This Strength of Yours…
“And Yahweh turned to him and said to him, ‘In this strength of yours, deliver Israel from the hand of Midian. Go! I am sending you!’”
For those who are still in doubt as to whether the Angel of Yahweh is the Pre-Incarnate Christ, here is one more example where the Bible describes this individual arriving and then calls him Yahweh. Now the charge that is given is probably the thing that raises the most questions. Why would the Angel of Yahweh tell Gideon to go out in “this strength of yours” to deliver Israel? Should the commission not be something like, “Go in the Strength of the God of Armies!”?
The answer goes back to verse 12 and the title that the Angel of Yahweh pronounces with respect to Gideon. There he calls Gideon a mighty warrior. If Gideon were full of himself, one might interpret this as God being somewhat sarcastic and mocking Gideon somewhat to humble him. But Gideon is hiding in the wine press. The warriors of Israel are hiding in the mountain network of caves. Gideon is not a proud warrior, he is a scarred man, eking out his daily bread.
So, what is going on? As we noted above, God has formed Gideon from his mother’s womb and has created Gideon for just this moment. Thus here we find the Angel of Yahweh challenging Gideon to step out in the confidence of faith. Faith that God, as the Warrior of Israel, will deliver his people and that Gideon, relying on the strength that God gives to him (the strength does not originate with him), will become a faithful tool in God’s hand as a delivering Judge.
The key line here is, “I am sending you.” If we go out in our own strength, we will achieve nothing worth noting. But, when we go out in the strength of God and with the call of God, then remarkable things take place.