And there came an angel of the LORD, and sat under an oak which was in Ophrah, that pertained to Joash the Abiezrite…
In Gideon's attitude of mind a human observer would have seen nothing but weakness, and yet God saw "might." The Divine eye penetrated to the very depths of Gideon's spirit and character, and saw in his seeming weakness the very qualities out of which spiritual heroes are made. For in spiritual achievements a man is mighty in proportion to his capacity to receive Divine help, just as a steam-engine is mighty in proportion to its capacity to receive and utilise the largest possible amount of steam. Gideon's might, then, consisted —
1. In his whole-hearted loyalty to God. He was evidently among the few who remained true to Jehovah. And his first act was to strike a blow at the idolatry of the land. The first condition of spiritual strength and success is to give our hearts to God in profound loyalty. There is an idolatry of the spirit which must be put away before we can do any work for God.
2. In his humble dependence upon God. Gideon's touching confession of his own insufficiency reminds us that this spirit is characteristic of the great men of the Bible — Moses (Exodus 3:11), Jeremiah (Jeremiah 1:6, 7), Paul (Ephesians 3:8). Out of conscious weakness these men were made strong for the work to which they had been called. God has often chosen "the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty."
3. In his profound faith in God. Gideon is mentioned in Hebrews 11 as one of those who "through faith... out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens." God tenderly nourished it by giving signs of encouragement — sacrifice consumed, wet and dry fleece, visit to the Midianites' camp — until it was strong enough to venture on the perilous enterprise with the little band of three hundred men.
4. In his consciousness of a Divine mission. "Have not I sent thee?" (ver. 14). This is God's answer to human weakness shrinking from a difficult and dangerous task. When a man realises this he possesses a might not his own (John 17:18). There was not only a Divine commission, but also a promise of the Divine presence: "Surely I will be with thee" (ver. 16). But still something more was needed, and that was the touch of the Spirit. "The Spirit of the Lord came upon Gideon."
(J. T. Hamly.)
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.