After Deborah’s death, Israel again fell into idolatry. And this time their punishment was severe. The punishments are increasing in severity, because God is trying to teach them something! The Midianites were not just content to receive tribute from Israel, but they were trying to starve Israel out of the Land. Every time a crop was planted, the Midianites and their allies went through the land like locusts and burned or otherwise destroyed the crop.
This is just as serious as Hezbollah and Hamas lobbing missiles into the Land. It was a strategy of genocide. Genocide of the chosen people, is satan’s strategy against the chosen people, which we will see over and over in Scripture, and in history. Pharaoh was the first to use genocide against Israel, when he commanded all the baby boys to be killed. God intervened and Pharaoh did not prosper. Balak the king of Moab desired the genocide of Israel, but neither he nor Balaam prospered.
God chose someone who was hiding in a wine vat threshing wheat in order to champion Israel against the Midianites and their genocide strategy. I think Gideon loved the Lord and longed to serve Him, but he was “least in his father’s house.”
How often God chooses the least to confound the great; that way, the glory resounds to God and not to men! Abraham was not the oldest or greatest, nor was Isaac, nor was Jacob, nor was Judah or Joseph. But God knew this least son would be zealous for Him, if he could overcome his fear. His father had an altar to Baal, the main god of the Canaanites, and a wooden pillar or asherah next to it. The pillar was for the main goddess of the Canaanites.
Notice that God begins the campaign of delivering Israel, by first purifying Gideon’s household. This is the way God brings His kingdom, the kingdom of heaven, to earth — by first purifying our hearts toward Him, then purifying our households toward Him, as the kingdom advances to the community and beyond — but it begins right here, with us bowing our knee in worship to the LORD, and in agreement with His Word over us, not our word over ourselves, or anyone else’s word over us if it does not agree with the LORD’s word over us.
Finding Messiah: These appearances of the Angel of the LORD in Judges are pre- incarnate appearances of Messiah Yeshua our Lord. He receives sacrifice and worship, something an ordinary angel never does in Scripture. When He appears, it is to bring deliverance! And when He appeared among us in the flesh, he brought deliverance for us from the oppressor!