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Judges 6. Gideon, part 12: The Lord turns Gideon's gift into an offering, showing Israel that they may return to Him.

JUDGES-6-170309
length: 66:56 - taught on Mar, 9 2017
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Title: Judges 6. Gideon, part 12: The Lord turns Gideon's gift into an offering, showing Israel that they may return to Him.        

 

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JDG 6:14 And 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?"

 

JDG 6:15 And 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."

 

JDG 6:16 But the Lord said to him, "Surely I will be with you, and you shall defeat Midian as one man."

 

JDG 6:17 So Gideon said to Him, "If now I have found favor in Thy sight, then show me a sign that it is Thou who speakest with me.

 

JDG 6:18 Please do not depart from here, until I come back to Thee, and bring out my offering and lay it before Thee." And He said, "I will remain until you return."

 

The Lord has said, "I have sent you and I will be with you, so now go in your strength and defeat Midian as one defeats one man with one blow." These words could only come from God and Gideon has become fairly convinced that this is God, but he's not convinced enough. His faith is tottering on a razor's edge and so he asks for a sign to confirm that this man is the Lord.

 

Minchah: not a sacrifice, but a gift given as an expression of respect and thanksgiving. Presented to God, Gideon hoped that upon its acceptance God would give a sign.

 

This is more than a gift of food. It is a sacrificial gift. The food chosen reaffirms this as such food was set before a guest of honor.

 

Its preparation would require at least a couple of hours, even with his servants, and so Gideon begs the man he suspects of being God to wait, and the grace and mercy of God does so.

 

It is God's will that we believe His word and His way; sooner rather than later, but in mercy He is patient and He waits for our faith to mature.

 

He doesn't chastise Gideon for his weak faith. He waits for Him. The One who is running the universe and actively fighting the war of all wars waits patiently for Gideon as He waits for us.

 

Gideon does show great respect and  honor to his guest by setting in order a large and resplendent dinner. Contrast this with the Pharisees who demanded a miracle.

 

The amount of food he prepares for one person shows that he greatly honors his guest, especially at this time when food was so scarce. He is not like the Pharisees who demanded a sign from Jesus while at the same time dishonoring Him. Yet even with the dishonoring Pharisees, Jesus presented Himself to them many times. In His final approach to Jerusalem, He wept over the city that rejected Him and still presented Himself to them over several days.

 

Plus, Gideon would not have been sure of his own relationship to the Lord and so he requested a sign in order to know that the Lord was really with him.

 

I personally identify with such a desire. The realization that this was the Angel of the Lord would have opened up so many questions in Gideon's mind. Israel was under severe oppression. The prophet made it abundantly clear that Israel had not obeyed the Lord and Gideon is also very aware of his own sin against the Lord. I would think that Gideon came to understand that he could not serve the Lord in this capacity and still be fearful. He could not continue in the idol worship of his house. He could not continue in the lifestyle of one who rejects the ways of the Lord. But that way is all he has ever known.

 

We can't serve the Lord in His calling while living carnally. Will I continue to live carnally and so be unable to fulfill His call?

 

I'm sure every Christian has entertained that question. It must be that we receive the call of God, at least an indication of it, before we're fully ready to accomplish it. I don't see that Moses was fully ready. Gideon certainly isn't. Paul wasn't either. In each of these cases it was their first shaky steps of faith that increased their faith, understanding, and maturity that got them ready to fulfill the calling.

 

Though the Lord has made it clear that He is with Gideon, Gideon has guilt and fear to deal with. He asks for a sign in order to assuage his own guilt.

 

Of course, a sign has the added benefit of confirming the Lord's presence with Gideon in this venture.

 

Gideon's confidence is a long time in coming. I think we can all identify to some extent.

 

JDG 6:19 Then Gideon went in and prepared a kid and unleavened bread from an ephah of flour [about 6 gallons]; 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.

 

Gideon prepares about 40 pounds of food for the Lord. Remember that food is scarce at this time due to the plundering of the Midianites, and so this is quite a sacrifice for Gideon's family.

 

JDG 6:20 And 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.

 

The broth is likely a libation offering, and like Elijah's sacrifice on Mt. Carmel, the added moisture made the instant combustion even more clearly miraculous.

 

JDG 6:21 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.

 

When the Lord appeared to Abraham at Hebron with two angel companions, Abraham did the same as Gideon, but in that case, the Lord and the angels ate the thanksgiving meal.

 

GEN 18:6 So Abraham hurried into the tent to Sarah, and said, "Quickly, prepare three measures of fine flour [about a third as much as Gideon], knead it, and make bread cakes."

 

GEN 18:7 Abraham also ran to the herd, and took a tender and choice calf, and gave it to the servant; and he hurried to prepare it.

 

GEN 18:8 And he took curds and milk and the calf which he had prepared, and placed it before them; and he was standing by them under the tree as they ate.

 

The reason for this essential difference is to be found in the different purpose of the two theophanies.

 

To Abraham: seal the fellowship of grace entered with him in the covenant.

To Gideon: Confirm Himself as Lord and confirm the deliverance of Israel.

 

The Lord visited Abraham a short time before this in chapter 17 and confirmed the covenant, giving it the token of circumcision. The Lord now visits him in chapter 18 confirming that in one year Sarah would have the promised child Isaac. The Lord and the angels ate the thanksgiving meal given in honor of them.

 

The Lord visited Gideon in the midst of severe discipline upon the nation. He is confirming to Gideon what did not need confirming to Abraham - the Lord had not abandoned him or Israel. Plus the Lord is about to go to war against His enemy and deliver His elected nation.

 

For years Israel has been offering goats and bread cakes to Baal and  here the Lord reveals that Israel may still offer the proper sacrifices to Him, i.e. they may return to Him and pray to Him again.

 

In other words, when the Lord fires up the honorary dinner, He is showing forgiveness and restoration to Israel. This is not a call to confirm the covenant, as the Lord did to Abraham, but a call to return to Him from apostasy. These things had been offered to Baal for some time now, and now they must change their hearts from allegiance to Baal to allegiance to Jehovah. The Lord is making this clear before the eyes of Gideon.

 

The Lord doesn't ask Gideon to set fire to the meal. The Lord will provide His own sacrifice and judgment for the sins of the people.

 

The acceptance of the minchah prepared for Him as a sacrifice which the Lord himself caused to be miraculously consumed by fire, showed that the Lord would still graciously accept the prayers and sacrifices of Israel, if they would but forsake the worship of the dead idols of the heathen, and return to Him in sincerity.

 

JDG 6:20 And 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.

 

JDG 6:21 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.

 

The Lord turned the gift meal into a sacrificial one.

 

What was not sacred the Lord made sacred. Unclean fallen man has been purified by the blood of Christ.

 

And what is sacred here is not the amount of food but what it represented both in its own typology and in the heart of Gideon.

 

Unleavened bread speaks of the purity of the Lord.

The goat represents salvation (burnt) and fellowship (peace).

 

He is the bread of life that would come down from heaven. Anyone who ate of that bread, meaning faith in Him, would never hunger again.

 

The goat was used in all the offerings and so we would place it here as a reference to the burnt offering referring to salvation and/or the peace offering referring to fellowship.

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