Dave Burnette's Commentary

Judges Chapter 6

Written By: God through Inspiration
Penned By: Samuel 
Date Penned: (550 BC)
Overview: A Record of Israel's Compromise in the Promised Land (c 1-21)
Theme: The Rescue of Israel by the Judges (c 3-16)
Message: Gideon, Tola, and Jair (v 1-40)

Judges 6 Commentary

(6:2) The Midianites - The Midianites were desert people descended from Abraham's second wife, Keturah, with whom he had six sons (Genesis 25:1-6). From this relationship came a nation that was always in conflict with Israel. Years earlier, while still wandering in the wilderness, the Israelites had battled the Midianites and almost totally destroyed them (Numbers 31:1-20). Because of Israel's failure to completely destroy them, however, the tribe had repopulated. Here they were once again oppressing Israel.

(6:6) Israel's Last Resort - Again the Israelites hit rock bottom before turning back to God. They could have avoided a lot of suffering if they had trusted him. Turning to God shouldn't be a last resort; we should look to him for help each day. Obviously, life will not always be easy. We will have struggles, but God will give us the strength to live through them. Don't wait until you run out of options. Call on God first in every situation.

(6:10) The Old Testament records several appearances of the angel of the Lord, including in Genesis 16.7; 22:11; 31:: Exodus 3:2; 1419; Judges 2:1; 13:3; and Zechariah 3:1-6. Whether it was the same angel appearing in each case is not known. The angel mentioned here appears to be separate from God in one place (Judges 6-12) and yet the same as God in another place (634). This has led some to believe that the angel was a special appearance of Jesus Christ prior to his mission on earth as recorded in the New Testament. It is also possible that as a special messenger from God, the angel had authority to speak for God. In any case, a special messenger delivered an important message to Gideon.

(6:11) The Threshing Floor - Threshing was the process of separating the grains of wheat from the useless outer shell called chaff. This was normally done in a large area, often on a hill, where the wind could blow away the lighter chaff when the farmer tossed the beaten wheat into the air. If Gideon had done this, however, he would have been an easy target for the bands of raiders who were overrunning the land. Therefore, he was forced to thresh his wheat in a winepress, a pit that was probably hidden from view and that would not be suspected as a place to find a farmer's crops.

(6:13) Gideon Questions God - Gideon questioned the angel of the Lord about the problems he and his nation faced and about God's apparent lack of help. What he didn't acknowledge was the fact that the people had brought calamity upon themselves when they decided to disobey and neglect God. How easy it is to overlook personal accountability and blame our problems on God and others. Unfortunately, this does not solve our problems. It brings us no closer to God, and it escorts us to the very edge of rebellion and backsliding. When problems come, the first place to look is within ourselves. Our immediate response should be confession to God of sins that may have created our problems.

(6:14-16) Gideon Fails to Trust the Lord -   "Surely I will be with thee," God told Gideon, and God promised to give him the strength he needed to overcome the opposition. Despite this clear promise for strength, Gideon made excuses. Seeing only his limitations and weaknesses, he failed to see how God could work through him. Like Gideon, we are called to serve God in specific ways. Although God promises us the tools and strength we need, we often make excuses. But reminding God of our limitations only implies that he does not know all about us or that he has made a mistake in evaluating our character. Don't spend time making excuses. Instead, be honest about your feelings and then do what God wants.

(6:22-23) Gideon is Afraid - Why was Gideon afraid of seeing an angel? The Israelites believed that no one could see God and live (see God's words to Moses in Exodus 33:20). Evidently, Gideon thought this also applied to this special messenger from God.

(6:25-30) Gideon Obey the Lord - After God called Gideon to be Israel's deliverer, he immediately asked him to tear down the altar of the pagan god Baal -an act that would test Gideon's faith and commitment. Religion was understood politically in the ancient world, so an attack on a god was often seen as an attack on the local government supporting that god. If caught, Gideon would face serious social problems and probably physical attack. Gideon took a great risk by following God's higher law, which specifically forbids idol worship (Exodus 20:1-5). After learning what Gideon had done, the townspeople wanted to kill him. Many of those people were fellow Israelites. This shows how immoral God's people had become. God said in Deuteronomy 13:6-l that idolaters must be stoned to death, but ironically, these Israelites wanted to stone Gideon for tearing down an idol and worshiping God. When you begin to accomplish something for God, you may be criticized by the very people who should support you.

(6:33) Gideon Attacks Midian - The armies of Midian and Amalek camped in the valley of Jezzeel, the agricultural center for the area. Whoever controlled the valley's rich and fertile land controlled the people who lived in and around it Because of the valley's vast resources, many major trade routes conversed at the pass that led into it. This made it the site of many great battles. Gideon's men attacked the enemy armies from the hills, and the only escape route was through the pass toward the Jordan River. That is why Gideon urged some of his troops to take control of the river's crossing points (7:24).

(6:36-39) Did Gideon Test God? Was Gideon testing God, or was he simply asking God for more encouragement? In either case, though his motive was right (to obey God and defeat the enemy), his method was less than ideal. Gideon seems to have known that his requests might displease God (6:39), and yet he demanded two miracles (6:37=39), even after witnessing the miraculous fire from the rock (6:21). It is true that to make good decisions we need facts. Gideon had all the facts, but still he hesitated. He delayed obeying God because he wanted even more proof. Demanding extra signs can be an indication of unbelief. Fear often makes us want more confirmation when we should be taking action. Visible signs are unnecessary if they only confirm what we already know is true. Today, the greatest means of God's guidance is his Word, the Bible. Unlike Gideon, we have God's complete, revealed Word. If you want to have more of God's guidance, don't ask for signs; study the Bible (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

(6:39) Gideon Asks for a Second Miracle -  After seeing the miracle of the wet fleece, why did Gideon ask for another miracle? Perhaps he thought the results of the first test could have happened naturally. A thick fleece could retain moisture long after the sun had dried the surrounding ground. "Putting out fleeces" is a poor decision-making method. Those who do this put limitations on God by asking him to fit their expectations. The results of such experiments are usually inconclusive and thus fail to make us any more confident about our choices. Don't let a "fleece" become a substitute for God's wisdom that comes through Bible study, prayer, and wise counsel.



