Judges 6:11-16 Then the angel of the Lord came and sat beneath the great tree at Ophrah, which belonged to Joash of the clan of Abiezer. Gideon son of Joash was threshing wheat at the bottom of a winepress to hide the grain from the Midianites. The angel of the Lord appeared to him and said, “Mighty hero, the Lord is with you!” “Sir,” Gideon replied, “if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? And where are all the miracles our ancestors told us about? Didn’t they say, ‘The Lord brought us up out of Egypt’? But now the Lord has abandoned us and handed us over to the Midianites.” Then the Lord turned to him and said, “Go with the strength you have, and rescue Israel from the Midianites. I am sending you!” “But Lord,” Gideon replied, “how can I rescue Israel? My clan is the weakest in the whole tribe of Manasseh, and I am the least in my entire family!” The Lord said to him, “I will be with you. And you will destroy the Midianites as if you were fighting against one man.”
Judges 6 begins with “the Israelites did evil in the Lord’s sight.” The Lord had handed them over to the Midianites for seven years, and the Midianites were very cruel to the Israelites so much so that they caused the Israelites to hide in the mountains, caves, and strongholds. The people were literally stripped of their crops, their livestock, and their homes. When they finally recognized their mistakes, God chose Gideon to rescue them. Where do you suppose He found Gideon? He was literally hiding in a hole. The hole was originally a wine press, but Gideon was in the hole threshing wheat to hide the grain from the Midianites.
I love the story of Gideon because it reminds me so much of our human nature. The angel of the Lord came and told Gideon that the Lord had chosen him to rescue Israel from the Midianites. How does Gideon respond? “But how? My clan is the weakest, and I am the smallest. ” Gideon first looked around and within, but he wasn’t yet looking up. He even gave God a few tests, you know, just to make sure God had chosen the right person. He ran home, cooked a goat and baked some bread, and brought it back to the angel. The angel touched the food with the tip of his staff, and fire flamed up from the rock and consumed the food. I don’t know about you, but that would’ve been enough proof for me, but apparently not Gideon.
Then as God prepares to send Gideon to fight the armies, Gideon starts thinking, “what if this is a mistake. Maybe I’m not the one.” So he asks for God to give him a sign. He told God that he was going to put his cozy fleece blanket outside that night. He told God that if he was the one to go, to let the blanket be wet but the ground around it dry. The next morning, the blanket was soaking wet, but the ground was dry. Old Gideon was still not believing so he asked God the next night to keep the blanket dry, but the ground around it wet. The next day, the blanket was perfectly dry, and the ground was wet.
Finally, Gideon is convinced, and he gathers up a huge army. They head out to battle, and God says, “Whoa. You’re army is too big.” Gideon had to be thinking, “I need a big army!” But God told him, I want the people to know that they were rescued by God and not in and of themselves. Gideon started out with an army of 32,000 warriors, but God reduced the size to 300 men, and He gave the Israelites victory over the Midianites.
Gideon was from the smallest tribe of Israel, and he was a small man. He was hiding in a hole threshing wheat, but God chose him to do a great and mighty work. He picked Gideon out, just as he was, right where he was, hiding in a hole under great oppression. God definitely works in mysterious ways, but rest assured, my friend, when He decides to call you, He will take you just as you are, lift you out of your hiding place, and use you for His glory. God blesses each and everyone with a unique set of gifts and talents, and He desires for us to use these talents to glorify Him. I am willing to guarantee you one thing. If you aren’t using your talent, or if you haven’t yet discovered it, talk to God and He will reveal it to you. When we humbly submit to the calling of Christ, He picks us up, right where we are, just as we are, and He does miraculous things. We only have to be willing.