“The angel of the Lord came and sat down under the oak in Oprah 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.’” (The Holy Bible)
Human Condition: No authorship of the book of Judges was directly given to anyone. According to Jewish law and tradition, however, Samuel was suggested – since the events written are earlier than David’s capture of Jerusalem, for Jebusites still conquered the site (Jdg. 1:21), and that the accounts written deal with the time before kings ruled (Jdg. 17, 18, 21) (MacArthur 329). Since Judges covers the period of roughly 1,220 to 1,050 BC, it was suggested that the story of Gideon happened nearly 1100 BC. The context of the passage refers to the oppression of the Midianites upon Israel. These people take the barley and wheat during harvest in Israel. Being filled with fear of the Midianites, Gideon was forced to thresh his grain harvest secretly in the confines of a winepress (Eerdmans 222). Working on the wheat in an inappropriate place signifies Gideon’s anticipation of danger if the Midianites see him. In this passage, we can see a man lacking courage. In fact, this character of fear and anxiety remained in Gideon for a long time throughout his story.
God Himself: God called Gideon as an instrument for the deliverance of His people. Due to the annual Midianite incursions, the people of God were brought into desperate conditions and cried out to the Lord for deliverance (Penns 62). This is one thing we can see about God in this passage. According to His will, He answers the petitions of His children. Although He rebukes His people, reminding them that the oppression is a result of their sin and a call to repentance, He nevertheless provides for them.
Moreover, this is also a picture of how God works with human instruments. One picture of irony in the passage is the angel’s calling of Gideon as a mighty warrior. Here we see a man weak and afraid, yet God calls him a mighty warrior. In fact, being the youngest in the family that is the weakest in all Manasseh, Gideon considered himself the least of the least (Penns 63). Indeed, God uses the little things in order to show His power to the people (cf. 1 Cor. 1:26-29). Moreover, just as God assured Gideon of His presence during the exploit, God promised that He will be with those He will use for His own purposes.
God’s Will for Us: This passage shows two things regarding God’s will for the believers. First, there is an assurance that God intervenes for His people. He listens and responds to the petitions of His people, and gives according to His good and perfect will. God calls every one to present their concerns to God (cf. Phi. 4:6-7).
Second, this bids us to humbly trust and obey God in our lives. Gideon was humble enough to admit that he cannot do the work on his own, yet his humility did not make him reluctant. Instead, he trusted in the promise of God, and he obeyed. Likewise, anyone who wishes to be used by God should humble himself and rely on God for grace, strength, and guidance. Then, being filled with hope and trust in God, we are called to do what He commands – which are clearly written in the Scripture.
MacArthur, John. The MacArthur Study Bible. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, Inc., 2006. Print.
Penns, Paul. Bible Study Commentary, Judges. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1982. Print.
William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company. Eerdmans Handbook to the Bible. Ed. David Alexander and Pat Alexander. Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1992. Print.