Consider. You drink from a stream. You take the water in your hands and drink it. What can you see as you drink? Then the one who puts is face to the water to drink...What can he see? The ones that lapped the water were aware of what was going on around them. The men who drank with their faces in the water were essentially blind to all but the water. They were therefore vulnerable.
This is a physical situation but we usually live our spiritual lives the way we live our physical lives. Drink with your eyes on JESUS. Be aware of the dangers around you and lean into JESUS always. Don't stuff your face into your situations and that's all you see.
Without getting into a lot of detail, I believe the one's who drank directly from the stream "like beasts" represents carnal Christians who will be rejected by Christ. Those who drink from their hands represent the Chosen Elect who walk by the Spirit and will be accepted by Christ. The water represents the Holy Spirit. Many are called (carnal Christians) but few are chosen (the Spirit led Christians). Those who walk by the Spirit are those whom Christ chooses for His church. Those not chosen (the many called) will go to the wide gate that leads to destruction.
The differences between "walking by the flesh" and "walking by the Spirit" are explained by Paul in his letters to the churches. In Galatians, I believe in Chapter 4 if memory serves me right, Paul explains that a carnal Christian (those that walk by the flesh) is no different than a bondservant and will not be heirs with the sons. Those that walk by the Spirit are the true sons and will be the heirs according to the promise. It is also shown in Rev 3:16; the carnal Christians are "lukewarm", the unbelievers are "cold" and Christ's chosen elect are "hot". The "lukewarm" will be spewed out of Christ's mouth and their judgment will be more "tormenting" than most. This concept of carnal vs. Spirit led Christians is repeated several times throughout the New Testament but is greatly misunderstood by most Christians.
Hi mdcccb5: That's a very interesting question, and I agree with El Hombre viejo. God told Gideon that he had to many men, and did not want His people, Israel to think it way by their own might with which they defeated their enemies the Midianites. So God thinned them out and picked the best or most alert and observant to what was going on around them. And out of a large number of 32,000 Israelites at the start, only 300 proved to be so. This small band of alert men defeated a coalition of 135,000 invading Midianites, Amalekites, and others encamped on the plain of Jezreel, near the hill of Moreh.
I think this tells us much about God and his ability to deliver our enemies into our hands as it were, even though we may appear small and weak and of little concern, when God is at our back we can become an undefeatable foe. But remember, God only used a specific type of person, someone who was alert and observant. Being spiritually alert and observant are clearly qualities God values!