Judges 6* Israel oppressed by Midianites. (1-6) Israel rebuked by aprophet. (7-10) Gideon set to deliver Israel. (11-24) Gideondestroys Baal's altar. (25-32) Signs given him. (33-40)1-6 Israel's sin was renewed, and Israel's troubles wererepeated. Let all that sin expect to suffer. The Israelites hidthemselves in dens and caves; such was the effect of a guiltyconscience. Sin dispirits men. The invaders left no food forIsrael, except what was taken into the caves. They prepared thatfor Baal with which God should have been served, now God justlysends an enemy to take it away in the season thereof. 7-10 They cried to God for a deliverer, and he sent them aprophet to teach them. When God furnishes a land with faithfulministers, it is a token that he has mercy in store for it. Hecharges them with rebellion against the Lord; he intends tobring them to repentance. Repentance is real when the sinfulnessof sin, as disobedience to God, is chiefly lamented. 11-24 Gideon was a man of a brave, active spirit, yet inobscurity through the times: he is here stirred up to undertakesomething great. It was very sure that the Lord was with him,when his Angel was with him. Gideon was weak in faith, whichmade it hard to reconcile the assurances of the presence of Godwith the distress to which Israel was brought. The Angelanswered his objections. He told him to appear and act asIsrael's deliverer, there needed no more. Bishop Hall says,While God calls Gideon valiant, he makes him so. God delights toadvance the humble. Gideon desires to have his faith confirmed.Now, under the influences of the Spirit, we are not to expectsigns before our eyes such as Gideon here desired, but mustearnestly pray to God, that if we have found grace in his sight,he would show us a sign in our heart, by the powerful working ofhis Spirit there, The Angel turned the meat into an offeringmade by fire; showing that he was not a man who needed meat, butthe Son of God, who was to be served and honoured by sacrifice,and who in the fulness of time was to make himself a sacrifice.Hereby a sign was given to Gideon, that he had found grace inGod's sight. Ever since man has by sin exposed himself to God'swrath and curse, a message from heaven has been a terror to him,as he scarcely dares to expect good tidings thence. In thisworld, it is very awful to have any converse with that world ofspirits to which we are so much strangers. Gideon's couragefailed him. But God spoke peace to him. 25-32 See the power of God's grace, that he could raise up areformer; and the kindness of his grace, that he would raise upa deliverer, out of the family of a leader in idolatry. Gideonmust not think it enough not to worship at that altar; he mustthrow it down, and offer sacrifice on another. It was needful heshould make peace with God, before he made war on Midian. Tillsin be pardoned through the great Sacrifice, no good is to beexpected. God, who has all hearts in his hands, influenced Joashto appear for his son against the advocates for Baal, though hehad joined formerly in the worship of Baal. Let us do our duty,and trust God with our safety. Here is a challenge to Baal, todo either good or evil; the result convinced his worshippers oftheir folly, in praying to one to help them that could notavenge himself. 33-40 These signs are truly miraculous, and very significant.Gideon and his men were going to fight the Midianites; could Goddistinguish between a small fleece of Israel, and the vast floorof Midian? Gideon is made to know that God could do so. IsGideon desirous that the dew of Divine grace might come downupon himself in particular? He sees the fleece wet with dew toassure him of it. Does he desire that God will be as the dew toall Israel? Behold, all the ground is wet. What cause we sinnersof the Gentiles have, to bless the Lord that the dew of heavenlyblessings, once confined to Israel, is now sent to all theinhabitants of the earth! Yet still the means of grace are indifferent measures, according to the purposes of God. In thesame congregation, one man's soul is like Gideon's moistenedfleece, another like the dry ground.
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