Summary: Gideon was considered by others as the least and the last. But to God, he was considered to be a mighty man of valor.
I. Out of Sight, Out of Mind
A. Text: Judges 6:1-25
B. So make the situation clear, I want you to notice that, at the beginning of our story, we find Gideon threshing wheat in a winepress!
C. Now, why would he thresh wheat in a winepress? Shouldn’t he just thresh wheat on a threshing floor? The text tells us that he is in the winepress in order to hide from the enemy, the Midianites.
D. Now, you need to understand that in those days wine presses were generally dug into the ground, so that if you got inside a wine press you’d be out of sight.
E. Many have defined Gideon’s character as being one of shy, timid and somewhat indecisive.
F. But something changes all of that.
II. A Timid Warrior?
A. Now, notice verse 12. The Angel of the Lord comes and appears before this timid, hiding man and says to him, “The Lord is with you, you mighty man of valor!”
B. Now, just to make this even clearer for you, I want you to know that the word ‘valor’ means courage, bravery, and fearlessness! It is the complete opposite of who Gideon was --- a coward! By the way, his name means ‘the tree feller.’
C. You can just imagine the thoughts that went through Gideon’s mind. “Hey, I think you’ve got the wrong guy, fella! I’m no fighter!”
D. If you know anything about Gideon, you know that he was the youngest of his family. And his family was known as the weakest of his entire tribe.
E. Gideon’s response? “Hey! If God is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all the miracles our forefathers told us about?”
F. Does this sound familiar? The word of the Lord comes to us telling us of the great exploits we will do for the Lord, under His mighty power and strength, and yet all we see, in ourselves, is weakness. Then, we begin to question whether or not God has even been with us along the way!
G. The people of God needed another savior. They needed another deliverer. And, this shy, timid, weakling of a man would be the next one in line. This sounds almost as impossible as when God called Moses out! J
H. God did have a plan for the Israelites, and Gideon was it!
III. What’s the Plan?
A. The Lord’s response to Gideon’s questioning is found in verse 14. Isn’t it like God to respond positively when we question everything in sight?
B. He said to Gideon, “Go in this great power of yours and set Israel free from the hand of the Midianites.”
C. WOW! What a mission!
D. As with Moses, Gideon makes his excuses. Verse 15 says, “How can I save Israel? My family is the weakest of the tribe and I am the youngest of the family!”
E. For some of you today, God has recently called you out of your winepress, or as I like to call it, my place of whining! He has called you out of hiding, out of the closet to do something awesome and great for Him, and yet, you are asking Him, and yourself, ‘how can I do this?’ The pastor called on you to teach that class; or, in prayer God told you to start a neighborhood Bible Study; or God has anointed you to head up the outreach ministries of the church; whatever the task, right now, it seems impossible for you. The first thing I want you to know is this: if it is impossible for you to do on your own…then, chances are, God is definitely in it!
F. So, how do I know if I am being called? There are a few steps that you will take. Gideon took each of these steps. Let’s look at them.
IV. Step #1 ~ A Personal Encounter With God
A. In order to recognize your calling, you must first remember when you were called.
B. What was the circumstances surrounding you when you heard the call?
C. Did you hear that still, small voice?
D. Did God give you an inner peace that you can’t seem to explain or understand?
E. In other words, did you have a personal encounter with God?
F. Let me just say, in looking at every person in Scripture, and throughout history, that God used, each person, without doubt, had some type of encounter with God at the point of their calling!
G. Here are just a few Biblical examples:
1. Moses and the burning bush.
2. David in the field with his flock
3. Abram being called to another country
4. Mary at the point of the conception of Christ
5. And many more
H. We must remember what Paul wrote in I Corinthians 1:27.