The Doctrine of the Few

“The LORD did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people.” (Deuteronomy 7:7)

Modern people—even Christians—tend to measure success in terms of bigness. God’s measure, on the other hand, is based on quality, not quantity. There were undoubtedly millions of people on the earth, for example, when the Flood came in the days of Noah, but only “few, that is, eight souls were saved” as the waters lifted up the Ark (1 Peter 3:20).

A few centuries after the Flood, populations had again increased, and great nations developed in Egypt, Sumeria, and elsewhere. But God called one man, Abraham, to establish a new nation, and he obeyed. Many great nations (Arabs, etc.) came from Abraham, but again God chose only one, Israel, to inherit the promise. Israel did grow, but as our text shows, even this chosen nation was nearly always insignificant compared to other nations.

In Israel’s history, many instances are recorded when God used just a few to battle many. God used Gideon’s 300 men to defeat 135,000 Midianites (Judges 7:7; 8:10). Similar deliverances occurred in the days of David, Asa, Jehoshaphat, Hezekiah, and others.

In the New Testament, the Lord Jesus told His disciples that “where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them” (Matthew 18:20). He also said to them: “Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32).

God’s criterion is that of motivation rather than multiplication. “Strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” (Matthew 7:14). But those few will be faithful servants and will someday hear Him say: “Well done, thou good and faithful servant . . . enter thou into the joy of thy Lord” (Matthew 25:21). HMM

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