Judges 6. Gideon, part 9: The Lord is with you - proof is in the word and not a sign.

Class Outline:

Title: Judges 6. Gideon, part 9: The Lord is with you - proof is in the word and not a sign.        




JDG 6:12 And the angel of the Lord appeared to him and said to him, "The Lord is with you, O valiant warrior."


Just as deliverance is near to Gideon and thus all Israel if they believe, so deliverance is to all Jews throughout the church as the gospel is always near. Certainly, it is no different for the Gentiles, but what Israel has at the outset of the church, which Paul calls to our attention in Romans 10, that the Gentile did not in his age, are the words of the Old Testament, which words contain the gospel.


ROM 10:4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.


ROM 10:5 For Moses writes that the man who practices the righteousness which is based on law shall live by that righteousness.


ROM 10:6 But the righteousness based on faith speaks thus, "Do not say in your heart, 'Who will ascend into heaven?' (that is, to bring Christ down),


ROM 10:7 or' Who will descend into the abyss?' (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead)."


We do not mock the sinner by offering him happiness on conditions which we know that he is powerless to fulfill.


Salvation is not by works and righteousness is not had by keeping the law of Moses.


Salvation by effort is the main feature of eros love. The Bible's main feature is agape love, the love of sacrificial giving to one who has no merit and could not earn the gift. Eros love is a love of a thing for one's own desire and the struggle that one will go through to get what he loves. Eros can attempt to apply itself to salvation, but by its own nature it cannot lead to it since it is self-merit.


Agape: God's grace provides salvation. Eros: man purifies himself unto salvation. Eros was magnified by Plato and eventually found its way into Christianity turning salvation into a system of works.


Before Plato we find it in early Greek mythology of Orpheus in the 7th century B.C. Orpheus' theology was based on his poems, now lost, which taught man to rid himself of the evil part of his nature and morally purify himself with each purification taking him closer to heaven and thus salvation. Orpheus used reincarnation as the vehicle of purification, which Plato changed it to various stages of knowledge throughout a single life. One of Orpheus' myth/poems told how Zeus had resolved to give his son Zagreus (Dionysus) dominion over the world; but while Zagreus was still a child the Titans succeeded in getting him into their power, and killed and devoured him. But Zeus smote the Titans with his thunderbolt and destroyed them; and out of the Titan's ashes he then formed the race of men. This contains the explanation of man's double nature, as being at once akin to the divine and at the same time at enmity with it. This is man's double nature. As created out of the Titans' ashes, he is evil and hostile to god; but since in the Titans' ashes there was also something of the god they had consumed, there is also something divine in the composition of man. Man thus belongs by origin to two worlds; he is an earthly being with the nature of a Titan, but he also has in him a "divine spark". It is this divine element in man that must be liberated from its unwarrantable bondage to the earthly and sensual element; the divine reason or divine soul needs above all things to break its bonds, to purify itself from the defilement of the senses, and to pass out from this unnatural environment into the divine life which it is by nature akin to. Therefore the way of salvation was the way of purification of self.


For Plato, every man had eros in him, which is something like a divine spark. It is the memory of a divine spark from long ago and it seeks to regain the divine that it once was with. Once it gains the divine then eros love must die away. In essence, eros is a will to possess, but not lower things like pure sensuality; eros only seeks higher things, heavenly things. Therefore, to Plato, the gods would not possess love since they possess everything divine - they have no will to possess. In this, the gods would have no intercourse with man and would never reach out to be with man. Love as activity and movement only belongs to man and the divine is unmoved and always at rest. Man, through eros, must climb up to god. These ideas are not original with Plato. He was simply smart enough to pull together the mystical and the rational in a very appealing synthesis.


Eros is the way by which man mounts up to the divine, not the way by which the divine stoops down to man, which is agape.


Eros is the foundation of religion. It is the motivation inside a religious Jew who thinks he can be justified by keeping the law. It is at the heart of all desires in man to obtain his own good. Satan is the mortal enemy of Christ and the church and eros is Satan’s foremost weapon. We do not see Satan, but we see eros everywhere and every day.


EPH 6:12

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.


It is the eros embedded in people’s souls that we wrestle with every day. However, we don’t use human arguments, inquisition style torture, bullying, etc. We use the gospel and the love of Christ shining through us with gentleness and mercy. Christ is the only one that will soften a heart so it can see the error of eros love.


God tells us that there is no divine spark within man and that every man is born into this world totally depraved, 100%.


