I’d like to thank Dan for his comment on last night’s blog. He is definitely right in what he says and I’d like to emphasize something about that. Too often, we speak of New Testament Christianity, for instance. I don’t really like that term. Christianity is about more than the New Testament. The Old Testament is vital for us. We cannot truly appreciate the New Testament without a good understanding of the Old Testament. Remember that for a time, the Old Testament was the Bible of the church and we’re too quick to relegate it to secondary status in our thinking.
Tonight, we’ll be looking at Judges 6. The story of Gideon is a very interesting story, but we’re not looking at the whole thing. We’re only interested in the Trinitarian concept therein with the focus being on the Angel of the Lord.
11 The angel of the LORD came and sat down under the oak in Ophrah that belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, where his son Gideon was threshing wheat in a winepress to keep it from the Midianites. 12 When the angel of the LORD appeared to Gideon, he said, “The LORD is with you, mighty warrior.”
Once again, we have a similar pattern showing up. The Angel of the Lord appears and when he speaks, he will speak of the LORD as if the LORD is someone else.
13 “But sir,” Gideon replied, “if the LORD is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our fathers told us about when they said, ‘Did not the LORD bring us up out of Egypt?’ But now the LORD has abandoned us and put us into the hand of Midian.”
At this point, Gideon might not know for sure who this visitor is. It’s likely that the Angel of the Lord simply appeared as a man and Gideon just saw him as an eccentric guest.
14 The LORD turned to him and said, “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?”
15 “But Lord , ” Gideon asked, “how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.”
At this point, we see the shift again. The text says “The LORD.” Of course, Gideon can’t see a text so he doesn’t notice this. However, Gideon could have noticed that the Angel of the Lord said “I am sending you.”
16 The LORD answered, “I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites together.”
17 Gideon replied, “If now I have found favor in your eyes, give me a sign that it is really you talking to me. 18 Please do not go away until I come back and bring my offering and set it before you.”
And the LORD said, “I will wait until you return.”
Gideon is not know as a man of faith and so he wants to put this to the test. (Note for those of you who want to use Gideon’s fleece idea to find “God’s will for your life.” It shows that you really don’t have much faith in God to use Gideon’s technique.) However, the Angel of the Lord is still being referred to as “The LORD.”
19 Gideon went in, prepared a young goat, and from an ephah of flour he made bread without yeast. Putting the meat in a basket and its broth in a pot, he brought them out and offered them to him under the oak.
20 The angel of God said to him, “Take the meat and the unleavened bread, place them on this rock, and pour out the broth.” And Gideon did so. 21 With the tip of the staff that was in his hand, the angel of the LORD touched the meat and the unleavened bread. Fire flared from the rock, consuming the meat and the bread. And the angel of the LORD disappeared. 22 When Gideon realized that it was the angel of the LORD, he exclaimed, “Ah, Sovereign LORD! I have seen the angel of the LORD face to face!”
Now we have something quite interesting. The Angel of the Lord clearly does a miracle in bringing fire to the offering and then disappears. However, Gideon cries out to the sovereign LORD and speaks of another person saying he will die for he has seen the Angel of the Lord face to face. This is quite fascinating because Israelites knew that death came if you saw God face to face. Remember why Jacob named the place he wrestled Peniel?
23 But the LORD said to him, “Peace! Do not be afraid. You are not going to die.”
24 So Gideon built an altar to the LORD there and called it The LORD is Peace. To this day it stands in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.
And note that the LORD speaks to him. Now if this is the Angel of the Lord being referred to this way, we cannot know for sure, but I don’t see any reason why it couldn’t be.
Why bring this up again? Once again, I want to establish that this is a consistent pattern we see in the OT. It’s not just hidden away in a few places. It’s all throughout. Tomorrow, we’ll see the Angel of the Lord shows up again in Judges.