band remaining had stood a third test, they were willing, and courageous, and enthusiastic.
Enthusiasm is the heart burning. These fellows had spring and snap to them. Yet it was a tempered spring and snap, the sort that would last. By their action at the brook they said, |If there's fighting to be done, let's do it quickly; let's go at the enemy with a vim and a rush. Oh! let us at them.|