The Bible says in Judges 6:17-23, “And he said unto him, If now I have found grace in thy sight, then shew me a sign that thou talkest with me. Depart not hence, I pray thee, until I come unto thee, and bring forth my present, and set it before thee. And he said, I will tarry until thou come again. And Gideon went in, and made ready a kid, and unleavened cakes of an ephah of flour: the flesh he put in a basket, and he put the broth in a pot, and brought it out unto him under the oak, and presented it. And the angel of God said unto him, Take the flesh and the unleavened cakes, and lay them upon this rock, and pour out the broth. And he did so. Then the angel of the LORD put forth the end of the staff that was in his hand, and touched the flesh and the unleavened cakes; and there rose up fire out of the rock, and consumed the flesh and the unleavened cakes. Then the angel of the LORD departed out of his sight. And when Gideon perceived that he was an angel of the LORD, Gideon said, Alas, O Lord GOD! for because I have seen an angel of the LORD face to face. And the LORD said unto him, Peace be unto thee; fear not: thou shalt not die.” In these verses and the ones following we see clearly that Gideon aske for a sign that Gideon might believe that this was really God speaking to him. A fire starting up spontaneously and burning up the offering was the sign. And then the angel disappeared. This sign seemed to work for Gideon because he said in verse twenty-two, “Alas, O Lord GOD! for because I have seen an angel of the LORD face to face.” Something needs to be said to Christians in the age in which we live concerning doing like Gideon and asking for a sign. Remember that there is a difference between the Old Testament and the New Testament. This is one of the differences. Gideon was a Jew. It says in First Corinthians 1:22-23, “For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;” What do we have to give us faith instead of a sign? We have the person of the Lord Jesus Christ, the message about Jesus, and the words and deeds of Jesus. If you need more faith, read the Gospel of John or somewhere else in the New Testament or the rest of the Bible.
Once Gideon had some faith, the Lord said to him in verse twenty-three, “Peace be unto thee; fear not: thou shalt not die.” When we put our faith in the Lord, there are always good results. Peace is one of the first results. We have peace in our souls when we are rightly related to God through Christ. Nothing else in life can give us this kind of peace. Fear is taken away when we are right with God. That is because human beings were designed to trust in God. Anyone who does not do so will be incomplete and “fear” is a very common characteristic of someone who does not have faith. You will either have faith or you will have fear. The Lord told Gideon, “thou shalt not die.” Gideon was facing war with the Midionites. Whether you are in war or not, one thing is certain: God decides who dies and when. You will not die until God’s appointed time for you. It says in Hebrews 9:27, “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.”
The Bible says in Judges 6:24, “Then Gideon built an altar there unto the LORD, and called it Jehovah-shalom: unto this day it is yet in Ophrah of the Abi-ezrites.” This shows how significant this day was to Gideon. It may very well be the day that he was converted to true belief in the Lord. The Lord did appear to Gideon and the Lord spoke to Gideon. And Gideon called his altar, “Jehovah-shalom.” “Shalom” means peace. God gave peace to Gideon: the greatest peace of all is that peace that comes when we come to know the Lord as our Savior. It says in Romans 5:1, “Therefore, being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
The Bible says in Judges 6:25-32, “And it came to pass the same night, that the LORD said unto him, Take thy father's young bullock, even the second bullock of seven years old, and throw down the altar of Baal that thy father hath, and cut down the grove that is by it: And build an altar unto the LORD thy God upon the top of this rock, in the ordered place, and take the second bullock, and offer a burnt sacrifice with the wood of the grove which thou shalt cut down. Then Gideon took ten men of his servants, and did as the LORD had said unto him: and so it was, because he feared his father's household, and the men of the city, that he could not do it by day, that he did it by night. And when the men of the city arose early in the morning, behold, the altar of Baal was cast down, and the grove was cut down that was by it, and the second bullock was offered upon the altar that was built. And they said one to another, Who hath done this thing? And when they inquired and asked, they said, Gideon the son of Joash hath done this thing. Then the men of the city said unto Joash, Bring out thy son, that he may die: because he hath cast down the altar of Baal, and because he hath cut down the grove that was by it. And Joash said unto all that stood against him, Will ye plead for Baal? will ye save him? he that will plead for him, let him be put to death whilst it is yet morning: if he be a god, let him plead for himself, because one hath cast down his altar. Therefore on that day he called him Jerubbaal, saying, Let Baal plead against him, because he hath thrown down his altar.” The first thing that God told Gideon to do was to tear down the altar to the false god Baal, and to put up an altar to the one true God. This shows us that number one on God’s priority is the false religion. It was number one in the Ten Commandments: “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” God’s will for all human beings is to know Him and to worship Him. That is why Jesus came. Jesus had to die on the cross so that we could know God. Gideon was also told to make a sacrifice on the altar. All the sacrifices of the Old Testament symbolized and pre-figured the sacrifice of Christ on the cross of Calvary. Jesus is the Lamb of God who taketh away the sins of the world. God does not like false religion because false religion will send people to hell, and Jesus wants everyone to go to heaven.
