Gideon should have been celebrating the new wheat harvest, but instead we find him hiding his wheat and threshing it where the Midianites were least likely to find him and the crops. We don’t know how he made it to this point, but somehow Gideon managed to keep his wheat crop alive and away from the Midianites’ ruin up to now. The ruin that had been inevitable for about seven straight years. So when the time came for him to thresh what he had kept hidden from the enemy, Gideon took every possible precaution. That’s why he lay low in a winepress with a bunch of wheat rather than celebrating the harvest on the threshing floor. He was hiding out in a pit cracking wheat berries out of stalks for fear that he might be caught by the enemy.
photo of a winepress courtesy of byui.edu
Picture him there in the winepress, fearful and anxious, when all of the sudden he hears
The LORD is with you, mighty warrior.
Gulp. Shots of adrenaline pulse through his veins, not just at the sight of the angel of the Lord but at the words themselves.
If we take a step back and look into that winepress, we see a scared little boy hiding from a big bully. A helpless victim run off by the big bad wolf called Midian. But God saw something much different. He saw a mighty warrior. And He didn’t just see it. He spoke it.
But Gideon hones in on the other words spoken and asks ”um, excuse me, sir, but . . .
if the LORD is with us, why has all this happened to us? (He) . . . put us (here).
I wonder if he wanted to add “and what’s this ‘Mighty warrior’ talk?!? Surely, you aren’t talking about me.”
Then God says something utterly amazing to this scared little boy all curled up in a winepress.
Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?
Instead of defending His unending love for His people and inundating Gideon with His absolutely justified reasons for allowing this oppression, God in His infinite wisdom and grace bestows on Gideon the truth that He sees. The truth which, for us, can only be seen through eyes of faith.
I am with you, Gideon.
Therefore, you are a mighty warrior, full of strength.
And God’s spoken word moves Gideon from helpless victim hiding out in a pit to valiant soldier tearing down false gods (vv 25-29) and conquering enemies in the Name of God Almighty (Judges 7). Because Gideon trusted what God said.
Believe it or not, the same goes for you today. You might not feel like a mighty warrior. In fact, maybe you missed your long run this past weekend, and you are wondering why you even signed up to do this whole Team Hope thing in the first place. Or maybe you’re still recovering from your long run of a few days ago, and the last thing you feel is mighty. Let me assure you, God calls you a mighty warrior, too, if you’re trusting Him.
Because He is mighty to save those children in Southeast Asia who cannot rescue themselves. Because, I believe, He has called you to be His feet, His hands, His voice and to liberate children in dire danger of exploitation and slavery. Because in His eyes, every single step of training, every single word spoken on behalf of those children is a mighty act of bravery in the name of Jesus Christ.
So, as you finish up these last few weeks, choose to trust what He sees, mighty warrior. Do not give in to the fear of failure of the agony of the one more mile dread. Keep at it, mighty warrior. For God is with you. And He has called you to mighty things!