A Modern Gideon and Mrs. Gideon
By Mrs. David L. Cooper
(Installment 4)

"For We Walk By Faith, Not By Sight" (II Cor. 5:7)

While Dr. Cooper was still superintendent of the Jewish Department of the Bible Institute of Los Angeles, he completed the writing of his first book, The Eternal God Revealing Himself to Suffering Israel and to Lost Humanity; but, when it was ready for the press, he had no funds to publish it.

Pondering over the problem, he finally came to the conclusion that he would either have to place a mortgage on our home in order to borrow the money or have to sell his library so that he might publish the book. But our heavenly Father had other ways of meeting the need.

"... The axehead fell into the water ... And he ... made the iron to swim"
(2 Kings 6:5,6)

It was about this time that we took the children on a Fourth-of-July picnic to Lake Elsinore. While sitting in a rowboat, I tried to anchor it to the pier. Suddenly the boat swung against the pier mashing my hand slightly and crushing my engagement ring, causing the diamond to fall into the water which was about six feet deep at that place. I called our two boys and Dr. Cooper and requested that they dive and see if they could locate the diamond. Milford, our younger son, said, "Mother, that is like hunting for a needle in a haystack, but if you will pray, I will dive and get the diamond." I said, "I will pray, and you dive." As I spoke the words, the Lord brought to my mind the story of the prophet who prayed when an ax head fell into the river, and I remembered how God made the ax to swim. So I prayed, "O Lord, please help! I will not ask you to float it, Lord, but please help us to find the little diamond in the sand; and I will sell it and use the money to help publish the book, The Eternal God Revealing Himself, or I will redeem it at $150. Dr. Cooper and the boys dived and brought up handfuls of sand with which they filled a tin cake box. We put the box of sand in our car and started home.

As we were driving home silence reigned in the car. All were wondering whether or not we were leaving the diamond in the lake. Suddenly Milford spoke: "Mother, do not worry. The Lord has told me the diamond is in the box." I supposed he was only trying to cheer me. We arrived home after dark. It was Saturday, and the box was set aside until after Sunday.

Early Monday morning, Milford placed a tub on the porch and put a screen over it and said, "Mother, give me the box. I'm going to get the diamond." Using an aluminum colander and a cup, we began the process of looking through the sand—cupful at a time. We were almost at the bottom of the box, when I said, "Well, Son, I feel as the apostles did. I feel that we have toiled the whole day through and taken nothing." "Now, Mother," he replied, "don't get cold feet. If you are tired, you can quit; but I will not stop until I get the diamond, for the Lord told me it was in the box." I asked, "How did the Lord tell you it was in the box?" And he answered, "Well, I was thinking about it and something just seemed to say in my heart, 'Don't; worry, The diamond is in the box,' and I know it was the Lord who said it."

We resumed our search, and to our great joy and surprise in the next cup of sand there lay the diamond looking twice its real size. God had really heard and answered our prayer.

"I will put a fleece of wool on the threshing floor" (Judges 6:37)

Then I began to question whether the Lord really required that I sacrifice my prized treasure—my engagement ring. Would He permit me to redeem it at $150, as I had said? Of course, I had no money with which to redeem it. I knelt with my open Bible before me and cried out to God with all the sincerity of a surrendered heart, asking that He show me what He really wanted me to do. And once more I said to Him, "Let me put out my fleece, Lord. If you want me to sell the diamond and put the amount towards the cost of publishing the book, send me an imitation diamond just the size of the real one, or if you want me to redeem it, send the $150. Whichever you send will make clear to me your wish in the matter."

