Life of Gideon Bible Study Notes Verse by Verse
Gideon – Portrait of a Valiant Warrior
A Surprising Greeting
Text: Judges 6:11-7:25
11 Then the angel of the LORD came and sat under the oak that was in Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite as his son Gideon was beating out wheat in the wine press in order to save it from the Midianites.
12 The angel of the LORD appeared to him and said to him, “The LORD is with you, O valiant warrior.”
· Who is the angel of the Lord that appears to Gideon? He appears 16 times in the Old Testament and perhaps once on the New Testament. Sometimes, He identifies Himself, sometimes others identify him and sometimes Scripture refers to Him only as “The Angel of the Lord”
· Here are several instances in which He is clearly identified.
|Abraham when he was sacrificing Isaac||Ge 22:15-16
15 Then the angel of the LORD called to Abraham a second time from heaven,
16 and said, ” By Myself I have sworn, declares the LORD, because you have done this thing and have not withheld your son, your only son,
|Moses and the burning bush||Ex 3:2 The angel of the LORD appeared to him in a blazing fire from the midst of a bush; and he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, yet the bush was not consumed.
Ex 3:6 He said also, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” Then Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.
|Speaking to the nation of Israel||Jdg 2:1
1 Now the angel of the LORD came up from Gilgal to Bochim. And he said, “I brought you up out of Egypt and led you into the land which I have sworn to your fathers; and I said, ‘ I will never break My covenant with you,
|Here he speaks to Gideon||14 The LORD looked at him and said, “Go in this your strength and deliver Israel from the hand of Midian. Have I not sent you?”|
These examples clearly reveal the identity of the Angel of the Lord. It is the Lord Himself. Though some commentators believe it is the Father appearing in human form, most concur that the appearances are of the pre-incarnate Lord Jesus. These appearances are called Christophanies
· Note two positive aspects of this greeting
1. First is the assurance that the Lord is with him.
a. Gideon will be asked to do some difficult assignments, but he will not be alone. The Lord promises His presence with him. Thus, success and victory in the assignments are assured.
b. Though Gideon tends to be fearful, this first communication from the Lord provides a solid foundation for faith and courage to handle his assignments
2. Given the context, to greet Gideon as a “valiant warrior” was a quite amazing greeting The Lord saw Gideon’s potential. When the Angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he was threshing wheat – not a routine activity for a valiant warrior, he was probably a farmer. Not only that, but look where he was doing it – in a wine press! Gideon was so afraid of the Midianites that he would not even thresh his wheat openly, but threshed it while hiding in the wine press in order to try to save it from their raids. To greet Gideon as a ”valiant warrior” shows that the Lord sees the best in people. He saw Gideon’s potential beyond the fear he was now demonstrating.
· Thankfully, this is also how the Lord views us. He looks beyond our sin and weakness to see what He will do with our life if we will yield it fully to Him.
· Unfortunately, I often look at people critically and see the worst rather than the best. There’s a valuable lesson in this for me and any of us who tend to view others negatively. Look for the positive; build people up rather than tearing them down. This will result in much better relationships as well as motivate others to live up to their potential rather than down to their weaknesses.
· A good verse on this principle is
1 Th 5:11 Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing.
13 Then Gideon said to him, “O my lord, if the LORD is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all His miracles which our fathers told us about, saying, ‘Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt?’ But now the LORD has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian.”
The Command (or the Commission) to deliver Israel by defeating Midian
14 The LORD looked at him and said, “Go in this your strength and deliver Israel from the hand of Midian. Have I not sent you?”
· This is quite a command for a timid farm boy who is hiding in a wine press, but God doesn’t make mistakes and as we’ll see Gideon is the right man for the job.
15 He said to Him, “O Lord, how shall I deliver Israel? Behold, my family is the least in Manasseh, and I am the youngest in my father’s house.”
Gideon is naturally skeptical. He, like many of us, didn’t think he had much potential. Gideon communicates his lack of qualifications. His family wasn’t important and he was the youngest of all his family. The Lord has must have made a mistake! Surely there were many others with far superior qualifications. What could he possibly do against the vast Midianite army. His response is similar to Moses when God calls him to lead the children of Israel out of Egypt.
· Ex 3:11
11 But Moses said to God, “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the sons of Israel out of Egypt?”
· After God answers all of Moses’ objections, and Moses has no objections left, he says
· Ex 4:13
13 But Moses said, “O Lord, please send someone else to do it.”
You know the story, Moses went and was used by God for one of the greatest deliverances and military victories of all time. Well Gideon will also respond to God’s call, but look at how graciously the Lord reassures Gideon.
16 But the LORD said to him, “Surely I will be with you, and you shall defeat Midian as one man.”
· The Lord gives him two wonderful promises
1. He would be with him
2. Gideon would defeat Midian
· God also promises to be with us and give us victory in all of life’s battles.
Gideon Requests a Sign
17 So Gideon said to Him, “If now I have found favor in Your sight, then show me a sign that it is You who speak with me.
· Is his request for a sign good or bad?
