And the angel of the LORD appeared to him and said to him, “The LORD is with you, you mighty man of valor.” Judges 6:12
“The LORD is with you, you mighty man of valor.” Gideon must have spun around to see who else was with him! “And the LORD turned to him and said, ‘Go in this might of yours and deliver Israel from the hand of Midian…’” Can we relate to his classic response? Sorry, God, wrong address! I am a nobody coming from a long line of nobodies. Yet in the very process of displaying his supposed “loser” label, Gideon exhibits the spunk that may have sparked God’s initial interest. As a result, we later come to one of the most thrilling statements in all of Scripture, “But the Spirit of the LORD took possession of Gideon; and he sounded the trumpet…” The man bent on evading divine expectations so drastically out of proportion to his own dismally small thinking, this very man now began to excel in leadership.
Sinful syncretism is rampant in our church age. God plus the belief in good luck. God plus the daily horoscope. God plus the TV guru’s formula for success. The Holy Spirit longs to clothe Himself with you and me. That is the precise meaning of Him having taken possession of Gideon. The trumpet call to revival demands to be sounded afresh. God’s mighty man and woman of valor are waiting in the wings. We may feel small and trapped just now. How about our clarifying conversation with the Lord? Will we step center stage to showcase the drama of our God-ordained destiny? (Part 2 of 2)
Comment: Judges 6-7 is a must read to get the full story. The wine press talk led to worship, not war. “Then Gideon built an altar to the LORD and named it The Lord is Peace.” The same night he tore down his family’s pagan altar. Leading citizens were so offended on Baal ‘s behalf that they demanded his death. Escaping to rally freedom-loving Israelites, God trimmed 32,000 down to 300. Next, He ordered His mighty man of valor to go spy on the enemy camp. “But if you are afraid to go down, go down with Purah, your servant…”. How comforting to have a trusted old friend at your side! When the winning offensive began, Gideon – mocked by Midian as loaf of barley – and his “doughboys” – World War 1 slang for soldiers – blew the trumpet, smashed the pitchers that had concealed their torches, and cried “A sword for the LORD and for Gideon!”
While in Switzerland in 1985, I cared for my dying brother and battled his nurse who was into the occult. After returning home, I couldn’t shake a strange exhaustion that baffled my doctor. Finally, I retreated to our cabin to “have it out with the Lord.” Reading Scripture habitually before praying, I was struck by Gideon’s having to shatter the clay pitcher in order to “let his light shine.” After crying healing tears at length, I left for the valley restored and resolved to follow his example. (Oh yes, I’m still working on a few pesky little insecurities, but are they dimming my light meant to shine for Jesus?)