In today’s passage we’ll hear the story of Gideon, a judge who was raised up after the people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, and the Lord gave them into the hand of Midian seven years. It is apparent from the opening verses that this oppression was severe: if People of the East were destroying Israelite crops as far as Gaza, then the oppression spanned the entire southern half of the country.
There is a helping of comfort food in chapter 6, which bears the flavor of a recipe we saw in the Pentateuch. The LORD reminds Israel that it was He who brought them out of Egypt and gave them this land. Then Gideon converses with a man sitting under a tree, but doesn’t know he’s an angel of the LORD. The angel gives a frightening sign – fire is involved! – and Gideon is terrified to find Himself in the presence of the LORD. This offers hope: if the LORD has followed the formula to this point, perhaps He will follow through and again rescue His people.
Alas, I will not spoil the narrative for you. Listen closely to the unfolding story and see if you can discern themes beyond a simple “God raises up a deliverer” story. Pay attention to the LORD’s abundant dialogue and how He deals with Gideon. Pay attention also to the dialogue in the second half of the story, when the Midianites – the presenting enemy – virtually fade into the background. And listen for the inconsistencies within Gideon’s own life, and how they might serve as metaphors for what is going on in Israel at large.
Our verse for this week is John 3:35: The Father loves the Son and has given all things into his hand.
Judges chapters 6 through 8. Now let’s read it!
The Father loves the Son and has given all things into his hand.