Daily D – Judges 6:11-16
Judges 6:11-16 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 had a casual conversation with the Angel of the LORD. It was casual because A) he did not realize who he was talking to, and B) because he was busy threshing wheat in a winepress. Let us acknowledge the obvious: wheat is threshed in wide-open spaces so that the chaff blows away from the laborers. There is nowhere for the chaff to go inside a winepress except for up your nose and in your eyes and ears and all over your clothes.
Gideon was working hard, harder than normal due to the constrictions of his effort to remain hidden from the Midianites who would take whatever he had and quite possibly leave him for dead. When life became about as bad as it could get, God showed up.
How did the Angel of the LORD address Gideon, the guy hiding from his enemies who had given up on God? Verse 12 tells us:
Why did God give Gideon this title? This is what his name means. He had a name to live up to. He also, as much as he was able, lived a hidden life. You get the feeling he did not enjoy confrontation. If you lived under the constant threat of death, you probably would not like it either. Even if you decided to live up to your name, how could you do anything to make a difference when the enemy was so big and you were so small?
This was the tone of Gideon’s observations in verses 13-15. He says, “Pardon me, my lord.” The lower-case word “lord” is the equivalent of saying “sir.” Again, he did not know who he was talking to. We see this in the rest of the verse where he asks, “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 . . . . But now the LORD has abandoned us and given us into the hands of Midian.”
When the Angel of the LORD showed up to talk to Moses from a burning bush (Exodus 3), Moses did not at first recognize him for who he was. When the Angel of the LORD showed up to talk to Joshua, he did not at first recognize him for who he was. Gideon was in pretty good company.
Gideon in effect asked, “Where is God?” There was a moment when the shock of recognition set in. We find it in verses 15 and 16. Gideon asks, “Pardon me, my lord, but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.”
Constant problems that never seem to cease make cowards of us all. We feel so small. They seem so tall. At this moment of negative confession, the Angel of the LORD did not say, “Oh, but you mustn’t talk like that! You are more than you imagine! Why, you can do anything you put your mind to!” No, that’s Hollywood stuff.
What the Angel of the LORD said was what he said to the Patriarchs in Genesis and Moses and Aaron and Joshua, and would keep on saying to fraidy cats like Gideon and warriors like David and so on. What the Angel of the LORD said was, “I will be with you.”
What is the secret to your success? Hint: It’s not you.
If the Angel of the LORD’s words and ways feel somewhat familiar, it may well be because many theologians say the Angel of the LORD is Jesus. You will notice the Angel of the LORD receives worship. No other angel does. Every other angel stops individuals from acts of worship.
Gideon had a name to live up to and a situation making that possibility an impossibility. God specializes in the impossible like burning bushes, ten plagues, pathways through seas and rivers, and turning dirty cowards into mighty warriors.
What would you do if you knew you could not fail? Jesus said, “I am with you always, to the very end of the age,” (Matthew 28:20). You cannot fail when you know he is with you and you do what he tells you. Even apparent failures work out to the good of us and others (Romans 8:28).
There is so, so much more to say about this chapter and what happens next. It is worth your time to see how God did what only God could do and Gideon became who God said he was.
There is so, so much more to say about you and what happens next. It is worth your time to see how God will do what only God can do and you become all God says you are.
This is the secret to your success.
I will do what God says to do and become all he wants me to be.
Our Father, who do you say I am? What do you want me to do? Whatever you want, I want, too. Amen.
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Psalm 32:7-9 For you are my hiding place; you protect me from trouble. You surround me with songs of victory. Interlude The Lord says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you. Do not be like a senseless horse or mule that needs a bit and bridle to keep it under control.”
Exodus 39:42, 43 So the people of Israel followed all of the Lord’s instructions to Moses. Then Moses inspected all their work. When he found it had been done just as the Lord had commanded him, he blessed them.
Exodus 33:13 “If it is true that you look favorably on me, let me know your ways so I may understand you more fully and continue to enjoy your favor. And remember that this nation is your very own people.”
Exodus 31:1-5 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Look, I have specifically chosen Bezalel son of Uri, grandson of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. I have filled him with the Spirit of God, giving him great wisdom, ability, and expertise in all kinds of crafts. He is a master craftsman, expert in working with gold, silver, and bronze. He is skilled in engraving and mounting gemstones and in carving wood. He is a master at every craft!”