We commonly say that a burnt child dreads the fire, but Israel, after smarting again and again as the result of her sin, returned to it the moment the chastisement was removed, or the judge was dead. Such is the strange infatuation of men:
This nation was but a puny enemy, and yet it was too much for sinful Israel. The tribes had formerly reduced the Midianites to a very low condition, and now they are themselves unable to stand before them. See how sin weakens men.
These wandering plunderers were hard to grapple with, and must have been a dreadful scourge. It is to such marauders that much of the present deserted condition of Palestine is due.
The sending of faithful ministers to a people is a token for good from the Lord, even though their testimony should be rather a rebuke than a consolation;
Faithful are the wounds of a friend. God had just cause to complain, and in unveiling Israel’s great sin, the Lord’s servant was going the surest way to build up peace upon a permanent foundation.
He found Gideon retired, employed, and distressed; three suitable conditions to warrant a celestial interposition. He had very little wheat, for he had no oxen to thresh it; and he was in great fear of the enemy, and therefore threshed not on the barn floor, but in the winepress; yet in his poverty he received rich grace. God is no respecter of persons.
These were commonsense questions, and proved that the enquirer had well considered the matter.
It is clear that the angel was the Lord himself. From such lips what power there is in that question, “Have not I sent thee?” And what inspiration followed his glance, when “the Lord looked upon Gideon.”
God called Gideon mighty, and made him so, he sent him and went with him, he taught him faith and then honoured his faith. In what manner will the Lord glorify himself in each of us?
Peace be unto thee, fear not.”
To one person a sign is denied, and to another it is granted. Herein is manifest not only the sovereignty of God, but also his wisdom in dealing with different men in different manners. Gideon had many signs, yet he was not rebuked for needing them.
What Gideon meant for a feast was turned into a sacrifice. This was a small matter, so long as the Lord did but accept him.
Here was both a token of divine presence and an intimation of what God could do. He could bring fiery courage out of Gideons heart, as well as fire out of a rock, and he could consume Midian as readily as he burned up the cakes.
or “the Lord my peace,” in allusion to the Lord’s having said, “Peace be unto thee.”
He was at once to set about cleansing his own house. Those who would serve God abroad should begin at home. He was not commanded to dedicate Baal’s grove-temple to God, but to fell it; nor was he ordered to sacrifice to God upon the idol’s altar, but to throw it down: Reformations cannot be too thorough. Unless we down with their nests the foul birds will come back. Gideon had a grand commission which every true believer might rejoice to receive.
If we cannot do our duty exactly as we would, we must do it as we can, but anyhow it should be done. Gideon did a glorious night’s work.
Those who themselves deserved to die for idolatry were in a vast hurry to judge and condemn the son of Joash. Frequently those who themselves are most guilty are loudest in accusing others.
His argument was—if Baal be indeed a god he can take care of himself, and if he be not a god, then those who plead for him deserve to die for setting up false deities.
Therefore on that day he called him Jerubbaal or one with whom Baal may plead