Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Angel of the Lord

April 1: Judges 6-7

11 Now the angel of the Lord came and sat under the terebinth at Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, while his son Gideon was beating out wheat in the winepress to hide it from the Midianites. 12 And the angel of the Lord appeared to him and said to him, “The Lord is with you, O mighty man of valor.” 13 And Gideon said to him, “Please, sir, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all his wonderful deeds that our fathers recounted to us, saying, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt?’ But now the Lord has forsaken us and given us into the hand of Midian.” 14 And the Lord turned to him and said, “Go in this might of yours and save Israel from the hand of Midian; do not I send you?” 15 And he said to him, “Please, Lord, how can I save Israel? Behold, my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father's house.” 16 And the Lord said to him, “But I will be with you, and you shall strike the Midianites as one man.” 17 And he said to him, “If now I have found favor in your eyes, then show me a sign that it is you who speak with me. 18 Please do not depart from here until I come to you and bring out my present and set it before you.” And he said, “I will stay till you return."

19 So Gideon went into his house and prepared a young goat and unleavened cakes from an ephah of flour. The meat he put in a basket, and the broth he put in a pot, and brought them to him under the terebinth and presented them. 20 And the angel of God said to him, “Take the meat and the unleavened cakes, and put them on this rock, and pour the broth over them.” And he did so. 21 Then the angel of the Lord reached out the tip of the staff that was in his hand and touched the meat and the unleavened cakes. And fire sprang up from the rock and consumed the meat and the unleavened cakes. And the angel of the Lord vanished from his sight. 22 Then Gideon perceived that he was the angel of the Lord. And Gideon said, “Alas, O Lord God! For now I have seen the angel of the Lord face to face.” 23 But the Lord said to him, “Peace be to you. Do not fear; you shall not die.” 24 Then Gideon built an altar there to the Lord and called it, The Lord Is Peace. To this day it still stands at Ophrah, which belongs to the Abiezrites.
Judges 6:1-24, English Standard Version

Sometimes when we read a story or an account of an actual event such as this, we tend to forget that the person does not necessarily know the things we know. For example, we know from Judges 6:1 that the man who came to visit Gideon was the angel of the Lord. Though he may have suspected it, Gideon did not realize it really was the Lord until verse 22. How did Gideon react to this revelation?

22 Then Gideon perceived that he was the angel of the Lord. And Gideon said, “Alas, O Lord God! For now I have seen the angel of the Lord face to face.” 23 But the Lord said to him, “Peace be to you. Do not fear; you shall not die.” 24 Then Gideon built an altar there to the Lord and called it, The Lord Is Peace.

Often we do not realize that things that occur in our lives are sent directly from the Lord. We tend to live as those around us who have no hope. We are so like Gideon! Even after this revelation, he still put God to the test one more time.

36 Then Gideon said to God, “If you will save Israel by my hand, as you have said, 37 behold, I am laying a fleece of wool on the threshing floor. If there is dew on the fleece alone, and it is dry on all the ground, then I shall know that you will save Israel by my hand, as you have said.” 38 And it was so. When he rose early next morning and squeezed the fleece, he wrung enough dew from the fleece to fill a bowl with water. 39 Then Gideon said to God, “Let not your anger burn against me; let me speak just once more. Please let me test just once more with the fleece. Please let it be dry on the fleece only, and on all the ground let there be dew.” 40 And God did so that night; and it was dry on the fleece only, and on all the ground there was dew.
Judges 6:36-40

After this, however, Gideon was a changed man; everything God commanded, he did, even to the point of reducing his large army down to 300 men. Gideon had no doubt that it was God who gave them the final victory over the Midianites.

As a Christians, we are not alone to face the daily burdens of life. Pray that God will help you to live in hope and trust in Him, and not as those around you who have no hope.

I can not help but think of the words of this song from Psalm 84:

God is our refuge and our strength,
Our ever present aid,
And, therefore, though the earth remove,
We will not be afraid.
Though hills amidst the seas be cast,
Though foaming waters roar,
Yea, though the mighty billows shake
The mountains on the shore.

Be still and know that I am God.
O'er all exalted high;
The subject nations of the earth
My Name shall magnify.
The Lord of hosts is on our side,
Our safety to secure;
The God of Jacob is for us
A refuge strong and sure.
(from the Psalter Hymnal, copyright 1976)

God Bless You,
Linda

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