Nowhere in the Bible does God speak of any divine spark in man. When Adam sinned we all sinned and when through him death entered into the world we all entered into death. Christ had to die for us completely. Salvation had to come from Him and not from within ourselves. Man in his arrogance wants to believe that there is something good in him, even a little bit; something to work on and improve that he may climb up to heaven or dig down to Hades.


ROM 3:10 … 18

"There is none righteous, not even one; … There is no fear of God before their eyes."


PSA 51:5

Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,

And in sin my mother conceived me.


Eros is egocentric and this is the way of the world and almost all of the people in it. But the way of God is agape, the way of Christ.


Agape is the way of giving sacrificially to the undeserving, and as new creatures in Christ, this is now our way and there is no other nor is there a mixing of the worlds in compromise.


ROM 5:8

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.


1JO 3:16

We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.


Agape is the cross. It is Christ. They are one and the same.


ROM 10:6 But the righteousness based on faith speaks thus, "Do not say in your heart, 'Who will ascend into heaven?' (that is, to bring Christ down),


ROM 10:7 or' Who will descend into the abyss?' (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead)."


Man does not have to climb to heaven, nor does he have to navigate the underworld. Egyptian and Greek mythology had a lot to say about the underworld and how it could be wisely navigated by dead to obtain a prosperous afterlife.


The Greeks developed the idea of Elysium:

Night speeds by, And we, Aeneas, lose it in lamenting. Here comes the place where cleaves our way in twain. Thy road, the right, toward Pluto's dwelling goes, And leads us to Elysium. But the left Speeds sinful souls to doom, and is their path To Tartarus th' accurst. — Virgil, Aeneid 


Virgil goes on to describe an encounter in Elysium between Aeneas and his father Anchises. Virgil's Elysium knows perpetual spring and shady groves, with its own sun and lit by its own stars.


In no fix'd place the happy souls reside. In groves we live, and lie on mossy beds, By crystal streams, that murmur thro' the meads: But pass yon easy hill, and thence descend; The path conducts you to your journey's end.” This said, he led them up the mountain's brow, And shews them all the shining fields below. They wind the hill, and thro' the blissful meadows go. — Virgil, Aeneid


The only searching we have to do is in the scriptures which are always near to us.


slide: Indiana Joe



This is God within me bearing witness to me alone that I am a child of God. I think if it was the plan of God that we prove our salvation by an overt manifestation that we or others can see, that we would often be in doubt of our standing, which I never see doubted in the scripture. Would a Christian state that Jesus is his Lord when he is asked or when he is pushed to it? Absolutely yes. If a person doesn't, can we know for certain he is not a believer? Absolutely not. But such a person stands before his own Master.


As for Gideon, he doesn't need a miracle. He only needs faith in the word that is near him and that he has heard, and the Lord is going to help him to find that faith.


JDG 6:11 Then the angel of the Lord came and sat under the oak that was in Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite as his son Gideon was beating out wheat in the wine press in order to save it from the Midianites.


JDG 6:12 And the angel of the Lord appeared to him and said to him, "The Lord is with you, O valiant warrior."


"Valiant warrior" - gibbor (hero or proven warrior) chayil (strength or power). "The Lord is with you, proven warrior of strength."


Certainly Gideon is does not presently fit this description. Right now it is a paradox, but soon enough God will lead him to find faith and strength in the Lord.


Before Gideon recognizes that this is in fact Jehovah speaking to him, he simply imagines the man is misled believer. He actually accuses him of being naïve. Why should this man believe that Jehovah is with us when it is obvious that He isn't?


JDG 6:13 Then Gideon said to him, "O my lord, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all His miracles which our fathers told us about, saying, 'Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt?' [message of the prophet] But now the Lord has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian."


Gideon's response began with denial.


JDG 6:14 And the Lord looked at him and said, "Go in this your strength and deliver Israel from the hand of Midian. Have I not sent you?"


Jehovah looked upon him: the Angel of the Lord is Jehovah.


The writer freely switches from the title "Angel of Jehovah" to "Jehovah" alone. There is no question as to who this person is in the mind of the writer of Judges, writing this history about 200 years later. It was known by Israel and only much later did the Rabbis begin to doubt that this was God Himself.


