And there came an angel of the LORD, and sat under an oak which was in Ophrah, that pertained to Joash the Abiezrite…
He 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. He was right in arguing, "What God was, He is; why then does He not do for us what He did for our fathers?" He was right in debating with himself, and asking "Is this what it means to be God's people? What is the use of living at this price? "But he was wrong in thinking that the fault lay with God, and not with himself; wrong in not seeing his very obvious duty, which, until he performed, God could not be expected to work for Israel. Just so we are right in refusing to accept a religion which makes no practical difference upon us; right in impatiently throwing aside the mere traditional assurances whereby men soothe sinners and promise them deliverance; right in looking straight at the facts of our own experience, and testing religion by its power on ourselves; but we often add to this the mistake of Gideon, and fall out with God for not interfering more powerfully in our behalf, when it is we ourselves who are preventing Him from so interfering. You wait for God to do something, while He is waiting for you. If you are not able to use God's strength, if you might as well be heathen for all the moral help you get from God, then depend upon it there is something wrong in your conduct towards God, some plain duty you are neglecting.
(Marcus Dods, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And there came an angel of the LORD, and sat under an oak which was in Ophrah, that pertained unto Joash the Abiezrite: and his son Gideon threshed wheat by the winepress, to hide it from the Midianites.
WEB: The angel of Yahweh came, and sat under the oak which was in Ophrah, that pertained to Joash the Abiezrite: and his son Gideon was beating out wheat in the winepress, to hide it from the Midianites.