Rest, disobedience, deliverance, rest. The story of the Israelites is characterized by a cycle of
We are now introduced to our sixth Judge - Gideon. He seems to be the most reluctant and timid of all the judges we've read about so far. But in spite of his personality, God uses him mightily to defeat the swarming locusts - the Midianites to the point where he is listed as a faith hero in the book of Hebrews. (Hebrews 11:32-34) Intitially, unbeknownst to Gideon, God sent an angel to Gideon to talk and chat with him. When Gideon meets the angel he is threshing wheat and hiding his harvest from the Midianites. Gideon was afraid of the Midianites, yet wise - the hidden wheat meant his family could eat.
The conversation starts with the angel addressing Gideon as, "Mighty Hero." As far we know Gideon never thought of himself in this way and because he's never thought of himself in this manner, he responded, "If that's the case, why are the Midianites terrorizing us? Why does it seem that the Lord has abandoned us? I am the least in my entire family."
More astounding is the response from the angel. He said to Gideon, "Go in the strength you have and rescue Israel. I am sending you."
Gideon says, "Show me a sign that you are indeed Lord. Also, Don't leave until I come back with my offering." Gideon may have begun to realize that this was not an ordinary man he was speaking with. Also, recall from your Sunday School lessons that Gideon needed lots of signs from God for confirmation.
Gideon returns with a goat meat, broth and biscuits! The angel instructs Gideon to place the meat and the bread on a rock and to then pour the broth over both. Then the angel places his rod on the meat and bread and a fire consumes the meal and disappears. This supernatural act rendered Gideon momentarily speechless and more afraid for he realized that he just had a face to face conversation with God.
The Lord reassures him that he need not be afraid, and he will not die (Exodus 33:20) as was expected, so Gideon built an altar to the Lord at that spot and referred to the Lord as being his peace - Jehovah Shalom. (Judges 6: 7-24)
Instead of fear, Gideon now had a sense of peace regarding his new assignment. He no longer had to be afraid. God had given him a new identity. What God calls and who you are can be two entirely different things. In the rest of Gideon's story, we will see that he lives up to the moniker that God gave him.
The angel of the Lord appeared to him and said, “Mighty hero, the Lord is with you! Judges 6:12
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