The Rabbis rejected Jesus as God and so could not acknowledge that God could be a man in any form, therefore the Angel of Jehovah is to them only a messenger from God. Passages like this and many others cause problems with that interpretation and they have to find a way to get around it. For instance:


"The moment the angel uttered these words, the Spirit of God entered him. That is what is meant by the words, "God turned to him." Even though Gideon still did not realize that it was an angel standing in front of him, he knew the words he was hearing came from God." [Rabbi Shmuel Yerushalmi]


Jehovah, the one God, the only omnipotent, sends Gideon. That means that without question, whatever the mission is, it's going to work.


"Have I not sent you?" The Lord gives Gideon insight into who He is who is speaking and that the mission can't fail.


This is the Lord's first hint to Gideon that He is God. There is only One who can say that an objective is a foregone certainty because I'm sending you. Gideon should know this.


We love to fault the people in the Bible when they fail to see God in the normal things around them, but we're reading a narrative that says it's Jehovah. He's not wearing a name-tag that Gideon can see. There is nothing about this man that wouldn't suggest that he is just an ordinary man. He even has a walking stick. As far as Gideon knows, the man could be fanatic or crazy. That doesn't condone Gideon's lack of faith in the word of God or his ignorance of the reason why Israel is under great oppression, but we cannot fault him for not immediately knowing the one to whom he is talking.


"Have I not sent you" is so much like the call of Moses:


EXO 3:12

And He said, "Certainly I will be with you, and this shall be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall worship God at this mountain."


The Lord commands Gideon to go in his strength and deliver Israel.


"Go in this your strength and deliver Israel from the hand of Midian." This is the strength that Gideon will have when he believes. It is the Lord's power flowing through us.


We rightly state that any strength we have is from the Lord, but when your faith is in Him and His power flows through you, you can certainly say that you are strong, but not independently so.


2CO 4:7

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the surpassing greatness of the power may be of God and not from ourselves


JDG 6:15 And he said to Him, "O Lord, how shall I deliver Israel? Behold, my family is the least in Manasseh, and I am the youngest in my father's house."


Gideon figures out who this is.


"O Lord" - Adonai [deity]. In vs. 13 Gideon addresses Him as Adoni which does not necessarily imply deity.


The same Rabbi must explain:

"Although Gideon still thought the angel was fully a prophet, he now realized that God was speaking through him. So he addressed his answer to God. He uses almost the same words he used earlier. But now he used the holy form of the word "Lord," rather than the common one." [Rabbi Shmuel Yerushalmi]


Gideon's human reaction then follows and explains why he's the wrong one for the job. He gives two reasons. He comes from the poorest family in Manasseh and that he is the least in his father's house.


We might be alongside Gideon and give him a nudge and remind him that Jehovah is sending him and so that's all that matters, but our vantage point gives us a great advantage over him. How many of us have clearly heard the call of God and had as our first reaction that we were not qualified or able? How many times have we thought to ourselves that the election of God to walk in the manner of Christ was impossible for us? We were too weak, too fleshly, too frail, too …


JDG 6:15 And he said to Him, "O Lord, how shall I deliver Israel? Behold, my family is the least in Manasseh, and I am the youngest in my father's house."


We might image that they are more like questions than doubts, but they are likely some mixture of the two.


He no longer speaks of Israel's deliverance as impossible, but being conscious of his own personal weakness doubts that he can be a deliverer.


The lesson to us is obvious.


If salvation didn't depend on human ability then neither does election.


ROM 9:16

So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy.


It is clear here that your family and your past, what we might call genetic and environmental handicaps have no bearing on election.


JDG 6:16 But the Lord said to him, "Surely I will be with you, and you shall defeat Midian as one man."


JDG 6:17 So Gideon said to Him, "If now I have found favor in Thy sight, then show me a sign that it is Thou who speakest with me.


JDG 6:18 Please do not depart from here, until I come back to Thee, and bring out my offering and lay it before Thee." And He said, "I will remain until you return."

JOH 17:24 "Father, I desire that they also, whom Thou hast given Me, be with Me where I am, in order that they may behold My glory, which Thou hast given Me; for Thou didst love Me before the foundation of the world.


JOH 17:25 "O righteous Father, although the world has not known Thee, yet I have known Thee; and these have known that Thou didst send Me;


JOH 17:26 and I have made Thy name known to them, and will make it known; that the love wherewith Thou didst love Me may be in them, and I in them. "


No love in Corinth.


1CO 11:23 For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which He was betrayed took bread;


1CO 11:24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it, and said, "This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me." 


1CO 11:25 In the same way He took the cup also, after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me." 


1CO 11:26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until He comes.