‘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
Have you ever felt too small? Not too short, but too small? I know there have been times when I’ve felt that way. You want to help in a situation in some way, and then you wonder if you are really up for the task. You feel like you don’t have what’s required, and therefore, you just don’t go for it.
In Judges 6, there is a man who felt the same way– too small to do God’s mighty work… too weak to do something, when in reality, he had God’s strength with him the whole time! Gideon was literally the smallest man from the smallest family in the smallest tribe. The Israelites had yet again disobeyed God and turned to idols. Judges 6:1b says, “So the Lord delivered them into the hand of Midian for seven years.” It goes on to say that the Midianites were just plain mean. They destroyed anyone in their path. They had so many camels that you couldn’t count them all. So, the Israelites, in great trouble, called on the One they knew would answer – God.
God sent a prophet in answer to their call. The prophet explained why God had allowed the Midianites to take over. Israel had been given many blessings by God, and yet they gave thanks to other gods instead. This really shouldn’t have been big news to them. They had turned away from God too many times to count.
So, God came to Gideon to use him to save Israel. The Angel of the Lord came to Gideon while he was threshing wheat in a winepress. When they threshed wheat back then, they would stand in an open field and let the wind blow away the bad stuff (chaff) and leave just the wheat. Gideon threshing wheat in a winepress was a sign that this guy was scared of the Midianites. Very scared. Verse 12 of Judges 6 says, “And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him, and said to him, ‘The Lord is with you, you mighty man of valor!'” Mighty man of valor? Hiding in a winepress? I’m not so sure.
Gideon’s story continues as he questions the Angel. He asks why God was putting Israel in such a trial, even though he knew why. Judges 6:14-16 says, “Then the Lord turned to him and said, ‘Go in this might of yours, and you shall save Israel from the hand of the Midianites. Have I not sent you?’ So he said to him, ‘O my Lord, how can I save Israel? Indeed my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.’ And the Lord said to him, ‘Surely I will be with you, and you shall defeat the Midianites as one man.'”
God did save the Israelites from their enemies through Gideon. God gave Gideon three hundred men to fight the thousands of Midianites.
Gideon was small and yet God used him to do what many thought to be impossible. Gideon was mighty through God’s strength even though he was scared to death at first. God can and will use the small, ordinary people for His big, extraordinary work. If you feel too small or not able to do God’s work, just remember what God told Gideon: “Surely I will be with you…” (Judges 6:16a)