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Gideon's Call

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JUDGES 6:14

We have the forth cycle of Israel’s experience of judgement as a result of rebellion: “children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord…” [6:1-10].

Deliverance comes with the preparation of the deliverer: “thou shalt save Israel from…” [6:14].

  1. GIDEON’S CALL

1.        The Man

The man is Gideon: “Gideon threshed wheat by the winepress, to hide it from the Midianites” [6:11].

§         !A[d>g - “Gideon” [6:11], ‘hacker’; ‘hew down’; ‘cut off’; a function he will soon be called upon to fulfil as he destroys the altar of Baal on his father’s property [6:25-27].

a.        Family

Gideon was: “son of Joash the Abiezrite…” [6:11].

§         va'Ayl - “Joash” [6:11], a shortened version of ‘Jehoash’ meaning ‘Yahweh is strong’;

i.              Family Wealth

Joash must have been a man of considerable wealth and standing in the community:

§         Family wealth: “took ten men of his servants…” [6:27].

§         Joash is the sponsor of a Baal cult site: “altar of Baal that thy father has…” [6:25-27].

b.        Situation of Fear

Gideon’s activity: “Gideon threshed wheat by the winepress, to hide it from the Midianites” [6:11].

§         Normal practice: grain was threshed first by beating the heads of the cut stalks with a flail, discarding the straw, and then tossing the mixture of chaff and grain in the air, allowing the wind to blow away the chaff.

§         Presently this would have been unwise because it would arouse the attention of the marauding Midianites: “to hide it from the Midianites” [6:11].

§         Therefore, Gideon resorts to beating the grain: “by the winepress” [6:11].

2.        Call

a.        Confrontation with God

God’s call begins with a confrontation with God: “angel of the Lord appeared unto him” [6:12].

§         hw"hy> %a;l.m - “angel of the Lord” [6:12], ‘authorised spokes-person’; ‘the messenger of Yahweh’;

§         The person was not ‘an’ angel but: “the angel of the Lord…” [6:12].

i.              Angel of the Lord

It is clear from this book that the “angel of the Lord” is identified as God:

§         Gideon later recognises the angel as the Lord: “O my Lord, wherewith shall I save Israel…” [6:15]; “Gideon perceived that he was the angel of the Lord…” [6:22].

§         Manoah’s wife: “And the angel of the LORD appeared unto the woman, and said unto her” [13:3]; “we shall surely die, because we have seen God” [13:22]. 

§         Moses at Sinai: “the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a flame of fire” [Exo.3:2].

§         Jesus Christ identifies himself with this angel: “before Abraham was I AM” [Joh.8:58] referring back to [Exodus 3:14].

b.        Declaration

The call of God: “The Lord is with thee, thou mighty man of valour” [6:12].

i.              Introductory Address

Gideon is addressed as: “thou mighty man of valour…” [6:12].

§         rABG - “mighty” [6:12], ‘to prevail’; ‘to have strength’; ‘to be great’;

§         lyIx'h - “valour” [6:12], ‘to be firm’; ‘to endure’;

ii.            Declaration

The Lord’s declaration: “the Lord is with thee…” [6:12].

§         ^M.[ - “with thee” [6:12], “Immanuel, which is God with us” [Isa.7:11].

§         The OT covenant promise: “as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee…” [Jos.1:5].

c.        The Call 

The call of God: “Go in this thy might, and thou shalt save…” [6:14].

§         %l - “go” [6:14], qal imperative, ‘travel’; ‘start your journey’;

§         ^x]koB - “thy might” [6:14], ‘strength’; ‘power’; ‘ability’; “your might” [6:14].

§         A reference to the power with which God will invest him: “the Spirit of the Lord came upon Gideon…” [6:34].

i.              Specific Call

Gideon’s specific call: “save Israel from the hand of the Midianites” [6:14].

§        The commissioning formula: “surely I have sent you” [6:14].

Application.

3.        Response to the Call

Gideon had two major concerns as he responds to God’s call:

a.        Problem of Discouragement 

First, there was the problem of discouragement: “O my Lord, if the Lord be with us, why…” [6:13].

§         Gideon believed thoroughly in God’s power in the past: “where are all the miracles which our fathers told us of…” [6:13].

§         But where was God now: “if the Lord be with us, why then is all this befallen us?” [6:13].

§         In essence God is blamed for the present crisis:  “but now the Lord has forsaken us [6:13], and “the Lord has delivered us into the hand of the Midianites” [6:13].

b.        Problem of Adequacy

Secondly, there was the problem of adequacy: “O my Lord, wherewith shall I save Israel…” [6:15].

§         yn"doa] yB - “O my Lord” [6:15], literally ‘Excuse me, my Lord’;

§         hM'B - “wherewith” [6:15], ‘in what’;

i.              His Clan

Gideon claims: “my family is poor in Manasseh…” [6:15].

§         lD;h - “poor” [6:15], ‘to be thin or weak’; cognate to the verb ‘to be low’; ‘lowest’;

ii.            Himself

Gideon claims: “I am the least in my father’s house…” [6:15].

§         ry[iC'h - “least” [6:15], ‘little’; ‘insignificant’; ‘young’;

Gideon cannot imagine beyond his own human resources or lack of them.

c.        Lord’s Reassurance  

Gideon is reassured: “surely I will be with thee, and you shall smite…” [6:16].

§         hy<h.a - “surely” [6:16], qal imperfect, ‘to be’; ‘to exist’;

§         t'yKih - “smite” [6:16], second person singular, ‘to strike or kill’;

§         The powerful presence of God: “surely I will be with you…” [6:16].

