Judges 6:11-18

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, July 18, 2016 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

“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.’
'Pardon me, my lord,' Gideon replied, 'but if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our ancestors told us about when they said, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up out of Egypt? ’ But now the Lord has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian.'
The Lord turned to him and said, 'Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?' 'Pardon me, my lord,' Gideon replied, 'but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.'
The Lord answered, 'I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites, leaving none alive.'
Gideon replied, 'If now I have found favor in your eyes, give me a sign that it is really you talking to me. Please do not go away until I come back and bring my offering and set it before you.'
And the Lord said, 'I will wait until you return.'” (Judges 6:11-18)

This week, we move into the story of Gideon. You may have heard about Gideon before, but we’re not quite to the “famous” part of his story yet.

In verse 11, we see that Gideon is just a regular guy doing his job when the angels comes to him. It was unusual though, because he was threshing in a winepress. Threshing is the process that separates the actual grains of wheat from the part of the stalk that isn’t wanted, the chaff. Normally threshing would occur in a large open area, because the wind would assist in blowing away the lighter chaff, and the heavier grains of wheat would fall to the ground. Threshing in a winepress would be a lot more work, as more of it would need to be done manually.

So why was Gideon causing himself so much extra work? Go read last week’s post for the longer answer, but in short it was because the Midianites were still oppressing the Israelites. By threshing in secret, Gideon was hoping to keep his crop for food rather than having it be taken away when the Midianites would see him. We see Gideon being timid by hiding his threshing, so it is especially ironic when he is called a mighty warrior by the angel in verse 12. This is a foreshadowing of what will happen in Gideon’s future.

In verse 13, Gideon shares that he felt like the Lord had abandoned them because their present circumstances were so difficult. Is it God’s fault that the people were in such a terrible predicament? Nope - it was Israel’s fault for disobeying God. (Remember, as we saw last week, disobeying God results in being cursed by Him rather than blessed.)

God does not address Gideon’s complaint, however, and instead tells him in verse 14 to go fight for God. It’s not about Gideon’s power, but it’s about his obedience to God and willingness to trust God’s strength. Gideon is not the only person who has thought he’s too weak for the job that God is giving him; Moses acted similarly in Exodus 3, and so did Isaiah in Isaiah 6:8-9. Gideon’s reluctance in verse 15 also resembles Moses’s, but that is the point God is working on making here. God often uses the weak to accomplish His purposes. We see that echoed in the New Testament, in Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians: “Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong” (1 Corinthians 1:26-27).

As with Moses, God reassures Gideon that He really is sending him (verse 16). Again like Moses, Gideon wants proof from God that it’s really God sending Him on this mission, and God grants him that proof (verses 17-18). Stay tuned for the rest of this story in a couple weeks.

Why does this encounter between Gideon and God matter for us today? We can be assured, like Gideon, that if God sends us on a mission, He will equip us to complete that mission. I’ve often said that if God brings me to it, God will bring me through it. Even if we’re hiding away somewhere doing our threshing in a winepress, God will find us and use us if we’re open to being obedient to Him. We need to be open to what God is leading us to, even if we feel as though we’re not capable enough to accomplish it. Hear God’s voice and obey it, and God will take care of the rest.

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