For seven long years I'd helped my father plant seed and take care of a new flock. Yup a new flock.
Each year, right before harvest, Midianites traipsed into our land like a swarm of locusts, attacked our people then destroyed our crops and animals. I'm tired. Tired of working for nothing.
We moved out of our home into a nearby cave for protection. Others lived in dens or built homes using rock from the side of the mountain. Can you imagine leaving your home, your nice comfy bedroom, and your neighborhood to live in a musty cold cave?
With little food available I'd been hungry for seven years. Well, something had to be done. I sneaked to the fields and gathered wheat before the Midianites came, hid the bundles out of sight, and used our winepress to thresh the wheat. Pretty smart, eh?
One day as I threshed the wheat, I saw a man sitting under our terebinth tree. I had no idea who he was or when he sat there. He didn't look like a Midianite. I set my wheat down and walked to him.
He smiled and said, "The Lord is with you, Gideon. You are a mighty man of valor!"
How did he know my name. And why did he call me a mighty man of valor? What makes him think the Lord is with us. I haven't seen any proof of that.
I cleared my throat and said, "If the Lord is with us, why do the Midianites attack every year and steal our food? Where are the miracles? My father says the Lord rescued our people from Egypt." I shook my head. "Now--well--I think the Lord has left us. We're slaves and prisoners of the Midianites."
He watched me sputter out angry words. His eyes were soft, like he cared what I thought. He nodded. "You have great strength, Gideon. I have chosen you to save Israel from the hand of the Midianites."
Me? Save Israel? I picked up a piece of chaff and pulled it apart. "My Lord, how can I save Israel? My family's from the weakest clan in Manasseh. Not only that, but I'm the least important person in my father's house." I threw the piece of chaff on the ground.
He said, "Gideon, don't be afraid. I'll be with you and you will defeat the Midianites."
Maybe this man was a prophet. Why else would he talk like that? Then I realized, if he was a prophet, I'd better bring him a gift. "Would you show me a sign to let me know for sure it is You who talks to me? Wait right here. I'll bring you an offering."
He nodded. "I'll wait until you come back."
I prepared meat and placed it in a basket, took the broth still in the pot, and some unleavened bread and brought it to the man. He said, "Lay the meat and bread on this rock, and pour out the broth."
I did as he said then stepped back. He held out his staff until the end touched the meat and bread. A flame of fire popped up from the rock and burned both the meat and bread. Poof!
The fire disappeared as quickly as it came. I turned to where the man sat under the tree and saw he'd disappeared too!
Oh no! He had to be the Angel of the Lord. I actually spoke with the Lord face to face! I'm gonna die for sure. No one spoke to the Lord and lived.
I grabbed at my clothes and paced before the tree like a wild man. But then a calm voice spoke, "Gideon, peace be with you. Don't be afraid, you won't die."
I heaved a big sigh. "Really?"
I grabbed all the rocks nearby and built an altar to the Lord and called it The Lord is Peace. That night, I thought about the Angel of the Lord's words and wondered how our people could defeat the large Midianite army.
I'll tell you more next time.
The photo is of a winepress courtesy of Visual Bible Images
1. What was Gideon unhappy about?
2. Where did he live? and why?
3. How long had he lived there?
4. Who invaded their land each year?
5. Who visited Gideon, and why?
6. What did Gideon ask to bring the visitor?
7. Why did he want to do that?
8. God asks us to do things for Him everyday? What did He ask you to do today?