Bible Studies For Life
Our Peace††††††††††† ††††††††††† Session 4†††††††††††††††††††† 25 MAR 18
JUDGES 6:11 Gideon was a farmer's son to whom the "angel of the Lord" appeared. Just who is this "angel of the Lord"? "Angel" in Hebrew means 4397. mal'ak, mal-awk'; from an unused root mean. to despatch as a deputy; a messenger; spec. of God, i.e. an angel (also a prophet, priest or teacher):--ambassador, angel, king, messenger. In Greek "angel" is 32. aggelos, ang'-el-os; from† aggello [prob. der. from G71; comp. G34] (to bring tidings); a messenger; esp. an "angel"; by impl. a pastor:--angel, messenger. "Lord" here is 3068. Yehovah, yeh-ho-vaw'; from H1961; (the) self-Existent or Eternal, H3050, H3069; i.e. Yahweh. It is vital to know who this messenger is. In verses 14 and 16 it reads "the Lord." The Hebrew is again Yahweh. Note that Gideon did not know at first who this messenger was. The messenger looked as a human being, not as the modern depiction of angels. The fundamental problem here is poor translation by words and not ideas, compounded for the American fetish about angels when New Age people made angels popular. By wrongly translating the Hebrew here as angel, everyone naturally thinks a real angel. The context shows it is one of the three Persons of Yahweh. Which one? A lot of people claim it is Jesus. However, the facts do not support anyone except the Father. Yahweh is not an angel or angels. Thus the Father was the messenger of the Trinity to Gideon at this event. Note (Gen 22:15-16 RSV) "And the angel of the LORD called to Abraham a second time from heaven, and said, "By myself I have sworn, says the LORD, because you have done this, and have not withheld your son, your only son," It is vital to always realize that Yahweh is the Trinity and each of the Persons did their own work with humankind in the Old Testament as they did in Jesus' day and still so today.
Judges 6:11-13 Clearly Gideon did not recognize this human-looking being as either an angel or God. He used the Hebrew word adonai which means basically sir. As in the days of Adam and Eve, the Father still walked the earth at times to be with and help His created children. Today, Yahweh's permanent messenger is the Holy Spirit within every saved person. Gideon and his father were functioning as part of an underground resistance movement. They tried to keep any food supplies away from the oppressive Midianites. But Gideon spoke the common sentiment of his day that Israel was in trouble because of God. He (they) loved to hold the view that God would protect and prosper them no matter what he did or didn't do. They believed that their covenant with God was really one-sided thereby making God their eternal protector. But what did the covenant really says (Exo 19:5-6 RSV) "Now therefore, if you will obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my own possession among all peoples; for all the earth is mine, and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel.""
The obligation of obedience was not with God to them but the people to God. It was a lesser to Greater covenant. In such a covenant, the Greater had no obligation until the lessor fulfilled his part. The fact is God is so loving and generous so at times He did not wait for their action. But at other times He did wait. Note Gideon ignored the fact that Israel's turn to idolatry and failure to eliminate the seven pagan nations in the land were the cause of their trouble. (Judg 2:2-3 RSV) "and you shall make no covenant with the inhabitants of this land; you shall break down their altars.' But you have not obeyed my command. What is this you have done? So now I say, I will not drive them out before you; but they shall become adversaries to you, and their gods shall be a snare to you."" (Judg 2:11 RSV) "And the people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the LORD and served the Baals;" (Judg 2:6-7 RSV) "When Joshua dismissed the people, the people of Israel went each to his inheritance to take possession of the land. And the people served the LORD all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great work which the LORD had done for Israel." And (Judg 3:1, 4 RSV) "Now these are the nations which the LORD left, to test Israel by them, that is, all in Israel who had no experience of any war in Canaan; They were for the testing of Israel, to know whether Israel would obey the commandments of the LORD, which he commanded their fathers by Moses." God expected the lessor to keep their promise recorded in the Law. So far they had failed. (Judg 3:6 KJV)† "And they took their daughters to be their wives, and gave their daughters to their sons, and served their gods." So God used the failure of the Israelites to drive out the Canaanites by using these pagans to teach the art of warfare to the Israelites who had not been involved in the initial wars under Joshua.
JUDGES 6:14-16 As is typical, and still not knowing to whom he was talking, Gideon (like Moses) tried to get out of the task of being the deliverance leader by claiming an inability to meet the necessary standards. JUDGES 6:17 Paul didn't get his remark in 1 Corinthians out of the air. (1 Cor 1:22 RSV) "For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom," Gideon wanted a sign.
