Thursday after the Third Sunday after Trinity Sunday
Scripture: Judges 6:1-24 (NKJV)
1 Then the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD. So the LORD delivered them into the hand of Midian for seven years, 2 and the hand of Midian prevailed against Israel. Because of the Midianites, the children of Israel made for themselves the dens, the caves, and the strongholds which are in the mountains. 3 So it was, whenever Israel had sown, Midianites would come up; also Amalekites and the people of the East would come up against them. 4 Then they would encamp against them and destroy the produce of the earth as far as Gaza, and leave no sustenance for Israel, neither sheep nor ox nor donkey. 5 For they would come up with their livestock and their tents, coming in as numerous as locusts; both they and their camels were without number; and they would enter the land to destroy it. 6 So Israel was greatly impoverished because of the Midianites, and the children of Israel cried out to the LORD.
7 And it came to pass, when the children of Israel cried out to the LORD because of the Midianites, 8 that the LORD sent a prophet to the children of Israel, who said to them, “Thus says the LORD God of Israel: ‘I brought you up from Egypt and brought you out of the house of bondage; 9 and I delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians and out of the hand of all who oppressed you, and drove them out before you and gave you their land. 10 Also I said to you, “I am the LORD your God; do not fear the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell.” But you have not obeyed My voice.'”
11 Now the Angel of the LORD came and sat under the terebinth tree which was in Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, while his son Gideon threshed wheat in the winepress, in order to hide it from the Midianites. 12 And the Angel of the LORD appeared to him, and said to him, “The LORD is with you, you mighty man of valor!” 13 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 forsaken us and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites.” 14 Then the LORD turned to him and said, “Go in this might of yours, and you shall save Israel from the hand of the Midianites. Have I not sent you?” 15 So he said to Him, “O my Lord, how can I save Israel? Indeed my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.” 16 And the LORD said to him, “Surely I will be with you, and you shall defeat the Midianites as one man.” 17 Then he said to Him, “If now I have found favor in Your sight, then show me a sign that it is You who talk with me. 18 Do not depart from here, I pray, until I come to You and bring out my offering and set it before You.” And He said, “I will wait until you come back.”
19 So Gideon went in and prepared a young goat, and unleavened bread from an ephah of flour. The meat he put in a basket, and he put the broth in a pot; and he brought them out to Him under the terebinth tree and presented them. 20 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. 21 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 rose out of the rock and consumed the meat and the unleavened bread. And the Angel of the LORD departed out of his sight. 22 Now Gideon perceived that He was the Angel of the LORD. So Gideon said, “Alas, O Lord GOD! For I have seen the Angel of the LORD face to face.” 23 Then the LORD said to him, “Peace be with you; do not fear, you shall not die.” 24 So Gideon built an altar there to the LORD, and called it The-LORD-Is-Peace. To this day it is still in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.
Both the affliction by the Midianites and the deliverance from the Midianites is sent by the Lord. It is not that we have a fickle God who changes His mind. Our Triune God is using Law and Gospel to try and save them from their sins. In verses 7-10, we are told that God sent the children of Israel a prophet to exhort them. Though God had brought them out of Egypt, rescued them from slavery and given them the Promised Land, they had served other gods and not obeyed God’s voice. Because they did evil, God punished them. God’s prophet was leading them to repentance.
The Angel of the LORD Who comes to Gideon is none other than God Himself come in the human form of a traveler carrying a staff. The Gospel message He brings is that through no credit of their own, Gideon will “save Israel from the hand of the Midianites.” When Gideon proclaims that he is the least in his household from the weakest clan, God says, “Surely I will be with you.” Hebrews 11:32-34 praises Gideon for his faith in the Lord’s Promise! Gideon “…out of weakness was made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.”
Like the Virgin Mary, you, and I, the weak and lowly Gideon had found favor with God. That is, we are graciously blessed with the Promise of the Lord’s deliverance, which creates and strengthens faith in Jesus Christ. Gideon already knew what the apostles found out Easter evening, “Peace be with you; do not fear, you shall not die.” The LORD is peace.