The angel of the Lord came and sat down under the oak in Ophrah that belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, where his son Gideon was threshing wheat in a winepress to keep it from the Midianites. When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.”
“But sir,” Gideon replied, “if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our fathers told us about when they said, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up out of Egypt?’ But now the Lord has abandoned us and put us into the hand of Midian.” The Lord turned to him and said, “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?”
“But Lord,” Gideon asked, “how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.” The Lord answered, “I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites together.” Gideon replied, “If now I have found favor in your eyes, give me a sign that it is really you talking to me. Please do not go away until I come back and bring my offering and set it before you.”
And the Lord said, “I will wait until you return.” Gideon went in, prepared a young goat, and from an ephah of flour he made bread without yeast. Putting the meat in a basket and its broth in a pot, he brought them out and offered them to him under the oak. The angel of God said to him, “Take the meat and the unleavened bread, place them on this rock, and pour out the broth.” And Gideon did so.
With the tip of the staff that was in his hand, the angel of the LORD touched the meat and the unleavened bread. Fire flared from the rock, consuming the meat and the bread. And the angel of the LORD disappeared. When Gideon realized that it was the angel of the LORD, he exclaimed, “Ah, Sovereign LORD ! I have seen the angel of the LORD face to face!” But the LORD said to him, “Peace! Do not be afraid. You are not going to die.” Judges 6:11-23
As Gideon came creeping out of his cave to process his meager supply of food, he never realized he was standing at the door of the greatest moment of his life. At that moment, his highest aspirations were to survive another day under the mailed fist of the ravenous armies of Midian. The Lord, however, had other plans.
“The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.” Gideon hardly bothered to turn around. Maybe there was someone else hidden in the cave. After all, who would call a coward like him a “mighty warrior”?
Yet, when the angel of the Lord sat down in front of him, Gideon knew he was the one who had been addressed. As the angel continued to look at him, it was as if all the unbelief and pain in his soul began to bubble up and gush out of his mouth.
“You’ve got to be kidding me!” Gideon replied. “I have never seen a miracle, and if that’s not bad enough, you have abandoned me. The Lord’s reply so stunned him, it momentarily pierced the shroud of unbelief and death which had strangled him for years. “Gideon, go in the strength you have, and save Israel…” Gideon couldn’t believe it.
“How can my weakness be my strength?” Gideon wondered. At that point, desperate to realize what he now perceived as the looming call of God on his life, he did everything to disqualify himself in God’s sight.
“Well, Lord,” he whimpered, “what about my family? You know they are considered the weakest clan in all of Israel. And I’m even thought of as the dumbest of my brothers.” Still the Lord was not shaken. “Together we will accomplish this mission,” the Lord replied.
Finally, something broke in Gideon. “Maybe there really is hope for someone like me,” he wondered to himself. “Lord,” he whispered, “if this is really you, don’t disappear, but wait and let me prepare you a sacrificial meal.”
After the Lord had consumed the meal, with flames of fire springing up from the tip of His rod, He disappeared into the flames. Gideon fell trembling to the ground, for he knew he had seen he Lord.
What lessons can you and I learn from this amazing encounter between a man and his God?
First, no matter what condition you find yourself in today, God will address you by faith. Even though Gideon was a spineless, craven coward, God addressed him as a mighty warrior. He addressed Gideon this way because He clearly saw the destiny awaiting Gideon if he would only rise up and accept it.
It is no different with you; many times, God will choose to address you based not on what you are now, but on what He intends for you to become. Whether it is through the Bible, the voice of the Holy Spirit, or the words of a loving Christian friend, it is vital that you agree with what God is saying about you.
Second, no matter how weak you may feel, never forget God’s mighty strength is made perfect when we are weak. Paul himself said in II Corinthians 12:10b, “When I am weak, then I am strong.” You may be wondering to yourself how this works. The answer is simple: the more conscious you are of your weakness, typically, the more you cry out to God for His supernatural strength.
As you cry out, you will receive the fresh measure of strength you need for the challenge you are facing. It is also important you do not become discouraged by the revelation of your weakness. Many times, when God is working to show us how weak we are without Him, we become so overwhelmed by our sense of failure and frailty that we can have trouble finding Him.
Third, like Gideon, all of us need a deep revelation of God’s love. One of the most beautiful exchanges between God and a man in all of Scripture may be when Gideon begged the Lord not to go away while he went to cook a meal for Him. Gideon was so bound by his own deep sense of worthlessness that he never believed God would condescend to eat with him. When he returned with the meal and found God still there waiting, Gideon received a revelation of God’s love which was to last him a lifetime.
It is the same for you; no matter where you have been hiding or what you’ve been hiding from, God is calling you to come into your destiny. No matter how weak or frail you are, He promises to make you strong. No matter how rejected you have been, He will touch you with His loving acceptance.
May God call you out of your cave as you meditate on these simple words today.
© Copyright 2005 by Jim Laffoon