And there came an angel of the LORD, and sat under an oak which was in Ophrah, that pertained to Joash the Abiezrite…
I. WE HAVE A FAR-SIGHTED MAN LOOKING TO THE RESULT RATHER THAN TO THE MEANS. Gideon called his altar " Jehovah-shalom " — the Lord send "peace." As he was going to war we would have supposed him to inscribe, "The Lord send victory, the Lord send success." But the Holy Spirit prompted him to write "peace." There is wonderful power in this. What are all our battles, all our struggles, but a means to an end? That end is peace. How much wiser and how much better would it be if we were to look at the issue!
II. WE HAVE A BRAVE MAN RENOUNCING HIS OWN PROWESS. "The Lord send peace." The very message of the angel was calculated to make Gideon self-opinionated. He was favoured with a vision of God. He was appointed to be the Divine vicegerent. But instead of doing what we should expect, he renounced all pretensions to any superiority, and was only overwhelmed by a consciousness of the honour reposed in him. True greatness and true humility always go together. The great man is humble and the humble man is great. It is a mark of superior minds to realise how small they are.
III. WE HAVE A PIOUS MAN ENGAGING IN WAR. War is a terrible scourge; one of the most fearful developments of the passions of men. But it has been permitted by God, and even ordered under His arrangements. What the Almighty directs man need not fear to undertake. God works His purposes by the scourges of earth, and He employs man's passions as His instruments of purification. The few who are sacrificed in war are only as a grain of sand in comparison to those who are sacrificed in sin.
IV. WE HAVE A LESSON AS TO OUR OWN CONDUCT; that is, ever to invoke the blessing of God on that which we undertake. When we go forth to duty, or pleasure, or any engagement whatsoever, we should rear our altar to the Lord, and pray that He will send peace and prosperity. And the necessity for this is not taken away because we are doing the Lord's work, at the Lord's bidding, and under the Lord's direction. To teachers, preachers, and evangelists this truth is a very serious one.
(J. J. S. Bird.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And 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.
WEB: The angel of Yahweh came, and sat under the oak which was in Ophrah, that pertained to Joash the Abiezrite: and his son Gideon was beating out wheat in the winepress, to hide it from the Midianites.