Updated: 2/12/2018 | Photo Cred: (1)
Before we starts this week’s study, let’s recap real quick with caveman talk. God told Israel stop doing the bad stuff. Israel does the bad stuff. God face-palms. Israel cries for assistance and forgiveness. God saves Israel’s skin and starts His plan to pummel the noobs that are hurting His nation.
So now that we’re all caught up, let’s get to today’s text! Picking up in verse 19, we find Gideon preparing his offering for the LORD who has stayed where He promised He would remain in the oak tree. Before we go any further let’s take a look at our text for this study:
“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. 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. 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. 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.” The LORD said to him, “Peace to you, do not fear; you shall not die.” 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 (NASB Judges 6:19-24).”
It’s hard not to admire Gideon’s insistence on worshiping God through his offering to God. It’s such an admirable approach to the calling of God. Basically what Gideon was saying through this display of worship was “LORD, thank You for all that You desire to do in my life. Use me as You wish and I will serve You according to Your will. With that, here’s my gratitude from me to You.” It’s honestly beautiful how Gideon responds to this call of God.
As far as great starts go, this is one of the best in the Bible. Remember, this was voluntary on Gideon’s part to sacrifice to God and bring this offering before Him, so that God could reveal to Him that He is the great I Am with a sign (v17). God didn’t ask for this affection, it was given to Him and that just speaks for itself.
Do you answer God’s calling in your life for great and mighty things first with an offering of worship? If not, you’re not alone. Often times I too forget the essential aspect of worship in my life and how critical it is to do so out of love for God, before doing anything else. This little passage is humbling and encouraging because it’s a great reminder to us all to act towards God with a heart of worship.
With all of this in mind, Gideon presents his offering and like God told him, He reveals through a sign that He is indeed the great I Am of old. The angel of the LORD does so in a peculiar, yet powerful manner: He places His staff on the rock where the offering was poured out and immediately the rock bursts with flames that utterly consume the offering. Then to top it all off Jesus, who is also known as the angel of the LORD, vanishes. Just simply leaves. Without another utterance or anything.
I’ve always loved how God shows who He is throughout Scripture and in life. It’s always mesmerizing and awesome. With Job, He gave Him the teleological talk of the century by showing all that He designed and created. With us, the second person of the Tri-Unity of God (Jesus), took on a second human nature in order to show us the true Messiah. This is known as the Hypostatic Union and is explained in further detail here. Anyways, it’s always these amazing acts of power that God reveals who He is to us and I always love hearing about the moments when the Creator reaches down to interact with His beloved Creation.
Back to the text, Gideon’s next response to seeing the angel of the LORD and what he does about seeing God is also of note. Once the angel of the LORD leaves, Gideon exclaims joyously how he has laid eyes on the LORD (v22). A powerful moment indeed.
When the angel of the LORD leaves and after Gideon verbally responds to this sweet encounter with the angel of the LORD, the LORD then responds verbally with “Peace to you, do not fear; you shall not die.” For one, God always says “do not fear” to those who encounter Him because He is truly worth fearing. The fear of the LORD is a genuine fear and the most genuine fear.
Psalm 111:10, Proverbs 1:7, and Hebrews 12:28-29 help define this concept for those who are saved. Put simply, for the unbeliever the fear of the LORD is fear of God’s impending judgment for their unrepentant sin. For the believer, it is an awe or reverence of how great God is and all that He has done for us.
So Gideon has this fear of the LORD and his reaction to God’s call to action is to erect for Him an altar, which we can see in verse 24. Gideon then calls this altar “The LORD is Peace” and at the time of the writing of this book, it was still there in Ophrah of the Abiezrites. Which for those who do not know your Middle Eastern geography, this is succinctly explained by bibleatlas.org:
“A city in the tribal lot of Manasseh West of Jordan. It is mentioned only in connection with Gideon, whose native place it was, and with his son Abimelech (Judges 6:11, etc.). It was, indeed, family property, belonging to Joash the Abiezrite, the father of Gideon.”
In other words, this was Gideon’s hood. He lived in this area when God met with him in Judges Chapter six and this is where he built the altar to the LORD. One of the ways that the Bible is different from the rest of religious writings is the specificity in how detailed it is compared to other writings that are always rewritten to match new archaeological findings or no findings at all (here’s looking at you Book of Mormon).
The Bible is the most historically accurate religious text. There is no other book that can compare to the gravity of truth found within the covers of God’s precious Word. It is such a blessing to be able to read and study it.
Well, we went over a lot today! Next week we will discuss what happens after nightfall when God gives Gideon further instruction on what to do next in His plan of redemption for the Hebrews. With that, Godspeed and Jesus bless!