“And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him, and said to him, “The Lord is with you, you mighty man of valor!” (Judg. 6:12)
The forty years of rest after the defeat of Sisera (Judg. 5:31) eventually came to an end. In their prosperity and complacency, Israel again did evil in the sight of the Lord. God delivered them into the hands of the Midianites (Judg. 6:1-2). The “Midianites” were nomads and descendants of Abraham and Keturah (Gen.25:1-2). They would descend on the Israelites at harvest times, steal their crops and possessions, and then retreat to their own land (Isa. 9:4; 10:26; 60:6). It was not their strategy to kill the Israelites and take over their land. They preferred to let the Israelites sow and harvest their crops, and then steal what they had labored so hard to produce! To conceal their harvested crops and other valuable possessions, the Israelites hid them in caves and other holes in the ground.
Every time Israel sinned, God allowed their enemies to afflict and oppress them to show them the high price of low living.
After seven years of humiliation, fruitless labor, poverty, and domination by an oppressive power, Israel finally cried out to the Lord (Judg. 6:1-6). Prayer was their last resort instead of their first resource!
In life, we often encounter problems. Rarely do we consider ourselves as the source of those problems! In response to Israel’s prayer, God sent them a prophet to let them know where the real problem was. It was not that the Midianites were so strong; it was that Israel was so disobedient (Judg. 6:7-10). The real problem was Israel. It is human nature to blame others for problems that we cause!
GOD’S CHOICE OF A DELIVERER
The Angel of the Lord appeared to a man called Gideon (Judg. 6:11-13). With further reading, we discover that this was not simply an angel speaking on behalf of God, it was God Himself, appearing in human form (Judg. 6:14;6:16)! Gideon was threshing wheat in a winepress. Normally, one would thresh wheat on high ground, where the wind could blow away the chaff. Gideon could not do this because he would then be in open view to the Midianites, who could come and steal his grain.
Gideon was just as defeated and frightened as the rest of Israel! He was no hero. He was not your obvious choice for a leader but he was God’s choice! Like He always does, God chose a working person.
WHO ARE YOU?
The Lord said something truly amazing when He looked at Gideon. He called him “a mighty man of valor” which literally refers to “a man who is charging right into the face of the enemy”. It doesn’t make sense, but that is who the Lord saw when he looked at Gideon. Here was a man, so afraid of the enemy that he was hiding behind a winepress threshing wheat! God saw what Gideon would be when He got though with him. God intended to take Gideon and use him in a great way.
God then charged Gideon to go and save Israel his own might (Judg. 6:14-16). It is hard to see that Gideon had any might to go in but yet God was not mocking him. Gideon indeed had might, but not as we might normally think. He had;
- The might of the humble, threshing wheat on the winepress floor
- The might of the caring, because he cared about the low place of Israel
- The might of knowledge, because he knew God did great things in the past
- The might of the spiritually hungry because he wanted to see God do great works again
- The might of the teachable, because he listened to what God said
- The might of the weak, and God’s strength is perfected in weakness (2 Cor. 12:9)
Do you know that God knows you better than you know yourself? (Psa. 139; Heb. 4:13)
Often, when we look at our lives, all we see are mistakes, failures and problems. We see people who consistently fail to live up to God’s high calling on our lives. We see individuals who lose far more than we win and from all appearances, we always seem to come up short. What does God see?
God sees beyond the present moment. He sees what we could be in the future. You see, the Lord looks at the heart, (1 Sam. 16:7). He knows what we will be when He gets through with us. The best thing we can ever do is to take our lives, with all the problems, failures and shortcomings and place them in the hand of the Lord. He is able to take us like we are and transform us into something powerful and amazing by His power! Take that step today.