“And the Angel of Yahweh appeared to him, and he said to him, ‘Yahweh is with you, mighty warrior!”
With Ehud we discussed God’s sense of irony and ironic humor. Here we find that once again. Gideon is here hiding in a wine-press to beat his grain so the Midianites won’t find him and the Angel of Yahweh addresses him as a “mighty warrior.” You can almost imagine Gideon looking around in a dumbfounded way, looking for who it is that the Angel of Yahweh might really be addressing.
Yet, lest we be tempted to suggest that God is being a little bit mean in a sarcastic way, let us remember another principle from scripture.
“For a man sees with the eyes, but Yahweh sees to the heart.”
(1 Samuel 16:7b)
How often we fall into the trap of judging others by the standards of men…how often we judge ourselves in that way, too. You see, in the case of Gideon, God sees in Gideon that which Gideon cannot see within himself — a man who will become a mighty warrior and leader of men for God. And why is it that God sees this where Gideon cannot do the same? It is because God has placed that potential in Gideon’s life (God is Gideon’s creator!) and God is now ready to develop that potential into something mighty and wonderful to deliver the people of God from the oppressive hand of the Midianites.
And while the office of the Judges no longer exists and we are not in a context where we need to beat out our grain in wine-presses to hide from Midianite raiders, we live in a world where God is still God and where He still raises up his people to lead. I recently spent some time talking to my son about not allowing the fun hobbies of his life distract him from his goals. How easy it is for that to take place and how often we miss doing things that will have lasting and eternal impact because we got caught up with a personal hobby, sport, game, or other form of entertainment. How often, in doing so, we fail to see what God sees in us until such a time as God gives us a sovereign wake-up call. Gideon is getting his wake-up call in this way. Moses got his at the burning bush. God doesn’t work quite like that anymore, but He gives us His Word — the Scriptures — to guide us in the paths that would best bring glory to His name. Shall we walk in them?