What is the posture of your heart when you prepare to come into the Lord’s presence for worship? Would you confess a reluctant spirit? Is your mind so divided that you fail to grasp what’s being read? Maybe we’re distracted by other people or other concerns. We’re filled with disinterest instead of reverence, complacency instead of anticipation.
In this opening section of Gideon’s narrative, which focuses upon his calling, we get an illustration of the proper posture of our hearts in worship. It begins with a cycle we’ve grown accustomed to in Judges. Israel’s idolatry leads them into oppression, and from their desperation, they cry out for deliverance.
Gideon is the central judge and his narrative is the longest. He is the only one called directly by the angel of the Lord. So much about this narrative suggests it to be the climax of the book.
Read Judges 6:1-24
Midianite Oppression (1-10)
1-2a Once again – Fickle-faith Israelites commit idolatry and the Lord sells them to Midian.
2b-5 Israel began building hiding places (dens, caves, and strongholds) to protect their crops and livestock.
Israel’s idolatry which led to Midianite oppression has caused them to begin living like animals in dens and caves. Sin has a dehumanizing effect on us.
It’s the grace of God that Israel was raided by their oppressors. He would not permit them to remain complacent in their sin. Their discomfort increased to the point that they had no other option than to cry out to Yahweh (Not Baal/Asherah).
6 Israel at the end of their rope, cry out in desperation.
7-10 The formal indictment of the Lord’s prophet (Covenant Lawyer). “You have not obeyed my voice.” Because of their disobedience, the blessings for covenant faithfulness (land, produce, rest) were stolen by the Midianites.
Notice how the scene ends with uncertainty. Will the Lord deliver his people? The prophet’s rebuke hangs in the air.
A young adult questioned, “I know God exists, but is He good (to me)?” What do you say? Psalms.
The person living in unrepentant sin is left in this same state of uncertainty. To have any sense of assurance one must repent. To stop repenting is to start falling away.
However, instead of judgment, God preserves them…
Gideon’s Call (6:11-18)
11 The Angel of the Lord sat under the oak tree (cf. Deborah’s palm) preparing to deliver a word from the Lord. Gideon hid the wheat from his oppressors. Threshing wheat in a winepress was like flying a kite in a warehouse.
12 Irony? No. Gideon isn’t cowering in fear, eyes darting back and forth. He’s using wisdom!
13-18 Call > Gideon’s hesitation > the Lord’s reassurance (14, 16) > request for a sign.
Parallels to Moses (Exodus 3):
- Context: Severe oppression, Israel cried for help, Moses/Gideon hiding, working for father/in-law who were cult priests.
- Call: “The Angel of the Lord” calls Moses/Gideon to deliver Israel from her oppressors.
- Hesitation: Oppose the call twice (“Please, sir” or “Oh Lord”) claiming inadequacy.
- Sign: Both receive a sign of the Lord’s presence through a “fire theophany”.
- Fire: Both were afraid. Both assured of the Lord’s presence and support.
Don’t you see what this means? Israel had been assured that the Lord would raise up a prophet like Moses (Deut. 18:15-18). They had been looking for “the Prophet” since Moses’ death! Could Gideon be the one?
As Israel is beginning to recognize their need for deliverance, the Lord in raising up a deliverer. The sinner’s only hope is in a God who heals our apostasy (Hos. 14:4).
Gideon’s response was to prepare…
Gideon’s Offering (19-24)
19-21 Gideon makes an offering consisting of a young goat and an ephah of flour for unleavened cakes (10x the omer of manna Exodus 16, almost 6 gallons!). After presenting it, fire consumes it, and the angel vanishes.
22 This terrifies Gideon:
Davis We western Christians do not understand Gideon’s agony. Such talk is strange to us. We long to reach our warm hand through the print of our Bible page, pat Gideon’s shoulder, and soothe him with ‘Don’t worry, brother Gideon, God’s not really scary like that – if only you had a New Testament…’
There is nothing amazing about grace as long as there is nothing fearful about holiness.
Rather than dying for seeing the Lord face to face (Gn. 32:30; Ex. 33:17-20; Jdg.13:21-22) Gideon found favor and received peace (23). This conversion experience concludes with an act of devotion (24).
Gideon has responded to the Lord’s call with gratitude and devotion. His offering was truly sacrificial considering how hard he worked to gain that wheat. The call and response of Gideon is in line with Moses, and it should stir up in all of us a renewed sense of devotion, gratitude, and joy in our salvation (Eph. 2:1-7).
Piper “True worship is a valuing or a treasuring of God above all things.”
- Midianite Oppression presents a picture of our depravity.
- Gideon’s Call shows us the grace of God who remains faithful to his rebellious people.
- Gideon’s Offering reveals the grateful heart of a person converted, called, and given a divine mission!
Spoiler Alert: Gideon successfully saves Israelites, but he’s inadequate to save sinners. That would come after more than 1200 years through the shed blood of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Our gratitude should overflow in a response of devotion and worship like Gideon’s. We should look at our sacrificial offerings and think, “I cannot give enough!” He’s worthy of so much more!