Now the angel of the Lord came and sat under the terebinth at Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, while his son Gideon was beating out wheat in the winepress to hide it from the Midianites. And the angel of the Lord appeared to him and said to him, “The Lord is with you, O mighty man of valor.” Judges 6:11-12
Who are you? What defines you? Many define themselves by what they do or what they know, or even who they know. But is that really who you ARE?
Meet Gideon. He lived during a time in which “the people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, and the Lord gave them into the hand of Midian.” (Judges 6:1) The Midianites had demoralized Israel in just about every way imaginable. The Israelites had been so oppressed by the Midianites that they had resorted to trickery in order to save small amounts of food for themselves. Without warning the angel of the Lord (some would say a Christophany or pre-incarnate Christ) appeared to Gideon while he is separating the edible portions of the wheat from the stem and husk - a normal task for an agrarian society. But...Gideon wasn’t doing his threshing on the normal threshing floor; he was doing it in the wine press!
Threshing grain in a wine press is surprising! Some might call it creative. But it’s definitely not courageous!! Yet hear how the angel of the Lord addresses Gideon. “The Lord is with you, O mighty man of valor.” (Judges 6:12b) There are two vital pieces of revelation that need to be addressed.
First, God tells Gideon that He is with him. This is significant because it certainly didn’t feel to the Israelites that God was with them. In fact, it sure seemed as though He’d withdrawn Himself and His favor from Israel. God personally reassures Gideon that he could set fear aside because he is not alone; he has the God of Israel with him.
Second, God calls Gideon a mighty man of valor. I don’t see a mighty man of valor; do you? Here’s an important truth: it doesn’t matter what others see, think or believe about us because God has the final word in the declaration of our identity. In this case, God chooses to call Gideon by what He is making him to be...a mighty man of valor. It takes some patient convincing but eventually Gideon accepts God’s identity for him. But the really cool element in the story (see Judges 7) is that Gideon becomes that man of valor by submitting to God and letting Him have the battle.
How about you? Who are you letting define who you are? Take time to ask God to show you how He sees you. Trust Him—He knows you better than anyone.