JUDGES 6:20-22 Gideon got his sign and it was far more than he expected. From this he correctly realized he was talking to the messenger of Yahweh and not a mere angel. He went into great fear for he had looked "face to face" with the messenger of Yahweh! Who wouldn't be affected by such an encounter?
JUDGES 6:23 Yahweh, the Father spoke to him ("And the Lord said to him") directly and told him to fear not, he would not die. God used the Hebrew for peace which is shalowm.
JUDGES 6:24 Gideon gathered his salvation faith and moved in the love and protection of God. Such lead him, and lead us, to worship of God.
JUDGES 6:25-32 Then God gave him specific instructions and Gideon did them.
JUDGES 6:33-35 Now the Holy Spirit took the roll of messenger: (Judg 6:34 RSV) "But the Spirit of the LORD took possession of Gideon; and he sounded the trumpet, and the Abiezrites were called out to follow him." He gathered a sufficient military force.
JUDGES 6:33-40 True worship is just a prelude to service. Yet let us not make a saint of Gideon. Even though he had experience the temporary indwelling of the Holy Spirit, Gideon still had doubts. This is not the nature of a Mighty Warrior. His active faith was short-lived. He asked for yet another sign that God would do as he had said!. This is amazing but saved people still do it. He did not take God's words in sustained active faith any more than Peter did when he failed to keep on walking on the water with Jesus. Gideon called for yet another sign! God was generous in giving him another one. Just how many times does God have to say something to make it true?
JUDGES 7:1-18 But even this was not enough. God was again generous to his weak faith and set up another sign. He would have the Midianites give him a verbal sign.† In Gideon's day there was no organized religious organization to teach proper doctrine. (Judg 17:6 RSV) "In those days there was no king in Israel; every man did what was right in his own eyes." So God went the extra mile with Gideon because of this. God had a GENTILE Midianite say a dream meant they would be defeated. This gave him the confidence to act upon God's commands. Itís that something!
JUDGES 7:19-22 Gideon's military tactics caused panic within the enemy and caused their defeat. Gideon's faith was not a strong faith. It required strong and persistent intervention by God. The session's title " God Makes a Mighty Warrior" implies Gideon had a strong faith to attack evil against great opposition. But Gideon did not show such faith. God had to teach him faith through physical and spiritual events. God still trains a Christian's toward faith. But today that is the job of more mature Christians. (Mat 28:20 RSV) "teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age."" (Rom 15:1-2 RSV) "We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves; let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to edify him." God still needed to use signs in Paul's day. (Rom 15:19 RSV) "by the power of signs and wonders, by the power of the Holy Spirit, so that from Jerusalem and as far round as Illyricum I have fully preached the gospel of Christ,"
Does God still allow the use of signs today to make Christians bold? No one can say for sure. The fact is a Christian should not need a sign to do the work of God. If you are waiting for a sign, then you lack proper Bible study. We are not strong before God by needing and responding to signs. (2 Tim 2:15 RSV)† "Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth." The only way from fear to real faith is personal action to (2 Pet 3:18 RSV) "But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen."
Gideon is not a model to follow but one to avoid. Paul is the example for us! The truth is given in the scholarly Bible Illustrator Spring 2016: ďAfter Gideonís victory, the Israelites wanted to make Gideon their king. He refused and insisted that God was their King. Still, Gideon lived like a king, acquiring wealth ([Judg. 8:26]) and a harem (v. 30). Gideon asked every Israelite to give him a gold earring from the plunder. He fashioned the gold into an ephod. Normally, an ephod was a priestly garment, like an apron. Gideonís ephod became an object of worship for Israel (v. 27). Gideon may have hung this golden ephod on an image, and Israel worshiped the ephod like an idol. Like other leaders in Hebrew history, Gideon began well, but he did not end well. He followed the Lord at first, but later he led Israel into idolatry. He did not influence his many sons to follow the Lord. After Gideon died, the Israelites forgot the Lord and returned to their old ways, provoking another cycle.Ē
ĖJ. Mark Terry, Biblical Illustrator
††††††††††† If Gideon was really a Mighty Warrior, then he would have lived the victory for Yahweh and been a spiritual example and guide to the people, especially his many sons!! BUT Gideon wanted the wealth and prestige of a king with the responsibilities. This is what he got. But when Jesus judges the saved for rewards, he will face (1 Cor 3:12-14 RSV) "Now if any one builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw-- each man's work will become manifest; for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work which any man has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward."