About Jesus Steve Sweetman
(ch. 6:1 - 40)
6 is roughly about 200 years after the first judge that we saw in the
book of Judges.
cycle of sin, God's judgment, repentance, and then sin again, carries on
here in verse 1. We need to
see that God handed Israel
over to her enemy. This
handing over is God's judgment. As
I have said before, if you read Romans 1, Paul teaches on this very
subject. If an individual or
a nation wants to continue in sin bad enough, God will hand them over to
that sin That is to say, He
will step back from the individual's or nation's life and let them sin.
That sin gets worse and the individual or the nation gets
consumed by the sin. They actually become what God views as His enemy.
This is what Israel
did time and time again. Instead
of killing their enemy off, Israel
became what their enemy was.
example that Paul gives of this in Romans 1 is homosexuality.
Men and women wanted the gay lifestyle, so God handed them over
the that lifestyle. God just
stepped back and let men and woman practice this lifestyle until it
became predominant in the society. The
predominance of the gay lifestyle is then actually God's judgment.
I know this is far from politically or socially, or even
religiously, correct these days, but that is what the Bible says.
I believe that God has handed the western world over to
homosexuality and that is the reason why the gay lifestyle has become
what it is. It is actually God's judgment.
enemy of Israel
here in chapter 6 was Midian. You
will remember Midian from the days of Moses.
It was where he escaped to and found his wife there.
He lives in Midian for 40 years.
Midianites came through the lineage of Abraham's wife, or really,
concubine, name Keturah. This might tell you that even though men like
Abraham had concubines, it wasn't necessarily the will of God.
In this instance the children descended through Keturah became
see in verses 2 through 6 how fierce the Midianites were.
They were tribal herdsman who were always on the move.
They weren't interested in acquiring land, just food.
This put fear into the hearts of the Israelis.
Note the word "impoverished" in verse 6.
This shows us how devastating the Midianites were when it came to
Israel. This is what God's
judgment can do. It can
impoverish an individual or a nation.
I believe that the western nations today might be on the road to
impoverishment. All of our
economies are not in good shape, and I do believe we are in the
beginning stages of God's judgment.
see in verse 7 that
verses 11 and 12 we see the call of God on the life of Gideon.
I believe that he was the prophet spoken of in the last few
the phrase "angel of the Lord'.
Most scholars understand this term to be pre-incarnate Jesus. The
angel of the Lord told Gideon that He is with
13 is Gideon's response to the Lord.
He said, "If the Lord is with us, why has this happened to
us"? This is a natural
question, because if the Lord was with
verse 14 the Lord answers Gideon's response, but He didn't answer
Gideon's exact statement. We
know why all the bad things were happening to
responds back to God in verse 15. He
is basically saying that he and his tribe aren't anything special.
He and his tribe is weak. This
is often who the Lord calls. He
often calls those who are weak and foolish, as the apostle Paul often
says, in order for the glory of God to be seen in a weak vessel and not
the strength of one who is a strong vessel.
the words "the Lord" in verse 14.
"The Lord " here refers to the angel of the Lord as
seen in verse 11.
In this case, "the angel of the Lord" is
"Yahweh" Himself. Is
then the "angel of the Lord" pre-incarnate Jesus in this
"Yahweh" Himself pre-incarnate Jesus here?
Is Jesus Yahweh incarnate? I
do believe in the Trinity, so to speak, but I also believe that God is
beyond fitting into a precise theological human structure.
I also know that Jesus was God, or Yahweh, in human flesh.
I also believe that the present day existence of Jesus, that does
differ from His existence while on earth, is Yahweh is a glorified body,
as it is often called. I
think I can safely say, "as Yahweh was in Old Testament times, so
Jesus is in New Testament times".
The name "Yahweh" is always associated with the Old
Covenant. Jesus is
associated with the New Covenant.
16 tells us how a weak vessel like Gideon can actually defeat Midian.
The Lord will be with Gideon, and as history shows us, when the
Lord is with Israel, they defeat their enemies. When
the Lord steps back from Israel, they are defeated by their enemies.
verse 17 through 19 Gideon wanted to make sure who he was talking to was
really the Lord. So Gideon
asked the Lord to stay, and the Lord said that He would stay.
So Gideon made a large meal out of a whole goat and about a half
bushel large loaf of bread. He
expect that the Lord would eat this meal.
idea of a meal like this was cultural for his day, both in Judaism and
in the Canaanite religions. In
order to gain favour of the gods, people would offer a meal to the gods.
This meal obviously was never eaten by the gods.
verse 22 and 23 Gideon put the meal on a rock because of a request by
the angel of the Lord. The
angel of the Lord then touched the meal with His staff and it exploded
into fire and the angel of the Lord suddenly disappeared.
At this, Gideon knew for sure that this was no human.
It was the Lord.
says, "ah, Sovereign Lord. I
have seen the angel of the Lord".
In Hebrew this is "I have seen Adonai Yahweh", I have
seen "the master, who is Yahweh".
This appearance thus appears to be Yahweh Himself in some human
likeness. Again, many
scholars would claim this to be pre-incarnate Jesus, yet some suggest
that in this case, the angel of the Lord is not pre-incarnate Jesus but
an incarnation of Yahweh. That
being said, I tend to see Jesus Himself as He lived on this earth, as an
incarnation of Yahweh.
who has seen Yahweh incarnate into a human likeness as did Gideon would
surely be convinced of His existence and that he has actually met the
Almighty. This should be the
same with any of us who have given our lives to Jesus.
