He was threshing grain in a winepress when the angel came. It was hardly the ideal setup. There was no breeze down there to blow away the chaff. Gideon would have had to separate the wheat kernels by hand.
Bit by bit.
But it was the only way to protect the harvest from marauding Midianites. They swarmed the land like locusts, stealing livestock and food.
So Gideon hid.
The work was harder because it was hidden. But at least it was safe.
Given the circumstances, the appearance of the angel, a stranger, must have been unsettling. His words even more so: “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.”
Given the circumstances, one can understand Gideon’s response: “How can the Lord be with us? He has abandoned us and given us to Midian.”
And another thing…
“How can I save Israel? I’m the weakest man in the weakest clan.” He had a point. Hiding in a winepress doesn’t seem like the type of thing a mighty warrior would do.
When the Lord looked at Gideon, however, He didn’t just see who Gideon was. He saw the man that He was calling Gideon to be.
Sometimes, God calls us out of hiding, too, and asks us to do big things. Scary things. Things we don’t think we can possibly do because we’re well-acquainted with our own frailty.
Things that require total dependence on Him because we can’t possibly do them in our own strength.
When the Lord looks at us, He doesn’t just see who we are right now. He sees the men and women that He is calling us to be.
He sees His Spirit in us, strengthening us and enabling us.
The night the angel appeared to Gideon, he snuck into the village under the cover of darkness to tear down the village Asherah pole. Despite his fear, God was with him, calling him to be a hero.
When Gideon, needing extra confirmation of this calling, laid out the fleece not once but twice, God didn’t write him off.
After the Lord had whittled down Gideon’s army to just 300 men and then told them to attack the Midianites, who numbered in the thousands, Gideon was still afraid. He still needed extra reassurance.
God knew it and provided it before Gideon could even ask.
Because of this, Gideon and his men routed the enemy. They chased them down even when their strength was spent. They grabbed hold of victory.
One thing I love about Gideon? He was scared, yet he obeyed anyway. He was weary, yet he persisted anyway. It wasn’t, however, simply because he grit his teeth and dug deep inside himself to somehow dredge up enough self-discipline to keep going. And it wasn’t because he made positive affirmations about his life, his job and his finances. It was because, in his weakness, he turned to the Lord and found courage and strength.
Courage enough for the task at hand.
Strength enough for the day.
Philippians 4:19 says, “God will use His glorious riches in Christ Jesus to give you everything you need.”
There is courage and strength for us too.
Even when God calls us to do scary things.