And there came an angel of the LORD, and sat under an oak which was in Ophrah, that pertained to Joash the Abiezrite…
"God be with you!" said the stranger. Gideon flung down his flail. "God be with us? Don't talk nonsense, man! Would I be skulking in this wine press, would we Hebrews be cowering before those pagan Midianites, if God were with us? They say God was with us when we came out of Egypt, and that He did great miracles when Joshua conquered this land. Ah! if that is true, then He has gone away and left us now. Don't talk to me about God, when facts prove that there is no God with us." How do you think a modern minister of the orthodox type would have treated a man who had spoken in that fashion about God? Not as the angel treated Gideon. I fear the modern minister would have said, "Here is a most dangerous, blasphemous sceptic, all wrong in his views, full of heretical, unsettling, dangerous feelings and ideas"; and he would have sought to argue with him and to put him right. What did the angel? He looked at him, knew he was wrong in blaming God in that fashion, but also that he was right to refuse to accept a religion that had lost all its nobility and bravery, that had no backbone in it. The angel said: "Go in this thy might, thy spirit that cannot tolerate this degradation of God's people, that rises against this wrong; go thou, and be the leader in Jehovah's name, and set things right." The Church would be a good deal wiser if it always took care to distinguish between the doubt of corruption and worldliness, the cold, callous, sneering doubt, and the doubt of a brave young heart that doubts because religion is so poor an affair, that doubts because of the great wrongs in the world, because of the deeds of evil that sin works, that doubts precisely because it is crying for the reality. We should go to every such man and say: "My brother, you are not an infidel; you are called to be a religious man beyond the common. You are not an atheist. God has hold of you, and wants you for Himself. Go and do something heroic, and show that God's religion is the mightiest force. Go and demand the reality, and win a victory for God and His kingdom such as the world has never seen yet."
(Prof. G. A Smith.)
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.