In this lesson from the Book of Judges, an angel visits Gideon with a divine message from God. And, what does he do?
First, he accuses God of abandonment.
But, who left who?
When Gideon received his visit from the angel, his first reaction was to question why God had “forsaken” him and his people.
Just as we sometimes do, he failed to see who was really the blame. Truthfully, God had not swayed from His promise to Israel.
Read in Judges about doubt and accountability.
The Call from God — Bible Study Lesson from Judges 6
Then the angel of the Lord came and sat under the oak that was in Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite as his son Gideon was beating out wheat in the wine press in order to save it from the Midianites.
The angel of the Lord appeared to him and said to him, “The Lord is with you, O valiant warrior.”
Then Gideon said to him, “O my lord, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us?
And where are all His miracles which our fathers told us about, saying, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt?’
But now the Lord has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian.”
The Lord looked at him and said, “Go in this your strength and deliver Israel from the hand of Midian. Have I not sent you?”
He said to Him, “O Lord, how shall I deliver Israel? Behold, my family is the least in Manasseh, and I am the youngest in my father’s house.”
But the Lord said to him, “Surely I will be with you, and you shall defeat Midian as one man.”
So Gideon said to Him, “If now I have found favor in Your sight, then show me a sign that it is You who speak with me.
Please do not depart from here, until I come back to You, and bring out my offering and lay it before You.” And He said, “I will remain until you return.”
Then Gideon went in and prepared a young goat and unleavened bread from an ephah of flour; he put the meat in a basket and the broth in a pot, and brought them out to him under the oak and presented them.
The angel of God said to him, “Take the meat and the unleavened bread and lay them on this rock, and pour out the broth.” And he did so.
Then the angel of the Lord put out the end of the staff that was in his hand and touched the meat and the unleavened bread; and fire sprang up from the rock and consumed the meat and the unleavened bread. Then the angel of the Lord vanished from his sight.
When Gideon saw that he was the angel of the Lord, he said, “Alas, O Lord God! For now I have seen the angel of the Lord face to face.”
The Lord said to him, “Peace to you, do not fear; you shall not die.”
Then Gideon built an altar there to the Lord and named it The Lord is Peace. To this day it is still in Ophrah of the Abiezrites. – Judges 6:11-24 NASB
The Situation of Gideon – and Israel
Yes, the people of Israel were once again held in “bondage” by Midian and cried out to the Lord – as they had done so many times before.
God sent his angel to commission Gideon, the youngest child of the least significant people in Manasseh.
Sound familiar? We all remember the famous story of David and Goliath.
David was the youngest son too!
The reason I restated Gideon’s background is because he had the perfect excuse for not doing what God asked of him, didn’t he?
He was quick to question God’s motive in handing his people over to the Midianites, wasn’t he?
But, Gideon left out the important detail that Israel had fell away from God (again).
They had a covenant which loosely stated;
“You will be My people – and I will be your God.”
The statement was very simple. But, Israel constantly broke their part of the promise – leaving them vulnerable, without protection from God.
Gideon Blamed God – Who Do We Blame?
This brings to mind our relationship with God. Do we blame God when things don’t go our way in life?
It’s not as difficult as many may think to believe; if a catastrophic illness, or accident, or financial downfall, or (fill in the blank) falls upon us, or a member of our family we can resort to blaming God.
Or, at least we feel that He has abandoned us and does not answer our prayer.
I once read a book by former CEO of the Upjohn Corporation, Clay Sherman and found an interesting quote which has stuck with me over the years.
He said simply:
“Don’t blame other people for what you are.”
If you substitute “God” for “other people” you understand Gideon’s lack of faith and trust.
Does God Still Punish Us for Our Sins?
As Christians, we know that Jesus lived, He died, and rose again in order to forgive us for our sins.
But, that doesn’t mean we should go out of our way to sin. It just means that God knows we will sometimes stumble in life.
Yes, you and I are human — we fall at times.
We all have shortcomings. The good news is, we are all forgiven as followers of Christ.
But, our sins (actions) have consequences which affect us, and many times the lives of those close to us.
I’m not talking about natural disasters over which we have no control. The earth was set in motion by God and I believe there will always be storms, earthquakes, disease and other things that will happen.
Who to Turn To?
Even in these things, if we will turn to God first, our relationship with Him grows stronger.
As for the situations which are a direct consequence of our sins, we should ask for forgiveness.
And then, ask for guidance from God to help us get through them.
Israel didn’t turn to God and it cost them.
The story of Gideon and the angel is clear. He blamed God for their falling away.
Let’s not make the same mistake!
Love in Christ
If you would like to discover how to receive the love and life-changing experience of Jesus Christ, please take a moment to read John 3:16 here.