A few days later I received a package containing a doll for one of the girls, and resting in the eye of the doll was an imitation diamond just the size of mine! The moment my eyes fell upon it, I felt that the Lord required of me the sacrifice of my treasure. My heart was all aflutter. I cried out, "O Lord, what will my husband say when I tell him? Will he be willing for me to sell it?" I began to pray. When I had ceased praying, I sat on the floor and my arm knocked the Bible off the couch into my lap. It fell open at, Numbers 30:6-8 which reads: "And if she be
married to a husband, while her vows are upon her, or the rash utterance of her lips, wherewith she hath bound her soul, and her husband hear it, and hold his peace at her in the day that he heareth it; then her vows shall stand, and her bonds wherewith she hath bound her soul shall stand. But if her husband disallow her in the day that he heareth it, then he shall make void her vow which is upon her, and the rash utterance of her lips, wherewith she hath bound her soul: and Jehovah will forgive her." Then I said, "O Jehovah God, I thank you! I did not know such a passage was in the Bible!" When I arose, I put the brilliant in the box with the real diamond.

On New Year's Day, a minister friend was with us at the dinner table when my children began telling him the story of the lost diamond and of how it was found. Our small daughter jumped up quickly and brought the treasure to show him. When she opened the box she exclaimed, "Why, Mother, it has grown another diamond! There are two!" I calmly told the children that if they would sit quietly, I would tell them another chapter to that story. Then I told of the vow I had made to the Lord, how that I would sell the diamond or redeem it for $150 if God would only let us find it. Dr. Cooper immediately said, "I object to selling it. I will redeem it at $150. It was the first tie that bound us together, and I am not willing to sell it." Then I told them how the Bible had fallen open in my lap at Numbers 30:6-8 and that I was now free from my vow since my husband objected to selling the jewel.

"If we ask anything according to his will, he heareth us" (I John 5:14)

The following day I prayed, "Lord, I can never put this diamond back in the ring and wear it, for I know you want me to give it up. Will you make my husband willing?"

That evening Dr. Cooper came bounding into the house, calling "Sweetheart, do you still want to sell the diamond?" I said, "Yes." And then he said, "At last God has made me willing. We will go tomorrow and sell it and put the money on the publishing of my book." The following morning we sold the gem, which I prized above any other material things that I possessed and used the proceeds toward the publishing of
The Eternal God Revealing Himself to Suffering Israel and to Lost Humanity.

Of course this sum was but a small part of the total amount needed, but God was pleased to encourage my husband still further. A week before the book was sent to the press, the Lord gave him $2000 toward the cost of publication. The late William E. Blackstone had been asked to write the foreword to the book, for Dr. Blackstone's name meant more to the Jews than that of any other Gentile. After having read the manuscript, he was so well pleased with it that he gave Dr. Cooper a check of his own funds for $1,000 and a similar amount from a fund for which he was trustee. This $2,000 was surely a definite answer to prayer.

"Let me make trial, I pray thee, but this once with the fleece" (Judges 6:39b)

In May, 1930, the services of my husband terminated with the Bible Institute of Los Angles on account of lack of funds during the depression. We knew beyond all doubt that God had led him into the Bible Institute as superintendent of the Jewish work. It was also quite evident to our minds that the Lord had led him out of that position. We were then face to face with the problem of where the Lord would lead him next. He was given a month's salary to enable him to find another position. His call to the Jewish work was so very definite, and his heart so intently set on giving God's Word to the Jews, that it was unthinkable to him to take a month's vacation. For this reason he went on working in his same position for the entire month, doubling his efforts during that time.

Three calls to be director of Jewish work in different parts of the country came to him. We considered these seriously and also the possibility of his teaching in either a college or seminary. Our hearts revolted at the thought of his going back to the schoolroom, knowing that God had called him from the college in Texas to give His Word to Israel. The Lord seemed to say to our hearts, "No man, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God" (Luke 9:62). We knew that we had put our hands to the plow to plant the Word of God in the field of Israel, and therefore we could not look back. We dismissed from our minds the idea of his returning to teaching, either in university or in seminary.

