An unlikely hero… Gideon

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Judges 6:11 Now the angel of the LORD came and sat under the oak at Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, as his son Gideon was beating out wheat in the wine press, to hide it from the Midianites. 12 The angel of the LORD appeared to him and said to him, “The LORD is with you, you mighty warrior.” 13 Gideon answered him, “But sir, if the LORD is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all his wonderful deeds that our ancestors recounted to us, saying, ‘Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt?’ But now the LORD has cast us off, and given us into the hand of Midian.” 14 Then the LORD turned to him and said, “Go in this might of yours and deliver Israel from the hand of Midian; I hereby commission you.” 15 He responded, “But sir, how can I deliver Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.” 16 The LORD said to him, “But I will be with you, and you shall strike down the Midianites, every one of them.”

I love the story of Gideon. There is so much here and in the rest of his story. There are three things Gideon has a hard time believing in our passage for today. First, there is the name “mighty warrior” given by the angel. Gideon is hiding in the winepress fearful of the Midianites – not exactly a profile in courage. Doesn’t matter. It’s fun to read Gideon’s story and see him live into this new identity the Lord has given him. Before it’s all over everything the angel says about him will come to pass.

Secondly, Gideon has a hard time believing that the Lord is with him and his people. Why? Because they’re being harshly oppressed by the Midianites. Gideon has heard of the mighty acts God did in freeing his ancestors from slavery in Egypt so that’s what he expects. Again, we will see later that God is indeed with him and his people.

Finally, there is the declaration of v.16 above. “…you shall strike down the Midianites, every one of them”. If you read the rest of this chapter in Judges you will read the description of the Midianites. They are so numerous they are like a swarm of locusts covering the ground in the land of Gideon’s people. To strike down every one of these invaders is beyond belief. But that’s what happens in the end.

I’m encouraged here because Gideon is far from perfect yet he is definitely chosen by God. I suppose this is so that God, rather than Gideon, will ultimately get the glory for freeing his people.

Lord help me to look into the hearts of people rather than their exterior, for this is what you do in selecting people to do your will. Give me grace to serve you like Gideon. Amen.

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