Gideon’s Present Consumed by Fire - Page 3 (series: Lessons on Judges)

by John Lowe
(Woodruff, S.C.)

and consumed the flesh, and the unleavened cakes: though they had the broth poured on them, and were soaked with it; so that the miracle was similar to that produced by Elijah on Mount Carmel, 5(1 Kings 18:33-38), but there is no sufficient ground to think that this angel was the man, or the prophet mentioned before, or the prophet Elijah come to life again.

He turned the meat into an offering made by fire, of a sweet savor unto him, showing that he was not a man who needed meat, but the Son of God who was to be served and honored by sacrifice, and who in the fullness of time was to make himself a sacrifice. The angel uses that which he had kindly prepared for his entertainment as a sign that he had found grace in his sight, for God testified his acceptance of sacrifices by kindling them, if public, with fire from heaven, like those of Moses and Elias, if private, as this, with fire out of the earth, which was equivalent. Both were the result of divine power; and this acceptance of his sacrifice evidenced the acceptance of his person, confirmed his commission, and perhaps was intended to signify his success in the execution of it, that he and his army would be a surprising terror to consume the Midianites, like this fire out of the rock.

It is remarkable to me that what we offer to God for his glory, and as a token of our gratitude to him, will be made by the grace of God to turn into something for our own comfort and satisfaction.

then the angel of the Lord departed out of his sight: he did not continue on his journey, as one might think, but vanished immediately, not walking off as a man, but vanishing like a spirit; which plainly showed, and fully convinced Gideon, that he was not a man, but an angelic spirit, since the miracle proved him to be more than a man; and so Gideon had what he desired, a sign that showed who talked with him, and that what he talked about would certainly come to pass.
4(Ferrule) Usually a metal cap or ring attached to the end of something long and thin such as a walking stick in order to strengthen it.
5(1 Kings 18:33-38) “And he put the wood in order, and cut the bullock in pieces, and laid him on the wood, and said, Fill four barrels with water, and pour it on the burnt sacrifice, and on the wood. And he said, Do it the second time. And they did it the second time. And he said, Do it the third time. And they did it the third time. And the water ran round about the altar; and he filled the trench also with water. And it came to pass at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near, and said, LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, let it be known this day that thou art God in Israel, and that I am thy servant, and that I have done all these things at thy word. Hear me, O LORD, hear me, that these people may know that thou art the LORD God, and that thou hast turned their heart back again. Then the fire of the LORD fell and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench.”

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.--Judges 6:22 (KJV)
22 That's when Gideon realized that this had been the Messenger of the LORD. So he said, “LORD God! I have seen the Messenger of the LORD face to face.”--Judges 6:22 (GW)

And when Gideon perceived he was an angel of the Lord; he learned it from the miracle he saw, and the manner of his departure. Both came by the power of God only, as in the sacrifice of Elijah, 5(1 Kings 18:38). Gideon’s faith, no doubt, was confirmed by the evidence given of the divinity of the person who had spoken to him, yet for the present, he was frightened by it, till God graciously pacified him and removed his fears. And now, Gideon speaks as if he is in danger, When he perceived that he was an angel [which was not till he had departed, as was the case with the two disciples who did not know it was Jesus they had been talking with until he was going 6(Lu. 24:31), then he cried out, Alas! O Lord God! be merciful to me, I am undone, for I have seen an angel, as Jacob, who wondered that his life was preserved when he had seen God 7(Gen. 32:30). Ever since man has exposed himself to God’s wrath and curse, by sin, any communication from heaven has been a fearful experience to him, since he scarcely dares to expect good tidings from a messenger from God; at least, in this world that elevates intellect, it is a very awful thing to have any sensible conversation with that world of spirits to which we are so many strangers. Gideon’s courage failed him now.

Gideon said, alas! O Lord God; woe to me, what will become of me, or befall me, I shall certainly die. Shocked by this experience, Gideon prayed for mercy because he had seen an angel of the LORD face to face. The Jews commonly believed that seeing God would bring about their death.

for because I have seen an angel of the Lord face to face; and whom he had reason to believe was the Lord himself, a divine Person, revealed as a result of the miracle he saw; and it was a commonly held notion in those times, even among good men, that anyone that saw the Lord would surely die. We find that opinion in Jacob, Manoah, and others; where at least the appearance of a divine Person, and even of any messenger from heaven, was startling, surprising, and frightful to them; which arose from the understanding they had of the divine Being, and of their own sinfulness and weakness.
6(Lu. 24:31) “And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight.”
7(Gen. 32:30) “And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.”

23 And the LORD said unto him, Peace be unto thee; fear not: thou shalt not die.--Judges 6:23 (GW)
23The LORD said to him, “Calm down! Don't be afraid. You will not die.”--Judges 6:23 (GW)

Then he prepared an offering of a young goat and unleavened bread. When the Angel ... touched the offering with his staff and it was consumed by fire, Gideon knew he was in the Lord’s presence and feared he would die. And though the angel vanished out of his sight, yet God continued to converse with him either by secret inspiration in his own heart or by an audible voice
And the Lord said unto him; Either by a secret impulse upon his spirit, or by a voice from heaven; and even, as Kimchi observes, the angel, after he ascended, might cause this voice to be heard, seeing that Gideon was in great fear, because he knew he was an angel; and this is yet another proof of this angel being Jehovah himself, the eternal Word:

peace be unto thee, fear not, thou shall not die; do not allow your mind to be ruffled and disturbed, but serene and calm; do not be afraid that anything evil will happen to you, and particularly that you will die; you will be saved from any danger whatsoever, and especially from death, which he expected would happen in his fight against Israel’s enemies.

Being in the presence of God might have been fatal to him, but he assures him that he would live through it. The Lord had departed out of his sight (v. 21); but, although he must no longer walk by sight he might still live by faith, that faith which comes by hearing; for the Lord said to him, with an audible voice (as bishop Patrick thinks) these encouraging words, "Peace be unto thee (The same Lord spoke these words to His disciples in 8Luke 24.36 ), all is well, and be thou satisfied that it is so. Fear not; he that came to employ thee did not intend to slay thee; thou shalt not die.” See how ready God is to revive the hearts of those that tremble at his word and presence and to give those that stand in awe of his majesty assurances of his mercy.
8(Luke 24.36) “And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.” And as they thus spake—While the two disciples who were going to Emmaus were conversing about Christ; he joined himself to their company. Now, while they and the apostles are confirming each other in their belief of his resurrection, Jesus comes in, to remove every doubt, and to give them the fullest evidence of it. And it is ever true that, wherever two or three are gathered together in his name, he is in the midst of them.
Peace be unto you—the usual salutation among the Jews. May you prosper in body and soul, and enjoy every heavenly and earthly good—Adam Clarke's Commentary

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