Once the altar of Baal was cast down, the people wanted to put Gideon to death. This was crazy. The crimes that people will commit in the name of zeal to their religion! The same craziness is taking place today in this world. Notice how Gideon’s father, Joash, responded to these people. In verse thirty-one Joash basically said that if Baal is a god, then Baal can avenge himself: You people do not need to punish Gideon; let Baal punish Gideon if Baal wants to. Actually, that is the same message that the one true God gives to His believers. We are told, “Vengeance is mine. I will repay.” God has all power. He can punish anyone that He wants and when He wants. If you are not a prosecutor, or a judge, or a general, or the head of a nation, then stay out of it. In your personal relationships in your community and in your family, let God be the Judge. As Jesus said, “Judge not, that ye be not judged.”
The Bible says in Judges 6:33-40, “Then all the Midianites and the Amalekites and the children of the east were gathered together, and went over, and pitched in the valley of Jezreel. But the Spirit of the LORD came upon Gideon, and he blew a trumpet; and Abi-ezer was gathered after him. And he sent messengers throughout all Manasseh; who also was gathered after him: and he sent messengers unto Asher, and unto Zebulun, and unto Naphtali; and they came up to meet them. And Gideon said unto God, If thou wilt save Israel by mine hand, as thou hast said, Behold, I will put a fleece of wool in the floor; and if the dew be on the fleece only, and it be dry upon all the earth beside, then shall I know that thou wilt save Israel by mine hand, as thou hast said. And it was so: for he rose up early on the morrow, and thrust the fleece together, and wringed the dew out of the fleece, a bowl full of water. And Gideon said unto God, Let not thine anger be hot against me, and I will speak but this once: let me prove, I pray thee, but this once with the fleece; let it now be dry only upon the fleece, and upon all the ground let there be dew. And God did so that night: for it was dry upon the fleece only, and there was dew on all the ground.” No, Christians should not do what Gideon did with this fleece: ask God to give a sign to prove that God wants you to do some other thing. First of all, the fleece was totally unnecessary. Secondly, Gideon already what God wanted. Gideon asking for the fleece to be wet one time, but dry the next was evidence of Gideon’s lack of faith. We have the Old Testament and the New Testament to tell us what God wants us to do. In a certain way we can look at things that happen around us and see how God is leading. God opens some doors and closes others. If you are single and interested in someone and want to know if it is God’s will for you to marry them, in addition to praying about it and asking for God’s will, make sure the potential spouse is a Christian who loves Jesus and make sure that the potential spouse loves you as much as you think that you love them. God gives love to both people. There are other fish in the sea: find the one that God has prepared for you. That would be a big mistake to ask for a sign like Gideon did. Instead, ask for wisdom to interpret what God is already doing to guide your life.
There is something else to point out about Gideon and his fleece. There would be many other times that God would tell Gideon what to do, and in none of those times did Gideon ask for a sign like the fleece. In other words Gideon learned the same lesson that we should learn: believe God’s Word and do not ask for a sign like a fleece.
The Bible says in Judges 7:1-3, “Then Jerubbaal, who is Gideon, and all the people that were with him, rose up early, and pitched beside the well of Harod: so that the host of the Midianites were on the north side of them, by the hill of Moreh, in the valley. And the LORD said unto Gideon, The people that are with thee are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel vaunt themselves against me, saying, Mine own hand hath saved me. Now therefore go to, proclaim in the ears of the people, saying, Whosoever is fearful and afraid, let him return and depart early from mount Gilead. And there returned of the people twenty and two thousand; and there remained ten thousand.” In verse two a very important statement is made by God: “The people that are with thee are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hands.” From a human standpoint, one might say that the greater the size of the army, the better the possibility of victory, especially when the enemy already has a very large army too. But obviously, that is not how God looks at things. God wants to show forth His power, and what better way to do that than to make something work that humans would have never pulled off on their own. Also, God does not want man to get the glory for what God has done. If the people had gone to battle with all their thousands, they would have easily not recognized what the Lord had done, and thought, “Mine own hand hath saved me.” That would be a very bad mistake, and yet there are Christians that do that all the time: give glory to man instead of God.
Twenty thousand of the army of Israel were sent home using the following method as God told Gideon in verse three, “Whosoever is fearful and afraid, let him return and depart.” God wants His servants to have faith. The battle is really a battle of faith. It says in Hebrews 11:6, “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” One of the goals that Jesus had for the apostles was that they would be people of faith. That is why Jesus was disappointed when they demonstrated a lack of faith. Several times in the Gospel of Matthew Jesus used the phrase, “O ye of little faith,” to rebuke them and to make sure that they realized that He wanted them to have more faith. We get more faith from the Word of God: “Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.” We also get more faith by applying our faith to our situations. “The just shall live by faith” means more than the doctrine of how to get saved. It also refers to the type of life that a follower of God will live. To live a life of faith means that we believe God and we trust in Jesus at all times.
Copyright; 2020 by Charles
F. (Rick) Creech
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