Judges 6:11-16, 22-24
Jon Reed, evangelist
Gideon’s name in the Hebrew can be translated “tree feller, destroyer, and/or warrior.” He is the son of Joash the Abiezrite, who is from the tribe of Manasseh. At this point in the biblical narrative, the Israelites have rebelled against God again and as result they are under the oppression of the Midianites. For seven years, the Midianites who had aligned themselves with the Amalek, who oppressed the Israelites to the point that they were living in caves and dens. There was no sustenance in Israel as well as no sheep, ox, or donkey as stated in the beginning of chapter six.
At this point, God had sent an unknown prophet to Israel to rebuke and reprove them for the sin they had committed against God. In turn, the Israelites were brought to repentance turn back to God.
Judges 6:11-13 – Gideon sees only his circumstances
In verse 11 an angel of the Lord came to Gideon while he was threshing wheat in a winepress (to hide it from the Midianites). Interestingly, the angel declared that God was with him and referred to Gideon by the meaning of his name “mighty warrior.”
At that moment, I am sure Gideon did not feel anything like a mighty warrior. According to verse 13, Gideon questioned the validity of this claim. All Gideon could see was his present circumstances. He had lost all faith in the stories he had heard as a boy and had reached the point of giving up on God. “Where is all His wonders that we have heard about in the past?” Gideon questioned.
Have you ever focused more on the problems in life than the promises that God has given us? Gideon is sinking in his circumstances. Completely discourage and overwhelmed, God steps in and reminds Gideon that He is not finished with him or the Israelites.
Judges 6:15-16 – Gideon sees only his weaknesses
Again, the angel of the Lord tells Gideon exactly what to do and reminds him that God is with him. Gideon then begins to focus on his reality and even more so his inadequacies. “Am I not the least of my family and my clan the weakest in all of Manasseh?” (v.15) My heart goes out to Gideon as it has been seven long years of defeat by these allied forces and he is truly the least likely to succeed.
Throughout scripture, God tends to favor these scenarios. Unfortunately, we all have a tendency to focus on our inabilities instead of God’s capabilities. How many times have we missed opportunities in life by doing this very thing?
Judges 6:22-23– Gideon sees the power of God
In verse 16, the Angel of the Lord stops asking questions and emphatically states “I will be with you, and you will strike down all of the Midianites and leave none of them alive.” Filled with doubt and discouragement, Gideon requested and sign from the Lord. He prepare a sacrifice unto the Lord and God consumes the sacrifice.
In this moment, Gideon realized that he was face-to-face with an angel of the Lord and became greatly afraid. In the book of Proverbs, the writer states that “the beginning of wisdom is the fear of the Lord” (Prov. 9:10). Gideon’s perspective changed in that moment. He moved from fearing man to fearing God.
Jesus states in Matthew 10:28: “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Instead, fear the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” Gideon was not to fear the Midianites, but instead, fear God. When Gideon realized that he was in the presence of God, he was afraid. Everything came into the proper perspective in that moment.
Judges 6:23-24 – Gideon experiences the peace of God
The angel of the Lord exclaimed, ““Peace! Do not be afraid. You are not going to die.”
So Gideon built an altar to the Lord there and called it “The Lord Is Peace.” Our peace can only come through God. It comes when we trust Him and follow according to His word and will in our lives.
In Proverbs 3:5-6, the writer states that we are to “trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” Gideon was out of the will of God until he submitted to the plan of God through the word of God.
As you grow in your relationship with Christ, what is God calling you to do?
Does it seem to difficult? Do you feel inadequate? Maybe your present circumstances are so overwhelming that you can’t even imagine a victory. Do you feel like you are the least likely person to fulfill the plans of God? Maybe, you’re the perfect candidate to experience God’s Peace.