Gideon’s Present Consumed by Fire - Page 1 (series: Lessons on Judges)

by John Lowe
(Woodruff, S.C.)

Chapter 20: Gideon’s Present Consumed by Fire
Judges 6:17-32

17 And he said unto him, If now I have found grace in thy sight, then shew me a sign that thou talkest with me.
18 Depart not hence, I pray thee, until I come unto thee, and bring forth my present (or, meat offering), and set it before thee. And he said, I will tarry until thou come again.
19 And Gideon went in and made ready a kid (Heb. a kid of the goats), 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.
20 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.
21 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.
22 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.
23 And the LORD said unto him, Peace be unto thee; fear not: thou shalt not die.
24 Then Gideon built an altar there unto the LORD, and called it Jehovahshalom (that is, The LORD send peace): unto this day it is yet in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.
25 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:
26 And build an altar unto the LORD thy God upon the top of this rock (Heb. strong place), 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.
27 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.
28 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.
29 And they said one to another, Who hath done this thing? And when they enquired and asked, they said, Gideon the son of Joash hath done this thing.
30 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.
31 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.
32 Therefore on that day he called him Jerubbaal (that is, Let Baal plead), saying, Let Baal plead against him, because he hath thrown down his altar.

17 And he said unto him, If now I have found 1grace in thy sight, then shew me a sign that thou talkest with me.--Judges 6:17 (KJV)
17 Gideon said to him, “If you find me acceptable, give me a sign that it is really you speaking to me.--Judges 6:17 (GW)

Here in the passage before us, we see how the flesh is the enemy of God’s calling, which cannot be won over without signs.
And he said unto him if now I have found grace in thy sight. That is a conclusion we might come to from the salutation given to him as a man of might (v. 12), by the work he gave him a commission to do (v. 14), and by the promise of assistance and success (v. 16).

Then show me a sign that thou talkest with me. You see, Gideon was not yet sure whether the one he was talking to was an angel or a man; therefore, what he says is essentially this, “In the name of God, as a messenger sent by him, show me that what you have said was truth, and will certainly be fulfilled.” Gideon might desire reassurance, not so much, or at least not only for his own sake, and the confirmation of his faith, for which he is renowned, but there is a better reason, and that is, that he might be able to satisfy others that he had a commission from God that was delivered by a messenger of His, for him to attempt the deliverance of Israel.

Show me a sign—Work a miracle, so that I may know that thou hast wisdom and power sufficient to authorize and qualify me for the work. Sensing that he was talking to the Lord, Gideon asked for a sign. A sign would be convincing enough because a mere man could not do anything supernatural, but with God all things are possible. Gideon desires to have his faith in this commission confirmed; for he would not want to appear to be naive regarding that which brought him praise, and he would not undertake an assignment so far above him, and especially since he must engage in many more difficult tasks, but if he had proof that his authority came from Almighty God he would be totally satisfied, and would be able to give satisfaction to others, as well as to Him who gave him that authority. He therefore humbly begs from this divine person, whoever he was, that he would give him a sign. Now, since we are currently under the dispensation of the Spirit, we are not to expect signs before our eyes, such as Gideon desired here, 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 operations of his Spirit there, fulfilling the work of faith, and perfecting what is lacking in it. Yet, there is a type of "sign" that is very appropriate to look for. As long as we have choices to make, we should prayerfully place ourselves in God's hands, seeking several opportunities and wait to see which doors open to us.
1Grace. Kindness; favor. But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by GRACE ye are saved;) and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: that in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his GRACE in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by GRACE are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast. (Ephesians 2:4-9)—K J Dict.

18 Depart not hence, I pray thee, until I come unto thee, and bring forth my present (or, meat offering), and set it before thee. And he said I will tarry until thou come again.--Judges 6:16 (KJV)
18 Don't leave until I come back. I want to bring my gift and set it in front of you.” “I will stay until you come back,” he said.--Judges 6:18 (GW)

Depart not hence, I pray thee, until I come unto thee. He intends to offer hospitality to this herald of God; to go to one of his own tribe, or his father's house, to get some food, and therefore he pleads with him not to leave the place where he was until he returned.

and bring forth my present, and set it before thee; to treat him with, for he is a stranger and a messenger of God; and perhaps he thought, by this means I may be able to discover who he is, either an angel or a man. The word for "present" is "minchah", which is often used for a meat offering, but could include foods such as bread, wine, oil, and flour; therefore, some have thought that Gideon meant to sacrifice to the stranger; but it appears from what follows that it was not intended for a sacrifice to a Divine person; and, besides, Gideon was no priest, and this was not a place for sacrifice, nor was there an altar there; and besides, since Gideon did not yet know that it was the Lord himself, he could never think of offering a sacrifice to him.

and he said, I will tarry until thou come again; which was a wonderful instance of divine condescension, because he may have waited a long time while Gideon prepared what he brought for the occasion. He could use the time to have a longer conversation with him. Those who know what it is to have communion with God desire to make it last as long as possible, and they are unwilling to part, praying along with Gideon, Depart not hence, I pray thee. You may have wondered why he did not take him into the house to entertain him; perhaps because his father’s house was not available to him and his friends for entertaining, or because he desired to talk with this stranger in private (therefore he does not call for a servant to bring the provisions, but gets it himself), or because his father Abraham entertained angels unawares, not in his tent, but under a tree 2(Gen. 18:8).
2(Gen. 18:8) “And he took butter, and milk, and the calf which he had dressed, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree, and they did eat.” Isn’t this a marvelous way of entertaining? Abraham has prepared a sumptuous meal. He took a little calf, a servant killed and prepared it, and the chef probably barbecued it. They had veal steaks or veal roast, I imagine, and all the trimmings that went with it. “And he took butter, and milk”—my, it was a real feast!

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