One day while I fasted and prayed, pleading with the Lord to show us definitely just what He wanted us to do, and knowing that we must give answer to the calls that were coming in, I said, "Please, Lord, let me be like Gideon and put out a fleece. We want to do just what is your directive will. We know that you called us here, and we don't want to make a move except at your leading. So, Lord, just what is your will? If you want us to stay here, continuing this work as we have been doing (Dr. Cooper had moved his office from the Institute to our home), then dampen my fleece by sending my husband home today with a little check designated for the continuance of the work." I had in mind a check for only $1.00 or $1.50, just something that would dampen my fleece. Inasmuch as he had not been receiving any money whatsoever except his salary (all money for Jewish work that had come through his hands had, of course, belonged to the Bible Institute), I knew that if he got a check, it would be a real dampening of my fleece, because it would be something entirely out of the ordinary.

"And wrung the dew out of the fleece, a bowlful of water" (Judges 6:38)

That day a dear man came to my husband and, on learning that he was leaving the Institute, said, "Dr. Cooper, you are doing a splendid work, and I don't want to see you stop it. Here is a check for $25, and I will give you $25 a month. I want you to continue the work of giving God's Word to Israel." When my husband came home that night and showed me the check, I recognized it as a real dampening of my fleece. Then I knew beyond any doubt that the Lord wanted us to continue the work, to forget that we had no salary, and to live entirely by faith.

"Let me make trial, I pray thee, but this once [more] with the fleece" (Judges 6:39)

At that time we had just built a room on the upstairs of our home for our two boys and a little room and porch downstairs. We had paid all the bills but about $200 on the lumber. This obligation worried me very much, and I began to pray definitely about it. I exclaimed, "O Lord, you said, 'Owe no man anything' and yet we find ourselves owing $200 without any human way of paying it." Now this lumber dealer was one of the elders of the church where Dr. Cooper had been a supply pastor for seven months. Again I fasted and prayed, and said, "Now, Lord, you have dampened my fleece once indicating that you want us to go on and that you would supply the needs. Father, it is not sufficient for you to provide funds for the work. You see this lumber bill, and you know that we have four children who must be clothed and fed. Please have mercy on me as you did on Gideon and let me put my fleece out again. If you want us to continue the work here without a salary, send my husband home again tonight with another little check designated for our needs! Lord, if you send it tomorrow, that will not dampen my fleece."

"And God did so that night" (Judges 6:40)

That night my husband came home with a check for $50. The lady who gave it said, "Put this on your lumber bill." When he returned that evening and told me about this gift, my heart cried out, "Oh, how precious is the Lord!" He knew that it was the lumber bill which was worrying me. Then I told my husband how I had fasted and prayed, how I had put out my fleece again, and how He had dampened it these two times. I told him I felt that the Lord wanted us to go on working as we had done, forgetting that we did not have a salary and trusting the finances absolutely to Him. His reply was, "Well, Sweetheart, I feel the same way about it. I believe the Lord would have us go on laboring and trusting all the finances to Him." He also said, "I will be willing to do this if you will be happy with what the Lord is pleased to send in, whether much or little." I was so very sure that the Lord had dampened the fleece, these two times that I said I would be happy with whatever God was pleased to give us—even if we didn't have bread. Incidentally, there have been a few times when we did not have bread. We rejoiced, however, just the same, for it sent us to our knees more and more. "We have been very happy with the Lord's provision, knowing that He was dealing with us in love. "I know, O Jehovah, that thy judgments are righteous, And that in faithfulness thou hast afflicted me" (Ps. 119:75).

My husband told me recently that the entire work of the Biblical Research Society—all of his personal work with the Jews, all of his writing, all the distribution of his books to Jews and Gentiles, his radio ministry, his training institute (which has been established since we moved into the new headquarters)—is just the working out of the vision which he received the day that God called him from the position of a college professor and laid upon him the responsibility of giving the truth to Israel in this generation. He has worked tirelessly, spending from eight to sixteen hours out of almost every day in obedience to God's call.