Judges 6

* Israel oppressed by Midianites. (1-6) Israel rebuked by a

prophet. (7-10) Gideon set to deliver Israel. (11-24) Gideon

destroys Baal's altar. (25-32) Signs given him. (33-40)

1-6 Israel's sin was renewed, and Israel's troubles were

repeated. Let all that sin expect to suffer. The Israelites hid

themselves in dens and caves; such was the effect of a guilty

conscience. Sin dispirits men. The invaders left no food for

Israel, except what was taken into the caves. They prepared that

for Baal with which God should have been served, now God justly

sends an enemy to take it away in the season thereof.
7-10 They cried to God for a deliverer, and he sent them a

prophet to teach them. When God furnishes a land with faithful

ministers, it is a token that he has mercy in store for it. He

charges them with rebellion against the Lord; he intends to

bring them to repentance. Repentance is real when the sinfulness

of sin, as disobedience to God, is chiefly lamented.
11-24 Gideon was a man of a brave, active spirit, yet in

obscurity through the times: he is here stirred up to undertake

something great. It was very sure that the Lord was with him,

when his Angel was with him. Gideon was weak in faith, which

made it hard to reconcile the assurances of the presence of God

with the distress to which Israel was brought. The Angel

answered his objections. He told him to appear and act as

Israel's deliverer, there needed no more. Bishop Hall says,

While God calls Gideon valiant, he makes him so. God delights to

advance the humble. Gideon desires to have his faith confirmed.

Now, under the influences of the Spirit, we are not to expect

signs before our eyes such as Gideon here desired, but must

earnestly 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 of

his Spirit there, The Angel turned the meat into an offering

made by fire; showing that he was not a man who needed meat, but

the 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 in

God's sight. Ever since man has by sin exposed himself to God's

wrath and curse, a message from heaven has been a terror to him,

as he scarcely dares to expect good tidings thence. In this

world, it is very awful to have any converse with that world of

spirits to which we are so much strangers. Gideon's courage

failed him. But God spoke peace to him.
25-32 See the power of God's grace, that he could raise up a

reformer; and the kindness of his grace, that he would raise up

a deliverer, out of the family of a leader in idolatry. Gideon

must not think it enough not to worship at that altar; he must

throw it down, and offer sacrifice on another. It was needful he

should make peace with God, before he made war on Midian. Till

sin be pardoned through the great Sacrifice, no good is to be

expected. God, who has all hearts in his hands, influenced Joash

to appear for his son against the advocates for Baal, though he

had joined formerly in the worship of Baal. Let us do our duty,

and trust God with our safety. Here is a challenge to Baal, to

do either good or evil; the result convinced his worshippers of

their folly, in praying to one to help them that could not

avenge himself.
33-40 These signs are truly miraculous, and very significant.

Gideon and his men were going to fight the Midianites; could God

distinguish between a small fleece of Israel, and the vast floor

of Midian? Gideon is made to know that God could do so. Is

Gideon desirous that the dew of Divine grace might come down

upon himself in particular? He sees the fleece wet with dew to

assure him of it. Does he desire that God will be as the dew to

all Israel? Behold, all the ground is wet. What cause we sinners

of the Gentiles have, to bless the Lord that the dew of heavenly

blessings, once confined to Israel, is now sent to all the

inhabitants of the earth! Yet still the means of grace are in

different measures, according to the purposes of God. In the

same congregation, one man's soul is like Gideon's moistened

fleece, another like the dry ground.

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