And there came an angel of the LORD, and sat under an oak which was in Ophrah, that pertained to Joash the Abiezrite…
I. THE CHRISTIAN'S PRIVILEGE. It is to "find grace in the sight of the Lord."
1. A partaking of the Divine nature. Those who have found grace in God's sight have received His grace in their heart. If we are accepted of God we are united to Him by faith in His Son. We become one with Him — are created anew — conformed to the Divine image and bear the image of the heavenly.
2. A reception of the Divine fulness. He is emphatically called the God of all grace. He has all the treasures of grace we stand in need of; so that if we find favour with Him — if we are interested in His love — He will communicate to us every blessing we require. What are all the treasures of the world compared with the durable riches and righteousness which He has to bestow?
3. The enjoyment of the Divine presence: "In Thy sight." There is no grace to be found but here. We may find favour with men, but only grace — free favour — with God. We have free access into His presence. We approach His very throne, and He bids us come near.
II. THE CHRISTIAN'S DOUBTS: "If now I have found grace in Thy sight." There are seasons when the most eminent saints have been led to doubt of their interest in God. "Happy is the man that feareth alway." Let us refer to some of those things that occasion the believer's doubts.
1. The greatness of the privilege. When we take a review of the vast privileges enjoyed by our finding grace in His sight, and think of our depravity and vileness under a sense of our unworthiness, we exclaim, "Surely such mercy cannot be for me!"
2. The imperfection of our graces. If I have found grace in Thy sight, why do I not more closely follow them who through faith and patience inherit the promises? Why am I not more fervent in prayer? Why not more delighted in God's house? Why do I so little prize the privilege of communion with Him?
3. The withdrawings of God's countenance. There are seasons when the believer is called to walk in darkness, and God hides His face. Without God's presence, the Word is a dead letter, ordinances are a blank, all the means we may use are insipid.
4. The apostasy of false professors. Then the thought occurs in the mind — perhaps after all I am deceiving myself with the profession of godliness, while I have never felt its power, and I mistake the excitement of natural feelings for the operation of a Divine principle — perhaps, after in outward appearance reaching the very gate of heaven, I shall be thrust down to hell. But is there no way of ascertaining the fact?
III. THE CHRISTIAN'S DESIRE. Gideon asked a sign. "Show me a sign that Thou talkest with me." And God gave it him. Christians have a sign beyond all visions, tokens, voices, or any outward manifestation. There are three ways in which God shows His people a sign —
1. By the workings of His providence.
2. By the communications of His grace. Thus He speaks peace to the soul — calms the spirit — gives us a sense of pardoning mercy.
3. By the witness of His Spirit (Romans 8:16). There are many ways in which this sign is given by the Spirit. It is done by sealing home pardon to the soul — by more deeply impressing on our souls the Divine likeness — by pouring out a spirit of prayer — by implanting divine principles — by giving filial dispositions and tempers — inspiring heavenly desires and affections —conferring the graces of the Spirit, and making us bring forth the fruits of the Spirit — causing the Spirit to dwell in us as in a temple, and assuring us of God's favour.Conclusion:
1. Let those who have not found grace seek the possession of it. Seek to be good rather than great — the grace of God more than the favour of man.
2. Let those who have found grace seek the assurance of it. It is attainable — the way is open. And remember, though you may be as safe, you cannot be as happy without it.
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.