And there came an angel of the LORD, and sat under an oak which was in Ophrah, that pertained to Joash the Abiezrite…
Whatever ground there was for taking exception to Gideon's faith in God, this, at all events, there seems to be every reason to believe, that he had learned to refer all success to the presence and blessing of the Lord. The language he employs (ver. 13) necessarily implies this. But still much required to be done before he should be qualified to act the distinguished part for which he was destined; and accordingly we are informed (ver. 14) that by some method here unexplained — some secret and mysterious afflatus of the Spirit imparted on that occasion — it pleased the Lord to make up what was wanting in his faith, and in whatever else was still manifestly defective. The Lord looked upon him! Ah! who knows what was in that look! It was not a look of anger or displeasure. It was not a mere look of compassion, nor of benevolence and favour. There seems to have been something above nature in it, not unlike that memorable glance with which Jesus smote Peter to the heart, so that he rushed out of the house and wept bitterly; the influence which accompanied the "look" which the Lord cast on Gideon was of a different character, indeed, but it was not less potential. It was Gideon's commission. Along with it seems to have come all the wisdom, all the might, all the valour, all the strategic skill which he needed in order to fit him for the grand expedition in which he was soon to act so prominent a part. Let us learn the following important practical lessons: —
1. The Lord often anticipates the desires of His people, and grants them what they need even before they ask it. Indeed, in every case He may be said, in one sense, to give before we ask, because if He did not by His Holy Spirit vouchsafe unto us grace to pray, which of us would ever pray for grace? But if He is so ready to grant before we ask, how much more is He ready to grant when we do ask in faith all things whatsoever we require.
2. A lowly sense of our own deserts is at once a sign that exaltation is at hand, the way to it, and the occasion of it. Diffidence, humility, modesty, unobtrusiveness, are among the highest recommendations in the sight of God. He "resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble." "Before honour is humility, and pride goeth before a fall."
3. If we be indeed of the true Israel of God, we may rest assured that the Lord will be with us, and cause us to triumph over all our foes.
4. It is unbecoming the Christian to be too anxious or too careful about the designs of God concerning him. To Gideon's question, "Wherewith shall I save Israel?" no explicit answer, it will be remembered, was vouchsafed. His curiosity was rebuked as a sign of remaining unbelief. Let us repose like little children in the bosom of the Father's promise.
(W. W. Duncan, M. A.)
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.