Time to play word association. Tell me what you think of when I say this name-
You probably thing of words that speak to the great strength, faith, and leadership of Gideon. How he led the Israelite people in battle and brought down the walls of Jericho. But take another look at the man you think you know.
Now the angel of the LORD came and sat under the terebinth at Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, while his son Gideon was beating out wheat in the winepress to hide it from the Midianites. And the angel of the LORD appeared to him and said to him, “The LORD is with you, O mighty man of valor.” Judges 6:11-12
There is more going on here than first meets the eye. Notice where Gideon is threshing wheat. Threshing involves tossing the chaff into the air so the breeze can carry it off leaving the seed to fall back down. It would make much more sense to thresh wheat on a hilltop or at least in an open field but we find Gideon hiding in a winepress. (Understandable when you look at the Midianite oppression in the preceding verses). But look at what the angel calls him,
“O mighty man of valor”
While the angel knew of God’s call on Gideon’s life I can’t help but think these words might have been said with a sly grin. Gideon certainly didn’t appear to be a mighty man. He was a scared farmer in hiding.
The angel proclaims that that Gideon will be employed to save Israel from their oppression. (Judges 6:14) now look at his response.
To paraphrase – Me? I’m the least in my family and we are the weakest clan of my tribe. I’m the lowest of the low. You want me to do what?
In God’s response you can almost hear him whisper… I know but I’m God and I will be with you.
He whispers the same thing to you and I when we begin to protest that we don’t have the strength or skills to be of use. God does not use the able, he uses the willing.
Just look at what he was able to accomplish through a willing man called Gideon.
Let my prayer be to have a willing heart.