It wasn’t that Gideon was unwilling. And he wasn’t questioning the Lord’s ability to deliver. He was just wanting to be certain that it indeed was the Lord speaking to him. It would be foolhardy for Gideon to go up against the entire Midianite army with a small force unless it was positively the Lord that promised the victory. Visitations from the Lord were rare in those days. Gideon wanted to be sure it was the real thing.
· How about us today? Should we ask the Lord for a sign? The short answer is “NO”. Today, God reveals His will clearly to us in His word. Additionally, His Spirit indwells us whom Jesus promised would guide us into all truth. We should never seek out extra biblical signs or ask God for supernatural signs today.
18 “Please do not depart from here, until I come back to You, and bring out my offering and lay it before You.” And He said, “I will remain until you return.”
19 Then Gideon went in and prepared a young goat and unleavened bread from an ephah of flour; he put the meat in a basket and the broth in a pot, and brought them out to him under the oak and presented them.
God Gives Him a Sign
20 The angel of God said to him, “Take the meat and the unleavened bread and lay them on this rock, and pour out the broth.” And he did so.
21 Then the angel of the LORD put out the end of the staff that was in his hand and touched the meat and the unleavened bread; and fire sprang up from the rock and consumed the meat and the unleavened bread. Then the angel of the LORD vanished from his sight.
· Sign delivered! Thank you Lord, I’m convinced that it was you.
Gideon builds an altar there to the Lord
22 When Gideon saw that he was the angel of the LORD, he said, “Alas, O Lord GOD! For now I have seen the angel of the LORD face to face.”
· Gideon knew that God was so holy and His presence so awesome that sinful man could not see Him and live.
· Ex 33:20
20 But He said, “You cannot see My face, for no man can see Me and live!”
· When God caused His glory to pass by Moses, He shielded Moses to protect Him from being consumed. Then He allowed Moses to view only His back side.
· Gideon was understandably fearful since he had seen the Lord, but the Lord reassures him.
23 The LORD said to him, “Peace to you, do not fear; you shall not die.”
· God had veiled His glory in some way so that Gideon would not die.
24 Then Gideon built an altar there to the LORD and named it The LORD is Peace. To this day it is still in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.
Command to Pull Down the Altar of Baal
25 Now on the same night the LORD said to him, “Take your father’s bull and a second bull seven years old, and pull down the altar of Baal which belongs to your father, and cut down the Asherah that is beside it;
26 and build an altar to the LORD your God on the top of this stronghold in an orderly manner, and take a second bull and offer a burnt offering with the wood of the Asherah which you shall cut down.”
· You might say the Lord was providing a small warm-up opportunity for Gideon. Successfully tearing down the family altar would encourage him and increase his faith for the more significant task of defeating the Midianites.
The Altar of Baal Destroyed
27 Then Gideon took ten men of his servants and did as the LORD had spoken to him; and because he was too afraid of his father’s household and the men of the city to do it by day, he did it by night.
· In spite of Gideon’s fear, he was careful to obey the Lord. So what if he did it by night. The fact is is that he did tear the altar down. Gideon found a way to be obedient..
· There are also issues in our lives that are difficult for us. The solution is not to avoid those issues or be disobedient. We need to be so committed to obedience that we’ll find a way to obey
33 Then all the Midianites and the Amalekites and the sons of the east assembled themselves; and they crossed over and camped in the valley of Jezreel.
34 So the Spirit of the LORD came upon Gideon ; and he blew a trumpet, and the Abiezrites were called together to follow him.
35 He sent messengers throughout Manasseh, and they also were called together to follow him; and he sent messengers to Asher, Zebulun, and Naphtali, and they came up to meet them.
Sign of the Fleece
36 Then Gideon said to God, “If You will deliver Israel through me, as You have spoken,
37 behold, I will put a fleece of wool on the threshing floor. If there is dew on the fleece only, and it is dry on all the ground, then I will know that You will deliver Israel through me, as You have spoken.”
38 And it was so. When he arose early the next morning and squeezed the fleece, he drained the dew from the fleece, a bowl full of water.
· God clearly answered Gideon’s prayer. But this wasn’t enough for Gideon. He wanted incontrovertible proof! So Gideon requests that the results be reversed to eliminate the possibility of the first result having been simply a natural, normal dew pattern that would have happened with or without his prayer.
39 Then Gideon said to God, ” Do not let Your anger burn against me that I may speak once more; please let me make a test once more with the fleece, let it now be dry only on the fleece, and let there be dew on all the ground.”
· Gideon knew it was God. He knew God had answered his prayer, but he also knew the Midianite army was enormous and he knew that his own faith was small. This is evidenced by the fact that he asks God not to be angry with him for requesting one last test.
· Now if I’m God, I am starting to get a little irritated. “Look Gideon. We’re wasting time here. I’ve already shown you one time that I’m God. That’s enough! I’m ready to go ahead and destroy those Midianites. Now are you with Me or not?”
· Thankfully, God isn’t like me.
40 God did so that night; for it was dry only on the fleece, and dew was on all the ground.
· God was very patient with Gideon and also answered Gideon’s second request for a sign.