Get this picture. An Angel of the Lord appears before Gideon and announces, “The Lord is with you, you mighty man of valor!” (Judges 6:12). But wait! A man of valor? Really? Gideon was threshing wheat down in a winepress. At first glance no big deal, but threshing wheat in a winepress was strange indeed. Wheat and tares (weeds) grew up together and had to be separated. This process normally occurred in specially made threshing floors out in open fields where there was wind. The wheat and tares had to be thrown into the air so the wind could blow away the tares letting the heavier wheat fall to the ground. Winepresses, on the other hand, were located down in pits carved out of rock. Now let me ask you this: How do you thresh wheat if you’re in a pit? Not very well. There’s no wind!
Again, I have to ask, why was this man of valor threshing wheat down in a winepress? Here’s why; the Midianites, one of Israel’s arch enemies, had been oppressing them doing some pretty nasty stuff, and Gideon was hiding. He was in the winepress because he was a coward! Suddenly, this Angel appears to him and says, “The Lord is with you, you mighty man of valor!” Gideon’s convinced the angel’s heavenly GPS sent him to the wrong address. At which point, the two of them have a little discussion where Gideon informs the angel of all the horrible things the Midianites had been doing to God’s people. Gideon said, “If we’re God’s people and He’s with us ‘why then has all this happened to us?’” (Judges 6:13). Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Bad stuff happens, so God is surely not with us.
Instead of arguing, the Angel responds by giving Gideon a bold assignment. “Go in this might of yours, and you shall save Israel from the hand of the Midianites” (Judges 6:14).
I can see Gideon choking on a kernel of wheat. “Me? Yeah right. What might? Didn’t you hear what just I said?” Then Gideon tries to talk some sense into the Angel. “How can I save Israel? Indeed my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house” (Judges 6:15). In other words; Don’t you get it? I come from a long line of losers. You’ve got the wrong man! I’m not the guy.
The Angel doesn’t even blink an eye, just continues. “Surely I will be with you, and you shall defeat the Midianites as one man” (Judges 6:16).
As the rest of the story goes, because of his unbelief, Gideon throws out a series of fleeces to convince himself that what God is saying is true. In the end, Gideon does obey, albeit skeptically, and God uses him to deliver Israel—his family.
Gideon measured himself by his past. He saw himself as the least of the weakest clan. God, however, measured Gideon according to what he could be—based on his true identity—a mighty man of valor who would obey and deliver Israel.
How about you? Are you hiding in a winepress trying to thresh wheat? Are you afraid? Paralyzed by a fear of failure? Of rejection? Of the past? Of never being used? Do you see yourself as God sees you? If you’ve trusted in Christ, He’s in you and here’s what God says about you:
Regardless of how you feel about yourself trust in what God says about you and get back in the fight!
This devotional is an excerpt from Ignite Your Faith by Dr. Tim Clinton & Max Davis.
1. Richard Exley, Man Of Valor, Every Man’s Quest for a Life of Honor, Conviction, and Character (Lakeland, FL: WhiteStoneBooks, 2005), 7.