The Weekly Pulpit
And there came an angel of the LORD, and sat under an oak which was in Ophrah, that pertained to Joash the Abiezrite…
He did not want to be rash and hasty, and do what he might be very sorry for after wards. He thought strongly that this was an angel, but he was not sure yet. His thoughts had been so set upon the thing, that he even thought he might be dreaming. "If now I have found grace in thy sight," he said, "give me a sign that thou talkest with me." Or again, this might be somebody tempting him and leading him into a trap. So he asked the stranger to stay while he got ready a present for him, as Abraham had done for the three angels who came to him. If this is an ordinary man he will give him food in a hospitable fashion as Easterns do, and then send him on his way — if it is God, he will offer Him a sacrifice. That is why he put the broth in a pot, he kept it for the libation or drink offering, if it should really prove that this was the angel of the Lord. So when the angel said, "Lay the flesh and the cakes on the rock, and pour out the broth," it was as much as saying, "Offer me a sacrifice." Gideon was satisfied directly. Here was the test he had been looking for and wanting to know about. So he obeyed: he poured out the broth as a drink-offering, and the angel touched it, and fire came out of the rock and burnt it up. Then he knew that God was on his side. Now you will see from this, I think, wherein the excellence of his character lay. On the one hand he was not rash, ready to throw his life away for nothing; on the other he was not a laggard, throwing away opportunities when he got them. Now I think you will see the power of this text. He put his broth in a pot for two reasons —
(1) He did not want to be deceived; but —
(2) He wanted to be ready.Rash men do things in a hurry which they are sorry for afterwards, but rashness is better than indifference, carelessness, indolence. Sad indeed it would have been for him if he had turned a cold ear to what the angel had told him, if he had prepared no sacrifice, had gone on threshing his wheat and taken no heed to God's message. He would have lived and died with God's will towards him unfulfilled. You and I have all of us God's work to do; you have yours, I mine. The world does not know what it is, we do not know ourselves, except in part. We know present duties, but life is not mapped out in full before any of us. But happy is that servant who knows Christ's present will, who has taken pains to learn it, and not only so, but who is ready to fulfil it. Duties which conscience tells us are duties, how ready we are to find excuses to avoid them, and to follow our own pleasure. Gideon had his wheat to thresh; let greater men than he go forth and fight the Midianites. If he had said so, would that have been a strange, unusual case? Would it not have been very like what we have done before now? For the will of God — we must surely have learned that by this time — is very often quite contrary to our own inclinations. Duty says one thing, self-indulgence says another. By all means let us have caution and steadiness, but let not caution be an excuse for doing nothing. Gideon putting his broth in a pot is an everlasting example to us to be ready for God's living sacrifice.
(The Weekly Pulpit.)
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.