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” (Judges 7:5 NIV).
Many come to serve God. But God does not choose all. He first of all finds those who are wavering because of fear. They are sent back. Then again He continues to sift. He has His own methods to find out who belongs to His army and who does not. Here He asked Gideon to take them down to the water. He asked Gideon to keep with him the men who lapped the water with their tongue.
What is the point here? Why were those who knelt down to drink sent back? Those who lapped the water with their tongues had God’s priorities in mind even when they were satisfying their need. They knew that they were going on a divine mission to fight the Midianites. That thought was uppermost in their minds. They did not allow even a basic need of satisfying their thirst distract them from the duty at hand. Remember that all of them had courage. That is why they passed the first selection. But then a great majority (97%) failed in the second test of priorities.
The important thing for you to note is that God is continuing His sifting process even today. But He does not announce to you beforehand that you are being taken to a test. Therefore, if you wish to serve God, you have to be ever alert to such possibilities. Otherwise you will be left behind. You will then lose the privilege of serving God.
But there is still another sad truth to face. Those who pass the test will take over your provisions and trumpets (v.8). So when God passes on the responsibilities to others, you lose much in the process. Therefore never lose sight of God’s priorities. If you do so, you will satisfy your need but lose the privilege of serving God. The times are difficult. And God needs men and women who are always alert to His priorities above their own needs. Are you one lapping the water like a dog or are you one who kneels down to drink? The first shows an attitude of readiness and alertness; the second the attitude of easy-going self-mindedness. The choice is always yours. But the sifting belongs to God.