Dave Burnette's Life Application

Grace in the Eyes of the Lord

Each day we walk through the Bible chapter by chapter making an application of our text to help us grow in the Lord. Many applications can be made from each day's text. Today we Continue in the book of Judges with Chapter 6 and we see a continued look at the 4th period of the rescue of Israel by the Judges with the story of Gideon. Here Gideon is commissioned by God, Gideon destroys idols, and account of the putting out of the fleece. Gideon had his faults in questioning what he was hearing from God but what catches my eye is verse 8 where Gideon found grace in the eyes of the Lord. This grace came from his humble acknowledgement of who God was, what God had done, and what God would do to deliver the nation of Israel. A Humble faithful man can do mighty things from the Lord. It reminds me of a preacher friend of mine who sat with me on the back row of a Church many years ago. I remember when He received Christ and then approached the Lord in the same humble way Gideon did. Today he pastors a Church here in town doing a great work for the Lord. How about you? Have you humbled yourself, calling upon the Lord in faith - to see the Lord work in your life? Let us learn from Gideon and our text today to find Grace in the eyes of the Lord for our lives.


Judges 6

Judges 6

 1And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD: and the LORD delivered them into the hand of Midian seven years.

 2And the hand of Midian prevailed against Israel: and because of the Midianites the children of Israel made them the dens which are in the mountains, and caves, and strong holds.

 3And so it was, when Israel had sown, that the Midianites came up, and the Amalekites, and the children of the east, even they came up against them;

 4And they encamped against them, and destroyed the increase of the earth, till thou come unto Gaza, and left no sustenance for Israel, neither sheep, nor ox, nor ass.

 5For they came up with their cattle and their tents, and they came as grasshoppers for multitude; for both they and their camels were without number: and they entered into the land to destroy it.

 6And Israel was greatly impoverished because of the Midianites; and the children of Israel cried unto the LORD.

 7And it came to pass, when the children of Israel cried unto the LORD because of the Midianites,

 8That the LORD sent a prophet unto the children of Israel, which said unto them, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, I brought you up from Egypt, and brought you forth out of the house of bondage;

 9And I delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians, and out of the hand of all that oppressed you, and drave them out from before you, and gave you their land;

 10And I said unto you, I am the LORD your God; fear not the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but ye have not obeyed my voice.

 11And there came an angel of the LORD, and sat under an oak which was in Ophrah, that pertained unto Joash the Abiezrite: and his son Gideon threshed wheat by the winepress, to hide it from the Midianites.

 12And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him, and said unto him, The LORD is with thee, thou mighty man of valour.

 13And Gideon said unto him, Oh my Lord, if the LORD be with us, why then is all this befallen us? and where be all his miracles which our fathers told us of, saying, Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt? but now the LORD hath forsaken us, and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites.

 14And the LORD looked upon him, and said, Go in this thy might, and thou shalt save Israel from the hand of the Midianites: have not I sent thee?

 15And he said unto him, Oh my Lord, wherewith shall I save Israel? behold, my family is poor in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father's house.

 16And the LORD said unto him, Surely I will be with thee, and thou shalt smite the Midianites as one man.

 17And he said unto him, If now I have found grace in thy sight, then shew me a sign that thou talkest with me.

 18Depart not hence, I pray thee, until I come unto thee, and bring forth my present, and set it before thee. And he said, I will tarry until thou come again.

 19And Gideon went in, and made ready a kid, 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.

 20And 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.

 21Then 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.

 22And 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.

 23And the LORD said unto him, Peace be unto thee; fear not: thou shalt not die.

 24Then Gideon built an altar there unto the LORD, and called it Jehovahshalom: unto this day it is yet in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.

 25And 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:

 26And build an altar unto the LORD thy God upon the top of this rock, 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.

 27Then 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.

 28And 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.

 29And 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.

 30Then 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.

 31And 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.

 32Therefore on that day he called him Jerubbaal, saying, Let Baal plead against him, because he hath thrown down his altar.

 33Then all the Midianites and the Amalekites and the children of the east were gathered together, and went over, and pitched in the valley of Jezreel.

 34But the Spirit of the LORD came upon Gideon, and he blew a trumpet; and Abiezer was gathered after him.

 35And he sent messengers throughout all Manasseh; who also was gathered after him: and he sent messengers unto Asher, and unto Zebulun, and unto Naphtali; and they came up to meet them.

 36And Gideon said unto God, If thou wilt save Israel by mine hand, as thou hast said,

 37Behold, I will put a fleece of wool in the floor; and if the dew be on the fleece only, and it be dry upon all the earth beside, then shall I know that thou wilt save Israel by mine hand, as thou hast said.

 38And it was so: for he rose up early on the morrow, and thrust the fleece together, and wringed the dew out of the fleece, a bowl full of water.

 39And Gideon said unto God, Let not thine anger be hot against me, and I will speak but this once: let me prove, I pray thee, but this once with the fleece; let it now be dry only upon the fleece, and upon all the ground let there be dew.

 40And God did so that night: for it was dry upon the fleece only, and there was dew on all the ground.