Application.

As long as the people responded to the defeat with doubt they would remain in chains.

4.        Confirmation

Gideon asks for the authenticating sign: “if now I have found grace in thy sight, then show me a sign…” [6:17].

§         tAa - “sign” [6:17], ‘a token, mark or proof’; ‘means of transmitting information’;

§         rBed;m - “talk” [6:17], piel participle, ‘to speak’; ‘to command’; ‘to promise’;

§         The “sign” serves as a confirmation or authentication of the divine word: “And it shall come to pass, if they will not believe thee, neither hearken to the voice of the first sign, that they will believe the voice of the latter sign” [Exo.4:8].

a.        Preparation.

Gideon prepares an offering: “made ready a kid, and unleavened cakes of flour…” [6:19].

§         ytix'n>m - “present” [6:18], ‘offering’; ‘sacrifice’;

§         vG:Y:w - “presented” [6:19], ‘to draw near’; ‘to approach’;

i.              Offering Accepted

The result: “there rose out fire from the rock and consumed the flesh…” [6:21].

§         lk;aT - “consumed” [6:21], ‘to eat’; ‘to devour’;

§         Significance: when a deity consumes a meal a worshipper brought, this is a sign the latter has found favour in the deity’s sight’.

§         This is the confirmation: “then show me a sign…” [6:17].

b.        Misinterpretation

Gideon misunderstood the sign: “Alas, O Lord God! For I have seen an angel of the Lord face to face” [6:22].

§         Gideon recognises that: “no man shall see the Lord face to face and live…” [Exo.33:20].

§         Gideon fears for his life: “Alas, O Lord God…” [6:22].

§         Yahweh reassures him with three weighty declarations: “Peace be unto you; fear not; thou shalt not die…” [6:23].

§         Gideon accepts the intended meaning and marks the place of encounter with God: “built an altar there…called it Jehovah-shalom…” [6:24].

Application.

Gideon’s encounter with God is a mark of acceptance with God.

  1. KNOWING THE WILL OF GOD [6:36-40]

1.        The Reality

The reader is once more brought back to the reality of the situation: “then all the Midianites and the Amalekites…were gathered together…” [6:33].

a.        Gideon

Gideon was prepared for the battle: “the Spirit of the Lord came upon Gideon…” [6:34].

§         hv'b.l - “upon him” [6:34], ‘to dress’; ‘to be clothed’;

b.        People

Gideon calls the people to arms: “he blew the trumpet…” [6:34].

§         Willingness: “they came up to him” [6:34-35].

Application.

Gideon is empowered by God and surrounded by a vast army.

2.        The (Lack of) Faith  

One of the most important areas in the life of the believer is knowing God’s will and doing God’s will.

a.        God’s Will

The key to understanding this message is in the words: “as thou hast said” [6:36, 37].

§         T'r>B;D - “said” [6:36], piel perfect, ‘to speak’; ‘to command’; ‘to promise’;

§         rBed;m - “talk” [6:17], piel participle, ‘to speak’; ‘to command’; ‘to promise’;

i.              Knowledge

The divine will is perfectly clear in his mind: “the Lord said, Surely I will be with thee…” [6:16].

§         God is the guide: “I will instruct you and teach you in the way that you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you” [Psa.32:8].

§         God’s Word provides the knowledge: “all scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” [2Tim.3:16].

Faith is obedience: “my sheep hear my voice, and I know them and they follow me” [Joh.10].

b.        Hesitation/ Unbelief

Gideon has second thoughts: “if you will save Israel by my hand…” [6:36].

§         ~a - “if” [6:36], ‘whether’; ‘contains strong element of uncertainty and doubt’;

§         hS,n:a - “prove” [6:39], ‘to test’; ‘to put to the proof’;

§         This places Gideon’s action in the same category as that of Israel testing Yahweh at Rephidim: “Wherefore the people did chide with Moses, and said, Give us water that we may drink. And Moses said unto them, Why chide ye with me? Wherefore do ye tempt the LORD?” [Exo.17:2].

§         Gideon is trying to manipulate God: “let me prove, I pray thee, but this once…” [6:39].

i.              Danger

Gideon is aware that he is entering the area of danger: “let not thine anger be hot against me…” [6:39].

§         rx;y – “be hot” [6:39]; Yahweh’s response to Israel’s rebellion: “the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel” [2:14].

c.        The Test

Gideon’s test: “I will put a fleece of wool on the floor…” [6:37].

§         tZ:G - “fleece” [6:37], ‘to shear a sheep’;

§         The first time: “wringed the dew out of the fleece, a bowl full of water” [6:38].

§         The second time: “it was dry on the fleece only…” [6:40].

Application.

Gideon uses every means available to him to try and get out of the mission to which he has been called.

§         It is a way of saying ‘I am not sure that I really believe you’; ‘I know what you have said, but…’;

§         Gideon did not say: ‘Let me hear what your will is again so that it will be clear to me’; this would be more acceptable as Gideon has no written revelation at this time.

§         Fleece-setting is dictating to God; it is a request to alter the course of nature.  

§         Fleece-setting does not really solve the problem: “I will speak this once…” [6:39]; “early on the morrow…” [6:39].

§         Example – fundraising target of £100,000; if achieved we know it is God’s will; is £90,000 received and we say it cannot be God’s will where did the money come from? Satan?

§         Example – I ask God to do something for me by 10.00pm. The phone rings at 10.05; is that God or Satan? It rings at 9.59; was that Satan trying to trick me?

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