Gideon's company represents a sifted company brought down to a position of absolute faith in God, for that was what God was after - "Lest Israel vaunt themselves against me saying, Mine own hand hath saved me."
They had to be right down to a place where God was their only estate, and faith in Him was the ground upon which they stood.
Then every man had to put his sword on his side and stand in his place.
You have a very good picture in Gideon's 'three hundred' of a sifted company standing in prayer and the Word of God: "The Sword of the Lord"-The Word of the Lord.
The Lord saw to it that all who had heart trouble went home, for a fearful heart is useless.
Faith is necessary here. A divided heart is no use and disqualifies its owner.
A fearful heart was the first test, and a great host went home because they were fearful-hearted.
A divided heart was the next test, and those who went down on their hands and knees to drink the water showed that they were not wholly ready for this business.
Those who stood and lapped out of their hands were eager, for they kept on their feet, and this drinking was only done because it was necessary.
Those who lapped were of undivided heart and were wholly in this business.
A divided heart disqualifies, and the Lord sees to it that divided hearts are sifted out.
At last He gets His company, and they are all with him in the faith of the Son of God, having a life of deep fellowship with Him in prayer and in the Word.
That will always be a sifted company, and we should not be discouraged or think that a strange thing has happened when the Lord begins to sift out and many go home.
That is the Lord's way of getting effectiveness. He must sift.
He Himself, while here on the earth, gave us very much in His personal teaching in this very connection.
He calls, and the reactions to His call are; "Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father." Then there are other interests: "I have bought five yoke of oxen and I go to prove them"; "I have married a wife"; "I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it." That is a divided heart!
And then we have His own word: "If a man cometh unto me, and hateth not his own father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple"; "Whosoever doth not bear his own cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple."
That is no faint heart! The Lord calls for that, and by the three hundred He delivers the Midianites into our hands, and He saves Israel.
They are the salvation of the rest.
~T. Austin Sparks~