In a spiritual reality sense, we have seen the Lord.
verse 23, after the angel of the Lord disappears, He still speaks to
Gideon. The visible sense of
Yahweh may have disappeared but Yahweh Himself hasn't disappeared.
Gideon obviously felt that he might die because He saw Yahweh,
but Yahweh assures him that he will not die.
verse 24 Gideon does what most people would do in that culture after
such an experience. He built
an altar to the Lord. This
altar was to be a memorial to this event.
This reminds me of something similar found in the New Testament.
Jesus took Peter, James, and John to a mountain and He was
transfigured, that is, transformed into some kind of angelic type being,
along with Moses and Elijah. This
was a powerful experience for these men as well.
Peter responded by saying that he would build three memorials,
one for Jesus, one for Moses, and one for Elijah, just as Gideon did
here. Peter, James, and
John, were just doing, or wanted to do, that which was culturally
acceptable in their day. That
being said, Jesus was now introducing a new culture and those memorials
were never built.
verses 25 and 26 Yahweh speaks to Gideon again.
He tells Gideon to cut down the altar to Baal and the Asherah
pole that was beside it. Baal
is the male fertility god while Asherah is his counterpart, the female
fertility god. The wood from
the pole, as well as an adult (NIV says second) bull would be burned on
the altar to God.
important thing to understand here is that Yahweh shares nothing with
other gods. Gideon could not
erect an altar to Yahweh that would be right beside the altar to Ball
and the Asherah pole. The
pagan gods must go. Again,
what is happening among certain Evangelicals today in 2012 is blasphemy.
They are attempt[ting to unite Christianity with paganism, and
the Lord hates such an attempt.
obeys the Lord but he does so at night for fear of his family and those
in town. We see the weakness
of Gideon here, even after seeing Yahweh in human flesh and speaking
with him. He is like Moses
and many other people who God calls.
He is weak, and that might be why God called him in the first
place. It appears to be a
principle of God. He takes
the weak things to confound the wise and mighty, as Paul says in 1
Corinthians 1 and 2.
that Gideon had ten servants. Gideon
was not a poor man in a poor family if he had ten servants, and, along
with these servants would be families to support.
verses 28 to 30 we see that when morning came, everyone saw that the
altar to Baal and the Asherah pole had been totally destroyed.
After investigating the matter, they knew that Gideon had done
this. They wanted his father
Joash to bring Gideon to them so they could kill him.
You can certainly see how important these idols were to the
people of this town. They
were willing to kill one of their brothers because of this.
would suggest that today, when God chooses men or women to expose
similar sins in the church, there will be much opposition to him.
It's my thinking that we do not realize, like
verse 30 the men of the town wanted Gideon killed for breaking down the
altar of Baal. Again, even
in the Evangelical world, we have our altars that need to be broken
down, but when one attempts to break them down he is looked on in a
negative light. The
prophetic message is seldom taken seriously.
verses 31 and 32 Gideon's father refused to bring Gideon out to the
hostile crowd. He basically
said that if Baal was a real god, then Baal could deal with Gideon
however he wanted. Baal
could destroy Gideon if he were a real god.
Joash was putting Baal and his followers to the test.
He was standing up to the hostile crowd, something Christians
today should not be afraid of . If
we trust in the Lord, we should stand up for Him and defend Him, no
matter the cost, and there will be a cost.
another name for Gideon in verse 32.
Jerub-Baal means "Baal fighter".
It's clear why Gideon got to be called Jerub-Baal.
in verses 33 to 35 the Spirit of the Lord comes on Gideon, and what does
he do? He calls his people
to battle. We see the same
thing take place as we've seen all along.
When the Lord raises up a judge, He puts His Spirit on him in
order to lead the people into battle.
The people of God should always be ready to fight the battle, not
alone, but with the Spirit of God. Things
have not changed for the Christian in New Testament times.
There are battles to be fought. We know, as the New Testament
teaches, the real battle for us is in the spirit world.
That is why we need the Holy Spirit.
here that the Spirit of the Lord came on Gideon. There is a difference
between the Spirit of the Lord coming on someone, and the Spirit of the
Lord living within someone. Since
Acts 2, the Spirit of the Lord comes to live within the believer.
Even then, the Spirit of the Lord can still come upon the
believer, even though He is also in the believer.
When the Spirit of the Lord comes on the believer, something
dramatic normally happens. Other
terms for the Spirit of the Lord coming on the believer are, being
filled with the Spirit or having the Spirit poured out on the believer.
There is more to the Holy Spirit than one body can contain.
That is why He can be in us and still come upon us.
felt that He needed proof that the Lord would be with him in battle.
Apparently the Spirit of the Lord coming on him wasn't enough.
Gideon battled with doubt. So
one night he put a wool fleece out on the ground.
He requested of the Lord that the fleece be wet with due and the
ground be dry. The Lord
honoured his request. Then
the next night, he asked the Lord with the hopes He would not be angry
that the opposite would happen. The
next morning God granted his request.
The fleece was dry and the ground was wet.
This proved to Gideon that the Lord would be with him.
growing up in the Evangelical church as a child I often heard people
"putting out a fleece", so to speak.
It wasn't a literal fleece like Gideon's fleece.
It was some other type of situation that the people would use to
prove what the will of the Lord was.
For example. It this
happens then something is God's will.
If this doesn't happen, then this is not God's will.
I personally don't believe that fleeces are a New Testament
practice. What you see in
the New Testament is that God, through His Spirit speaks in one way or
another His will to us. If
we have to use a fleece, that tells me we are not hearing from the Lord
well. I'm not saying that a
fleece won't work in New Testament times.
I'm simply saying that is not the way New Testament people of God
should determine the will of God.