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Bible Commentaries

Sermon Bible Commentary

Judges 6

Verses 1-40

Judges 6-8

In the first words of Gideon we find the key to his character. (1) He was a man who felt deeply the degradation of his people. He could not enjoy his own harvest while the Midianites were robbing all around; he had the patriot's wide sympathy. (2) He was a man also of the strongest common sense, accustomed to look through words to things, and to look the facts of life fair in the face. (3) He was a man of abundant personal valour, but yet unwilling to move a step until he was sure that God was with him.

I. We cannot fully understand Gideon's attitude towards the work of God, without taking into account the fact that the first thing he was commanded to do was to hew down the altar of Baal which had been erected in his father's grounds. God could not come among them while they were all turned away from Him to Baal. No sooner had Gideon hewed down the altar of Baal, than he received his commission against Midian. Gideon was right in refusing to believe God was present if things went on just as if He were not present, but he was wrong in not seeing what it was that prevented God from being present.

II. Gideon's attitude towards God's work, though not satisfactory, was due not so much to a flaw in his spirit, as to a mental blindness to duty. This could be, and was, easily amended. But the narrator goes on to show that there are other attitudes which men assume, and which unfit them for doing anything for God in the world. Much untrustworthy material existed in his army. The cowards had first to be rejected.

III. Out of the 10,000 men who were left, only 300 had that eagerness for the work that kept them from paying undue regard to other things. Men who are steeped in their own worldly objects are not the men whom God will use for His work.

IV. A fourth attitude is illustrated by the conduct of Ephraim. The Ephraimites may have been either high spirited and vexed that they had not been invited to help in overthrowing the Midianites, or they may have only wished that they had a share in the glory, and tried to make it appear that they would gladly have joined Gideon. There are both these classes still, persons who really feel hurt if they are not asked to help in every good work, and persons who when a good work is in its infancy make no movement to join it, but as soon as it becomes popular come forward and loudly complain that they were never asked to join.

V. A fifth and last attitude which men frequently assume towards God's work is represented by the men of Succoth and Penuel. These men were blind to the glory of the common cause selfish, poor spirited creatures, that shut themselves up in their fenced cities, and were satisfied to let God's soldiers starve, and God's work come to an end for want of support, so long only as they had bread enough to satisfy their own hunger. Such persons must be taught not by expostulation, but by the sword and with the briers of the wilderness.

M. Dods, Israel's Iron Age, p. 31.

References: 6-8. Parker, vol. vi., pp. 2, 49; J. Baldwin Brown, The Sunday Afternoon, p. 194.Judges 6:11 . J. Sherman, Thursday Penny Pulpit, vol. v., p. 313.Judges 6:11-13 . J. M. Neale, Sermons for the Church Year, vol. ii., p. 171.Judges 6:11-24 . Homiletic Quarterly, vol. iv., p. 375.Judges 6:14 . Homiletic Magazine, vol. vii., p. 27; Clergyman's Magazine, vol. x., p. 275; J. M. Neale, Sermons for the Church Year, vol. i., p. 130. Judges 6:19 . J. W. Atkinson, Penny Pulpit, No. 1052.Judges 6:22-24 . Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xxviii., No. 1679. Judges 6:25-32 . Homiletic Quarterly, vol. iv., p. 376. Judges 6:33-40 . Ibid., vol. iv., p. 377.

Verses 36-40

Judges 6:36-40

I. Gideon asked the Lord for a sign, thus showing that there was in him that caution and waiting, for the want of which many a man has mistaken his mission, and instead of doing the work of the Lord, has wrecked both himself and his own work. "If Thou wilt save Israel by my hand." A full consciousness that Israel needs saving, but an indisposition to feel that such an honour could be bestowed on him; such is a good index to the character of a man, a disposition to test ourselves. We do well to apply tests to ourselves and to our position; to our religious life, and to our relation to God by our religious life.

II. We can justify the Gideon test. Upon the heart and the home the dew will fall and remain. If we ask, Am I a child of God? we shall know by the dew on our hearts.

III. The world will insist on applying its test to us; the world will watch for the dew on our fleece. Gratitude in the heart, holiness in the life are dew.

E. Paxton Hood, Sermons, p. 430.

References: Judges 6:36-40 . J. Baldwin Brown, Christian World Pulpit, vol. vi., p. 81; Expositor, 1st series, vol. iii., p. 295.Judges 6:38-40 . -C. J. Vaughan, Good Words, 1872, p. 745.Judges 7:1 . Homiletic Quarterly, vol. iv., p. 387. Judges 7:1-8 . Ibid., vol. iv., p. 379.

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Bibliographical Information
Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on Judges 6". "Sermon Bible Commentary". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/sbc/judges-6.html.