“The angel of the LORD appeared to him and said to him, “The LORD is with you, O valiant warrior.” (Judges 6:12)
The stage was set.
After Israel had done “what was evil in the sight of the Lord” (Judges 6:1), God punished them by giving them into the hands of Midian. The Midianites were vicious; each year, around harvesting time, they would raid the Israelites and utterly destroy all of their crops. The Israelites were so afraid of the pillaging Midianites that they even hid in caves! But finally, after their livelihood had been destroyed so many times, Israel cried out to God to save them. And God immediately responded in faithfulness; like every other time when Israel finally cried out to God in pain, He sent a deliverer to rescue them from their oppressors.
Have you ever had someone you really respect speak something very meaningful into your life?
This to happened to me a little while ago, while I was taking a class that taught how to preach. Two of my classmates were already pastors, a few others had preached before, and then there was me; not only had I never even taught in church but I had certainly never preached an entire sermon before! For my first sermon, I put in over sixty hours of study and preparation—that’s how nervous I was and how seriously I treated the Word of God. On the day when I and two others were supposed to preach, I showed up to class half-an-hour early to practice speaking behind a pulpit. Suffice it to say—I was petrified! But as we were determining which of the three students would go first, a student that I really respect said something very meaningful and encouraging to me. He said, “as long as I don’t have to go after Cameron, I’m fine.” I turned around, shocked, and asked him why he said that. His answer nearly brought me to tears, but he said “because you know the Word so intimately.” The student himself was a powerful man of God who also knew the Bible intimately, but when he said that to me I was taken aback. I went from being afraid and feeling inadequate to feeling inspired and respected; it was exactly the encouragement I needed.
Gideon also was a man who was afraid.
When we finally meet the man God would use to deliver Israel, he isn’t what we would expect. Judges 6:11 reveals that the angel of LORD came to Gideon as he was “beating out wheat in the wine press in order to save it from the Midianites.” This is ironic because people in that day would most certainly not “beat out wheat” in a wine press. This process would be done on a threshing floor in an open space. A person would beat the wheat with a stick in order to separate the chaff (the inedible part) from the grain (the edible part). When it was done in an open space, the chaff would naturally be blown away by the wind and the person would be left only with the grain. But where was Gideon? He was underground in a wine press, hiding to save himself and his crop from the Midianites. When the angel of LORD appeared to him, he was caught in an act of utter cowardice!
But God does not see us as we see ourselves!
Even though Gideon was caught in an act of cowardice, notice what the angel of the LORD said to him: “The LORD is with you, O valiant warrior” (italics added). The angel of the LORD (which is likely Jesus Christ before he incarnated) called Gideon a valiant warrior! In the midst of his fear, imagine how empowering such a strong would have been to him! Even though Gideon was acting cowardly, God saw more in him than he could have ever fathomed; and he sees more in us, too, because He sees us through the lens of His immeasurable power.
Brothers and sisters, do you realize how God views you?
Gideon was charged with the task of delivered Israel from the hands of the Midianites. You, brethren, have been commissioned to carry the Gospel message to the world and even given specific good works that God Himself prepared for you (Ephesians 2:10). Even though you may be stressed out trying to figure out what God wants you to do for His kingdom, you should rest in how he views you. If you have trusted in Jesus Christ as your Savior, there are several things you know. You have been given the right to be called a child of God (John 1:12), Jesus calls you His friend (John 15:15), and you are God’s special workmanship (Ephesians 2:10). You have been justified (Romans 8:30), freed forever from the condemnation of God (Romans 8:1), and predestined to become conformed to the image of Christ (Romans 8:29). You have been adopted into God’s family (Ephesians 1:5), and your citizenship is in heaven (Philippians 3:20)! Even if you struggle with your worth, God knows who you are and He sees more than you do! Rejoice in your identity in Christ, and let it empower you to fulfill the good works God has planned for you!
By Cameron Penrose