Old Testament: Judges 6: 1- 40
Judges 6: 1 – 40 A Wooly Situation
Chapters 6 through 8 are the story of the fourth judge (fifth, if you count Shamgar). Gideon is famous for his fleece. Israel had been oppressed. They cried out. God provided a deliverer or judge. Are you starting to see the pattern? It’s the story of the book of Judges.
Gideon was called, “O, valiant warrior,” by the Angel of the Lord (v. 11). The Angel of the Lord is Jesus’ identity in the OT. He was joking when He called Gideon “O, valiant warrior.” Maybe not joking exactly but He certainly was seeing Gideon’s potential rather than his reality. In reality Gideon was a meek farmer. He was also a little bit cowardly. But he had grown sick of hiding from the Canaanites. Wiersbe says that “God’s commandments are God’s enablements.” Gideon hadn’t gotten that word yet.
The Angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon and told him he’d be able to defeat the Midianites who had been oppressing the Israelites. Gideon asked for a sign. The Angel told Gideon to offer a sacrifice.
Gideon built an altar and sacrificed to the Lord on it. Then the Angel of the Lord (Jesus) appeared and burnt it up. The altar is still on Oprah, no, wait, it is in Ophrah at the time of the wiring of Judges. (Oprah’s a TV show hostess.) The Angel told him to destroy the Midianites’ altar and then sacrifice to Yahweh. So Gideon did but he did it at night because he was afraid to do it during the day.
The next day the Midianites came to Gideon’s father because they wanted to off Gideon. But Gideon’s dad told them they should let Baal kill Gideon since Baal was the one offended.
The Midianities and Amalekites assembled to come against Gideon. Gideon put out a call himself to several of the tribes of Israel (Manasseh, Asher, Zebulun, and Naphtali) to send him warriors to fight their oppressors.
Gideon asked Yahweh for a sign again. He asked that the Lord douse a fleece that he put out at night. In the morning, he wrung a bowl of water of it. Not content with that, believe it or not, he asked for the opposite the next night. So on the next morning. the fleece was dry and the ground was wet.
That, apparently, was enough to convince Gideon that it was OK to attack the Midianities and the Amalekites. (By the way, don’t try that method of attaining God’s will at home. This is a description of what Gideon did, it is not a prescription of what we should do. We have the New Testament and the Holy Spirit today to guide us. Gideon’s way was a bit immature but God allowed it in extreme circumstances. God had already told Gideon what to do and promised him success. He did not need to use a fleece as tea leaves.)
New Testament: Luke 22: 54 -23: 12
Luke 22: 54-65 One, Two, Three And You’re Out!
Jesus was arrested and brought to the home of the high priest, Annas. Peter followed behind and warmed himself at a fire in the courtyard. A young girl saw him and recognized him as a disciple. Of course, Peter denied it. Denial No. 1. Not long after that another person pointed out Peter as a disciple. Peter said, “Ut uh.” Denial No. 2. About an hour went by and another man fingered him as a Galilean. Peter again denied saying, “I don’t know what you’re talking about!” Denial No. 3. A rooster must’ve been counting because at that exact moment he crowed. Then the Lord looked Peter right in the face. Awk. Peter remembered what Jesus had prophesied about him and went out and wept.
The men that had Jesus in custody were playing a game called “hot hand” (McGee) whereby they would blindfold Him, spin Him, hit him and then ask who had done it. They hit Him with their fists but one would lay out. He was probably unrecognizable after that (Is. 52: 14). They were also insulting and blaspheming Him.
Luke 23: 1-7 Take Me To Your Pilate
Jesus was illegally brought to the Jewish council and charged with blasphemy. The problem was He was telling the truth, as usual. He was actually the Messiah. Another problem was that the Jews could not execute anyone since they were under Roman rule. And Rome could care less if a Jewish peasant was claiming to be the Jewish Messiah unless it threatened their rule. So the Jews changed the charge once they agreed He was blaspheming. The council was not allowed to charge someone and come to a verdict on the same day. But they were in a rush to get rid of Jesus before Passover began. The high priest tore his robes and this, too, violated Mosaic law (Lev. 10: 6; 21: 10).
Jesus next was taken to Pilate. Notice the lies that the Jewish leaders had to pull out of their hat. They said Jesus was stirring up an insurrection. There He was standing before Pilate beaten to a pulp in His peasant gear and Pilate was supposed to believe He was a threat to the great Roman Empire. Kind of a stretch, wouldn’t you say? But that was their story and they were sticking to it. Pilate found out that Jesus was from King Herod’s district and passed Him off trying to be rid of Him. Herod just happened to be in town at that time and available to incriminate himself.
Luke 23: 8 – 12 What, Are You Hard of Herod?
Herod had been wanting to see Jesus because he wanted to be entertained a little. (People are still going to church these days to be entertained by Him.) Jesus wouldn’t answer Herod because he thought he was an “old fox” and appearing before him was totally illegal. The chief priests and scribes that were there taunted Jesus. Herod’s soldiers dressed him in a royal robe and abused Jesus. Then they sent Him back to Pilate. Politics make strange bedfellows they say and Pilate and Herod, though they had been enemies, they became good friends that day. (Uh.)