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Summary: Those who go forth in the service of the LORD are empowered for the task He sets them. We commence our mission from the altar named, The LORD our Peace.

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THRESHING IN THE WINE-PRESS

Judges 6:11-24

God calls people everywhere, from all walks of life, to serve Him. The call of God comes to deliver us from our sins, and to set us upon the path of righteousness. This path involves duties, which will vary from person to person, but which make up the individual contribution which each is required to perform in the name and by the power that is vested within us. Any objections one person may have to their calling have probably been answered already in the Bible.

Abram was called to leave his father's home, and to go to a land which he had not seen (Genesis 12:1). Under his new name Abraham, and even as an old man with a barren wife, he was called to be the father of many nations (Genesis 17:4-5). With God nothing is impossible.

Moses drew aside to observe a strange phenomenon in the land of Midian: a bush which burned, but which was not consumed. The Angel of the LORD appeared to him in the midst of the fire, and called him by name. Moses was told to leave the sheepfolds of his father-in-law, and to go back to Egypt to confront the Pharaoh on behalf of the children of Israel. It was a formidable task, but every objection raised by Moses was brushed aside (Exodus 3:1-4:17).

David was the youngest in his family, a bright-eyed young lad looking after his father's sheep. However, Samuel sought him out and anointed him king. God does not look upon outward appearances, but upon the inner heart of man (1 Samuel 16:4-13).

Isaiah was called in the midst of an awesome vision of the glory of God. Like Gideon, he was aware that sin separates from God, but his lips were touched with a live coal from the altar. “Whom shall I send?” asked the LORD, “and who will go for us?” Isaiah heard himself responding, “Here am I, send me!” (Isaiah 6:1-8).

Jeremiah, who considered himself but a youth, was told that the LORD had set him aside to be a prophet even before he had been born (Jeremiah 1:4-10).

Amos was called to be a prophet from the midst of the sheepfolds and sycamore trees of Tekoa (Amos 1:1; Amos 7:14-15).

Jonah was called to go to Nineveh, but instead set out in the opposite direction (Jonah 1:1-3). Yet in the end, after causing himself a lot of trouble through his reluctance, Jonah had to pick up his responsibility at the exact place where he had left it (Jonah 3:1-3).

Amongst His first apostles, the Lord Jesus called four fishermen from their boats (Mark 1:16-20), a tax-collector from his desk (Luke 5:27-28), and a zealot from under his fig tree (John 1:43-51). The Apostle to the Gentiles was called by name whilst he was persecuting the church (Acts 26:12-18).

Gideon was found threshing wheat in the winepress (Judges 6:11). Israel had sinned, and offended the LORD, and in a recurring theme in the book of Judges, were delivered into the hands of their enemies. The Midianites would come up into the land like a swarm of parasites, destroying the crops and stealing the livestock. It was all too much for the Israelites, who would make dens for themselves, and hide amongst the caves and strongholds of the mountains (Judges 6:1-6).

Like their fathers before them who had been in bondage in Egypt, they cried out under the oppression (Judges 6:7), but the LORD's answer seemed harsh. It was all because they preferred the gods of the Amorites who had dwelt in the land before them rather than the LORD God of Israel who had brought them out of Egypt (Judges 6:8-10). They served Baal whose name is spelt with the letters of the verb “to have” - rather than the LORD (YHWH) whose name is spelt with the letters of the verb “to be.”

Too many folks prefer a utilitarian god rather than the God who created the heavens and the earth and all that in them is, the covenant God of Abraham, the Holy One of Israel, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. That is why it was imperative that Gideon should break down the altar of Baal which was at his own father's house before he began his mission (Judges 6:25-32). You cannot serve God and Mammon (Matthew 6:24).

What a surprise for Gideon when the Angel of the LORD appeared to him under the terebinth tree by the winepress, where Gideon was secretly threshing wheat for fear of the Midianites (Judges 6:11). One can imagine that he was as startled as would be the disciples when the risen Lord Jesus appeared suddenly in their midst in the upper room, where they were hiding behind closed doors “for fear of the Jews” (John 20:19). They too would find Him to be their peace in a time of great fear.

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