Summary: The coming year will bring challenges of many kinds but our Lord is with us and He will provide.
The Calling of Gideon
Text: Judges 6:11-24
The beginning of this New Year seems to be filled with uncertainty and unrest. Daily we hear of the difficulties the economy is causing people. Unemployment is high and will probably go up, credit card debt is out of control, people are losing their homes, credit is very tight, business and whole industries are on the brink of ruin, and the list goes on.
I think all of us planned on having a better year than the last one but the circumstances don’t look very good. What do we do? Some are looking to the government to find a solution to the problems of the nation. Everyone seems to be looking for someone or something to help.
The nation of Israel was in a similar circumstance. Israel was reaping the seeds of disobedience and rebellion toward God Almighty (Judges 6:1-6.) God had lifted His hand of blessing and the nation was suffering terribly. They were suffering from the raids of the oppressive Midianites. The hunger, poverty, and pain were so great that they finally called to the Lord to free them.
The Lord had allowed their chastisement to go on for seven years. Now He was going to answer their cries but not with a mighty stroke of His hand but from an unlikely source, Gideon.
I.Gideon - The Man - v. 11- 12, 15
Judges 6:11 - 12 (NASB) Then the angel of the LORD came and sat under the oak that was in Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite as his son Gideon was beating out wheat in the wine press in order to save it from the Midianites. The angel of the LORD appeared to him and said to him, “The LORD is with you, O valiant warrior.”
A.Threshing in a wine press
1.The raiding parties of the Midianites must have prevented many from harvesting the grain.
a.The wheat would be threshed by throwing it in the air and allowing the chaff to be blown away by the wind. The grain, which is heavier, would fall to the ground at their feet.
b.This was done over and over again until the only thing remaining would be the wheat.
2.It may be the very reason the angel of the Lord finds Gideon at the bottom of the wine press, a pit, threshing his wheat.
a.The Midianites would be unable to see the chaff blowing in the wind as long as he didn’t throw it too high. The grain would collect at the bottom of the pit and no one would be the wiser.
B.The angel of the LORD came and sat down.
1.The phrase "angel of the LORD", YAHWEH, translated by many versions, Jehovah, signifies the personal, powerful, presence of God Himself. Many believe this "angel" is the person of Christ who came to Gideon. After all, "In the beginning was the Word." Whoever you believe the angel of the LORD to be, we do know the LORD was about to speak to Gideon.
2.I can not imagine Gideon’s surprise by not only the angel of the LORD but the statement that was made about him. He actually called him a "mighty warrior". As far as we know Gideon had not even been in battle. Gideon was at the bottom of the pit threshing wheat which leads us to believe he was a farmer at least for the time.
3.Gideon knew who he was and what he was doing threshing wheat and I am sure he considered himself many things but not, "mighty warrior." Gideon may have even thought that the visitor was mocking him as he hid threshing his wheat in the pit of the winepress. Mighty warrior, I think not, and so did Gideon.
II.Gideon - A Mighty Warrior? - v. 13, 15, 17
Judges 6:13 (NASB) Then Gideon said to him, “O my lord, if the LORD is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all His miracles which our fathers told us about, saying, ‘Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt?’ But now the LORD has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian.”
A.Is the LORD really with us?
1.Gideon knew he was not a warrior and was taking appropriate action so he would not lose his food to a superior force of men and so like all of us do, he asked the LORD some questions.
a.Gideon had heard all of the great accounts of Israel and the Lord. He knew the promise of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He knew the story of Joseph and his rise to power over all of Egypt second to none except Pharaoh. He also knew of the slavery and captivity in Egypt and "the Pharaoh who knew not Joseph".