Gideon Is Visited
11 Then the angel of the Lord came and sat under the [f]oak that was in Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite as his son Gideon was beating out wheat in the wine press in order to save it from the Midianites. 12 The angel of the Lord appeared to him and said to him, “The Lord is with you, O valiant warrior.” 13 Then Gideon said to him, “O my lord, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all His miracles which our fathers told us about, saying, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt?’ But now the Lord has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian.” 14 The Lord [g]looked at him and said, “Go in this your strength and deliver Israel from the hand of Midian. Have I not sent you?” 15 He said to Him, “O Lord, [h]how shall I deliver Israel? Behold, my family is the least in Manasseh, and I am the youngest in my father’s house.” 16 But the Lord said to him, “Surely I will be with you, and you shall [i]defeat Midian as one man.” 17 So [j]Gideon said to Him, “If now I have found favor in Your sight, then show me a sign that it is You who speak with me. 18 Please do not depart from here, until I come back to You, and bring out my offering and lay it before You.” And He said, “I will remain until you return.”
19 Then Gideon went in and prepared a young goat and unleavened bread from an [k]ephah of flour; he put the meat in a basket [l]and the broth in a pot, and brought them out to him under the [m]oak and presented them. 20 The angel of God said to him, “Take the meat and the unleavened bread and lay them on this rock, and pour out the broth.” And he did so. 21 Then the angel of the Lord put out the end of the staff that was in his hand and touched the meat and the unleavened bread; and fire sprang up from the rock and consumed the meat and the unleavened bread. Then the angel of the Lord [n]vanished from his sight. 22 When Gideon saw that he was the angel of the Lord, [o]he said, “Alas, O Lord [p]God! For now I have seen the angel of the Lord face to face.” 23 The Lord said to him, “Peace to you, do not fear; you shall not die.” 24 Then Gideon built an altar there to the Lord and named it [q]The Lord is Peace. To this day it is still in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.
25 Now on the same night the Lord said to him, “Take your father’s bull [r]and a second bull seven years old, and pull down the altar of Baal which belongs to your father, and cut down the [s]Asherah that is beside it; 26 and build an altar to the Lord your God on the top of this stronghold in an orderly manner, and take a second bull and offer a burnt offering with the wood of the Asherah which you shall cut down.” 27 Then Gideon took ten men of his servants and did as the Lord had spoken to him; and because he was too afraid of his father’s household and the men of the city to do it by day, he did it by night.
I’ve heard plenty of sermons about when Gideon tested the Lord with the fleece, but we sometimes forget that this was a recurring theme with Gideon. When he first met the angel, Gideon didn’t believe he was from God, and asked him to prove it.
The angel sets meat and bread on fire, and yet Gideon is still timid, and will later ask for more signs. But before we go heaping condemnation on Gideon for being a man of little faith, we should look at it as encouragement for us. For the “average Joe”, or even those who feel themselves “less than average”.
Gideon saw himself as the least of all the Israelites. He was the youngest male in what he saw as the weakest family in the entire tribe. And while he doesn’t explicitly say this, it seems that he even viewed his tribe as being one of the least of all Israel. At any rate, he had a very low opinion of himself.
God isn’t interested in human calculations though, He has his own measures, and He knows who can do the task at hand, and He doesn’t often choose the “most likely to succeed”. In fact, God has a plan for everyone, for the strong as well as the weak. He designed you the way you are on purpose. God gives each of us things we are gifted in, or things we are passionate about. Don’t be ashamed of your gifts, put them to use, and let God take care of the rest.