“The angel of the Lord came and sat down under the oak in Ophrah that belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, where his son Gideon was threshing wheat in a winepress to keep it from the Midianites. When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.” Judges 6:11-12
It is always both encouraging and inspiring to bump into familiar characters in the Bible that are so much like yourself. Gideon has always been one of those inspirations for me. Instead of standing on top of a hill threshing the wheat, he was found hiding down in the wine press. He can be applauded for doing what he could to take care of his family. Hiding out in this low place he was attempting to salvage a little grain to feed his hungry family. Not only was this the place where grapes were crushed and pressed to make wine, but also we find Gideon pressed on every side by strangling fear and low self worth. His beliefs about God were being tried and it appeared he was not passing the test.
It is in this place that the Lord came close and spoke to him. That’s right! Right there in the low hiding place. He wasn’t hiding from God, but from his enemies who had brought nothing but oppression and devastation. He had a few questions about the God his fathers of faith had told him about. Their stories did not seem to match up with what he was experiencing. We are quick to define God by what we are experiencing instead of who He declares Himself to be. Gideon asked his questions and ended up with a face-to-face encounter with the living God. Gideon wasn’t standing tall and charging the gates of hell full of faith and confidence, and yet that is exactly where God showed up.
It is quite humorous upon the first reading that God would come to him in such a place as this and proclaim, “The LORD is with you, mighty warrior.”
What did you say? Mighty Warrior? Who, me?
I wonder if Gideon looked around to see who had slipped into the wine press with him because he knew that he was everything but a mighty warrior.
He answered with words far too familiar. “I’m the least. The weakest. I’m not enough. I never measure up. I came from the wrong family. And look at where I am.”
Sound familiar? I’m sure most reading this can identify at some point in life. Wine presses do this to us. Hard places press us to question what we believe and who we believe.
When God steps up and proves Himself to be exactly who he says he is, we, like Gideon, will worship Him and honor him for who he is. Then we will arise and obey His assignment.
God called Gideon as He saw him. Pressing and crushing life events have a way of stealing our identity. We identify more with our failures and the lies of the enemy instead of what God says to be true.
God comes to the weakest, ordinary vessel to accomplish His greatest work. He comes to us "Gideons" and shows Himself mighty to deliver. As we join in believing God, supernatural strength and ability to obey rises within us. He accomplishes His work in and through us and we just stand in amazement.
What is it you hear the LORD say over you today? If you will listen closely I believe you will hear,
“The LORD is with you, mighty warrior.”
Yes, you….mighty warrior.
If you believe the truth, there is no telling what God will do in and through you.
“Greater is He who is within you than he who is in the world. “ 1 John 4:4